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Retail's Big Show Offers Big Benefits for Hospitality

Retail operations might be the focus at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Big Show, but many of the vendors were showcasing technology that offers benefits for the hospitality space as well. Here are some highlights from the show floor that will make an impact in both restaurants and hotels.   
NCR’s Software, Hardware and Services Creates One-Stop Shop for Operations
NCR Corporation showcased  innovative software, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and retail technology solutions at the 2014 National Retail Federation Big Show Expo, January 13-14 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
NCR’s end-to-end portfolio, including its unified software platform and broad range of industry-leading technology solutions, enables operators to increase customer loyalty and earn a greater share of wallet by providing exceptional, omni-channel shopping experiences. New innovations in software, SaaS, and hardware along with enhanced retail management solutions were on display at the NCR booth (#3005) including:
NCR Cloud Connect - an ecosystem for advanced technology companies to quickly reach retailers who need to meet the expectations of today’s consumers and offer a wide range of value-added digital services and innovative applications.
NCR RealScan 79 Bi-Optic Imager – an all-imaging scanner that reads 1D, 2D and mobile bar codes fast and efficiently. This solution not only provides high-performance imaging, but boasts the largest scan zone in its class. The imager has the ability to improve store security, provide real-time scanner feedback to managers, simplify cashier training and stream live images and videos.
NCR RealPOS XR7™ - next-generation solution features a stylish all-in-one design, best-in-class performance and exceptional versatility to go along with the reliabilty and data security retailers need for mission-critical store environments. Available with either a 15” or 18.5” touch display, the RealPOS XR7 offers a flexible platform ideal for use as either a point-of-sale (POS) solution or as a kiosk.
NCR Command Center - remote management tool for maximizing value from NCR platforms.  The suite for retail helps optimize retailer and NCR support resources to proactively resolve issues remotely with features like secure, multi-factor authentication, real-time monitoring, alerts and diagnostics as well as automated file transfer and patch updates.
For the first time, the NCR booth will also include the NCR Retalix 10 software suite as well as other Retalix software solutions.  NCR, Retalix and Radiant solutions have been combined to create a retail innovation leader with unmatched industry expertise.
For small businesses, NCR is demonstrating a preview of its fast-growing, cloud-based NCR SilverTM  POS on Intel® powered tablets running the Android operating system. Also, NCR Silver and PayPalTM will showcase NCR Silver 3.0 which features check-in to pay via the PayPal app.
Panasonic Announces Product Expansion with Microsoft
Panasonic System Communications Company of North America  announced at the NRF 2014 EXPO that it’s working closely with Microsoft to deliver enterprise-class mobile devices based on the Windows Embedded 8 Handheld platform. The collaboration will enable Panasonic to expand its rugged mobile computing portfolio with innovative new handheld devices bringing Windows Phone 8 technologies to enterprise customers, via its reliable hardware.
Windows Embedded 8 Handheld is the next generation of Microsoft’s leading platform for line-of-business handheld devices, built on Windows Phone 8. This means end-users will gain enterprise-grade security and manageability along with full Windows Phone 8 application compatibility, allowing businesses to leverage Microsoft’s enterprise-ready applications such as Dynamics AX, Lync and Office Mobile.
Together with Microsoft, Panasonic plans to deliver the next generation of durable, professional-grade mobile devices for a wide range of retail applications including mobile POS, supply chain and operations management and customer service.
At the NRF2014 EXPO, Panasonic demonstrated multiple handheld devices, including the latest member of its Toughpad™ family of rugged, enterprise-grade tablets, the 7” Toughpad FZ-M1 running Windows8.1 Pro at Booth #1539. It’s is the thinnest* and lightest* 7”fully-rugged Windows tablet available today and ideal for a wide variety of retail applications including operations management and mobile POS.
