Rollout Roundup: From THE Tech EVENT

Suppliers reveal new products, services at NACS’ technology show

Published in Convenience Store Products

By  Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Content Development Coordinator

DALLAS -- In the world of technology, new products don’t necessarily come in the form of a tangible object. Sometimes it’s software, a service or even a new partnership between companies that leads to new customer options.

At THE Tech EVENT held earlier this month, suppliers met with retailers to discuss concerns and innovations. “Mobile and loyalty were popular topics, as was the struggle with [data security] compliance,” said Greg Gilkerson, president of PDI, Temple, Texas. “And there are still lots of opportunities with technology to create operational efficiencies and for retailers to be more competitive.”

His company announced the development of a supplier “portal,” or online aggregation site, allowing customers easy access to a broad scope of their vendors.

“The portal will enable convenience retailers and their suppliers to exchange pricebook data, costs, promotion, invoices, inventory and shrink information seamlessly and in real time.”

Following is a roundup of new products and services announced at NACS' THE Tech EVENT held earlier this month.

PCI Audit Development
Acumera, Austin, Texas, a provider of connection services for c-stores, has launched PCI Audit Support to accelerate payment card industry (PCI) compliance audits as part of Acumera’s PCI Tools solution. Designed to support ongoing customer security and compliance, Acumera’s PCI Tools include automated external vulnerability scans with historical archiving, logging of PCI-related events, dynamically generated site network diagrams and clear identification of non-PCI payment application devices in the cardholder data environment. In addition, Acumera has completed its own PCI DSS compliance assessment and obtained an annual report on compliance (ROC), becoming a fully compliant service provider.

Coalfire, a qualified security assessor (QSA) firm, successfully completed the testing and controls validation of Acumera as a network and security service provider. The validation also included testing of controls deployed for merchant implementation. As a result, Acumera’s customers can include Acumera’s controls within their own compliance management efforts without further testing and validation.

Food Safety Monitoring Solution
Heartland Payment Systems Inc., Princeton, N.J., a payments processors and provider of merchant business solutions, has launched “SmartLink Food Safety Monitoring,” a single-point solution for monitoring c-store food storage and preparation equipment. It’s a cloud-based temperature monitoring solution that ensures greater efficiencies, more control over the quality and freshness of food being served and access to detailed reports to help protect food quality for their customers and their business while meeting Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) guidelines.

“Convenience stores currently employ one of two monitoring methods—manual monitoring by employees or use of controls that are part of larger HVAC systems—neither of which is 100% reliable. Both approaches easily lend themselves to mistakes, misreporting and compliance problems,” said Michael Youngkin, Heartland’s senior director of network solutions. “With the SmartLink Food Safety Monitoring solution, operators will now have simple cloud-based access to the most accurate information possible. SmartLink Food Safety Monitoring ensures food safety and quality, as well as significant savings in equipment repair and energy usage."

Mobile Option for Pricing Solution
KSS Fuels, Florham Park, N.J., has announced the launch of a new mobile solution for its flagship retail fuels pricing application. Beginning in July users will be able to “price anytime, anywhere, in minutes” using smartphones or tablets. The new mobile capability uses smartphones and tablets to collect fuel price surveys, generate pump prices and analyze site performance with full integration to point-of-sale (POS) systems and electronic pole signs.

Running on Apple iOS or Android, the app verifies competitor fuel price surveys by logging the current location of the user and by uploading photos of the price sign or pump price displays, thereby ensuring prices are established using accurate competitor data.

Supplier Portal
The PDI Supplier Portal is a one-to-many, many-to-one environment, allowing suppliers and retailers to streamline their pricebook synchronization functions. Powered through a product called “Harmony” by Burtonsville, Md.-based iControl Systems, the portal builds on iControl’s supply chain software-as-a-service (SAAS) collaboration solution, which presently provides more than 3,000 suppliers and 27,000 retail stores with similar services.

In addition to performing pricebook synchronization functions, the PDI Supplier Portal will handle regulated payments for alcohol purchases, allowing retailers and suppliers to transact business while maintaining full compliance with state and federal regulations. The SAAS technology also facilitates scan-based trading, which minimizes vendor check-in labor and uses data to collaboratively reduce shrink and increase sales by improving inventory stock positions.

New Processor Integration
The Pinnacle Corp., Arlington, Texas, has completed a new Palm POS integration to the payments processing host of Heartland Payment Systems Inc., Princeton, N.J., providing another payments processing option for unbranded convenience-petroleum retailers.

“Heartland has been an integral Pinnacle partner for nearly 15 years as the payments processor for some of our branded host interfaces,” said Denise Lewis, POS and payments product manager at Pinnacle. “The completion of this new interface broadens the options for our non-branded clients.”

Pinnacle’s interface to the Heartland Payment Systems host is based on the 8583 industry standard specification, which supports transaction messages between POS systems and a payment processing host, allowing for easier expansion of the interface in the future as the industry introduces new payments mandates. The interface has been certified by Heartland for field installation.

By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Content Development Coordinator
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