Welcome to 2019! I'd like to thank our loyal customers in Perth as we now have over 150 customers using Abacus POS in WA, from cafes, retail businesses, breweries, restaurants and racecourses through to several new quick service restaurant franchises that are making their debut in Australia. We continue to offer hospitality technology consulting, new POS installations, hardware sales and local support.
Abacus POS is the most innovative on the market, delivering a front of house experience that is second to none and a comprehensive back end full of innovative features such as in-built Gift Cards and Loyalty and it integrates well with Deputy for Rostering, and Xero for Accounting. Take a look at how Chicking in Perth and Applecross, Juicy Bao Bao in Northbridge, Authentic Bites in Allendale Square and Zensaki at QV1 use it to keep the orders turning over in their busy lunch time service periods next time you visit them.
Abacus POS being a Native IOS app, is unlike it's competitor Kounta that uses html5 (basically a fancy web page sitting as a skin on the Safari browser). For this reason Abacus offers stability, speed and usability benefits including a true OFFLINE mode that allows all the POS workstations and Kitchen Screens to continue to work if the Internet goes down. Kounta just can't do that and its one of the reasons we continue to convert our old Kounta customers over to Abacus! But don't take my word for it - read about why Native Mobile Apps are better here.
On the EFTPOS front, Abacus paired with Westpac's Presto Smart terminal now offers redundancy like no other payment solution. The integration between these two means that if your main internet connection is down, integrated Card payments can still be made, its a clever solution and you get the benefit of Westpac's great rates! The Abacus POS iPad communicates directly with the Presto Smart terminal, that can then contact the Westpac cloud via its built-in 4G mobile data connection.
Some customers have asked us recently how we can download Abacus directly from a web link when we install it and also have updates delivered simply by clicking the 'Update App' button within the POS, without having to log into the Appstore and download it from there. The reason is because Abacus has an Enterprise agreement with Apple to be able to publish their software this way - its certainly not illegal as some of our competitors have been saying to put potential customers off using Abacus.
Abacus is also available on the App Store if you do want to download it as any Apple Certified Vendor is, but the most up to date version is delivered from within the App, straight to your iPad. This provides Abacus with the ability to rapidly provide new features or bug fixes, without having to wait on Apple approving every App store release that can take up to two weeks. Its just another example of the innovative approach Abacus takes.
I wish our customers all the best for 2019, and look forward to meeting new business owners and assisting with your hospitality and retail technology needs this year. Please contact us if you'd like to book a demo of Abacus at our centrally located office in North Perth!
Cloudifi is proud to have delivered the first of the new zone-based Loc8 Table Locating solutions in Western Australia to The Island Brew House at Elizabeth Quay.
Used to help staff find customers to deliver their orders in this uniquely laid out venue, Loc8 is proving to enable faster service, a better guest experience, and less frustration for staff!
The new Loc8 system is delivered through the magic of Bluetooth iBeacon technology, with beacons discretely placed throughout the venue both inside and outside using weatherproof covers.
The electronics inserted into the Table Number stands communicate with the beacon network that relays the table number back to the Loc8 router, which displays its position on a Table Map iPad up near the counter.
For enquiries about a system for your venue please contact us.
The market for Point of Sale solutions in Perth is still strong and growing if the enquiries we receive are anything to go by. We are consistently busy deploying Cloud POS solutions for Hospitality but less so Retail I must say though. The Retail segment does seem to be suffering a little at the moment but as they say people always need to eat - and so Hospitality buoyant.
We do however hear around town that the traditional POS providers are struggling to sell their antiquated server and Windows computer POS terminals that are ugly and bulky! That doesn't stop them spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) about iPad based technologies like Abacus, Kounta and Vend.
Myth 1 - WiFi isn't reliable
So as we all know iPads connect to your Local Area Network (LAN) in your business using WiFi and therefore a reliable WiFi connection is crucial for receipts to reach your printer and orders to get to the kitchen on time for example. I've seen for myself unreliable WiFi networks and there's always a good reason for this. One of these is frequency congestion - the average 'home' grade router given away by most Internet Service Providers doesn't offer WiFi over the 5Ghz frequency, and the more common 2.4 Ghz frequency is sometimes so congested in commercial precincts that it is practically unusable.
