"I've been in and out of point of sale for
over 30 years. We decided about four years ago that we needed to use .NET, SQL
Server and those sorts of products to deliver, through the smarts of the
Internet, instantaneous data using
a hosted model," said Houden, the Chief Executive of Task.
"We've started off with franchise businesses
but we've also put it into a couple of large race track venues."
Well known Australian franchise names such as
Muffin Break, Jamaica Blue, Donut King, Michel's Patisserie and Brumby's Bread,
amongst others, are involved in the 1300 store rollout across Australia.
According to Houden the big differentiator between
the Task Retail tracking system and others is that data is tracked in real time
through a central location.
"It's data that's coming back to the central
location instantaneously," he said.
"A lot of franchised businesses have worked on
the process of that data has to be pushed to rather than pulled back by a
server. So the data could be up to a couple of months old before it gets back
from the franchisee to the franchisor".
"With this system, you get instantaneous data
within a second. So we can now introduce things like global loyalty and other
technologies such as multimedia marketing can be pushed down to the stores
driving marketing panels.
"We've just introduced blue-tooth marketing
into shopping centres. If you're walking into a Starbuck's coffee shop, a
Muffin Break store might want to automatically send you a message saying that
if you come and buy a coffee from them they will give you a free muffin."
Houden said that through the command centre
franchisors can provide a vast array of instantaneous retail sales information
to its franchisees and help them, where ever they are located, to maximise
their potential sales.
“We monitor more than 1300 stores in Australia and
we expect to sign large deals with global retail chains before the end of the
year” said Houden.
“We have created the future of retail with this new
technology and command centre by connecting the web to any retail counter or
“We have built the Global Support Command Centre on
the expectation that we will soon expand into the US, UK and China. A number of
large retail franchise operators in overseas markets are very interested in how
our software can deliver instant information updates.
Here in Australia a large franchisor might have 600
stores. In the US they could have 16,000.
The centre consists of six large panel screens that
provide a real-time world-view, or a data dashboard, of the performance of any
of the store locations that Task Retail connects to its network. Task Retail
has integrated a suite of technologies into its offering, including Google
Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth mapping technology, SMS and Bluetooth.
According to Houden, the centre already tracks more
than a million retail transactions every day in Australia, and will link to
international computer networks as the company expects to sign contracts in
Task Retail Technology’s Xchangexec software
delivers key diagnostics information on how franchise, retail stores and the
hospitality industry are tracking in sales, provides prompts on how to maximise
sales, provides visibility into their critical operations, and is designed to
ensure their own IT networks are working properly.
Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth technology
is used to provide retailers with up to the minute satellite information that
helps them alter sales strategies based on a multitude of data fed to them.
Houden said the company’s software can save retail
chains millions of dollars in lost revenue opportunities by streamlining every
aspect of their business operations. He said after travelling extensively
around the world in the past year, Task Retail Technology has been informed by
major global retail chains that its real-time web-based retail point of sale
technology is a world-first.
“The magic of our software is that the information
produced is in real-time, as we have harnessed the power of the Internet to
provide our customers with transaction-based information direct from the retail
counter,” said Houden.
“We have created a groundbreaking piece of software
technology, and we expect to grow exponentially in the international market in
the next few years.”
Houden told iTWire that his company expects to
enlist the "help" of mutlinational players such as NCR and Microsoft
to break into international markets.
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