Bringing the Information Age to Life
The spotlight burned hot on the topic of data at the recent NACS Show in Las Vegas. On the trade-show floor, new product ideas swirled around concepts of big data, data security and mobile applications—everything from payment to digital coupons.
On the topic of “big data,” Greg Gilkerson, president of PDI, Temple, Texas, talked about developing robust ways to use data, with the replenishment system being a key driver. He said the latest version of their solution, Enterprise 8, is their first, truly “big data” application incorporating site-level transactions going back several years.
Other themes regarding new products shifted to data security. The Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) standards for in-store point-of-sale (POS) and outdoor devices were priorities for Innovative Control Systems, Wind Gap, Pa., which has upgraded its car-wash POS to EMV standards, said Rob Deal, vice president of international and corporate accounts. Shekar Swamy, president of Omega, Ellisville, Mo., said they have developed a new firewall device that will help with in-store security. Similarly, Lexington, Ky.-based Echosat has a new firewall product, according to James Stroud, petroleum channel manager. Steve Harris, sales manager for Locking Systems International Inc., Orlando, Fla., demonstrated a steel box that encloses in-pump card readers as an anti-skimming protection device.
In terms of maneuvering data, Grant McAllister, major account representative for Flanders, N.J.-based ADD Systems, said they have a new “e-store” and data warehousing product, while Peter Jackson, vice president of marketing, DataMax Group Inc., Round Rock, Texas, said they’ve been using tools to help them evolve their product as they go, having just added a new accounting feature.
Everything mobile also has been a big product trend. Having developed a foundation of c-store solutions, Melissa Fox Hadley, director of product management, The Pinnacle Corp., Arlington, Texas, said they were configuring a mobile strategy where retrieving data from multiple sources within a company could flow to mobile apps, tablets, on-screen dashboards and ultimately to the right people within the organization. Also along the mobile theme, beacon solutions surfaced, with Anton Bakker, president and CEO of Outsite Networks Inc., Norfolk, Va., demonstrating a red, button-shaped case with a beacon in it that sticks onto a pump. Customers can tap their phones on the button and receive advertiser coupons or content without the need for an app. Other companies, like Houston-based P97 demonstrated mobile payment and coupon offers, as well as payment history, while mobile-app provider Zenput showed how a hand-held gauge can read the temperature of a chicken sandwich and how the data can flow into an app and into the cloud, according to Vladik Rikhter, CEO for the San Francisco-based company.