NACStech Show Floor Report, Part I
PCI pushes hardware advances
GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Much of the development showcased on the trade show floor this year at NACStech revolved around compliance to payment-card-industry (PCI) standards put forth by the country's major credit-card issuers. And for many hardware suppliers, it has meant pushing more advanced platforms onto an already fiscally challenged industry.
Many of those PCI mandates involve the ability for credit- and debit-card transactions to flow securely through customer-interface devices and cash registers. With mandates on personal-identification-number (PIN) pads and point-of-sale ([image-nocss] POS) devices pending in 2010, many retailers have had to move on executing compliance programs, which has fueled demand and resulted in new options from suppliers.
Here are some of the latest hardware products and improvements displayed on the NACStech trade show floor:
PCI-compliant pump retrofits and forecourt interface. Dresser Wayne, Austin, Texas, announced its iX Pay Secure Payment retrofit kits for Dresser Wayne and Tokheim dispensers, as well as its Fusion Forecourt System. The retrofit kits allow for PCI-compliant upgrades on pump PIN pads. In addition, the Fusion device offers a single-box controller that can integrate fuel pumps, outdoor card terminals and tank gauges. "Compared to the price of a new pump, [retrofits] can differ considerably," said Tim Weston, product manager of payment technologies for Dresser Wayne. "Not only do you have to buy the dispenser, but you have the regulating and permitting expenses and in some cases, the cost of new sump pump and piping." Modularity of the design also helps keep costs down and allows for future upgrades should compliance rules change or the opportunity for a technology upgrade arise. In terms of the Fusion device, officials said its benefits include the ability to communicate with both new and legacy pumps, its journal capabilities and its robust make-up.
"Intelligent" heating-and-cooling tracker, PCI-motivated wiring and in-pump video. Gilbarco Veeder-Root, Greensboro, N.C., introduced a motion-activated tracking system that allows retailers to monitor environmental systems, as well as count customers as they move in and out of the store, said Larry Tucker, product manager for remote connectivity for Gilbarco. The company also touted developments with its POS "Passport" device, which segregates payment capabilities, forecourt control and PIN-pad functions. Amy Wilson, marketing manager for POS, said the move puts all PCI-related elements "in a lockdown situation," so that future device enhancements won't be hampered by PCI regulations. The company also talked of its in-pump, full-motion video option that uses a Web-based, template-driven, content application. The option allows retailers to update video with onsite coupons or ads as easily as one would update a MySpace page or blog.
Enterprise solution continues growth. PDI, Temple, Texas, continues to expand with the number of retailers using its inter-departmental "Enterprise" software solution. One of the largest growth-by-acquisition chains in the country, Sanford, N.C.-based The Pantry, is moving forward with PDI Enterprise. "[The Pantry] has been a great customer of ours for 10-plus years," said Greg Gilkerson, president of PDI. "Technology is a difficult thing to deploy when you're growing, and they've mastered that."
Browser-based inventory solution. At the end of last year, Arlington, Texas-based The Pinnacle Corp. introduced "Symphony.fuel rti" (fuel real-time inventory), which expanded its Symphony Business Platform suite of petroleum-automation solutions. The company is continuing to develop this collection of products. In addition, its business-intelligence solution, as well as its signature-capture product, are expanding client bases. Drew Mize, vice president of retail solutions for Pinnacle said much of the solutions today are moving toward being both "browser-based" and "real-time."
POS kiosk for car washes. James Hervey, marketing manager for Radiant Systems Inc., Alpharetta, Ga., said the company is working with San Clemente, Calif.-based Intelio on a touchscreen, POS kiosk for car washes. John Carroll, president and CEO of Intelio, said, "Customers want to treat this [car-wash kiosk] as a fuel island," so payment-card integrationincluding oil-company credit cards, Visa/MasterCard and gift cardswas critical. Visuals on the screen can also walk people through a sale and handle up-selling.
POS interface with cash-management solution. Plano, Texas-based Retalix has linked its POS solution with an electronic safe and cash-management system from Tidel Engineering, Carrollton, Texas. The partnership "brings value to us," said Doug Fick, vice president of sales for the convenience segment at Retalix. In the past six to eight months, the company has been establishing an infrastructure to better reach the independent operator, Fick said, noting how the company recently bought a distributor network that reaches out to single-site retailers. He said that while PCI mandates loom, many smaller retailers find economic benefit in procrastination. Editor's Note: Watch for Part II of this NACStech show-floor report that focuses on software, networks and other related, c-store technologies.