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Industry News - November 21st 2014



iPad Hospitality Ordering System Improves Security

NorthStar Order Entry, the iPad hospitality ordering system developed by Custom Business Solutions, will now offer increased security protection with the addition of the innovative MagTek DynaPro Mini card swipe and PIN entry device.

The MagTek DynaPro Mini leverages the MagneSafe Security Architecture and provides users with a card swipe, EMV reader, PIN entry keypad and card data tokenization solution with one swipe.  Together, the MagTek DynaPro Mini and NorthStar Order Entry provide an end-to-end secure system that greatly limits the scope of PCI for the NorthStar Order Entry platform, significantly reducing the risk of data breaches without compromising order speed.

NorthStar Order Entry’s multi-channel approach consolidated many features within one platform including a traditional POS interface, a guest-facing ordering interface, kiosk ordering mode, and integrated web and mobile ordering. Utilizing the MagTek DynaPro Mini, Order Entry users will benefit from the security of MagTek’s innovative encryption, tokenization and card authentication technology with the flexibility of Bluetooth connectivity.

La Perla Uncovers Mobile Analytics Capabilities

Privately-held women's clothing company La Perla has leveraged MicroStrategy Mobile to build an app that allows executives to analyze company and sales performance through a common set of key performance indicators (KPIs).

"As our business grew with store expansions, the demand for a flexible solution that would provide insights on current performance and streamline our sales approaches for a more unified effort was needed more than ever," explained Gianluca Guidotti, Information Technology Manager for La Perla.

The app runs on both the iOS and Android platforms, allowing executives to swipe and tap in order to view sales data. La Perla executives can also move through a variety of data sets seamlessly to analyze performance across channel or geography, and drill down to the individual store location and manager. 

Mobile access to this vital information allows more appropriate responses and timely business decisions. "La Perla executives can analyze sales performance with a swipe or a tap on their mobile app, to compare performance data on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis and compare performance against forecast over different time spans, different store regions, all the way down to a specific store. They can easily spot seasonal and product trends, and make changes to their stores on the fly to better serve and attract buyers," said Guidotti.

New Express Product Empowers Guests with Mobile Check-In and Upgrades

GuestDriven has launched Mobile Check-In and Upgrades through its new GuestDriven Express mobile web service. GuestDriven Express requires no downloads and provides hotel guests with the ability to check-in up to 24-hours before arrival, upgrade rooms, access a host of personalized upsell promotions on amenities, check-out or instant message front-desk personnel all from a mobile device or desktop computer.

With mobile travel sales in the U.S. slated to reach $26 billion this year and $55.47 billion by 2017 according to eMarketer, there is a big opportunity on the table for hoteliers to market and reach customers in a more convenient, direct and cost-effective way. According to the Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA), 65.8 percent of hoteliers predict mobile check-in to be the norm in three years. Nearly half of all hotel guests are under the age of 36 and 97 percent of them carry a smartphone. GuestDriven is helping hotels capitalize on this shift in the market by providing a mobile check-in and upgrade technology to allow them to engage with guests via mobile devices in order to create stronger customer relationships, build brand advocacy and drive revenue.

Guests receive an email notification that they can perform a mobile check-in 24 hours prior to arrival and, from a personalized mobile landing page, can confirm time of arrival and choose from available upgrade inventory, add-ons, special offers, or amenities offered by the property and start personalizing their experience before they check-in.

Oregon City Adopts Mobile Parking Solution

The City of Corvallis has moved to a new Android parking solution to manage downtown and residential on-street parking. Technology, education and environmental sustainability factors were prominently among Corvallis' chief concerns with regard to community development and core values.

"Adopting the right parking solution that we can build on and that fits with our long term vision was very important," said Robel Tadesse, the City of Corvallis MIS Director. "In order to achieve these goals we needed to adopt a new model and required a company that possessed the experience needed to help educate our team on transitioning to this new system. Ultimately, we believed that a more efficient operation could positively impact challenges such as turnover and congestion among other on-street parking matters that directly affect livability of our community and the health of our local commerce."

Modern Infrastructure
A shift toward a modern parking infrastructure can bring about benefits that are far-reaching such as increased convenience to year-round residents, local businesses, college students and faculty as well as visitors. Tadesse added, "We were looking for technologies that matched our vision and held the most promise which is why we chose to deploy an automated parking system based on a mobile device."

"We needed to move toward a parking management system that would allow our enforcement officers to gain more time to cover more ground during a shift, reduce errors and capture images in the field; we also needed to create a more streamlined approach to organizing data collected on the field and how it was imported into our ticket adjudication system," said Tadesse.

Going Mobile
Prior to this project, the City's manual process required staff to enter and manage information on multiple levels. "We also wanted to explore newer forms of technology for chalking," noted Tadesse.

Digital chalking, or eChalking, is a faster method to manage zones with time limits. The premise is based on timing the vehicle, punching in a plate number, and the system will provide an alert for expired vehicles.

Following a bring your own device (BYOD) model, gtechna offered Corvallis the option to source out its own consumer mobile device carrier bringing the overall cost of implementing the technology down to a very affordable price point.

"A key factor for many agencies like Corvallis is the opportunity to have control at a granular level over what type of device is used," said Mike Bourre, VP of Sales and Marketing at gtechna. "Smartphones offer improved communication and coordination among field officers (PEOs) as well as between PEOs and administrative staff at City Hall. If there's a complaint, broken meter or any other type of parking related matter that is called in, a dispatch can be issued immediately to target that area. The reverse is also true; a PEO can call/text in to report a matter whether it is to dispatch towing or to alert fellow city services to a situation that may need tending to urgently. Less time sensitive communications can be sent by email to PEOs to check throughout the shift. Instead of waiting until the end of the day to receive messages back at the office, field staff remain informed and up-to-date at all times of the day. Another value added is the ability to take high quality photos which can be attached to a ticket file for additional evidence."


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