I Love Velvet Makes Major Expansion to Device Support with Additions of, Android Platform, Samsung Galaxy, and Windows Surface
I Love Velvet, the mobile point-of-sale (MPOS) hardware and software innovator for large retailers, airlines, leisure and entertainment groups, and restaurant chains, announced a major expansion to its supported devices, with the addition of the Windows Surface and all Android products, including the Samsung Galaxy, HTC and Google Nexus, to its MPOS solution portfolio. Committed to staying at the cutting edge of MPOS device support, I Love Velvet is also the only mobile point-of-sale solution currently available for the Samsung Galaxy.
I Love Velvet, also announced the launch of a series of customer-facing, dual view (DV) MPOS models and new proprietary CRM technology, further enhancing security and the overall customer shopping experience. Similar to the current Velvet Suite of products, the new DV series of models will work seamlessly with the latest Apple iOS and select Android and Windows devices. 

I Love Velvet has evolved its MPOS technology, upgrading the acclaimed “brain and sled” solutions, creating a new suite of products with added customer-facing HD display screens featured on the back of the devices. The upgraded models will enhance the MPOS experience by allowing sales and retail professionals to confirm transaction information directly with the customer while simultaneously completing secure payment options including credit card and bank debit card swipes; European Chip & Pin cards; RFID; NFC and 2-D bar code scanning.  Retailers can also effectively upsell and cross-sell additional products, as well as communicate targeted promotional and advertising content based on customer buying history.  With an added customer-facing HD display screen, the upgraded dual view MPOS devices enable content to be shared seamlessly, facilitating a faster transaction and offering additional promotional opportunities.
AirTight Networks Joins with EarthLink for Social Wi-Fi and Analytics
AirTight Networks secure cloud Wi-Fi will power EarthLink’s new WiFi/WIPS solution designed for the multi-unit retail industry. EarthLink announced the upcoming launch of this solution at NRF 2014.  Cloud, analytics and simplicity set AirTight apart. Consumers are already using their mobile devices in-store to enhance their shopping experience. With EarthLink WiFi, retailers can roll out corporate applications to connect with those consumers and service them more efficiently, while gathering valuable data for marketing and store operations.
EarthLink’s full-service network capabilities make AirTight’s enterprise-class Wi-Fi and security accessible to all retailers, whether small or large. Through the partnership with EarthLink, the technology can now be delivered as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The IaaS model is ideal for multi-unit retail, where IT resources are often not available at an individual store level.
AirTight has served retailers for over a decade and has translated that knowledge into an enterprise-grade solution that does not compromise on features and security. AirTight’s secure cloud Wi-Fi dramatically reduces IT resources needed to roll-out and manage the network, resulting in low total cost of ownership. This is Wi-Fi with a “business first” approach, delivering business intelligence and brand engagement. The solution is retail-ready right out of the box, with secure guest and private Wi-Fi, PCI compliance scanning and 24/7 protection from wireless threats. 
POS-X Unveils a Brand Refresh and Introduces Two New Products
POS-X, LLC., a manufacturer of a complete line of point-of-sale (POS) hardware unveiled at the NRF retail show in New York City new additions to their product line along with a revitalized new look.  Being phased in throughout the next several months, POS-X will be continuing the brand enrichment by introducing a variety of informative and educational material by way of video, white papers, and webinar sessions all designed to help support the POS reseller.
POS-X extends its POS hardware portfolio offering with the addition of two new products: a true Android based All-in-One Terminal and  a 2D barcode scanner capable of being integrated with our POS-X EVO TP4 POS terminals and EVO TM4 Touchscreen monitors. 
Panasonic Highlights Solutions to Enhance Ops, Reduce Loss and Improve Customer Experience
Panasonic System Communications Company of North America  demonstrated integrated retail solutions at NRF 2014 EXPO (booth #1539). Featuring a wide variety of technology solutions designed to help meet the needs of operators from the front of house to the back office, delivery truck and everywhere in between, the Panasonic exhibit space demonstrates how rugged enterprise-grade tablets and wireless solutions can connect the retail environment. This connection enables stores to manage much of their technology portfolio, including surveillance systems, digital signage, point of sale and more from one handheld screen.
