What's Hot in POS Hardware: 2016 Innovations & 2017 Insights

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What's Hot in POS Hardware: 2016 Innovations & 2017 Insights

By Tammy Mastroberte, Contributing Editor - 09/09/2016
With technology evolving at a rapid pace, the point-of-sale market is always in flux, with new options and upgrades being released every year. After several years of a decline, hardware budget allocations spiked in 2016 according to HT’s Restaurant Technology Study, most likely as a result of restaurants upgrading payment terminals and POS hardware in response to the EMV liability shift. Security, mobility and shifting business models are driving the need for innovation at the point of sale, and suppliers are responding to the need for flexibility. From Microsoft and Android operating systems, to tablets, compact terminals, and printers, the hospitality industry has even more to choose from as POS hardware suppliers seek to offer solutions that meet a wide cross-section of demands.

In this annual round-up of POS hardware and peripherals, HT asked vendors to highlight latest releases, share 2017 research and development plans, plus make predictions about what the future holds for the POS market.

WHAT’S NEW: POS TERMINALS
Bematech (www.bematechus.com) released five new Point-of-Sale hardware units this year. The SB8010AW is a widescreen Android-based, All-in-One terminal (15” version coming in October). It offers a compact size, with 10-inch projective capacitive touch true-flat widescreen and fanless operation, as well as WiFi and Bluetooth integration. It also includes integration of VFD customer display, magnetic stripe reader and barcode scanner. R&D Focus:  Continued focus on the new Android POS and KDS solutions, which combine rugged hardware with intuitive software.

Casio America Inc. (www.casiousa.com) introduced the V-R200, an Android point-of-sale terminal as a successor to the V-R100. It operates on flash ROM technology and provides the reliability of an Android platform without hard drives or noisy cooling fans. Featuring a 10.4-inch adjustable color touch screen, a built-in thermal printer, Ethernet ports and a swivel 2 by 20 customer display, it also offers a faster printer, improved paper guide and printer cover, external power supply, 1 GB of RAM and a USB port. R&D Focus: Changing from not just hardware, but also software development for Android-based POS terminals, the V-R series and cloud-based solutions.

Fujitsu America Inc. (www.fujitsu.com/us) introduced its Fresco POS solution that integrates into a single solution leveraging the Microsoft platform. Fresco comes out-of-the-box with native support for the Fujitsu Hospitality Management System (HMS) kiosk ordering and tendering solution, and is fully touch-enabled with interactive screens. The system uses open standards, and is built on service-oriented architecture (SOA). R&D Focus: Continued focus on delivering increased value through improved usability, a more varied technology mix, pleasing aesthetics, and simplified serviceability and future-proofing features.

NCR (www.ncrcorp.com) released two hospitality POS terminal platforms, building on the mobile Orderman hardware platform. In addition to more processing power, storage, and expandable memory, this terminal hardware is Windows 10- and Android-ready and includes more expansion and peripheral options.  The mainstream 35 series hardware design has a smaller footprint, modern and elegant design, and supports multi-touch gestures.  R&D Focus: Mobility and payments.

Oracle (www.oracle.com) introduced the Oracle MICROS Workstation 6 family of terminals, enabling personalized content delivery for enhanced guest experience, and able to withstand extreme temperatures and spills. Available in three different configurations, operators can choose from the workstation 610, with pre-installed Microsoft Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro and running an Intel Atom processor; the 620, with Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, and running on Intel Celeron ULT processor for  added speed; and the 650, also with Windows 10 and running Intel Core i5 ULT processor for maximum processing power.

PAR Technology (www.partech.com) released the EverServ 8000 Series, with a small footprint customizable to allow multiple configurations. Featuring Intel processor and chipsets, its use of poly carbonate injection molded textured plastics and aluminum components allow it to endure chemicals used in the restaurant environment. Options include EverServ 8100, EverServ 8300 and EverServ 8500. R&D Focus: Continue to build optional features and add-ons for the EverServ 8000 product line to support customer requirements, and digital initiatives with Brink and Pixel software teams to provide total solutions for customers.

Posiflex Business Machines Inc. (www.posiflexusa.com) launched the Posiflex XT3915, a fan-free, spill-resistant, 15-inch resistive LCD touch screen terminal with 128 GB solid state drive to eliminate the traditional hard drive as a mechanical point of failure. It has a fully adjustable base, and offers options, including a mini PCIe slot for WiFi, powered USB, 8 port hub, second hard drive, backup battery, and VESA wall mount bracket. The company also released the HS3510, an all-in-one compact terminal with replaceable printer. The 10-inch terminal can be used as a POS or self-service kiosk, and fits into less than half the size of a standard POS terminal. R&D Focus: Form factor and product survivability, but always prioritizing durability for maximum uptime.

Toshiba (www.toshibacommerce.com) introduced the SurePOS 500 Series with advanced touchscreen technology with a slim design, fixed optical alignment, a brighter screen, adjustable touch sensitivity and sealed screens to resist damage from spills. It also features USB, Serial and Express Card connectivity, system-matched peripherals, deep sleep automation, an energy-saving Intel processor, and an optional Biometric fingerprint reader. Toshiba also released the TCx 300 Series, aimed at small and midsized companies that require energy efficiency in a small footprint. It’s now offered with the Toshiba 4690 Operating System, the same chip set as the flagship SurePOS 700 Series, an optional solid state drive, an i5 processor, and scalable memory up to 16 GB. R&D Focus: Additional self-service, checkout and payment options.  

