TSYS links up with firm geared toward doing business with an iPad

Staff ReportsMay 17, 2014 

TSYS said it has expanded expansion its cloud- and tablet-based point-of-sale technology offerings by inking an agreement with a company called ShopKeep POS.

Designed and built by an experienced small business owner, ShopKeep makes it simpler for retail shop and restaurant owners across the country to start, manage and grow a successful business using an iPad.

"ShopKeep is a leader in tablet-based point of sale today," Craig Ludwig, TSYS senior director of product management, said in a staement. "That, together with a commitment to high quality customer care, is why we chose to partner with them."

Under the agreement, TSYS will offer the ShopKeep technology to clients as part of its payment processing services.

"Our mission is to support small businesses in every way we can, and as part of that we strive to work with the best partners in the business," Todd Lasher, a general manager and vice president with ShopKeep, said in a statement.

For more about the two companies, visit www.tsys.com and www.shopkeep.com.

Student from Moldova wins CSU business plan competition

An exchange student from Moldova, attending Columbus State University through the Georgia Rotary Student Program, recently received $5,000 by winning the 2014 Business Plan Competition through CSU's Turner College of Business.

Olga Cajaichin impressed the business plan competition judges with her 60-page business plan for Signature Services LLC, a personalized matchmaking agency in Hungary. She describes the company as providing traditional services with a touch of innovation. The services include matchmaking, real dating and event organizing.

"Each of the seven judges for this year's competition told me they were very impressed with the quality of the plans submitted," said Kirk Heriot, CSU's Ray and Evelyn Crowley Distinguished Chair of Entrepreneurship.

Cajaichin previously earned a double major in finance and accounting at Oxford Brookes University in Hungary before coming to Columbus State University to study business through a scholarship sponsored by the Rotary Club of Columbus. She is certified in marketing communications and speaks fluent English, Romanian and Russian. Spanish and French are secondary languages. Following her studies at CSU, she hopes to remain in the United States.

The second place winner in the business plan competition was Nick Kozee, who wrote about Specialty Services, a proposed company in the construction industry. Third place went to Charles Greer, who wrote about Ascent, a company that makes a new energy bar that he contends tastes better than similar products. The competition recognizes second- and third-place winners with prizes of $1,000 and $500.

Heriot launched the annual Business Plan Competition in 2010. It aims to promote entrepreneurship and development of startups, to build bridges between the university and the Columbus area, and to encourage commercialization of promising ideas, the university said.

RFID research center relocating to Auburn University

Auburn University will soon be home to one of the world's leading research centers in the area of radio frequency identification, or RFID, technology.

In June, the RFID Research Center will move from the University of Arkansas to Auburn University, opening the door for research collaborations initially involving the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and the College of Human Sciences.

Since its founding at the University of Arkansas in 2005, the RFID Research Center has been at the epicenter of research in RFID, earning national and international recognition for its work. When it opens in June as the RFID Lab at Auburn University, it will be reunited with its founder and former director, Harbert College of Business Dean and Wells Fargo Professor Bill Hardgrave.

"RFID technology is increasingly critical to the ability of business and industry to excel in a global, networked marketplace," Auburn University President Jay Gogue said in a statement. "The new lab will serve as an engine of economic growth as it develops technologies and processes that improve efficiency and customer satisfaction."

Hardgrave said the lab will serve as a hub for thought leadership involving industry-leading companies interested in developing and exploring applications for RFID -- the use of wireless systems to transmit data from microchip tags on products to receivers.

Hardgrave began working with RFID in 2003 while at the University of Arkansas. Walmart's interest in having suppliers affix RFID tags at the pallet and case level to improve supply chain visibility ignited research efforts that eventually grew into the RFID Research Center. More than 60 industry-leading companies have contributed to the development of the center as a neutral, multidisciplinary research site.

"Moving to Auburn is a big step up for the RFID program," RFID Lab Managing Director Justin Patton said. "With Auburn's world-class programs in wireless engineering, apparel studies, and supply chain, among others, industry sponsors are excited for the lab to simultaneously continue to focus on RFID in retail and broaden its scope to other areas within retail and outside retail, such as food safety."

The lab will also maintain a research relationship with the University of Arkansas' Sam M. Walton College of Business Department of Supply Chain Management and the Center for Advanced Spatial Technology.

RFID has advanced well beyond its initial application as a supply chain tool to track inventory. Since the early 2000s, retailers like Walmart, Macy's and American Apparel have found other applications for RFID. They rely heavily on microchip RFID tags to do such things as improve on-shelf availability, detect and prevent theft, find a product's present location, verify its sell-by date and track quantities sold.

The 13,000-square-foot RFID Lab, located in a converted supermarket a few miles from the heart of campus, will include factory, warehouse, distribution center and various retail, grocery and convenience store formats -- including mall apparel and high-end fashion boutiques.

The lab will focus on the quickly changing face of physical retail stores in the modern era of widely available "disruptive technology," and will facilitate experimentation with future store layout and shopping experience concepts. Patton said the lab's research broadening interests will also include visual identification technologies and food safety/quality.

"Why can't consumers shop and compare research online for groceries and track them back to field, just like we can track a TV back to the factory?" Patton said. "Modern shoppers need more information to really understand that they're getting good, healthy, environmentally responsible food."

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