By Mike Monocello, chief editor
Day 2 of RetailNOW can be summed up with one word: momentum. My day started at 6:30am for the vendor working group meeting. For those who don't know, this meeting started a few years ago as a means for vendor members of the RSPA to have open lines of communication with the organization. Why is this important to VARs? The number one concern of vendor members of the RSPA is the health of the POS channel and helping you succeed. Some of the ideas this group has been working on over the past few years are now coming to fruition, which means there are some exciting things coming down the road for VARs. I'll let RSPA President Joe Finizio share the news in the near future. Additionally, this year's meeting had the highest number of vendors in attendance, with quite a few new attendees.
Later in the morning, Business Solutions magazine's President Jim Roddy moderated a panel of industry leaders in which all the panelists shared their thoughts on the state of the POS space. Without a doubt, all of the panelists expressed positive feelings toward the current state — and future outlook — of the POS channel. In short, the momentum of economic recovery is being felt by all. However, it should be noted that the panelists feel that the path to success in the future will probably look different than today's. Indeed, terms like software-as-a-service, hardware-as-a-service, and even service-as-a-service, were used in describing sales models that you're going to want to understand, if not adopt for your own business.
Following the day's education, the expo floor opened and was packed with attendees. Finizio commented on day 1 that attendance was up, and this was very apparent by looking down the packed show aisles. Every VAR I spoke with had positive things to say about the expo floor in terms of the variety of exhibitors and number and variety of solutions on display. They weren't just talking about traditional POS hardware and software vendors. Of course, there was plenty of traditional POS innovation on exhibit, but there were also many solutions that once sat on the periphery many VAR's line cards and now are becoming serious revenue-generating opportunities (e.g. mobile POS, video surveillance). One of the great quotes I heard today was "selling POS is fun again." True, there are many things to be excited about. For instance, look at the way smartphones are enhancing and influencing consumer shopping experiences. You should be asking where your solutions fit and how you can help your customers leverage this trend.
The day ended with a cocktail reception and awards dinner (again, very well attended). Highlights include Dave McCarthy from DUMAC (featured in the July 2010 issue of BSM) receiving the H.O. Whistler Award for his dedication and service to RSPA, and awards given to PC America, Cutting Edge Solutions, Macro Integration Solutions, POS2GO, MAGSTAR, Future POS of Texas, and ATX.
Additionally, BSM proudly accepted the Gold Vendor Award of Excellence as an outstanding provider of service to the POS industry. Paul Roth, of Roth Cash Register, was inducted to the RSPA hall of fame as a reseller, and Dr. Robert Collings and Murray Rubin from Data Terminal Systems were inducted into the hall of fame as vendors. Finally, Brad Holaway of Copperstate Restaurant Technologies passed the gavel as outgoing Chairman of the Board to Jason Cowan of Cowan's Retail Systems. In his acceptance speech, Cowan remarked on the momentum the organization as been experiencing, and committed to help further the cause and help lead the industry to even greater prosperity.