The Next Frontier For Telecom Providers: Merchant POS

Many industry insiders would agree that the past 15 years have represented a marvelous period for communications providers and VARS, who by many accounts, successfully led customers through a sometimes difficult — but ultimately beneficial — transition to emerging technology that has made an undeniable impact on business performance.

The mass introduction of Voice over IP (VoIP) technology in the late 1990s, followed in short order by a number of new collaboration, mobility, and customer engagement solutions, have helped businesses reap tremendous benefits in productivity and cost savings. In many regards, it was the providers themselves who drove this change by consistently extolling the virtues of new technology, and closely guiding customers through the grueling process of deploying new infrastructure. Vendors and VARs understood and conveyed to their customers that on the other side of the deployment process lie wonderful new features and benefits that would change the way business is conducted. The result was palpable: today a majority of businesses now deploy next-generation IP communications technology, and customers have been successfully indoctrinated to the notion that change is a positive, a concept that will continue to serve everyone well for years to come.

A similar opportunity to usher in new high-value solutions is just around the corner in the retail space. There is no doubt that credit card fraud is top of mind for nearly everyone; most importantly merchants that are facing new rules relating to the impending rollout of EMV or “chip cards” mandated for 2015. This new credit card security mandate will require significant changes in point of sale (POS) infrastructure for merchants in the United States. The overwhelming majority of merchants do not have POS terminals that are EMV-ready. Consider the opportunity: every merchant in the United States, a universe of some 10 million, must ensure that each one of their payment terminals is EMV certified. For providers that have traditionally served the space, the challenge is enormous. And the opportunity for new entrants is equally large.