My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Competition in Mobile POS coming from Square as SHARP is rescued by Qualcomm - Move to Mobile Computing On the Road indicates SHARP's Playing for Keeps

Friday, December 14, 2012

Competition in Mobile POS coming from Square as SHARP is rescued by Qualcomm - Move to Mobile Computing On the Road indicates SHARP's Playing for Keeps

Cash Registers and POS (Point of Sale) Devices that are Mobile and based on Tablets such as the Apple iPad are set to be big in 2013 as evidenced from the article “Square's Next Move Might Be An Android Cash Register”, published June 5, 2012, 5:22 PM by Owen Thomas, Business Insider          and “Tablets signal turning point for small-business POS solutions”, published July 24, 2012 - 01:03 GMT (18:03 PDT) By Heather Clancy, ZDNet

And that means big business for Square in the future, a conclusion that can be drawn from the positive forecast by Square’s COO Keith Rabois, as reported in “Square COO predicts monster 2013, says Starbucks is just the beginning”, published December 14, 2012 4:00 AM PST by Daniel Terdiman, CNET News.

Square’s hit US$10 billion in yearly transactions, a milestone they achieved in November 2012 as stated in  Square hits $10 billion in annual payments processed”, published November 14, 2012 10:12 AM PST by Daniel Terdiman, CNET News. Square now boasts 3 million users and 250,000 merchants utilizing Square Wallet.

Albeit more of a danger to Google Wallet and their NFC Based Technology that’s yet to take off with the masses as noted back in May 2011 in my blog articles entitledGoogle Wallet & Offers vs Square & PayPal - SME's International FlashDance”, they’re also potentially a competitor with Cash Register and POS Makers such as Sony and SHARP Corp of Japan.

Square began as the brainchild of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey as another App on the Apple iPhone with a Credit/Debit Card swipe reader that makes taking payments on the Go a cinch as explained in my blog articles entitledCLARO and Square - The App of the Year 2010 and CLARO's Savior”. Back then I’d seen the potential of Mobile Payments in Jamaica powered by CLARO 3G and thus penned the article above.

By May 2011, Square had moved on with major endorsements by VISA via direct investments and a place of honour in Apple Stores as one of the products it sells as accessories to go with the Apple iPhone as reported in in my blog articles entitled VISA and Jack Dorsey's Square - Leena's TechCrunch of SME's Mad Money.

Now they got Starbucks as a major partner using their Mobile POS Platform for all 7,000 of its outlet, also announced in August of 2012 as stated in “Square, Starbucks aim to give mobile payments a jolt”, published August 7, 2012 9:50 PM PDT by Steven Musil, CNET News. This deal was eventually finalized in November 2012 as per the article “Square launches mobile payment service at 7,000 Starbucks”, published November 7, 2012 10:30 PM PST by Steven Musil, CNET News,  the highlight of 2012 for the two (2) year old start-up.

2013 looks to be another monster year of milestones, with major partnerships on the horizon such as high-end clothing retailer Burberry as reported in the article “Square to ink payment-processing deal with Burberry - report”, published December 12, 2012 6:56 AM PST by Don Reisinger, CNET News,  with other potential suitors and VC (Venture Capitalists) lining up to invest in Square. IPO (Initial Public Offer) by 2015, anyone?

This is the same Square I’d predicted back in May 2011 would make Cash Registers obsolete as prognosticated in in my blog articles entitledSquare and the Cash Register - SME Deep Impact”. This would be slowly achieved via its Square app, Widget and its use of smartphones and Tablets as a Mobile replacement for Cash Registers. A prediction I made long before I began working at ACCENT marketing as a TES (Technical Engagement Specialist) on the SHARP Account, on Monday June 25th 2012.

Come Christmas day, I and my compadres from training will be employed for exactly six (6) months on at ACCENT Marketing. We were all trained on the same legacy products: Cash Registers, MFP (Multi-Function Copiers), Fax Machines and a motley crue of other products that’ll eventually die away, such as Typewriters, Cordless Phones and Organizers.

