Wireless Dispatches From The Retail Front: AirTight, Aruba, 1OAK Sequoia at NRF

This week’s National Retail Federation (NRF) Convention is a big deal to the wireless world. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s not news that the WLAN industry and the retail space are falling deeper into love with each other. From iBeacons to retail analytics to indoor mapping of store employees’ foot traffic to optimize workflows, WLAN and retail appear to be a match made in RF Heaven.

Check out the list of exhibitors at NRF, and you’ll find the WLAN industry well represented. A few particular announcements have come my way relating to wireless vendors in the retail space, and so I’ll quickly share here.

  • AirTight Networks and Earthlink Buddy Up for Wi-FI/WIPS in the multi-tenant retail space. AirTight will bring it’s cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service power to Earthlink’s big networked customer base. Congrats to both.

Sequoia is the first mobile payments product that allows retailers to securely and immediately accept mobile payments with their existing POS machines without a large scale investment in new technology or training. This solution dramatically increases mobile payment convenience for consumers, allowing them to make encrypted payments through a simple Sequoia application on their smartphone (any smartphone, including an iPhone, Android, Windows phone, or Blackberry), without requiring additional hardware or gear to carry with them.

 Here’s a quick run-through of the process:
1)       Consumers enter their credit card, loyalty and debit card data onto the downloaded Sequoia app on their phone.
2)      When they go to the store, they simply open the Sequoia application on their phone, select the credit card they wish to use, and, touch “pay” on their phone.
3)      Sequoia (which is a peel-and-stick appliance that goes onto the store’s POS machine) receives an encrypted signal with the information from the phone, translates it, and transmits it wirelessly to the credit card reader.
No doubt there are many big stories coming out of NRF- this is a great event to follow and in many ways is as big as any event for WLAN vendors.

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