There's an opportunity emerging for resellers with an interest in point-of-sale equipment, or integrators with the capacity to develop a new application in the customer loyalty genre.
It's called Visual Card from Star Micronics, and, according to local managing director Leon Howe: "It's a snarler of a product."
Howe was last week chattering like a bridegroom about Visual Card and the potential business associated with the system.
The printer vendor has diversified from its document heritage via docket printing mechanisms and point-of-sale printers to smart cards. But as Howe was told at a recent card-fest: "This system makes smart cards smarter."
Simply put, while recording data on its magnetic strip, the Visual Card system updates whatever information the user wants to maintain on a magnetic particle display window (not unlike your old Etch-a-sketch) every time the card is run through the machine.
The display can be wiped and reprinted up to 10,000 times, so it will have a long enough life to meet the needs of even the most diligent customer. Anyone who needs or wants an updated record of, say, their frequent flyer status, their remaining credit, or their outstanding balance on a lay-buy, will be able to read the printed message left on the card each time it runs through the machine - no docket required, the information and message is printed on the card.
According to Howe, there are developers jumping over themselves to bring applications to market, and he pointed to the gaming industry, customer loyalty programs and retail point-of-sale as some of the many examples of where the system can be implemented.
"Even if a reseller does not currently have experience or expertise in point-of-sale or customer loyalty applications, the concept is not difficult to grasp and we will support them through and after the sale," Howe said.
He added that a single reader/writer/printer unit starts from around $2000, and Star is already working on local card production facilities to cater for the anticipated demand.
By the way, according to Howe, Star Micronics has the technology stitched up by patents all over the world, so don't wait for someone else's version.
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