Verifone (www.verifone.com) introduced Carbon, a flexible and integrated POS that offers a secure business solution that is designed for cafÉ owners and quick service restaurants. Featuring dual high-resolution screens, the system integrates into a sleek stand with built-in high-speed printer, and optional cash drawer at the base — requiring minimal counter space and offering portability for mPOS activities with up to six hours of battery life. The merchant side is powered by Intel running an open Android OS and the consumer side powered by the Verifone Engage platform.   
 
WHAT’S NEW: TABLETS
Posiflex Business Machines Inc. (www.posiflexusa.com) rolled out the MT4008 hybrid mobile tablet, which transforms from a tablet to a handheld bar code reader and a full service POS terminal with integrated printer. It is 60% smaller than a typical POS setup, and features an 8-inch tablet; optional 2D scanner, with a pistol grip and a removable battery for double the tablet power; and a printer docking station, featuring built-in wireless 3-inch thermal printer.

PAR Technology (www.partech.com) is now offering the Quad Tablet Docking Station, allowing operators to charge up to two PAR tablets at one time. Each port utilizes its own two-color light indicating the charging status for each tablet, and features a Kensington lock and push button release mechanism to ensure security. It can be placed on a countertop or mounted to a wall.

WHAT’S NEW: KITCHEN DISPLAYS & PRINTERS
Bematech (www.bematechus.com) launched its first Android-based kitchen system controller, the LS8000, consisting of an efficient Dual-Core processor and Android operating system, with I/O ports present to connect bump bar, serial printer, touch screen monitor or VGA monitor. Features include heavy duty, die-cast housing; snap-to-lock connectors; low power; no moving mechanical parts and no internal cables.

Epson America Inc. (www.epson.com) released its Direct-Connect KDS and Multi-Station KDS controller solutions for the hospitality market. The POS agnostic solutions include built-in, intelligent printers that can be used in existing kitchen workflows, and can serve as receipt or backup printers. The KDS controllers parse and drive the order to the kitchen display, enabling order bumping, and while the Direct-Connect utilizes OmniLink TM-U220-i VGA or TM-T88V-i VGA to directly drive a kitchen display, the Multi-Station KDS controller leverages the OmniLink TM-U220-i COM to drive up to nine kitchen displays via convenient networked expansion modules. R&D Focus: Support mobile POS customers via new product introductions, stronger partner support tools, and harnessing new wireless technologies; strengthen the core printer line; and continue to grow cloud services capabilities.
 
Zebra (www.zebra.com) introduced its ultra-compact ZD410 2-inch direct thermal desktop printer.  Designed for the smallest of work spaces, the ZD410 can be placed conveniently wherever employees need to work and is ideal for back-of-restaurant order management and labeling of take-out orders. Zebra also introduced cloud-based networking with superior connectivity and WLAN management. Zebra’s Azara solution takes advantage of a public cloud infrastructure to provide optimal performance that is secure, scalable, and highly available. R&D Focus: Zebra will continue to focus on corded and cordless scanners designed for 1D and 2D scanning applications, as well as access points designed to serve the needs of quick serve restaurants.


Top POS Predictions for 2017

“Windows will no longer be the number one operating system in the market, as multiple operating systems are being offered to allow greater flexibility to consumers. Data collection will be a bigger selling point for consumers, not only to track sales and inventory, but also to manage shifts and training, as well as deploy customer loyalty programs.” — Bematech

“We will see increasing configuration flexibility to adapt to more fluid layouts in a hyper-channel oriented world, smaller counter footprints, more intensive future-proofing and increased value.” — Fujitsu America, Inc.

“Major restaurant chains will continue to adopt online ordering and line-busting technology and POS hardware will do a better job of connecting wirelessly to each other (Internet of Things) and to mobile (smartphone and tablet) devices. It will also integrate with sensors, cameras and video monitors to provide smart advertising to customers based on environment and purchasing trends.” — Epson

“A lot of the new requests for hardware are around supporting initiatives for increasing customer engagement. These come in the form of minimizing the barrier for traditional POS, installing kiosks of varying sizes and form factors, mobility solutions, and customer-facing screens on the POS for supporting both touch and non-touch versions.”
— Par Technology Corp.

“In the end, hardware is simply the platform for software and consumer omnichannel demands. The rise in mobile payments and the EMV mandate will prod hospitality to upgrade legacy POS systems because of the need for security compliance and to accept more payment options. Tablets, smartphones, software- (SaaS) or POS-as-a-service models, and cloud-based POS will continue to drive the need for POS hardware to adapt to new IT and consumer interaction.” — Posiflex

“POS hardware will expand connectivity in keeping with the IOT revolution, so operators will be able to provide a more personalized experience to customers at checkout.” — Toshiba

“There will be increased investments in WiFi, location-based services (LBS), mobile computers and data capture solutions as more consumers use their smartphones to engage in mobile ordering and loyalty programs for personalized offers. In addition, businesses will have an increased need for visibility in automating food safety processes.” — Zebra