Ready for Business

By Joseph C. Panettieri  |  Posted 2004-05-10 Print this article Print

Ready for Business

Burke turned to HSI, once again, as Hilton early this year prepared to open three major convention centers in Omaha and in Austin and Houston, Texas. The project called for 60 IBM SurePOS systems running Windows 2000. Unlike traditional PCs, IBMs POS systems are designed to withstand harsh retail and hospitality environments—where food, grease and grime are the norm.

Moreover, a small footprint makes the POS systems ideal for confined work spaces, and an infrared touch-screen display speeds customer transactions. SurePOS is ringing up strong sales among retail and hospitality customers. Recent converts include Sears Roebuck and Co., of Hoffman Estates, Ill., and Pathmark Stores, Inc., of Cateret, N.J.

Of course, the IBM hardware is worth little without POS applications. Enter HSI. During the recent Hilton projects in Nebraska and Texas, HSIs consultants spent a few weeks deploying, configuring and customizing the POS software within multiple Hilton settings.

"HSI designs solutions that work in banquet halls, catering facilities, gift shops, spa areas and just about every other point-of-sale location," said Burke. "And HSI designs its code to interface very easily with credit card vendors and other transaction systems."

Once the software and POS systems were properly configured, HSI offered training seminars to Hilton employees. "They were also on hand during our grand openings to answer employee questions and give everyone the confidence that they can handle the tasks at hand," said Burke.

With the POS systems in place, Burke is exploring additional technology solutions. In particular, Hilton is considering deploying wireless handhelds at its Omaha conference center. If the project gets the green light, the handhelds may speed poolside service for Hilton clientele.

Hilton has also deployed wireless kiosks in the lobbies of some of its hotels. The kiosks integrate with Hiltons OnQ front-desk management system to speed customer check-in and checkout and to issue digital room keys to clients who have reservations.

Naturally, HSI hopes to have a hand in Hiltons upcoming technology projects. Key focus areas for the solutions provider include biometrics, wireless handheld support, Internet reporting and menu maintenance.

"We tend to stay ahead of the curve," said HSI Director of Business Development Hill. "All of those features are available within our point-of-sale solutions today."

Joseph C. Panettieri ( has covered Silicon Valley since 1992 and most recently served as editorial director of New York Institute of Technology.


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