By Andrea Strle, Business Solutions magazine
A cloud-based POS application, 58 touchscreen terminals, and a complete fiber-optic backbone installation equal an unusual project at an outdoor event center.
Carlisle Events has been running car, truck, and motorcycle events at its 150-acre site in rural south-central Pennsylvania for nearly four decades. But until recently, when the company hired VAR Delaware Business Solutions (DBS), little had changed about the way the business managed its financial transactions. Guests at Carlisle’s events could only pay by cash at the various food/ beverage mobile vendors that accompanied each event, which meant Carlisle was losing potential additional revenue from people who preferred to pay by credit card. Furthermore, the company had no point of sale (POS) system. They were literally using cigar boxes to collect the cash.
Carlisle Events knew it had to make a change. And while the company anticipated push back from its food and beverage vendors, many of whom had worked with them since their inception, Carlisle realized it had to embrace current technology or risk alienating its guests.
Carlisle was referred to DBS by several of the VAR’s clients. The goal was to update Carlisle’s POS system, helping achieve better accountability while offering a variety of payment methods for guests. DBS secured the job, beating out a handful of other bidders by being able to install everything from the fiber-optic backbones and Internet connectivity to software, hardware, and network security
“We were the only company to offer a complete solution,” says Bill Fultz, president of DBS. “That’s a lesson we have learned. The more services and overall solution you are able to provide a client the more likely you are to get opportunities like this.”
Overcome Challenging POS Installations
DBS knew this project would be challenging — a 150-acre farm field with no Internet connectivity and no electricity, 45 different food companies and skeptical vendors to train, and installing POS terminals in a semi-outdoor environment exposed to sun, heat, cold, rain, and lightning storms. To meet the challenge, DBS installed 58 POSIFLEX KS6900 series POS terminals and POSIFLEX customer pole displays. The terminals feature POSIFLEX’s patented die-cast aluminum chassis for maximum heat diffusion, 15-inch TFT LCD display screens, Intel Atom 1.8 GHz CPUs, and support for Win 7 Pro and other operating systems. Being fan-free, the KS6900 series reduces energy consumption, and eliminates a potential point of mechanical failure, reducing service costs.
“We selected POSIFLEX KS6900 terminals because we have had overwhelming success in deploying thousands of these units — many in outdoor locations,” Fultz says. “These units have performed reliably because they have a limited number of moving parts and are sealed from moisture.”
The installation, which included running a fiberoptic network backbone infrastructure across the property, training staff, and deploying the equipment, was completed in 45 days. This was quicker than any install of this size DBS had previously performed, Fultz says, but they knew they had to finish before upcoming scheduled events at the Carlisle Fairgrounds so the client could reap the benefits of the new solution. In fact, much of the install took place on the last day before the first event because many of the locations on the grounds are in mobile food trailers. Placement and deployment couldn’t be done until the night prior to opening because the food vendors that participate in the events arrive a few days prior for setup.
“We had telephone poles installed to suspend aerial cables for long-distance fiber runs,” Fultz says. “On one occasion, a tractor trailer drove down a road and snagged a cable and broke the networking lines. While trying to repair the line with an electrician’s boom truck, the hydraulics broke on the lift. Our cabling team didn’t have time to wait for the lift to be repaired so they just strapped on spikes and climbed the poles to complete the work.”