POS Software Point of Sale Software Hardware GPS Security Camera
Bar Code

Industry News - November 26th 2010



Mellow Mushroom Tackles Franchise-wide PCI Compliance

Mellow Mushroom has selected BHI SecureConnect as the endorsed and preferred PCI compliance provider for its franchise community. Seeing the potential vulnerabilities within its network, the pizza chain decided to make every location safe by mandating PCI compliance among its franchise community.
“A security breach can have a devastating impact on the franchisee and the entire brand as a whole. For this reason we felt requiring our franchisees to have a consistent comprehensive solution was the best approach for our system,” says Jeff Wiggins, CFO of Mellow Mushroom. “We wanted in-store [network] protection that would be perpetually maintained and updated at a reasonable cost.”
After evaluating several vendors, Mellow Mushroom decided that the SecureConnect National Account Program, which offers franchisors a cost-effective, comprehensive solution, was the best choice. In partnership with SecureConnect, the brand spearheaded an aggressive effort to educate and simplify the PCI process. Franchisees received necessary services for compliance and security while benefitting from ongoing communication and educational resources to help them understand the importance behind the initiative. 
“We considered four different vendors in the process and SecureConnect quickly became our biggest contender,” says Wiggins. “Some key factors in our decision were the number of years of experience, depth of technology and security expertise, range of services provided and the ability to educate and assist our franchisees on the many requirements of PCI compliance that go beyond hardware and software.” 

Vital for Mellow Mushroom's continued growth, SecureConnect is implementing a security and compliance initiative for the brand while allowing franchisees to focus attention on the day-to-day business activities within their restaurants. Essential services provided by SecureConnect include a fully managed firewall, centralized logging and reporting, 24x7x365 monitoring and support, quarterly vulnerability scanning, SAQ Assistance and a $100,000 Breach Protection Program that is double the industry average. 

“We feel that SecureConnect is a solid business partner with a wealth of experience and technical expertise, particularly as it relates to system security and PCI Compliance,” says Wiggins. “SecureConnect offers a comprehensive turn-key solution to address the evolving challenges of PCI compliance.”



Accor Strengthens Commitment to Transparency with Customer Reviews

Accor is now posting recent customer opinions about its hotels online. Web users looking for a hotel on accorhotels.com are now informed directly of other travelers' opinions posted on TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel community site.
The new service is available for Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure, Adagio, ibis, all seasons, Etap Hotel and Formule 1 hotels in all of the Group's host countries.
To support and expand the process, e-mail messages are sent to travelers one week after their stay encouraging them to provide feedback. Opinions and comments appear on the traveler rating form for each hotel that is posted on both accorhotels.com and the TripAdvisor website.
"Through this partnership, accorhotels.com is demonstrating its commitment to quality by transparently providing hotel ratings posted by customers via TripAdvisor," says Romain Roulleau, Accor's deputy director of direct sales in charge of e-commerce. "In this way, the portal is improving service for Web users by supplying them with more information before they book their hotel and enabling them to share their impressions with other travelers after their stay."
Rooms in Accor hotels around the world can be reserved at accorhotels.com, the Group's multi-brand worldwide online booking portal.



Travelers Prefer Social Media Over Phone, E-mail Communications, Says Sheraton Survey

Waiting for word from a loved one on the road? Don't sit by the phone.These days, chances are they'll keep in touch through social media, according to a survey released today by Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, home of "Link@Sheraton experienced with Microsoft." More than 60% of respondents in the global social media study use social media to stay in touch with family and friends while traveling; more than a third (36%) say they'd rather log on than make a call to share good news.

Social Media = One of Life's Necessities?
Overall, survey respondents ranked social media somewhere near air and water as a must-have in their lives. Four-fifths of respondents said they access social networking sites throughout the day, while 39% said they "could not live without" social media sites. One-third of respondents said they log in multiple times each hour. Habits barely shift on the road. One fifth of respondents say that they check social networking sites multiple times throughout the day while traveling.

The global study was conducted by STUDYLOGIC LLC, which surveyed 4,204 people via phone in the U.S., U.K. and China. Sheraton recently completed the roll-out of its signature offering "Link@Sheraton experienced with Microsoft," - a technology-driven social hub that keeps travelers connected 24/7 at nearly 400 hotels around the world.

