Ring Up POS System Sales with Intel® vPro™ Technology

July 31, 2016

The market for point-of-sale (POS) machines is extremely competitive, but POS machine designers can get an edge by appealing to two top retailer concerns: security and maintenance costs. Solve these problems for retailers and they are likely to line up to buy your money-saving solution.

How big of a problem are these two issues? According to Global IT service provider CompuCom, an IT visit can cost USD $187. A remote repair, on the other hand, costs just USD $12 – that’s 90 percent less expensive.

What about security? According to the Verizon 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report, the location of 70 percent of retail security breaches is the point of sale. This one remarkable fact shows just how vulnerable legacy POS machines are to identity thieves.

The first step to solving these issues for retailers is basing POS solutions on Intel® vPro platforms. Platform choices include the Intel® Core i5/i7 vPro processor family and the Intel® Xeon® processor E5-1600, E3-1500, and E3-1200 product families, as well as numerous Intel® chipsets and network adapters.

In cases where retailers are already using POS machines with these components, IT managers and managed service providers can activate the Intel vPro features in them. Intel® Setup and Configuration Software 9.0 makes implementing Intel vPro processor-based devices simple and fast. In a matter of minutes, many of the security and manageability features described here can be available.

Reducing Maintenance Costs

Intel® vPro technology and its remote device management component, Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), easily and inexpensively integrate with existing IT environments and management infrastructure. Once activated, Intel vPro technology and Intel AMT work together to support the following management capabilities:

  • Real-time access and full remote control over POS devices with integrated Keyboard-Video-Mouse (KVM) capabilities – even when operating systems or disk drives fail and the device won't boot (Figure 1)
  • Direct remote boots into the BIOS (via KVM support)
  • Highly secure remote resets of forgotten disk encryption passphrases or PINs
  • Remote system reimages and rebuilds
  • Preboot eXecution Environment (PXE) support to boot devices remotely using their PXE-capable network interface controller (NIC)
  • Remote shutdown and power-on to reduce energy consumption
  • Provision of a temporary POS device to enable users to continue working while a device is repaired or reimaged

Figure 1. Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) enables real-time access and full remote control over POS devices with integrated Keyboard-Video-Mouse (KVM) capabilities – even when operating systems or disk drives fail and the device won’t boot.

Improving Security at the Point of Sale

Any compromise of data generated at a retail POS is unacceptable – yet many retailers still rely on software-based authentication such as username and password. More than 50 percent of data breaches are caused by misused or stolen user credentials.

A retailer’s reputation can be lost right along with any customer identity information in a fraction of a second. Intel vPro technology helps protect against threats from hackers and identity thieves through exceptional, hardware-based security features. Its security takes a multilayered approach:

  • Protection through hardware-based security access featuring the multifactor authentication of Intel® Authenticate Technology. In addition, Remote Secure Erase and Intel® Enterprise Digital Fence provide excellent data protection for Intel® Solid State Drives.
  • Detection through security features such as BIOS Guard and OS Guard offering hardware-based device and platform protection against BIOS and malware attacks.
  • Correction through remote out-of-band patching and recovery.

Use Case Examples

Intel vPro technology solutions are helping retail operations all over the world save on maintenance. The Bank of New Zealand, for instance, uses Intel vPro technology for their ATMs to power up devices for delivering patches, distributing software updates, and enforcing security policies. When an ATM experiences a system crash, the bank avoids a costly truck roll by running diagnostics and remediating issues via a remote hardware-based KVM session.

METRO Cash & Carry, an international leader in self-service wholesale, uses Intel vPro technology to remotely update POS machines even if a location is closed and machines are switched off (Figure 2). According to internal tests, METRO is saving the equivalent of several IT workdays per month by employing the remote manageability features offered by Intel Core vPro processors.

Figure 2. Intel® vPro technology enables remotely updating POS machines even if a location is closed and machines are switched off.

Architectural Considerations

Intel vPro technology platforms include features and capabilities to tightly integrate with complex infrastructure components such as Microsoft Active Directory*, DNS, DHCP, public key infrastructure (PKI), enterprise WLAN environments, and standard toolsets such as Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and McAfee ePO Deep Command*. These infrastructure components are optional and depend upon IT requirements around security and investment in existing systems management products.

