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Retailers missing out on big technology benefits

Everyone hates long queues, they are frustrating and a complete waste of time. However BRONWYN WATT at Paycorp believes that a simple POS system will make things much easier and keep customers happy.

Visit any shopping centre while the sales are on and you’re very likely to find it heaving with bargain-hunters. But a while later you’ll find they’re not so keen.

Why? Because South African retailers are inclined to treat their customers like sheep. You don’t realise you’re doing it but every time you make your customers stand in queues, that’s how they feel.

The psychology of queuing is not pretty. Most people are too polite to express their frustration but making them wait in a queue – especially when they’re trying to give you their money – is demoralising. And when people are demoralised they become restless and surly. Far from delighting your customers, you become their tormentor.

A queue, especially a long, slow one, makes people feel as if they have been forced to submit to a system that is inefficient. And, be honest, isn’t that exactly what’s happening? You have probably felt these feelings yourself when forced to queue.

The world has changed dramatically and, along with it, service expectations. Most of us inhabit an online world for a fair portion of the day. In this world, everything happens fast. Online you can find, order and pay for a product in mere minutes and it will be delivered directly to you tomorrow.

Products are the easy part of the business. They are simply consumed. Service is another matter entirely because it is experienced in real time, with time being the key word. No wonder customers begrudge the time they are forced to stand in queues.

So if service is your best friend and queue your worst enemy, what can you do to get more of the former and less of the latter? The very same modern technology that makes customers so impatient also provides the solution to their need for speed: mobile point-of-sale (mPOS).

mPOS systems are not just for artisans who trade at markets and mobile service providers like plumbers and electricians. There’s no reason not to use an mPOS in-store… and a great many good reasons to do so, not the least of which is that it’s a simple and elegant solution to those nasty queues that your customers hate so much.

5 key elements to look for in an mPOS system:

  • Up-to-date security: to ensure that every transaction is safe and secure, payment information should not only be encrypted but also transferred via point-to-point encryption to a PCI Level 1 certified gateway.
  • Integration with your existing system: you shouldn’t need to buy a whole new payments system to use mPOS: you should be able to quickly and easily introduce it within your current system.
  • Bank agnostic: it should work with every bank that has a local presence.
  • Easy to use: there’s nothing complicated about mPOS. It’s a quick, easy solution.
  • Fully communication-enabled in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet: you should be able to use your mPOS system everywhere, at any time. If you really want to gain major customer service points and put your competitors in the shade, how about letting customers pay for the products they want as they walk out of the changing room! Seriously, how impressed would you be if that happened to you in-store? Talk about delighting your customers!

* Bronwyn Watt, Group Marketing Manager at Paycorp

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Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’

The leader in cloud data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.

Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.

“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years. 

“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”

Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.

“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”

Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”. 

“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”

Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.

This week, it  announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.

Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”

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‘Energy scavenging’ gets funding

As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.

Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components. 

TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’ 

The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.

“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”

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