But I love Cash Registers and the job in general, as it involves an old flame from my Glenmuir High School as described in my Geezam Blog article entitled “IBM and the Watson”: Computer Programming.

All slowly being killed off by smartphones and Tablets as per my Geezam blog article entitled “How the Apple iPad killed Ultrabooks, Printing and the Mouse as the World Rediscovers Tablets”. Microsoft has finally realized this; that’s why they’re investing in their survival by outing the Surface Tablet as stated in my blog articles entitled Microsoft debuts Windows 8 with new Surface Tablets - PixelSense rebranding as the Dark Knight Rises to defeat PC World”.

So a Mobile Cash Register and POS Revolution’s on the Horizon from SHARP? I’d like to think so; already POS Devices that are Windows based are under attack by a Malware named Dexter, which oddly is targeting English speaking countries to steal Credit Cards as stated in the article “New 'Dexter' malware strikes point-of-sale systems”, published December 14, 2012 6:25 AM PST by Charlie Osborne, CNET News.

If Hackers are taking the time to go after POS Devices, then it indicates their value in terms on conducting transactions, as POS hacks are rare; I can’t remember the last time I heard of malware or viruses targeting POS to steal Credit Card numbers.

If they’re that valuable in term of the transactions they facilitate, then it’s clearly a growing area for SHARP and other Cash Register and POS makers, hence the reason why Square’s products are targeting the extinction of Cash Registers. SHARP Corp of Japan, with Qualcomm’s coming to their rescue as predicted in my blog article entitled “Qualcomm, Intel and Dell to invest in SHARP of Japan - The Rescuers need smartphones, Tablets and Cash Registers”, needs to invest in the design of better Cash Registers and POS and merge them into one common package.

Already others are looking to invest in SHARP Corp of Japan and get access to its low-cost, low-power cutting-edge Tablet and Smartphone components to make more of the same. Apple iPhone 5’s are made using screen components supplied by SHARP Corp of Japan as noted in my blog article entitled “SHARP and JDI making 5-inch 1080p Smartphone Screens -  Here Comes the Boom  as 1080p Screens, Quad-Core the next Big Thing for Apple iPhone”.

Intel’s allegedly planning to invest some 40 Billion yen ($500 million or £315 million) in SHARP Corp of Japan as stated in the article “Sharp shares jump on Intel investment report”, published 14 November 2012 Last updated at 06:34 GMT, BBC News. So more investor centri News like this’ll start trickling in soon.

To reiterate, their needs a clearly defined Roadmap for Smartphones, Tablets, with the immediate rescue of Cash Register/POS being priority number one. Recommended are the following specs:

1.      Dockable Capacitive Touch Screen Tablet with a screen keyboard layout emulating XEA106 up to XEA207, XEA407 or XEA507.
2.      Screen Removable at the end of the day to reduce tampering
3.      Open Source Google Android with Developer Support; Windows is Hacker prone
4.      Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Wireless Internet, Ethernet Port to support Networking
5.      Remote Sales Archiving Upgrade of their Customer Support Tools to allow for automated backup of Sales and Programming Data
6.      Ability to work as a standalone Cash Register as well as integratable into a POS Network via simple software update
7.      Built-in Remote Login Programming option enabled for Prime Registered customers, similar to the AQUOS Advantage Program. Can login to each Cash Register or POS and monitor transactions live
8.      Login to Cash Register based on either a password or biometric Identification based System
9.      Experienced SHARP TES (Technical Engagement Specialists) Remote Login to the Cash Register and program it for the Customer at their request
10.  Browser support for Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome to allow secure browsing for Online Help Resources with Cash Register
11.  Built in support for NFC, UPC Scanner as well as Credit Card Reader

With these improvements to Cash Registers and a renewed focus on profitability via capitalizing on the boom in Mobile Computing i.e. Smartphones and Tablets, SHARP Corp of Japan will fight off the coming competition from Square in the POS and Cash Register Market by embracing the move to Mobile Computing On the Road (2012) and thus Playing for Keeps (2012).

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