At NRF EXPO booth #1539, visitors interacted with a wide range of technologies built for applications in all areas of a retail store including digital signage for entranceways and aisles, payment solutions for the check-out counter and mobile sales rep and surveillance and monitoring solutions for traditional loss prevention and integrated video analysis technologies for improved business operations.
Digital Signage Solutions
When a customer arrives, first impressions matter. So for the entrance area, Panasonic demonstrated digital signage solutions with a 4x4 video wall featuring TH-55LFV50 ultra-narrow bezel displays and larger-than-life projector installation using PT-DZ13KU3-Chip DLP™ projectors as well as an interactive kiosk with wayfinding and self-service applications. These digital signage solutions enable retailers to highlight promotions, boost sales, entertain and direct customers and improve the store’s overall image.
Mobility and Payment Solutions
Panasonic is also introducing two new Windows 8 Pro tablets built for the retail space at NRF 2014 EXPO for the first time, the Toughpad FZ-M1 and Toughpad 4KUT-MA6 tablet, to demonstrate how enterprise-grade mobile devices can be used to improve the customer experience and increase operational efficiencies.
As the thinnest* and lightest* rugged 7-inch fanless tablet with a 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor available today, the Toughpad FZ-M1 provides retail managers with the compact size, power, connectivity and configuration options and sheer toughness they require in a tablet. It and other models in the Toughpad family will be running a variety of retail-specific applications designed for mobile POS, line-busting, price checks, customer engagement and inventory locating tasks.
The Toughpad 4K UT-MB5 tablet, which is the world’s first 20-inch tablet with a 4K resolution display, is ideal for high-end retail stores looking for a unique sales tool to engage shoppers in an interactive new way.
Additional POS units, including the Panasonic Stingray Envo POS Workstation and Lite-Ray POS Workstation, offer retailers stationary solutions that are reliable, cost efficient and provide a virtually unlimited mounting options. Besides the new Toughpad FZ-M1, there will also be a number of other tablets for fully-mobile and semi-mobile POS, including the Android-powered Toughpad FZ-A1 and the Toughpad FZ-G1 running Windows 8 Pro.
Surveillance and Monitoring Solutions
Facial recognition at POS and entrance/exit points can significantly help reduce the high cost of shoplifting, customer lawsuits and employee theft. The exhibit will demonstrate facial recognition and matching technologies via Panasonic i-PRO SmartHD™ security cameras. These facial recognition technologies will show how retailers can analyze visual information, such as relative age and gender, and throughput the data to strategically placed digital displays to target customers with customized messaging.
Panasonic Announces Product Expansion with Microsoft Embedded 8 Handheld
Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, a leading provider of retail technology solutions, today announced at the NRF 2014 EXPO that it’s working closely with Microsoft to deliver enterprise-class mobile devices based on the Windows Embedded 8 Handheld platform. The collaboration will enable Panasonic to expand its rugged mobile computing portfolio with innovative new handheld devices bringing Windows Phone 8 technologies to enterprise customers, via its reliable hardware.
Windows Embedded 8 Handheld is the next generation of Microsoft’s leading platform for line-of-business handheld devices, built on Windows Phone 8. This means end-users will gain enterprise-grade security and manageability along with full Windows Phone 8 application compatibility, allowing businesses to leverage Microsoft’s enterprise-ready applications such as Dynamics AX, Lync and Office Mobile.
VeriFone Achieves Mobile and Contactless Payments Certification in France
VeriFone Systems, Inc. announced during the NRF BIG SHOW that its countertop payment device—the VX 520—is the first payment acceptance device to be certified in compliance with the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (CB Bank card Group) requirements for mobile and contactless payments. France’s national interbank network accommodates more than 8 billion CB transactions annually.
The VX 520 was certified in compliance with GIE CB Bulletin 12V3, which establishes the latest requirements for card acceptance devices accommodating mobile and contactless payment transactions. The certification assures the VX 520’s ability to provide secure payment acceptance for the 130 banks and institution members, 1.2 million POS and nearly 60 million cardholders in the CB network.
