In this annual round-up of new POS hardware and peripherals introduced in 2015, HT asked vendors to share latest releases ranging from stand-alone terminals to printers and mobile options. Tech suppliers were also asked to provide insight into research and development plans, plus predictions for the future of POS hardware innovations.
From their responses it is clear that vendors are targeting hardware options for the needs of restaurant operators from quick-service restaurants and fast casual to fine-dining that include traditional POS terminals, mobile units and combinations of both, with even traditional POS models getting smaller, sleeker and more like tablets.
“Restaurants are often short on space and with the new technology out there, we don’t need these giant screens anymore,” says Charly Robinson, owner of F&D Kitchen and Bar (www.fdkitchenbar.com) in Lake Mary, Florida.
There are also new peripherals connecting more easily to the POS terminals via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and many operators are utilizing iPads or other tablets in conjunction with traditional terminals. Robinson uses a traditional POS from NCR (www.ncr.com) running Aloha software, but also uses iPads for their reservation system using Open Table (www.opentable.com).
“I don’t find the mobile units as deep and sophisticated as the traditional POS for a full service restaurant with a bar that takes both cash and credit,” Robinson notes. “We need the ability to have a cash drawer attached and that can be a disadvantage with mobile.” However, he anticipates mobile becoming more sophisticated, and as it does, more companies moving to this approach. Being ready for security requirements and mobile capabilities of some sort are two major trends impacting hardware rollouts in 2015.
WHAT’S NEW: POS TERMINALS
Casio (www.casio.com) introduced the SE-S100 line of electronic cash registers for small and medium-sized businesses in 2015. The series offers new features including SD card support, alpha character printing and a two-line operator display. With its SD card compatibility, the SE-S100 enables business owners to transfer product information and brand descriptors, pricing tables, and sales data from PC to SD card which can then be uploaded. The SE-S100 has the ability to store up to 2,000 price look ups (PLUs) and includes an electronic journal function which allows sales transactions and history to be stored in a built-in memory and retrieved later for analysis and financial purposes.
- R&D Focus: To develop software on the Android platform and continue to grow the sales of the V-R100 and V-R7000 Android series terminals through continued software enhancements targeting hospitality markets.
- Top Prediction: A trend in the market is leaning towards the tablet platform with cloud-based software. End users are attracted to offerings from companies with no up-front cost for the hardware/software and paying a monthly fee for the use of both. The feeling around the dealer/reseller channel is many end users are becoming disenchanted after committing to some of these offerings with the locked in contract length, and lack of functionality in the software and support.
Harbortouch (www.harbortouch.com) released both the Echo POS and the latest version of the Elite POS this year. Combining the power and functionality of a traditional POS system with the design of a tablet, the Echo POS offers all-aluminum construction; a 13.3-inch, touchscreen display; flash storage; a dual-hinged stand for flexible adjustment; integrated customer display; and 180-degree rotation to allow customers to sign on screen. With a cast aluminum body, it includes a cash drawer, receipt printer and employee time clock cards. Optional accessories include a remote printer, customer display pole, scale, caller ID and kitchen video system.
- R&D Focus: To continue to refine hardware and software while adding new peripheral accessories that incorporate mobile technologies and emerging payment types.
- Top Prediction: Backlash against tablet-based POS systems as business owners continue to realize the inherent limitations of these systems, and a shift towards built-for-purpose equipment that incorporates some of the simplicity and sleek design of tablets.
Oracle (www.oracle.com) introduced the MICROS Workstation 6, using Microsoft Windows Embedded 8.1 and the latest Intel Atom processor. It works in concert with mobile, cloud and social media to deliver consistent, integrated content across multiple sources, and can offer guest recommendations, special promotion rollouts and more. The Workstation 6 incorporates the design elements of a mobile POS in an ergonomic, all-in-one design with a 15.6-inch-wide HD touchscreen, and a spill and impact resistant enclose. Additionally, it can be mounted on a stand that allows staff to adjust the screen angle or swivel it for guest to view. The integrated, three-track magnetic card reader allows for 3DES or AES encryption upon swiping, and includes six USB ports for attaching printers, scanners, cash drawers and more.
- R&D Focus: Delivering countertop/stationary hardware, mobile solutions, and kitchen displays and terminals for the hospitality market, as well as enterprise integration and cloud functionality.
