Revel Systems saw an opportunity in the power outage that halted the last Super Bowl. And it's an opportunity that has started to show results.
Revel's iPad-based point of sale system is designed to handle payments during a loss of power or Internet connectivity. And clients such as Alabama State University have already reaped the benefits of this feature.
ASU's football stadium is the first large-scale sports venue to use San Francisco-based Revel's POS system at all concession stands. After installing Revel's systems, the stadium lost power for about an hour during its first game Aug. 31.
If the power goes out in a setting using the Revel system, the iPads will continue to operate with 10-hour battery life, Revel CEO Lisa Falzone says. If the WiFi connection were to go out, the Revel system kicks into an offline mode, she adds.
"That's a key differentiator for us, that we have a true offline mode," Falzone says. "The clerks using the system would never know the difference during a power outage, they would just keep working."
Other mobile point-of-sale companies are adapting their technology to function during a power or Internet outage. In July, Groupon added an offline redundancy mode to its Breadcrumb POS app, allowing it to handle payments for up to an hour if a merchant's WiFi cuts out. And some merchants used Square's mobile card readers in the aftermath of last year's Superstorm Sandy, though Square's readers still required a smartphone with a data connection.
Revel's push into sports stadiums and concert venues is part of the company's goal to get its iPad POS system into larger retail settings. Revel announced late last year that it intended to expand into larger markets.
"We have done a lot of business in stores and restaurants, and when you look at a stadium, each concession stand acts like a separate restaurant," Falzone says.
As such, a sports stadium benefits from the restaurant management and inventory features in the Revel system. "If one hot dog stand is low on hot dogs, the system sends an alert through the back-end inventory reporting and calls for transferring hot dogs from stand A to stand B," Falzone says.
In addition, Revel's connectivity and mobility will make it easier for stadiums considering systems in which certain fans can pre-order food and beverages from their seats, she adds.
Two pro sports franchises are testing the Revel system, but Falzone could not disclose their names.
Each stadium operation is different, depending on the number of concession stands it operates and the type of network needed, Falzone says. Typically, stadium owners pay Revel $3,300 in upfront setup costs, and a $99 monthly fee per terminal. The stadiums continue to pay processing fees with their regular processors.
The Revel system can accept mag-stripe or EMV-chip cards, as well as mobile payments.
Revel uses its own sales staff to pursue potential stadium clients, but Falzone says the company has "interesting things in the pipeline" for independent sales organizations.
"ISOs represent a great channel for us," she says.
Fans who have signed up for Revel's cardholder identity security and uploaded their photo on the Revel website would have their photo appear on the Revel POS when making a payment, Falzone says. Revel added the photo verification feature in May in an effort to combat the use of stolen cards.
In June, Revel announced it had raised $10 million to increase its staff and open new offices in Asia and Europe.