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Author Topic: Request: Know anyone who works for Aloha / Radiant Systems?  (Read 5699 times)
whitslack
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July 01, 2012, 09:24:36 PM
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Idea: Augment Radiant Systems' "Aloha" restaurant point-of-sale software to include a per-table Bitcoin payment QR code on every printed ticket and to credit Bitcoin payments sent to such addresses to the appropriate tables. Bit-Pay or Paysius would provide on-the-fly payment conversions to USD at a price less than processing a credit card, making the proposition attractive for restaurant owners. The QR code would include the payment address and the ticket total, making the transaction super easy for customers and staff.

Problem: There is no incentive for Radiant Systems to add Bitcoin functionality to Aloha.

Question: Does anyone know if Aloha supports third-party plugins? Does anyone here know anyone who works for Radiant Systems?
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Stephen Gornick
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July 02, 2012, 06:31:16 AM
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Idea: Augment Radiant Systems' "Aloha" restaurant point-of-sale software to include a per-table Bitcoin payment QR code on every printed ticket and to credit Bitcoin payments sent to such addresses to the appropriate tables. Bit-Pay or Paysius would provide on-the-fly payment conversions to USD at a price less than processing a credit card, making the proposition attractive for restaurant owners. The QR code would include the payment address and the ticket total, making the transaction super easy for customers and staff.

Problem: There is no incentive for Radiant Systems to add Bitcoin functionality to Aloha.

Question: Does anyone know if Aloha supports third-party plugins? Does anyone here know anyone who works for Radiant Systems?


We come not to integrate with the proprietary vendors, but to bury them.

Some open source alternatives:

 - http://floreantpos.com
 - https://twitter.com/#!/sambapos
 - http://lemonpos.org/screens


whitslack
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July 02, 2012, 06:35:53 AM
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We come not to integrate with the proprietary vendors, but to bury them.
Okay, you try that approach. I'll keep trying what I believe to be a more marketable approach.
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July 02, 2012, 03:22:12 PM
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Yeah on the way to elimination is integration. Otherwise it will never leave the cradle due to infant mortality because of small market share and lack of adoption.

There is someone that works in CC processing that might have an inroad, although that would be with any and all machines that take credit cards, not just one manufacturer (from what I understand, it is system-agnostic).
Search around, there's a thread somewhere.

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whitslack
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July 02, 2012, 03:44:16 PM
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There is someone that works in CC processing that might have an inroad, although that would be with any and all machines that take credit cards, not just one manufacturer (from what I understand, it is system-agnostic).
Search around, there's a thread somewhere.
I have seen photos of a mockup/prototype VeriFone POS terminal running software that allows Bitcoin transactions. That's exciting, but, in my opinion, the fact that it is not integrated into the hospitality software will make it too onerous for staff to use in the real world. I believe our best shot of breaking into the mainstream marketplace will be to reduce operational friction to essentially zero for both the merchant and the customer.
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July 02, 2012, 03:48:18 PM
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There is someone that works in CC processing that might have an inroad, although that would be with any and all machines that take credit cards, not just one manufacturer (from what I understand, it is system-agnostic).
Search around, there's a thread somewhere.
I have seen photos of a mockup/prototype VeriFone POS terminal running software that allows Bitcoin transactions. That's exciting, but, in my opinion, the fact that it is not integrated into the hospitality software will make it too onerous for staff to use in the real world. I believe our best shot of breaking into the mainstream marketplace will be to reduce operational friction to essentially zero for both the merchant and the customer.
Sorry, this is the one I was referring to: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=88226.0

There are a lot of complex hurdles with that implementation, but isis seems to be confident that what he is developing will be robust enough for POS use almost anywhere.