A properly engineered WiFi network, giving adequate coverage and using equipment from a reputable Enterprise Vendor is essential for reliable WiFi. We favour the Cisco Meraki range, not only for its excellent WiFi coverage, but also its remote management capability - which saves our customers money on support call outs because we can easily do things like diagnose cable faults, Internet outage issues because of their ISP, and even tell when their printers aren't turned on!
If an owner can't afford this premium product then our backstop is TP-Link equipment which we have also found offer solid and reliable WiFi. However, TP-Link doesn't offer the remote management capability, nor some of the advanced features that Meraki offers such as Facebook integrated Guest WiFi, control of the bandwidth available to Guests, or being able to control the Internet sites your staff can visit whilst at work, in addition to many other unique enterprise features.
Myth 2 - iPads aren't durable
We hear this a lot from customers that have told us competitors have said it to them when trying to convince them to buy their antiquated PC based systems. The facts speak for themselves - of over 200 iPads we have deployed in the field in the past 3 years, we have had 1 that needed to be repaired because it had a hairline crack in it (I suspect blunt force trauma!). There has been none that have been drowned by spillages, none broken because of dropping (we use the Lifeproof covers on mobile waiter-pads), none with operating system problems (unlike computers there is no moving hard disk in an iPad), none whose power supply has died.
iPads are now an amazingly reliable device for use in commercial settings. With the advent of the iPad Pro 12.9 inch screen, there is even a decent size screen available which makes the argument for using them as a POS terminal even more compelling. They give a modern look to your business, take up less space, are easy to move from counter to counter and offer a consistent user experience whether that be on a fixed POS terminal, or a hand held device.
Cloudifi offers several different stands and mounting options for iPads, which can be viewed at our 'Demo Cafe' in our office. Everything from a very minimalist stand to something more chunky and robust to suit a high use environment eg. a supermarket or deli cash register.
Myth 3 - You need an Internet connection all the time
All the Point of Sale solutions we sell will work off-line and upload their data to the Cloud when the Internet connection is returned. With Abacus POS in particular, there is no discernible difference using the POS when the Internet is up or down. It will happily record your sales for days if not weeks without an Internet connection, then upload all the stored data once connectivity returns. A staff member using the POS terminal will not experience any degradation in performance without an Internet connection.
Something many people forget is that if you want to accept credit card or Eftpos for payment you still need an Internet connection, either via your LAN or via the 4G mobile data network (most Eftpos terminals ship with a mobile data SIM in them for backup). If having your Internet connection on all the time is critical for your business, then we can provision automatic failover from ADSL or NBN to 4G in the Cisco Meraki routers we sell and recommend. All you require is a Telstra USB mobile data modem and plan which plugs into the USB port on the back of the router. If the ADSL drops out, then 4G kicks in!
The benefit of these Cloud POS solutions and the way they are Internet delivered is also often overlooked by our competitors. Cloud POS solutions are the only ones you can see your sales data in real time from any device from anywhere you are connected to the Internet. You can make changes to your products remotely night or day, from work or home sitting on the couch and send your sales data to your Cloud Accounting solution automatically. You also get the peace of mind that your data is being backed up without having to worry about your computer at the office being stolen or the hard disk failing and losing everything.
Abacus Cloud POS works perfectly without an Internet connection and there is no perceptible difference to the performance of the POS.
One caveat however is that if you have an integrated EFTPOS solution like Tyro, then your POS will not be able to communicate to the Tyro cloud (which then sends the request to the Tyro terminal) and integrated EFTPOS will fail.
The workaround in this situation is to make a manual transaction on the Tyro terminal, as they all have a 3G Mobile Data SIM card in them to allow them to connect over this network.
Your sales data will still be saved, and then you can 'PUSH' this to the Cloud easily from within Abacus under 'Order History' when your Internet connection is restored.
Order printing, and printing of receipts will still work without an Internet connection as long as your WiFi router still advertises its WiFi SSID (network name) when it detects an internet connection is not present.
BE WARNED - some routers don't do this - and switch off the WiFi until the Internet (ADSL land line) comes back on.
If you need a router that works even when there is no internet connection talk to us.
