Pizza delivery workers and couriers are just some of the people who stand to benefit from Canada’s first wireless point-of-sale terminal that incorporates voice, data and messaging.
A three-company partnership paves the way for Bell Mobility’s
digital 1X network to power NBS Technologies’ Freedom II wireless point-of-sale terminal, which will be used by TD Canada Trust Merchant Services’ clients. Merchants using the wireless terminal will be able to perform credit card and debit card transactions, and to place calls from any location covered by the network.
According to Chris Shannon, Bell Mobility’s director of hardware marketing and wireless data development, his company’s focus on network security and coverage area were only two of the reasons both NBS Technologies and TD Bank asked Bell Mobility to join the initiative.
“”We see TD Bank as experts in merchant services, processing transactions,”” said Shannon. “”At the same time, they saw us as experts in the wireless business. So from an innovation standpoint they saw that it would be a good opportunity to partner with us.””
At press time, TD Bank could not be reached for comment.
David Nyland, president and CEO of Toronto-based NBS Technologies, said that his company previously rolled out one of its terminals on Bell’s ARDIS network. But the network, he added, lacked quality and coverage, which frustrated early adopters of this wireless terminal technology.
“”A classic example would be someone in a pizza delivery company: if they come to your front door and they take credit or debit cards and if for some reason the terminal doesn’t work, (they) pretty much have to give (you) the pizza for free. Obviously no one likes to do that,”” said Nyland, stressing that the 1X digital network will make it possible to deploy e-commerce, messaging and other applications. “”We’ve had quite an incredible surge in the demand for the wireless terminals based on this new network in the last six months.””
Although committed to the Canadian market, NBS Technologies also plans to launch in about six months a GPRS terminal in the U.S.
“”In fact, we did the U.S. Open tennis tournament last year where we provided a number of wireless terminals for that event to actually administer the employee program where they could use vouchers to pay for their lunches at various stores around the stadium,”” said Nyland. “”There were actually several thousand people involved in that program.””
While the three aforementioned parties backing the wireless point-of-sale terminal said they were excited about the project some experts are not entirely sold on the idea.
“”With couriers, fast food deliverymen and florists, I could see that working,”” said Rick Broadhead, a Canadian technology and Internet expert who has written 32 books. “”I’m having trouble understanding (why) you’d want to use the same device for your cellphone as you do for your point-of-sale terminal. Some people are going to want to have those applications separated. But I think over time people will probably get over that.””
Despite his reservations, Broadhead said that the increasingly cutthroat wireless sector requires companies like Bell to stay one step ahead of the competition.
“”It’s great that they’re exploring these new opportunities,”” he said. “”Things that seem strange today become commonplace a couple of years down the road. I definitely think there’s a market there. How big is the market? I don’t know. That’s the question.””