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whitslack
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July 02, 2012, 04:02:37 PM
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Sorry, this is the one I was referring to: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=88226.0
Thanks for the pointer. I personally wouldn't use that system due to security concerns. The only reason I am okay with entering my ATM PIN into arbitrary POS terminals is that transactions in the traditional banking system are all reversible. Obviously not the case with Bitcoin, so I wouldn't go around giving merchant equipment the ability to sign Bitcoin transactions on my behalf. The transaction needs to be signed by my own device, with no possibility for skimming. A smart card could only meet that requirement if it could be programmed to understand the Bitcoin transaction format and if it had some way of asking the user directly to verify the transaction destination and amount. That would require a pretty advanced smart card, and in turn that would cripple the adoption rate of the technology, probably fatally so.

I'm pretty certain that the path forward must be intercompatible with the path forged to date. It must be possible for customers to pay merchants by scanning a QR code using a Bitcoin wallet app on their smartphones or by using an SMS-based wallet service. That means the payment slip from the merchant must include a QR code, or (in the near future) the merchant's NFC-enabled POS terminal must support transmitting a Bitcoin address over NFC.
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July 02, 2012, 04:24:40 PM
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Sorry, this is the one I was referring to: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=88226.0
Thanks for the pointer. I personally wouldn't use that system due to security concerns. The only reason I am okay with entering my ATM PIN into arbitrary POS terminals is that transactions in the traditional banking system are all reversible. Obviously not the case with Bitcoin, so I wouldn't go around giving merchant equipment the ability to sign Bitcoin transactions on my behalf. The transaction needs to be signed by my own device, with no possibility for skimming. A smart card could only meet that requirement if it could be programmed to understand the Bitcoin transaction format and if it had some way of asking the user directly to verify the transaction destination and amount. That would require a pretty advanced smart card, and in turn that would cripple the adoption rate of the technology, probably fatally so.

I'm pretty certain that the path forward must be intercompatible with the path forged to date. It must be possible for customers to pay merchants by scanning a QR code using a Bitcoin wallet app on their smartphones or by using an SMS-based wallet service. That means the payment slip from the merchant must include a QR code, or (in the near future) the merchant's NFC-enabled POS terminal must support transmitting a Bitcoin address over NFC.
Well, I also have reservations about that other system, but if it can be done properly then I would use it.
I think your idea and that could coexist, though. It just has a more limited market share.

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whitslack
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July 02, 2012, 04:28:24 PM
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I think your idea and that could coexist, though. It just has a more limited market share.
Agreed. I think it's smarter to pick off the low-hanging fruit first before moving on to solving the broader-based challenges.
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July 02, 2012, 09:40:21 PM
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Sorry, this is the one I was referring to: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=88226.0
Thanks for the pointer. I personally wouldn't use that system due to security concerns. The only reason I am okay with entering my ATM PIN into arbitrary POS terminals is that transactions in the traditional banking system are all reversible. Obviously not the case with Bitcoin, so I wouldn't go around giving merchant equipment the ability to sign Bitcoin transactions on my behalf. The transaction needs to be signed by my own device, with no possibility for skimming. A smart card could only meet that requirement if it could be programmed to understand the Bitcoin transaction format and if it had some way of asking the user directly to verify the transaction destination and amount. That would require a pretty advanced smart card, and in turn that would cripple the adoption rate of the technology, probably fatally so.

I'm pretty certain that the path forward must be intercompatible with the path forged to date. It must be possible for customers to pay merchants by scanning a QR code using a Bitcoin wallet app on their smartphones or by using an SMS-based wallet service. That means the payment slip from the merchant must include a QR code, or (in the near future) the merchant's NFC-enabled POS terminal must support transmitting a Bitcoin address over NFC.


I'm curious if you could work on the NFC-POS side for linkage to Ellet or bitcoincard.org?  Bitcoincard (if they ever get off the ground) uses NFC,...I think.

edit:

I realize mass adoption is one thing, but I'd love to have a bitcoincard and sign a tx from a table in my fav mex restaurant.

For the POS, how would you work blockchain awareness in to the POS?  I'm assuming the POS system would need near instantaneous knowledge of balances.

