Diebold's AEVI builds multitasking into the point of sale
As consumers adopt mobile wallets or in-app payments, it leaves some acquirers and merchants struggling to keep up — especially if their current point-of-sale systems struggle to handle multiple software programs and apps.
Conversion to a "smart POS" with cloud-based apps is becoming more common, but this trend leaves merchants in need of tools to manage and open apps in a way they can operate simultaneously as much as possible.
Paderborn, Germany-based AEVI International, in its third year with Diebold Nixdorf as a major shareholder, says its open payments ecosystem is addressing those issues with white-label software called AppFlow for acquirers, developers and service providers to target small and mid-size merchants.
The software is designed to make POS apps work together, thus making it easier to deliver services such as loyalty and rewards programs, special offers or business management tools. It suits the company's mission of viewing the POS as a "point of interaction" through which to engage the consumer.
AEVI's move toward a developer-friendly setup allows the acquirers to compete with the types of platforms that Square Terminal or First Data's Clover can offer, said Thad Peterson, senior analyst with Aite Group.
"The positioning is that everyone is trying to get an edge in differentiation with the acquirers and processors," Peterson said. "Without having a Square or Clover platform, they can be fairly limited in what they can offer in terms of additional apps."
Even a processor like Vantiv, considered in the forefront of integrated payments after its acquisition of Mercury Payments, turned to AEVI last year to complement what it was already offering merchants. In that agreement, AEVI small and midsize merchant offerings are available through Vantiv's open developer platform app.
In the same manner, AEVI is looking at AppFlow as vendor agnostic on an open platform. It's something that closed platforms are lacking, said Nicky Koopman, vice president of content and value-added services at AEVI.
"We want to open it up and help the merchant for what he needs, something that fits with every payment option," Koopman said. "It helps acquirers bring an offer to merchants that fits them and it can be a mix-and-match of devices, apps and payment methods going through AppFlow."
The software essentially allows apps to exchange data with each other without integration. A merchant can open a loyalty app, go back to the POS and then back to loyalty without opening and closing separate app windows. The customer at checkout would not notice any change or delay in the process.
"This is huge for developers because it saves them a lot of time and money when doing customized integrations," Koopman said. "For the merchant, it means three or four apps that work for him can come together seamlessly."
AEVI isn't particularly concerned with what other fintech or payment providers are developing because it views its software as complementary. It is open to working with any hardware, payments or business app provider and developer for the benefit of the acquirer and merchant.
In the same way it is difficult for a consumer to know for sure what types of applications would be beneficial to add to a smartphone, merchants also have a difficult time determining what apps will work with those already on their networks. In many cases, they fear any type of software upgrade could unwittingly "break" the POS.
Software that can help all apps work together, essentially allowing a merchant to open several app windows at the same time, makes it easier to choose the correct ones for a network, Koopman said
"That is where we really come in and help the merchant bank come up with a proposition that will be spot-on for a specific merchant, whether it is a quick-serve restaurant or something needed at a beauty shop or coffee shop," Koopman said.
Acquirers and banks are in the "same place now working with smart POS that people used to be with the advent of the latest smartphone" in that they are on a learning curve and understanding they have to start offering something that is relevant to merchants, Koopman added.
AEVI also has operations in the U.K. and Czech Republic. It works with NetPay, Natixis, WorldPay, Commonwealth Bank and Rabobank, among others.