Q&A: Star Micronics
On-Trade Progress’ Chief Editor, Mike Underwood, interviews Annette Tarlton, Marketing Director at EPOS specialists Star Micronics EMEA:
- Tell me about Star Micronics…
Star Micronics was founded in 1947 and is one of the world’s largest and most established POS printer manufacturers with an extensive range of innovative desktop and mobile Bluetooth, Cloud, USB and WiFi printing solutions that have attracted long term customers from McDonald’s to retailers of all sizes including Harrods.
We feel we have pioneered the POS receipt transition from traditional Windows terminals to tablet and smartphone devices for Windows, Android and most importantly Apple iOS. Who knew that Apple would dominate this new market sector and Star has responded with unique products such as the only USB printer to communicate and charge with an iPad so customers do not have to depend on Bluetooth or WiFi solutions, and it is much simpler to install thereby reducing the number of support calls.
- What is your role in the company?
It is hard to believe I have worked for Star Micronics for almost 30 years and have thoroughly enjoyed leading the marketing department. Star produced the first Bluetooth POS receipt printer and followed through with the first Bluetooth combined printer and cash drawer, the compact and sexy mPOP™. Yes, I do firmly believe you can describe retail hardware as sexy, but maybe that is the result of working so long for such a great company as Star, a true leader in its field!
- What makes Star Micronics different to your competitors?
Our number one goal is to support our EPOS providers, Software Houses and customers who prefer to choose their own hardware with the widest choice of connectivity options for retailers and restaurateurs of all types, big and small. I have also been told so many times that Star provides the best documentation on the market with the result that installation is simpler, thereby saving time and costs. Simple installation, fast reliable printers designed for the hospitality market with a technical department willing to talk through solutions to large or small operators are the reasons why we have retained so many happy customers.
- What positive impact could Star Micronics have on a hospitality venue?
With our wide portfolio of traditional and tablet based printing solutions Star can truly allow your hospitality venue to benefit from a solution that is tailored to your individual needs whether you are currently using a traditional POS solution, looking for an upgrade path to the Cloud or upgrading your existing tablet POS system.
Today restaurateurs have the choice of a traditional POS terminal or new and innovative tablet POS which has taken great strides in recent years to provide the flexibility and mobility increasingly required within hospitality environments. However, it has been hindered by concern for communication and connectivity issues with cable-free communication being affected by obstacles such as brick walls and even fridges and microwaves. This situation is further compounded by the fact that tablet POS receipt printers need network connections and cabling for reliable printer connection and tablet charging when cable-free communication is not considered suitable. Bluetooth connectivity may be slow and WiFi must take into account possible obstacles.
Faced with these challenges, multisite operators have been reticent to take advantage of the flexibility and cost-savings associated with tablet POS. Each venue has to be tailored according to the location, type of venue and volume of transactions. Managing an estate of multiple tablets and paired Bluetooth devices means that it can be operationally difficult to maintain the right connection between the right peripherals and devices.
With software now in the Cloud, direct connectivity with a tablet enabled by Star has solved these problems to provide a secure reliable connection without the need for a cumbersome POS terminal. Sleek and stylish tablet POS with a reliable connection is now available to restaurateurs of all sizes.
- Is there a particular product that is noticeably popular at the moment?
With the growth of online ordering, one product that is proving particularly popular at the moment is the Star HI X Connect interface that incorporates Star’s digital receipting service and provides an ideal upgrade path to the Cloud. The versatile, feature-rich interface with new Star CloudPRNT™ technology provides intelligent printing for a range of hospitality applications, offering unparalleled flexibility for remote receipt and order printing.
The Star TSP654II, TSP743II and TSP847II label, ticket and receipt printers as well as the SP700 kitchen printer can easily be upgraded and transformed into a cloud printer by simply using the cost-effective HI X Connect interface. Alternatively, the TSP654II HI X printer with built-in interface is cloud-ready and is one of the lowest cost kitchen / front-of-house Cloud printers on the market able to communicate with all integrated Cloud solutions as well as provide local POS receipting if need be.
Fitted to the compatible printer models, the HI X Connect interface boasts a variety of connectivity options and Development Tools to provide a versatile future-proof solution. WiFi, USB and Ethernet connections can all be used concurrently with the printer printing on a first come, first served basis.
Star CloudPRNT enables remote printing directly and securely from a web server to Star printers anywhere in the world without the need for a local POS terminal or PC, avoiding complicated network configurations.
- What are the future plans for the company?
Star is continually innovating and launching new products that respond to a rapidly evolving marketplace. In fact, we have a major product launch in November with yet another solution that no one else can provide. As we continue to increase the number of software partners who integrate our products, Star will be able to reinforce its position as the leading POS printing solution provider for the dynamic hospitality sector.