Keycorp's refocus from manufacturing EFTPOS terminals to delivering complete POS and other e-commerce solutions is starting to manifest itself with the recent sale of its 57 per cent stake in Australian Electronic Manufacturing Services (AEMS).
An announcement last week divulged that Keycorp had accepted $28.5 million from Pacific Equity Partners for the controlling share of AEMS which will remain as an important supplier for the company.
The sale was described by Keycorp's managing director, John Wood, as symbolic of its new strategic direction to build on its Nobil Internet payment gateway as "a central platform for delivering new and expanded services".
Keycorp also revealed last week its latest Windows CE-based EFTPOS terminal - the K23 - which is Internet- and flat screened-enabled so that the six seconds or so it takes for an EFTPOS transaction to be processed can be used to deliver targeted marketing and other messages.
The Internet capability allows for interaction with the back-end systems where such messages will originate from. This interaction between front and back ends is delivering opportunities for the channel, according to Ian Stead, Keycorp's corporate communications manager.
"The opportunity for the resellers is to develop the value-added content and services that will be appearing on the terminal screens," Stead said. "These sorts of products are increasingly becoming suitable to this sort of distribution as there is now so much worth that can be added to the base hardware."
After taking the good profit made on a business it helped to found in 1992, Keycorp has invested some of the AEMS sale funds into a joint venture to push its solutions in South Africa. Partners to have signed a memorandum of understanding in this new undertaking are South African entities Smartec Holdings (Smarthold) and Paycom Xpress Connect.
Smartec is a channel group with diverse interests in transactions systems, kiosks and smart card operations while Paycom is a "technology strategy company". The joint venture will be deploying smart card-based and other transactions under the name Xpress Connect.
Stead said the three announcements made last week demonstrated the new services-based direction of Keycorp. It will still be designing and distributing systems but will take more of a role in developing and operating the enterprise solutions behind the hardware.
"It marks a shift in Keycorp's traditional business of just manufacturing product into being much more of a solutions developer and provider," he added.