More to the point
http://www.quora.com/Can-Radiant-Systems-Aloha-POS-integrate-with-3rd-party-web-based-applications-If-yes-how
whitslack
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July 02, 2012, 09:54:05 PM
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I'm curious if you could work on the NFC-POS side for linkage to Ellet or bitcoincard.org?  Bitcoincard (if they ever get off the ground) uses NFC,...I think.
BitcoinCard does not use NFC. It uses an ISM-band radio. (EDIT: NFC is but one application of ISM radio. Not all ISM radio baseband software would implement the NFC protocol, and I have to believe that BitcoinCard would not, as NFC is much shorter range than BitcoinCard claims.)

I don't have any experience in writing code for POS terminals. My OP concerned integrating Bitcoin payments into Aloha, which is a POS software solution that runs on a computer, not a customer-facing POS terminal such as you'd find at a supermarket.
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July 02, 2012, 09:59:48 PM
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More to the point
http://www.quora.com/Can-Radiant-Systems-Aloha-POS-integrate-with-3rd-party-web-based-applications-If-yes-how

Yes, Squirrel and Aloha, etc.

Good luck.
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July 02, 2012, 10:12:33 PM
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All that's really needed to get this rolling would be a hook that allows supplying a dynamically generated image to be included on the printed ticket. Support for that surely must already exist in order to support printing unique, scannable coupons for customer loyalty programs. Then the other half of the effort would be programmatically informing the system when a table has paid, which could even be implemented using FindWindow and PostMessage in the worst case.

Seems pretty doable. I wonder where I could find a copy of Aloha to hack on…
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July 03, 2012, 01:52:17 AM
 #14

Idea: Augment Radiant Systems' "Aloha" restaurant point-of-sale software to include a per-table Bitcoin payment QR code on every printed ticket and to credit Bitcoin payments sent to such addresses to the appropriate tables. Bit-Pay or Paysius would provide on-the-fly payment conversions to USD at a price less than processing a credit card, making the proposition attractive for restaurant owners. The QR code would include the payment address and the ticket total, making the transaction super easy for customers and staff.

Problem: There is no incentive for Radiant Systems to add Bitcoin functionality to Aloha.

Question: Does anyone know if Aloha supports third-party plugins? Does anyone here know anyone who works for Radiant Systems?

I recommend staying as far away from Radiant systems as you can.  Maybe they have changed in 10 years, but they did not seem friendly or easy to work with when I had to. 

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July 18, 2012, 08:07:20 PM
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I see how much RevelSystems and NCR Silver are charging for their software that runs on iPads.    Revel's is $2K for the hardware + $80/month.

 - http://allthingsd.com/20120718/the-food-truck-revolution-now-armed-with-point-of-sale-ipads/

The recent credit card company judgement allows retailers to add a surcharge to cover the cost of accepting credit cards:
 - http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/07/16/settlement-allows-retailers-to-surcharge-for-credit-card-use-will/

I can see merchants doing that and finding lots of their customers start paying with paper money and coins and learning even that isn't the ideal situation either.  There indeed seems to be a place for bitcoin here.


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July 18, 2012, 08:12:48 PM
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The recent credit card company judgement allows retailers to add a surcharge to cover the cost of accepting credit cards:
 - http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/07/16/settlement-allows-retailers-to-surcharge-for-credit-card-use-will/
Wow, that's pretty big news. Sweet.

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July 19, 2012, 12:50:01 AM
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The recent credit card company judgement allows retailers to add a surcharge to cover the cost of accepting credit cards:
 - http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/07/16/settlement-allows-retailers-to-surcharge-for-credit-card-use-will/

I can see merchants doing that and finding lots of their customers start paying with paper money and coins and learning even that isn't the ideal situation either.  There indeed seems to be a place for bitcoin here.

This happened in Australia years ago and in practice there are very few businesses which add the surcharge.  This is possibly because interchange fees were reduced at the same time and merchants now receive the money from transactions in their bank account within a couple of days, so they're ahead financially even if they don't pass on the cost to the consumer. 

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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