Tech on Display
Suppliers showcase upgrades, new products
[Editor 's Note: This is the second of a two-part series highlighting some of the equipment and systems on display during NACStech. Click here to view Part 1.]
GRAPEVINE, Texas -- With enterprise systems, networking advances and new kiosk enhancements among the many developments at the NACStech trade-show floor, retailers with a growing technological savvy had plenty to review at last week 's three-day conference.
“What I see today is a maturity of the client,” said Rick Sales, president, Abierto Networks [image-nocss] Inc., an Exeter, N.H.-based company that converts transactions into Internet-protocol (IP) enabled language. “In the past, retailers were trying to understand the solutions and their choices. Today, they embrace [the technology].”
In addition to the technology Sales ' company brought to the show floor, dozens of suppliers showcased an array of both new and field-tested technologies. Some of these companies included:
Dresser Wayne, Austin, Texas, which offered personal-identification number (PIN) pads that comply with San Francisco-based Visa and Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCards ' payment card industry (PCI) standards. In addition, the dispenser company brought to the show floor a video-display unit that retailers can place on top of pumps to improve marketing efforts. EchoSat Communications Group, Lexington, Ky., provides a networking solution oriented towards electronic payment in an effort to bring to market a low-cost alternative to full-blown wide-area networks. Officials with the company said the solution is PCI compliant with its use of encryption, has a modular make-up and links to multiple processors. Retailers can also expand the service to encompass automated teller machines, tank gages and other in-store automation. Gilbarco Veeder-Root, Greensboro, N.C., introduced a Web site covering facts about PCI compliance at www.AskAboutPCI.com. The company has its own PCI-compliant PIN pad, as well as a project in development that will offer video ties from the pump display to in-store television sets. MegaPath Inc., Costa Mesa, Calif., offered its low-cost networking solution to retailers large and small, touting its relationship as a certified supplier to Houston-based Shell Oil. New Edge Networks, Vancouver, Wash., completed the year-long development of a DSL-based network solution that “prioritizes” messages (for instance, credit-card transaction data over security-camera feeds), allowing for a mid-range solution to bumping up to more costly T-1 communication lines. PDI, Temple, Texas, continued its offer of an enterprise solution, connecting multiple facets of the convenience-retailing business into a single-product offer. The Pinnacle Corp., Arlington, Texas, offered its loyalty and alternative-payment solutions to NACStech retailers, among other products focused around c-store accounting and general retailing. Radiant Systems Inc., Alpharetta, Ga., touted its work on PCI compliance with its products, as well as showcasing enhancements to its foodservice kiosks (a function that calls up a repeat customer 's last order) and an integrated car-wash POS device. Retalix, Plano, Texas, announced contracts from a couple of large accounts, with company officials saying the firm has taken a “vertical” approach to c-store automation. Convenience-specific solutions for fuel, POS, loyalty and other relevant applications have led to an appealing, overall offer, said Jack Finney of Retalix. VeriFone Inc., Clearwater, Fla., has developed its PCI compliant PIN pads both with magnetic-swipe devices and at the dispenser.
“This year, retailers are not just here to understand the benefits of scanning,” said Jeff Lenard, vice president of communications for NACS, Alexandria, Va. “But what do you really do with the data, because if you don 't do anything it just sits there. [Retailers today] are taking that data and using it.”