At the highest level, the recommended and most secure version of the solution architecture is comprised of the components shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4.

Figure 3. This diagram shows how to use Intel® vPro technology in a retail enterprise environment for the best results in terms of security and manageability.

Figure 4. This is a close-up of the Intel® vPro technology portion of Figure 3.

Putting Intel® vPro Technology on the Sales Floor

For over a decade now Intel has continuously improved the feature set of Intel vPro technology and the performance, stability, and reliability of Intel AMT. POS machine designers can choose from a wider variety than ever of embedded boards and POS systems offering Intel vPro technology, including new boards and systems featuring the latest 6th generation Intel® Core i5/i7 vPro processors. With advances in performance, productivity, data security, and identity protection, these processors provide Intel’s best solution yet for retail POS.

To provide a sample of what’s available from members of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance, we chose a selection based on the mini-ITX form factor. Mini-ITX is a good choice because components are on a single board, all I/O is defined and integrated on the board in a standard manner with standard commercial connections, and the boards are competitively priced.

Product Intel® vPro Processors Form Factor Features
Avalue EMX-Q170 6th generation Intel® Core i7/i5 processor product family Mini-ITX
  • 1x Intel® I219LM PCIe Gigabit Ethernet PHY
  • Realtek ALC892 HD Audio Codec
  • 5x SATA III, 1 x SATA III or 1 x mSATA III switch by Jumper
  • 1x full-size mPCIe with mSATA Support (SATA III)
  • 6x USB 2.0 by pin header
  • 1x PS2 keyboard/PS2 mouse with dual deck USB 2.0
  • Line-in, Mic-in, Line-out
  • Onboard Infineon SLB9665 support TPM 2.0
  • ATX Power
Ennoconn NSB-3011 Intel® Xeon® processors E3-1275 v5, E3-1268L v5, E5-1225 v5 Mini-ITX
  • DDR4 support (ECC memory support)
  • 2x GbE
  • USB 3,0
  • COM
  • Audio
Fujitsu D3433-S i7-6700 i7-6700TE i5-6500 i5-6500TE Mini-ITX
  • DDR4 2133 SO-DIMM up to 32GB
  • PCIe Gen3 and mPCIe
  • RAID
  • 2x GbE
  • TPM 2.0
  • 1x DVI
  • Audio
iBASE MI990 i7-6822EQ

i7-6820EQ

i5-6442EQ

i5-6440EQ

Mini-ITX
  • 6x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0
  • 4x SATA III
  • DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort, and 24-bit dual channel LVDS
  • 2x GbE
  • TPM 2.0
  • Digital I/O (4-in/4-out)
  • Watchdog timer
IEI KINO-AQ170 6th generation Intel® Core i7/i5 processor product family Mini-ITX
  • 3x display (HDMI 2.0/HDMI/Display Port/VGA/iDP)
  • SATA 6Gb/s
  • USB 3.0
  • 1x SMBus
  • Watchdog timer
Jetway JNF594-Q170 6th generation Intel® Core i7/i5 processor product family Mini-ITX
  • 3x display (HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI-D)
  • RAID
  • 1x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x mPCIe
  • Audio
  • 4x serial (2x RS232, 2x RS232/422/485)
  • CE, FCC, ROHS, REACH, EuP/ErP
MSI MS-98B2 I76600U Mini-ITX
  • 2x SO-DIMM DDR4-2133 up to 32 GB
  • 2x GbE
  • 2x SATA III
  • mSATA/mPCIe shared slot
  • Watchdog Timer
  • FCC, CE, C-Tick, VCCI, BSMI
Portwell WADE-8017 6th generation Intel® Core i7/i5 processor product family Mini-ITX
  • 3x display (HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA)
  • 1x PCIe x16
  • 1x M.2
  • Serial (1x RS-232/422/485; 1x RS-232; 4x RS-232 on pin header)
  • TPM 1.2 (optional)
  • MTBF over 120,000 hours at 40° C

Give Your POS Solutions the Intel® vPro Technology Advantage

Boost your sales by differentiating your POS systems using the manageability and security features that come by starting with a board offering Intel vPro technology. For a complete list of the hundreds of embedded systems and boards targeting the retail market and offering Intel vPro technology, see the Alliance’s Solutions Directory.

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