What's New in POS Hardware for 2014

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What's New in POS Hardware for 2014

By Tammy Mastroberte, Contributing Editor - 09/05/2014
The point-of-sale (POS) remains the main artery for restaurant operators.  As befits its prominent position, the POS also demands the largest portion of IT spending for restaurant operators according to Hospitality Technology’s 2014 Restaurant Technology Study. The report reveals that POS systems — inclusive of hardware and software — account for 33% of the overall technology budget. The average POS lifecycle lasts about seven years and, according to HT’s data, about 25% of restaurants are in the market to replace their POS by the end of next year.

In this annual round-up of new POS hardware releases, HT checks in with vendors to get details on their latest releases, including stand-alone terminals, mobile tablets, and printers. Hardware continues to evolve with new integrations, features and peripherals, ranging from smaller and energy-
efficient units, to tablets used as a traditional POS, or as tableside/kiosk devices. This year also saw the release of location-based beacon technology for restaurants.

While traditional POS is still central to the restaurant infrastructure, the latest vendor offerings indicate that the future of POS will continue to incorporate mobility, and in particular the flexibility to go mobile when appropriate. The latest tablets offer a familiar consumer feel, but with greater durability. “Mobile is the game changer,” says Ed Beck, CIO and senior vice president of technology at the National Restaurant Association (www.restaurant.org). “There is a lot you can do with mobile that you couldn’t do with a traditional POS.” Meanwhile, standalone units are getting a smaller footprint, greater versatility (including the ability to transition from fixed to mobile), and improved energy efficiency.

WHAT’S NEW: POS TERMINALS
CASIO AMERICA INC.’s (www.casio-usa.com) new V-R7000/
V-R7100 POS solution is built on the Android platform and offers operators a 15.6-inch widescreen LCD touch terminal that supports both landscape and portrait layouts. The V-R7100 is equipped with a wireless LAN, and both terminals feature an internal battery to prevent data loss if a power outage occurs. They also have an IP53 rating for water and dust resistance and the touch screen can be operated with wet hands. Casio also offers its POS software designed for hospitality and retail operations as an option for use with
the hardware.

HP (www.hp.com): At the 2014 National Retail Federation Big Show, HP released its  MX10 Retail Solution that transitions between a mobile and fixed point of sale solution. Designed for retail and hospitality, the HP MX10 combines the HP ElitePad Mobile POS Solution (MPOS) and the HP retail Expansion Dock into one integrated solution. Connectivity is available via serial, USB and RJ-45 ports, allowing a restaurant to use existing POS peripherals. A dual hinge arm supports adjustable tilt and height. With secured latching, a cable lock and counter security options, restaurants can also dock and lock the mobile solution.

NCR (www.ncr.com) introduced its T1000 point-of-sale using a dual-core processor and a 10.1-inch touchscreen LED display. The all-in-one POS offers lower power consumption, allowing for a longer system life and supports core POS components, including touchscreen functionality, magnetic stripe readers and a printer. Designed with a durable aluminum countertop enclosure, it features built-in magnets on the bottom to remain secure. The fanless cooling prevents forced air through the unit, reducing contaminants in the system.

POSIFLEX TECHNOLOGY INC. (www.posiflex.com) released its new flagship POS terminal, the fan-free JIVA XT-5515 with Intel Core i7 CPU in February 2014. With a foldable base, the terminal can be configured in multiple ways, including low profile and fully extended, and the fan-free technology allows it to be used in harsher environments. It also offers a slim profile and bezel free touch screen.

TOSHIBA GLOBAL COMMERCE SOLUTIONS (www.toshibacommerce.com) added a new option to its TCxWave family: the TCxWave Model A30, offering the same design as the original in a smaller footprint. It can be used as a self-service kiosk or traditional POS system with a touchscreen interface and Intel quad core processor that supports Windows platforms. The company also introduced the TCxFlight, which can be used as a stand alone or mobile POS. Offering an 11.6-inch, high-resolution, anti-glare screen, it has a built-in microphone, full-size USB, external headphone, a 6 cell Lithium-ion battery and integrated 3.0 megapixel web camera.

