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NRF BIG Show Showcases Big Tech Trends for Hospitality Space

The National Retail Federation (NRF) kicked off its annual Retail’s BIG Show 2015 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City from January 11-14. The 104th Annual Convention & EXPO was a boisterous success – with 33,000 attendees attending hundreds of sessions and making their way through miles of vendors to see the latest in technology and services. With its obvious focus on the retail industry, one might mistakenly think that finding the benefits for hospitality operators at the BIG Show would be difficult. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In reality, this year’s BIG Show was rife with exciting advancements that perfectly align with business and operational needs for both foodservice and hotels.

Obviously, point of sale technology is a major focus, but vendors had something for every area of concern for today’s operators. Payment and data security, analytics, beacon technology, digital printers, facial recognition software and mobile payment technology, were just some of the areas where advancements were being showcased.

Here HT recaps a few of the highlights from the show floor that will be particularly impactful on the hospitality space in the year ahead.

PCMS Launches Integrated Tablet Mobile POS
New POS system combines tablet with chip and PIN device and mobile point of sale software to improve customer experience and increase upselling opportunities. The device will combine a Cielo tablet with Logic Group's payment application and Miura's chip and PIN device, all seamlessly tied together with PCMS' award-winning VISION BeanStore mobile point of sale software. The new system will help retailers to improve customers' shopping experience, increase opportunities for upselling and enable staff to be fully mobile around stores handling both orders and stock queries, as well as taking payments on the move while carrying just one device.

Wincor Nixdorf Announces Updates to Four POS Products
New hardware and software help operators streamline activities and deliver seamless customer experience. Wincor Nixdorf has announced updates to four of its products that are used to automate point of sale, streamline back office activities, and provide consumers with a seamless omnichannel experience.  These hardware and software enhancements are designed to help improve conversion rates and promote cross-selling opportunities that increase the basket size for each order.  

Elavon and Verizon Partner to Provide Turnkey Mobile POS
Elavon combines forces with Verizon and talech to provide small businesses with tablet-based, turnkey mobile POS system. This solution integrates Elavon’s payment and loyalty solutions, talech’s software platform and Verizon’s expansive high speed 4G LTE network, enabling customers to take orders, manage inventory, access customer information and view daily reports in real time. In addition, the new solution provides businesses with enhanced insights through ‘big data’ analysis.  

Panasonic Debuts Expanded Solutions in Tablet POS
Panasonic has announced a number of new technologies at the 104th annual National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show. These retail solutions, including mobile and fixed point of sales devices and smart shelving technology, are part of the company’s expanding solutions portfolio targeting retailers of various sizes and sub markets including table service restaurants, quick service restaurants (QSR), hotels and more. Panasonic’s solutions are engineered to help retailers adapt and grow in today’s evolving marketplace by increasing sales, improving efficiencies, reducing shrinkage, expanding insight into customer habits, reducing technology downtime and aiding in the creation of an omni-channel customer experience. These integrated solutions are designed to address customer problems and challenges and engineered to work the way retailers actually use them.

Star Micronics Showcases Mobile, POS, and Customer Engagement Solutions
Star Micronics America debuts new innovations including, digital receipt solution and Bluetooth printing solutions. Star Micronics displayed new mobile POS, customer engagement, cash management, and digital receipt technologies at the NRF Annual Convention and EXPO. Jon Levin, Product Integration Manager, demonstrated the, Digital Receipt Solution. Available on all Star thermal receipt printers, the solution offers an option for guests to opt in for digital receipts.

NEC Showcases Integrated POS with Biometric-enabled Solutions
NEC Corporation of America featured its integrated point of sale solutions to provide managers with greater access to data, improved communications and improved productivity. Allen Ganz, Director, Enterprise Biometrics Solutions Division, showcased NEC Enterprise Biometrics which demonstrates in-store audience measurement tools, as well as the NeoFace® Watch system, which uses propriety face recognition technology to identify individuals such as VIP shoppers or known offenders for loss prevention. NEC has collaborated with Microsoft Corp. on an exciting new retail signage solution that combines NEC face recognition technology with Microsoft's Kinect camera system to create a next-generation shopping experience. The solution serves up digital retail signage based upon an individual's age and gender, and archives in-store demographic and engagement data in the cloud for later analysis by the retailer.  
Hardee's Pilots Self-Order Kiosks to Offer Personalized Experience
Microsoft Corp. and CKE Restaurants Inc. (parent company of Hardee’s® and Carl’s Jr.®) showcased a self-order kiosk solution running on Windows 8 devices that enables Hardee’s customers to customize and place their own orders. The Dell Optiplex 3030 All-in-One devices are currently deployed as a pilot test in 30 restaurants, including a newly redesigned kiosk-featured restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee. As part of its pilot, Hardee’s will continue to roll out kiosks to additional restaurants in the next few months. The self-ordering kiosk gives the customer a fun, interactive and user-friendly way to control their order. CKE understands that customer expectations are changing quickly, and Hardee’s relationship with Microsoft allows the restaurant to enhance the restaurant experience and better serve customers’ needs and expectations.