- Top Prediction: The transition to EMV standards and capabilities means new credit/debit card processing requirements will be a prime driver of POS turnover, and both cloud-based applications/delivery vehicles and Solutions-as-a-Service will find their way into a growing number of tests, pilots and real-world implementations.
Panasonic (www.business.panasonic.com) unveiled the Stingray III, an all-in-one POS Workstation compatible with a variety of Microsoft Windows operating systems, and offering a modular design for retail, QSR and hospitality industries. It features interchangeable touchscreens and unlimited mounting options, along with 15-inch XGA and 17-inch SXGA display options. The screens can be tilted from 20 to 90 degree angles, with an optional touchscreen and customer-facing camera to enable promotional video, advertising or order confirmation. Equipped with a range of regular COM and USB interfaces, operators can connect all peripherals, including an additional external customer display, chip and PIN payment terminals and printers.
- R&D Focus: POS systems to accommodate both fixed and mobile POS solutions, and hardware components that are interchangeable to ensure a long lifespan and a higher ROI.
- Top Prediction: The hospitality industry will seek flexibility both from a hardware and ROI perspective in addition to payment flexibility and data protection in light of recent breaches.
Posiflex (www.posiflexusa.com) has introduced the Hybrid Tablet MT4008 POS with optional pistol grip and printer docking station to bridge the gap between fixed terminal and mobile POS systems. The Windows 8.1 Industry Pro driven system takes an aluminum diecast, multifunction 8-inch tablet and transforms it into an all-in-one POS system. The pistol grip and tablet — or the tablet only — can be set in the docking station to create a fixed terminal or kiosk. The docking station has a built-in wireless 3-inch thermal printer, 200mm/sec print speed.
Verifone (www.verifone.com) introduced the Verifone e355, a PCI-certified EMV and NFC-enabled terminal. It is a full WiFi capable device which can also connect via BlueTooth, and can integrate with any consumer tablet or smartphone and any major operating system (OS). The e355 is not married to any specific device form factor or OS, so operators don’t have to purchase new terminals when smart devices are upgraded.
- R&D Focus: Verifone continues to focus on improving mobility and the omni-channel payments environment. The expansion of its Payments as a Service offering increases agility and decreases payment complexity for merchants. Commerce Enablement solutions are supported by Verifone’s Payments as a Service business to enable merchants to better engage customers, sell more products and provide consumers with more value at the point of sale in the form of digital offers, coupons or other types of loyalty incentives.
- Top Prediction: A large focus in the hospitality space on serving guests and patrons in the way and manner in which they want to interact. This means that technologies allowing consumers to interact and pay in a frictionless manner — such as dedicated kiosks, mobile order acceptance and payment solutions and related applications residing on consumers’ devices — will become more widespread. This doesn’t imply that the point of sale is doomed, rather it implies that successful POS companies will be those that offer payment architecture and solutions that are able to support additional services in the future and do not impose limitations on such abilities.
WHAT’S NEW: TABLETS
Fujitsu America Inc. (www.fujitsu.com) introduced the new STYLISTIC V535 semi-rugged 8.3-inch tablet with a tough exterior, able to tolerate drops and spills. Running Microsoft Windows 8.1, it features a multi-touch display, user-exchangeable battery and optional docking or charging cradles. There is also a range of user-exchangeable shells, including smart shells to enable the use of POS peripherals for when the tablet is docked or as a mobile POS payment terminal.
HP (www.hp.com) announced the HP Pro Tablet Mobile Retail Solution that enables tasks such as customer check-in, tableside ordering and payments to be performed from the palm of a hand. It allows for a range of third-party mobile payment terminals to be attached, including terminals that accept EMV, NFC, MSR, and most digital wallets payments. The tablet solution has a 2048 x 1536 resolution, quad-core Intel Atom processor, integrated security and manageability, and USB connectivity. With the optional HP Pro Tablet Mobile Retail Charging Dock, customers get USB and RJ-45 connectivity as well as integrated locking provisions that allow the solution to be locked into the dock and the dock to be secured to a fixed location like a counter or kiosk.