An ergonomic countertop unit, the VX 520 is also certified for EMV, PCI PTS 3.  It is designed for easy use and includes a backlit screen and keypad for all lighting situations. Available with a full range of connectivity options, from local ECR and dial to Ethernet, the VX 520 can also be equipped with an optional PIN pad for use anywhere a merchant needs to accommodate card-based payments.
STRATACACHE Unveils Connected Journey to Bring Operators Closer to Consumer Solutions
STRATACACHE unveiled a new, interactive retail journey empowering consumers to become more involved in the shopping experience. STRATACACHE’s Connected Journey features unique, interactive ways for retailers to inspire consumers during the path-to-purchase.
From digital signage to leading-edge interactive technology, each experience provides an opportunity for retailers to attract and engage shoppers, drive product awareness, activate shoppers and strengthen customer loyalty.
The Connected Journey includes STRATACACHE’s Digital Play experience, designed to engage guests and extend their dwell time via interactive, gestural-based messages. In addition, STRATACACHE’s Connected Assistant allows retailers to connect consumers with store associates via mobile for increased conversion and customer satisfaction. STRATACACHE’s Responsive Merchandising experience connects physical to digital in an interactive display that inspires shoppers to engage with display merchandise. Allowing consumers to engage with retail products through browser-based connections, these connected experiences support a BYOD approach to in-store engagement.
Delivering these retail applications are STRATACACHE’s ActiVia and Retail Cache solutions. ActiVia provides the robust management, scheduling and delivery of these experiences, while the Retail Cache provides the means for guests to consume rich-media without the headaches associated with extended periods of buffering.
Epson Partners Showcase Mobile and Web-Based Printing
At the National Retail Federation’s 103Rd Annual Convention and Expo (NRF), Epson America, Inc., supplier of value-added Point of Sale (POS) solutions,  showed retailers how its ePOS technology can manage printing in any environment (mobile, web/cloud-based and legacy), while also enabling the Epson OmniLink smart devices to serve as peripheral connectivity hubs for mobile and cloud/browser-based POS.
With Epson’s ePOS technology, the printer plays a central role in the mobile store environment – eliminating connectivity and printing hassles and providing an easy solution for both developers and retailers alike.  
Epson hosted six partners in its booth with mobile applications, such as online ordering, mobile self-service, mobile device management, and mobile POS – all working seamlessly with Epson’s
ePOS technology on a variety of Epson solutions. Those partners were comprised of:
  •  – demonstrated  mobile and online ordering anywhere, from any device at any time, with Epson's OmniLink TM-T88V -i as part of the company's guest ordering solution.
  • Beehivr  – Using Epson’s ePOS - Print SDK for iOS, Beehivr’s apps connect via Bluetooth® with Epson’s -T88V MFi (Made For iOS) thermal receipt printer, as well as Epson’s MobilinkTM-P60II MFi mobile printer. 
  • Raymark – Raymark demonstrated its Mosaic POS system on an Apple iPad®2, connected via Bluetooth to Epson’s Mobilink TM-P60II MFi mobile receipt printer. Raymark uses Epson’s ePOS-PrintSDK to enable receipt printing from Mosaic POS on the iPad 2, deployed as a native application.
  • Demandware – Demandware’s Digital Store omnichannel solution bridges the gap between online ecommerce and traditional POS. At NRF, Demandware showed the Digital Store solution integrated with Epson’s TM-T70II printer, demonstrating real time, network printer discovery and printing for omnichannel Digital Store transactions.
  • Revel Systems – Revel Systems demonstrated its iPad POS equipped with the Epson TM-T88V thermal receipt printer. Quick, intuitive and secure, Revel Systems iOS-based point-of-sale system combines cloud-based technology and the mobility of the iPad.
  • I Love Velvet – I Love Velvet demonstrated its ILV Holster for the Apple iPad and Apple iPad Air™ connected to  the Epson TM-T88V thermal receipt printer. A comprehensive, end-to-end hardware and software solution that goes beyond simple mobile payments, I Love Velvet’s mobile POS systems provide customers with the most integration, flexibility, compatibility with business processes and global security certification.   
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