WINCOR NIXDORF (www.wincor-nixdorf.com) has two new POS options, the Beetle iPOS Plus Advanced and the Beetle/M-III. The iPOS Plus Advanced is an all-in-one, 15-inch POS and kiosk system with a retail hardened design. The POS features a 15-inch TFT, splash-proof display, available with projected-capacitive multi-touch or 5-wire resistive touch technology. Also available is an optional magnetic card reader and iButton waiter lock. Both units come with Intel 4th generation core processors, with newly developed power supply units that have a constant energy efficiency of at least 87% and comply with the 80 PLUS Gold environmental initiative. The Beetle/M-III enables replacement of storage media with drives built into a removable bay accessible from the front and the new PanelLink2 interface allows the touch screen to be connected with a single cable solution.

WHAT’S NEW: TABLETS
MICROS SYSTEMS INC.
(www.micros.com) released its mTablet E-Series at the National Restaurant Association Show in May 2014. The tablet is available in an 8-inch and 11-inch size. The tablet offers extended battery life and operates on Microsoft Windows 8.2 Embedded Industry Pro. The 11-inch is also compatible with the MICROS mStation base to be used as a workstation with full peripheral connectivity. Optional sleeves also provide secure payment on the device.

PARTECH INC. (www.partech.com) has released the PAR Tablet 8. It’s based on Microsoft Windows Embedded 8.1 operating system and Intel architecture. With an 8.3-inch, multi-touch display, gorilla glass and up to 10 hours of battery life, it supports the company’s PixelPoint, TSR, ATRIO Guest Experience Management and SureCheck applications and independent software vendors (ISVs) including Brink POS, Gateway Ticketing, ShipRite, TCPOS, Vista and others. It also has integrated NFC and barcode reading via the camera, and the ability to connect different Smart Back Cover MSR and EMV payment modules.

VERIFONE SYSTEMS INC. (www.verifone.com) partnered with iPayment to introduce a new tablet POS system, iPayment POS. It is a turnkey iOS app-based solution using an iPad and includes a cash drawer, bar code scanner, stand and printer, as well as the VeriFone Payware Mobile e100 secure audio reader or the VX805 PIN Pad. In April 2014, the company announced five of its mobile POS devices were approved by the Visa Ready Program.

WHAT’S NEW: PRINTERS
EPSON (www.epson.com) has introduced the OmniLink™ i-Series. With ePOS-Device technology and USB and serial connectivity, it enables operators to add peripheral devices to tablet POS systems while protecting legacy investments. With four USB ports and one serial port, the TM-T88V-i provides connectivity for up to five devices, while the TM-T20II-i can accommodate up to three devices. Handheld scanners, scales, 2x20 customer displays, wedge MSRs (magnetic stripe readers) and more can be added to tablet POS solutions.

Epson also added two printers for mobile POS (mPOS) devices, the TM-T20II and its under-the-counter TM-T70II. Both are MFi-compliant (Made for iOS) with Bluetooth and are equipped with simple WiFi setup capability. The printers can be integrated into native and cloud-/web-based environments and both support iOS, Android and Windows devices. Epson also added the ultra-compact Mobilink™ P20 for 2” receipts. It enables direct printing from any device running Apple iOS, Android or Windows operating systems and is suited for mobile printing in applications such as line busting, tableside service and on-the-go receipt printing.

NCR (www.ncr.com) now offers NCR Sticky Media, a receipt and adhesive label combined and designed initially for the hospitality industry. While it looks like a traditional paper roll, it uses a specially modified POS printer with drop-in loading. Ideal for quick service restaurants with custom orders and to-go traffic, it allows for order tracking and identifying. It functions with Epson TMI L-90 and Transact Ithaca 8000, 8040 and 9000 POS printers. The paper is grease, moisture and heat resistant, BPA free and meets requirements for safe food packaging.

POSIFLEX TECHNOLOGY INC.’s (www.posiflex.com) new PP-6906 receipt printer features web server technology to enable web-browser-based printing from virtually any iOS and Android device. It also comes loaded with embedded Linux and Web Server, and has a USB port to allow customer line display and a virtual COM interface to
be connected.