The major issue we see when the Internet goes down is that customers complain of their orders not printing and the no. 1 reason for this is that their iPad tries to find an alternate WiFi network to connect to the Internet on when it detects the POS WiFi isn't delivering an Internet connection. This is a behaviour of the iPad, NOT the Point of Sale Software.
To ensure you can still print dockets in Off-line Mode
1) Check which WiFi network you are connected to - ensure the iPad is connected to the normal POS WiFi network at your venue.
2) Check that your printers are turned on.
If you still need assistance, please call us if you have a Valid service contract with Cloudifi.
If you'd like a service contract to ensure you have round the clock support with a guaranteed response time, please talk to us.
Cloudifi has brought it considerable experience in Cisco Meraki procurement to the fore with the launch of its Cloud Managed WiFi branded Cisco Meraki Web Store Cloudmanagedwifi today at http://www.cmwf.com.
We aim to bring our experience with the product, relationships with the Cisco Meraki USA team and support from our Cisco Meraki Distributor partners in the USA together to form the newest and most relevant Cisco Meraki supplier in the USA.
The Cisco Meraki web store has been carefully designed to make procurement of Cisco Meraki Licenses easy, capturing existing Serial Numbers at the time of order placement which allows fast processing by the Cloudifi, Inc. team.
The Cloudmanaged wifi platform will also be used to market Cloudifi's own Guest Connect Meraki Captive Portal for Guest WiFi Access that offers a simple and cost effective Guest Hotspot environment deeply integrated with Meraki to offer greater session control, authentication, policy and paid internet options.
Cloudmanagedwifi, a division of Cloudifi, Inc. will serve customers throughout the USA in all States of America and offer fast online ordering of the entire Cisco Meraki product range.
Hills Educational Foundation, first established in 1992, incorporates Hills International College, Hills Language College and Hills Golf Academy and was one of the first colleges in Australia purpose built for both Australian and International Students. It is a K-12, Co-ed and non-denominational day and boarding school situated on a truly beautiful 660 acre semi-rural area 40 kilometres from Brisbane, Queensland.
With a view to move to a 1:1 iPad device policy in the proceeding 12 months, Hills began investigating how they could deliver a seamless network experience for Students and Staff across the campus that would provide both the performance and ease of manageability the school was looking for.
Cisco Meraki was selected as the Vendor of choice over several competing technologies due to its unique combination of a solid Wi-Fi offering that incorporated robust Guest management features, a Cloud managed switch platform, an integrated Security Appliance, as well as robust Mobile Device Management capabilities all accessible from within the one Dashboard.
As the IT Manager Craig Montgomery explains "Meraki was the logical choice to use whether that was in the classrooms, dormitories, guest houses, outdoor areas, or on the golf greens". "Cloudifi were great when it came to clearly articulating their thoughts as to how the Meraki product range could be used to best fit our environment and serve our requirements, making the decision easy."
Ultimately, seventy five Access Points - either MR34, MR18 or MR66 models, twenty six MS220 Switches, four MS320 Switches, and an MX400 Security Appliance would be installed over a period of 7 days on site. The network was designed from the ground up to completely replace the existing legacy network incorporating the best design and security principles.
Cloudifi, that hails from across the country in Perth, provided the Meraki equipment, completed the design work and pre-config of the network in the Cloud Dashboard remotely, and then came to site and installed the equipment and conducted performance testing before leaving.
"It was no barrier to a successful implementation working with a partner that didn't have a local presence" Montgomery espouses. "With the Cloud Management of the Meraki network, it was all done before the guys arrived and now they just assist when needed in the Dashboard - what I see is what they can see. This really lowered our on-going support costs."
Cloudifi recently launched our Cloudmanagedwifi.com.au web shop, where you can purchase Cisco Meraki Products online for the first time in Australia! CloudManagedwifi.com.au is a division of Cloudifi Pty Ltd, a Meraki Australia Authorised Reseller. We're keen advocates of Cisco Meraki products and use them in our own solutions for customers. We sell the full range of Meraki products and are Cisco Meraki experts offering design and installation services. One of our team commented recently that Apple + Cisco = Meraki. From a design perspective it certainly looks like a love child of the two! However you look at it, Cisco Meraki's products are the most aesthetically pleasing, robust, feature rich and manageable products we've ever had the pleasure of using!