Social Networking Blurs Lines between Business, Pleasure
Careful what you post. Before meeting a new business contact, more than half of those surveyed check out their new contact's social networking profiles (54%). Nearly 60% say they have not hired a candidate based on a negative impression from a social-media profile. More than half (54%) of respondents say they know someone who has been fired for something said or posted online.

Regardless of pitfalls, social networking's popularity as a networking tool continues to grow. More than half of all respondents (56%) agreed about the importance of doing business with people active in social media channels; 55% use online social networking to meet new business contacts and maintain current ones.

And many use social media to mix business and pleasure - literally. More than half of those surveyed have arranged a romantic interlude on the road using social networks, with men more likely to do so (45%) than women (40%).

Fact or Fiction?
Don't always believe what you read. Nearly 70% of respondents say they aren't honest on social networking sites; 27% of those fib "a little," 21% flat-out "lie," and 20% admit that their postings are total fabrications. Women are more inclined to tell little white lies online; men were more likely to be 100% honest (46%) versus their female counterparts (18%).
Who Are People Visiting While on the Road?
More than 50% of all Sheraton guests use the Link@Sheraton during their stay. Facebook is the most visited site at the Link@Sheraton, with 75% of Link users logging in during their stay. More than 60% of those surveyed (62%) find that social media makes it easier for them to meet people while traveling for work.
Social Media as a Travel Planning Tool: 64% say yes
64% said they use social media to make their travel plans and within the 25-34 year old participant group, the number is even higher; 76% look to popular social media sites to plan their next getaway.

"Along with the bigger shift toward social media from other forms of communication, what the survey drove home for us was that an experience like Link@Sheraton isn't a luxury for guests, but a necessity," says Hoyt Harper, SVP and global brand leader for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. "They expect total connectivity, and that's what Sheraton's delivering,"

The Link@Sheraton experienced with Microsoft is a signature component of the Sheraton brand's $6 billion global effort to enhance the brand and differentiate the guest experience at properties worldwide. The Link@Sheraton's unique lobby lounge enables today's travelers to stay connected with instant access to information and technology for work, leisure and social networking. Designed as a social environment, The Link@Sheraton invites guests to interact with each other while they check their email, research local attractions and even print boarding passes using free Wi-Fi and Internet-enabled computer stations. It also features a Link@Sheraton Café, televisions and daily newspapers.


CityCenter Initiates Standard Surveillance Platform for MGM Resorts

Las Vegas' CityCenter features luxury hotels, residential buildings, retail and entertainment districts, a parking garage and a fire station as well as the development's centerpiece -- the 61-story, 4,004-room ARIA Resort & Casino. To help ensure the safety and security of the site, North American Video (NAV), has designed, built and implemented a state-of-the art, enterprise-wide video surveillance system.

The CityCenter project is the first deployment of a standardized surveillance platform, designed by NAV, for other MGM Resorts International properties. The custom hybrid solution at CityCenter is built around the Honeywell VMS and features multiple matrix systems spread across seven different head-end locations with monitoring in six separate monitor rooms; six different access control rooms tying together approximately 300 controlled doors; PSIM (physical security information system) integration and management control; and a fiber backbone tying all properties and systems together. More than 3,700 video surveillance cameras provide detailed images on a 24/7/365 basis.

The enterprise system provides versatile features needed for surveillance of the mega complex, including simultaneous record, playback and viewing of live or recorded material, internal and external redundancy, and back-up and advanced networking capabilities. Oncam IPC 5 megapixel 360 degree cameras are used in selected locations in order to provide full 360 degree persistent situational awareness; complete scenes can be viewed in panoramic or multi-view screen mode. The 360 degree cameras are additionally capable of generating intrusion alerts upon motion detection and other alarm events, and of notifying personnel via email and/or ftp, complete with images of the event.

NAV developed a local team led by five different project managers to help advance project efficiency. All racks, enclosures and integrated systems were built, tested and commissioned locally at NAV's Western Region Headquarters in Las Vegas. This process allowed NAV to do extensive testing and quality control prior to delivering the equipment and kept on-site rework to a minimum. It also helped to ensure that the build was consistent with the technical specifications and that the commissioning was executed to NAV operation standards while meeting a very tight timeline.

CityCenter is a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Infinity World Development Corp. (a subsidiary of Dubai World). The urban metropolis covers 18 million square feet and cost $8.5 billion to build. It includes 17,000 miles of electrical wiring and 7,000 miles of telecom, security and A/V cabling. 


