Anywhere, anytime, any weather: The first truly mobile mPOS solution

Developed in collaboration with Ingenico, the new purpose-built payment device holder from Panasonic Computer Product Solutions combines their most popular rugged Toughpad tablet with world-leading payment solutions to bring retailers a portable, durable and cost-effective payment solution.

Panasonic’s new integrated payment device casing allows retailers to easily adapt off-the-shelf Toughpad FZ-G1 rugged tablets into a convenient and practical mobile point-of-sale solution. The integrated mobile Point Of Sales solution is designed to be used in conjunction with Panasonic’s popular all-terrain weatherproof Toughpad tablet and Ingenico’s iSMP4 payment device, making it ideally suited to retail and hospitality industry tasks, such as queue busting, assisted selling, in-field sales, in-flight purchases, and taking orders and payments at  table.

With retail-friendly design features such as shoulder strap fixings, USB connection for reliable pairing and charging, and an easy-access battery compartment to allow batteries to be hot swapped, the solution promises to improve staff efficiency and enhance the customer experience. Portable, durable and self-contained, with no range limitations, it is an effective tool for businesses that require their mobile workers to operate in fast-moving or outdoor environments.

We spoke to Robert Blowers, General Manager of Engineering & Project Management for Panasonic Toughbook and Toughpad in Europe, and Ingenico’s Product Marketing Manager for Mobility range, Renan Bodin, to find out how the partnership for a go-anywhere solution became a reality.

What retailer challenges does this new solution address?

Robert: The current retail market is very quickly migrating to an omni-channel payment environment and it’s of paradigm importance that the retailer has access to a single solution facilitating all those options. This mPOS offering consolidates multiple functions into one solution as opposed to managing multiple devices. It takes the payment activity to the customer and means you can process an order and take payment outdoor, in any weather, right across the region. It enhances the efficiency for the retailer, and more importantly, develops an improved experience for the end customer.

Renan: Mobile point-of-sale solutions on tablets and handheld devices really are the future. It’s a big trend and Panasonic products lead the way. At Ingenico, we’re working with Panasonic to provide products that work seamlessly with tablet solutions.

How did the partnership with Ingenico start?

Robert: 18 months ago, we were at a meeting with a customer who uses both the Ingenico payment terminal and the Panasonic Toughpad. They asked how the tablet worked with the payment terminal and if there was some way of consolidating the devices. We very quickly put our heads together, had discussions about the requirements and linked up our engineering specialists to find the best solution for the customer.

Renan: I agree; it came from customer need. When a client requests a certain type of functionality, we do our best to come up with a solution.

How does this solution differentiate itself from others?

Robert: The key differentiator is that the FZ-G1 is a fully rugged product, which means it can be used in very harsh environments, so you can use it in multi-facets of your organization. The Panasonic technology platform is very stable, which is an advantage, and using an integrated payment solution  consolidates multiple devices into one multi-functional tool.

Renan: The electronic integration is as important as the mechanical integration so we have ensured the communication between the two elements is wired and only the Toughpad power supply is needed to charge the solution. It’s very important to consider this product as one product and not the combination of two separate products. 

What are the benefits to the retailer?

Robert: Take the example of being in a drive-through queue for a fast food restaurant: should the productivity and efficiency of the organization really change with the weather and the outside conditions? Of course it shouldn’t.

Renan: It’s possible to unclip the iSMP4 from the casing too. As well as seamless integration, it has been designed to be easily removable so if the retailer wants to FG-Z1 in one hand & the iSMP4 in the other one, it is very easy for them to take off iSMP4 from the casing.

What are the benefits to the customer?

Robert: To continue on with the fast food example, there are no problems on a sunny day – someone comes up with a device to take my order and take my payment. However, what happens when it rains? Should I get a different experience because of bad weather? The FZ-G1 can also be used in the rain, or even in the cold with gloves on.  It brings the transaction to the customer rather than bringing the customer to the transaction. This solution opens up the scope of where a transaction can be taken and standardizes the experience.

Renan: Retailers and the hospitality industry understand that a great customer experience is one of the key drivers to increased sales for their business. This solution allows businesses to deliver an engaging and highly personalized shopping experience.