Industry News - August 15th 2014
RETAIL AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS
Amazon Eyes Mobile Payment Systems & Square with Mobile Payment App and Card Reader
Amazon.com has announced Amazon Local
Register, a secure card reader and mobile app that provides local businesses
with the tools they need to quickly and easily accept credit and debit cards
from a smartphone or tablet and keep track of their growing business. Amazon
Local Register customers will have access to the Amazon.com customer support
team, as well as in-app tracking tools. Customers who sign up for Amazon
Local Register before October 31 will also receive a promotional rate of
1.75 percent per card swipe on all major credit and debit cards until
January 1, 2016. Additional details are available at
Customers can get started with Amazon Local
Register in three simple steps: create an account on
localregister.amazon.com, purchase a $10 card reader, and download the free
mobile app from Amazon Appstore, Apple App Store or Google Play. The card
reader is available with Free Two-Day Shipping on Amazon.com. Beginning
August 19, customers can also purchase a card reader at Staples retail
locations nationwide. The Amazon Local Register card reader and free mobile
app are compatible with a variety of smartphones and tablets, including
Apple devices running iOS7, Kindle Fire tablets, select Android smartphones,
and coming soon to the new Fire phone.
Each customer’s first $10 in
transaction fees will be credited back to the customer’s account once Amazon
Local Register is in use – allowing customers to fully recoup the cost of
the card reader.
A stabilized card reader limits swivel, making it
easier to swipe once and go. Plus, each transaction is backed by the same
services that securely power Amazon.com purchases.
Register will also offer business tracking tools. In-app reporting enables a
business to quickly check bottom line performance, sales trends, peak sales
times and more. All reporting is easily accessible from a smartphone or
tablet and is password-protected.
article on ABC News.com says that “the move places the largest U.S.
e-commerce retailer in competition with Square and other established mobile
payment processing systems such as PayPal Here and Intuit's GoPayment.”
To read the entire story, click
Aloft Hotels Recruits Robot for Front- and Back-of-House Duties
Aloft Hotels has announced the
appointment of A.L.O. as the hotel brand’s first Botlr (robotic butler).
A.L.O. officially reports for duty on August 20 at Aloft Cupertino, with
several new Botlrs to join in the upcoming months.
charismatic cyber associate makes his debut at Aloft Cupertino, making
Aloft the first major hotel brand to hire a robot for both front and
back of house duties.
In this role, A.L.O. the Botlr will be on
call as a robotic operative where it will be assisting the Aloft talent
in delivering amenities to guest rooms. Professionally “dressed” in a
custom shrink-wrapped, vinyl collared uniform and nametag, A.L.O. will
modestly accept tweets as tips as its wheels whizz from task to task.
This newest Aloft associate will not only free up existing talent’s
time, allowing them to create a more personalized experience for guests,
but will enhance the hotel’s current tech-forward offerings.
you can imagine, hiring for this particular position was a challenge as
we were seeking a very specific set of automated skills, and one that
could work – literally – around the clock,” said Brian McGuinness,
Global Brand Leader, Starwood’s Specialty Select Brands.
was developed by Savioke, a startup
company from Santa Clara, California which had been testing robotic
technology. A.L.O. will now facilitate and prioritize multiple guest
deliveries, communicate effortlessly with guests and various hotel
platforms, as well as efficiently navigate throughout the property. The
appointment of A.L.O. represents yet another forward-looking milestone
for Aloft, known for its industry-first smart check-in program, “Cool
Concierge” program and piloting Apple TV in-room services.
Highpointe Hotels Utilize Mobile Dashboards with STR Stats for Competitive Advantage
Highpointe operates 15 hotels in
3 states. Its properties are primarily Hilton, Marriott and Wyndham
brands that include Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Residence Inns and
Marriott Courtyard flags. All of Highpointe’s GMs use tablets and
Execuvue Reports to be totally mobile and stay current on property
operations. The Aptech
Execuvue solution helps managers automatically gather data from all
of the company’s separate hotel property management systems daily and
combine it with each property’s STR comp-set information. Aptech merges
the data, analyzes it, and creates interactive reports and mobile tablet
dashboards for every property. Each GM has a daily snapshot of his or
her financial performance, labor costs against budget, guest
satisfaction reports and their STR comp set comparisons on one screen.
Having Highpointe’s operational and performance information in one
place is particularly valuable when property owners and partners come to
GMs with questions. Highpointe also worked with Aptech to create
mobile-friendly reports for its GM tablets. With Aptech’s Active Reports
on their tablets, GMs can check department performance on interactive
reports. They can touch the screen to highlight specific areas, or open
a comment box to send an email to a specific staff member for
clarification. This lets them manage by the numbers faster, and quickly
interact with our corporate offices or their properties.
Hard Rock Reduces Labor Expenses with RFID Tracking System
Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park
has implemented the InvoTech
UHF-RFID Uniform System to automate control and management of the
property’s 6,000-plus uniforms. The InvoTech Uniform System reduces
labor expenses associated with manual handling and increases employee
accountability with automated uniform tracking.
Uniform System interfaces with a White Conveyors U-Pick-It System
that automates uniform distribution to each Rocksino team member. The
systems communicate and record the location of each uniform – if it is
in the laundry or has been retrieved by a team member – to maintain a
real-time uniform inventory. InvoTech also records all uniform use and
laundry cycles to forecast replacement requirements for accurate
budgeting. The InvoTech Uniform System integrates Impinj UHF-RFID
readers that read durable waterproof Fujitsu UHF-RFID laundry tags that
were attached to the property’s uniforms during initial staff garment
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