Tablet Rollout Helps TGI Fridays Streamline Orders and Improve Customer Service
TGI Fridays Inc., in relationship with Microsoft Corp., is transforming its guests’ experience by equipping servers with 8-inch tablets so they can quickly and accurately process orders and payments while at the table. Using the new Fridays Service Style technology powered by Windows 8.1, servers can carry their tablets from table to table to take orders and respond promptly to guest requests.
Fortinet Unveils New Secure Wireless Access Points
Fast and secure solution delivers broad network security and access engineered for distributed enterprises. Fortinet's new FortiAP Access Points are engineered to deliver businesses with expansive wireless LAN coverage, maximum device density and increased bandwidth. Combined with Fortinet's threat protection, IT departments can rest easy knowing that their wireless LAN is secure. Fortinet's portfolio of security solutions enables businesses to consolidate stand-alone products, embrace new technologies and pursue business opportunities, all while remaining completely secure.

NCR DataGuard Supports New Era of Protected Commerce
NCR Corporation has announced the introduction of NCR DataGuard, a software solution that will initially be available for use with Intel’s new Data Protection Technology (DPT) for protecting sensitive consumer data such as driver’s license and social security numbers in addition to payment data. NCR DataGuard and Intel DPT work by separating the processing of sensitive data from the operating system and the CPU both logically and physically, using a more secure tunnel supported by a trusted hardware based environment.  The technology helps to protect data from the moment a transaction is initiated through the transfer of the encrypted data to the retailer as well as bank server networks.

Heartland to Offer Comprehensive Merchant Breach Warranty
Heartland Payment Systems to offer protection to businesses from payment card breach losses in the event of a breach. Heartland Secure is a comprehensive credit/debit card data secure payment solution that combines three powerful technologies – EMV, the Heartland E3® end-to-end encryption technology and tokenization – working in unison to provide merchants with the highest level of protection for card-present transactions. 

FreedomPay Announces Strategic Alliances
Panasonic, HP, Verifone, Revel Systems POS and Neal Analytics are the latest to join with FreedomPay on customer engagement and secure transaction solutions. The FreedomPay Commerce Platform, validated by the PCI Security Council for Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE), enabled with EMV and NFC and endorsed by Microsoft Corp. as its commerce partner,   helps retailers give their customers more personalized experiences and incentives based on their basket contents, past purchases, preferences and demographics.

New Omni-Channel Solution Launches at NRF 2015
LNL Systems will debut FlorComm, a suite of sales floor communications tools enabling clients to enhance the in-store experience. LNL Systems will be partnering with  Twocanoes Labs to integrate beacons into the solution. Twocanoes Labs will automate the smart sales floor with the industry's first full range of iBeacons, web service, and proximity apps. Retail associates automatically get notified on their two-way radios when customers are near Bleu Station Beacons from Twocanoes Labs, reducing costs and bringing customer service to a new level.

Toshiba to Demonstrate In-Store Digital Signage Applications
Toshiba will showcase its Ellumina Digital Signage line at the NRF Convention & Expo. Toshiba’s Experience Manager is a customizable digital signage platform for managing networked interactive media experiences. By incorporating both live and pre-programmed content in an engaging manner, it delivers targeted content by time, location, and demographic.

Theatro Demostrates Wearables Integrated with Real-time Actionable Info
Theatro exhibits with RetailNext at Big Show to demonstrate wearable technology. Theatro will demonstrate actionable analytics at NRF’s Big Show in RetailNext’s booth. By combining Theatro’s access to each associate’s ear with RetailNext’s powerful in-store analytics solution, retailers extend real-time data analysis to every store employee, increasing store productivity and delivering a differentiated shopping experience.
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