Par Technology Corp. (www.partech.com) released the PAR Tablet 5, a lightweight, 5-inch tablet powered by Intel Atom technology and featuring Windows 8.1 Embedded or Google Android KitKat 4. Similar to the PAR Tablet 8 and 10 models, the 5 features a multi-touch screen with stylus pen support; Gorilla Glass to resist scratches and provide improved drop survivability; 802.11, Bluetooth and NRC wireless; and drop and IP ratings to survive restaurant environments. The company also introduced the PAR Tablet POS docking platform for the PAR Tablet 8 or 10 models, allowing for stationary POS set-up, mobile ordering and kiosk implementation.
- R&D Focus: Bringing options for the Internet of things (IOT) to customers and integrating the latest technology from Intel into both the POS and Mobility product lines. With the launch of Windows 10 later this year, the company is enhancing security by implementing Windows 10 and its features such as Device Guard.
- Top Prediction: Traditional POS hardware will be maintained with a sleeker look and design as the market continues the modernization of their environment. In addition, we there will be a broader penetration of mobility into operations across the market.
WHAT’S NEW: MOBILE POS
NCR Corp. (www.ncr.com) launched the NCR Orderman7 mobile POS solution. The handheld device allows employees to take orders and payment at the table or for line busting, and offers a large, high-resolution, 5-inch HD display and a shock-resistant, watertight and impact resistant design. There are also programmable side buttons for functions most frequently used, and smartly positioned notification LEDs designed specifically for the hospitality industry. Additionally, the unit includes a camera, flashlight, speaker and vibrate functions, a user-friendly touchscreen that can be operated with a finger or touch pen, and an 18-hour battery life.
- R&D Focus: Enabling omni-channel strategies through more advanced consumer engagement capabilities; payment and security; and leveraging mobile-first strategies to improve staff productivity.
- Top Prediction: Built-for-purpose POS hardware will continue to adopt a form factor that resembles consumer mobile devices — enabling both staff and direct consumer interaction.
Panasonic (www.business.panasonic.com) introduced the ToughPad FZ-R1, a 7-inch, all-in-one mobile POS, which runs Windows 8.1 with an Intel Celeron processor, and features an integrated EMV reader with PIN pad, magstripe and NFC compatibility. Thin, lightweight, but rugged, it is water resistant and includes a pre-installed, replaceable screen film for LCD protection, and countertop cradle. The battery life is eight hours, with optional hot swap and 16-hour life battery.
WHAT’S NEW: PRINTERS
Epson (www.epson.com) released three new printers in August of 2015. The Mobilink P80 Plus features a 3-inch receipt printer with autocutter and leverages Epson’s ePOSTM print technology offering print speeds up to 100mm/second, paper-saving options that can reduce usage up to 23%, and has the connectivity options needed to meet the requirements of iOS, Android and Windows printing applications. The TM-m10 POS receipt printer offers the freedom to print 2-inch receipts from virtually any desktop PC and/or mobile device. Its modular casing can be switched from a top-load to front-load configuration. Finally, the TM-m30 POS prints 3-inch receipts and featuring ePOS print technology, works with desktop PCs and iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices. Its modular casing can be switched from a top-load to front-load configuration. It offers use of one power source for a user’s tablet and printer.
- R&D Focus: Providing seamless integration and connectivity of mobile devices with POS printers and peripherals.
- Top Prediction: Greater deployment of tablets in POS scenarios to facilitate customer interaction and better experience. An increased use of cloud services to optimize operations and customer loyalty. Full-service restaurants will increasingly deploy online ordering capabilities to extend their reach to the “stay at home” patron.
Zebra (www.zebra.com) is now offering its ZQ500 Series of mobile printers in 3-inch and 4-inch sizes that are lightweight and compact. The ZQ510 and ZQ520 are rugged and feature large buttons and a user-friendly interface. Utilizing Bluetooth Smart Ready 4.0 connectivity and Print Touch device pairing, they can be used with Apple, Android and Windows mobile devices, and also offer 802.11 a/b/g/n WLAN connectivity.
- R&D Focus: Continue to develop and deliver innovative data capture devices for reading traditional printed and mobile barcodes.
- Top Prediction: Hospitality will see increasing use of image-based data capture devices in various formats such as presentation style, cordless and pocketable scanners to help support innovative means of interacting with consumers. There are many greenfield applications within hospitality — such as advanced check-in, customer loyalty programs, gaming and lottery—which will continue to see significant growth for scanner peripheral hardware in conjunction with POS systems.