TOSHIBA GLOBAL COMMERCE SOLUTIONS (www.toshibacommerce.com) is offering two new printers — the SureMark dual station printer and single station printer — both with remote management. The dual station has receipt printing at 80 LPS and MICR reading for 99.5 percent accuracy, as well as 4-inch receipt rolls to reduce paper changes by 46 percent. The single station printer is built for demanding environments, resists spillage as it channels liquids away from critical components, and offers a programmable sensor system to monitor the printer health. It also features an eco-friendly design and packaging.

STAR MICRONICS (www.starmicronics.com): First launched in Fall 2013, Star’s WebPRNT has been one its most popular technologies. The printer enables device-agnostic receipt printing by supporting HTTP requests used in web-based applications. In May 2014, Star announced that it is adding SP700 (impact printing) and TSP700II (label printing) to its WebPRNT family.
The SP700 WebPRNT is specifically designed to function in the kitchen where heat and humidity can erode the type on a printed order. The two-color printer offers a clamshell design and an embedded power supply. With WebPRNT technology, the SP700 WebPRNT can support restaurants using a web-based application to provide a seamless transition from front of house to back of house operation. Star’s TSP700II WebPRNT targets label printing applications ranging from date labels on prepared foods at a local deli to price labels in a retail boutique. The TSP700II WebPRNT supports 2D barcodes, PD417 and QR codes.

WHAT’S NEW: LOCATION-BASED
NCR (www.ncr.com) released the NCR Bluetooth Beacon hardware that includes proximity based payment and restaurant positioning system services. Supporting both iOS and Android devices, it is a small, versatile, low-energy device that can be placed by the POS or wall-mounted. It is powered using a standard 5V USB connection and uses Bluetooth’s latest 4.0 low-energy radio technology.


Hardware Upgrade Gives KFC Franchise a Kick in the Ops
When KFC Corp. (www.kfc.com) informed its franchisees they would need to upgrade to a common POS software platform, Weaver Enterprises, an Illinois-based operator of 24 KFC restaurants, realized it needed to upgrade its hardware to a common platform as well. Ultimately, the chain chose Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions (www.toshiba
commerce.com)
SurePOS 500 hardware and SureMark printer.
Terry Moffit, director of operators at Weaver Enterprises, says that functionality and frugality were two deciding factors when selecting the Toshiba SurePOS 500.
 
After researching other solutions in the same price point, Moffit selected Toshiba for the benefits it offers to managers and employees. Productivity has increased as the touch screen design has reduced the time it takes to input customer orders. Plus it works with the swipe of a finger, credit card or pen, making employees more efficient.

Conversions, swapping out old equipment for new, including software, kitchen videos and wiring, needed to be done overnight to keep the business operating, and the hardware operates on the KFC corporate-wide Compris software program, Moffit explains.   
“Because the SurePOS 500 has a spill resistant, infrared touch screen, it really is ideal for our fast food environment,” he says. “By resisting damage in a harsh environment, like the fast-paced food service front counter and drive through locations, the retail-hardened design delivers on the investment.”
  



Mobile POS Drives Satisfaction and Sales for Family Casual Sports Bar
After years of a using only a traditional POS running Posera (www.posera.com) software, La Cage aux Sports (www.cage.ca), operating 51 locations in Quebec, Canada, opted to test a Motorola Solutions (www.motorolasolutions.com) ET1 tablet to allow waiters to enter in customer orders tableside, as well as a Motorola WiFi hotspot to connect the tablet to the POS server. They started with one location about 15 months ago, and are currently rolling them out to all other locations.
“We have between eight and 10 tablets at each location, and started testing them because we wanted to improve customer satisfaction, improve labor costs and increase revenue in general,” says Mathieu Laiberte, director of information technologies at La Cage aux Sports. “Motorola offered a rugged tablet, and we wanted that so we didn’t have to worry about waiters dropping them and having to
replace them.”

While customer satisfaction improved with quicker and more accurate orders, the addition of the tablet also reduced labor costs for the chain since one waiter could cover more tables with the tablet, he notes. The staff, which is mostly young and tech savvy, adapted quickly to the technology, and were happy to collect more tips because they could service more tables.

“We also noticed an increase in average check per customer because when an order is entered into the tablet, it prompts the waiter to ask the customer about extras that go with their order,” he says, noting the next step would be to incorporate payment into the tablets as well.