Famous Dave's, Wow Bao & More Find Value in Social Online Ordering Platform

Several major restaurant chains are now leveraging Exit41's latest product innovation, which includes a Facebook application that allows consumers to place food orders from the restaurant's Facebook page. Users can then share and "Like" their favorite menu items within their social network. Exit41 is an online ordering vendor that integrates social media into their web and mobile product strategy, connecting restaurants to the social web and enabling them to connect with consumers where they live, work and socialize.

"Social media is one of our top initiatives and we are heavily investing in solutions that drive results," says Aric Nissen, VP marketing, Famous Dave's. "Not only did Exit41 meet all of our 'checkbox' feature/function requirements for web and mobile ordering, they were the only vendor to offer a complete social ordering solution. Their products will complement our own social media strategy perfectly and allow us to maximize investments in this area."

The Exit41 solution includes:

  • Online Application: Optimized for social sharing with Facebook "Likes" of a menu item and a preview of other fans who also "Liked" that item. Facebook "Likes" are posted to the consumer's profile page and into their social stream, which feature a menu item picture and description along with a link back to the restaurant's site to order that item and additional suggested items.
  • Facebook Application: An Online Ordering Tab is added to the restaurant's Facebook page where fans can begin the ordering process by adding featured items to their cart and seamlessly completing the order on the restaurant brand's online ordering site. Consumers can also "Share" the Online Ordering tab within their network for a viral marketing opportunity for the restaurant.
  • Mobile Application: An iPhone app customized for the restaurant brand featuring location awareness to find the closest restaurant, as well as secure mobile payment, ensures speed, ease and convenience of ordering.

Since implementing Exit41's Facebook solution, Exit41 customers are experiencing positive results, including steady increases in sales and order volumes. For example, Wow Bao, a Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises restaurant widely recognized throughout the industry for its innovative use of social media, saw a ten percent increase in online order volume within five weeks. Silver Diner, a Maryland-based casual dining chain featuring fresh and local diner fare, released their Facebook ordering application as an important part of a push to grow their Facebook fan base to 6,000 in just a few weeks, and has since experienced a seven percent increase in online order volume.

Additional Exit41 customers ranging from BRAVO! Cucina Italiana, a BRAVO|BRIO Restaurant Group concept to Hello Pasta, a New York City-based chain serving fresh and organic pasta to-go, are just getting rolled out with the solution and are looking forward to the impact it will have on their customer base.

As part of the company's strategy for fully integrating restaurants with the social web, Exit41 has aggressive plans to expand functionality to instantly recognize and reward loyal customers. The company is also pursuing partnerships with several social media marketing, mobile couponing and social location companies to further enhance their offering and create highly personalized ordering experiences for consumers.


Select Calif. SUBWAY Locations to Accept Mobile Payments

Doctor's Associates Inc., the parent company of SUBWAY, and Think Computer Corporation announced that FaceCash will now be accepted at certain SUBWAY locations in California. FaceCash is a mobile payment system that allows consumers to use their cell phones to make purchases at the point of sale.

When signing up at facecash.com, consumers pre-fund their FaceCash accounts by transferring money from traditional checking or savings accounts. They can then debit their FaceCash balance by making purchases at participating merchant stores. The free FaceCash application, which also consolidates consumer loyalty program cards, is now available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry phones. Other phones can also access FaceCash through a mobile web browser.

With a flat rate of 1.5% per transaction, merchants utilizing FaceCash can achieve savings of 50% or more relative to traditional credit and debit card processing fees. There are no monthly fees or other hidden fees. In order to use FaceCash, merchants simply need a computer (with Internet access) and an optional barcode scanner, which are available from Think at a discount.

"We're looking forward to finding out how this could benefit our customer base and our business," says Diana Kazarian of SUBWAY.

FaceCash gets its name from its unique security process. During a purchase, the consumer's face appears on the merchant's register to verify identity. The first time a buyer makes a purchase using FaceCash, the merchant matches the photograph provided during the sign up process to the consumer's driver's license or passport. A number of other security measures are built in.

More Technology News


News Archives

[ [ Home ] . [ POS Hardware ] . [ POS Software ]. [ Security & ID]. . [ News ]. [ About Us ] . [ Clients ] . ]