Kyle Pugliese, Director of Payment Technologies and Security, Appetize Technologies Inc.

In our latest blog series, our Director of Payment Technologies and Security, Kyle Pugliese, will give us an inside look at upcoming changes to payment security, trending payment methods, and purchase-built hardware overtaking consumer devices.


Starting as a dishwasher over 15 years ago, I’ve worked my way through many facets of the hospitality and tech industries. The long hours spent in nearly every back and front-of-house position in restaurants and my various roles in hotels has provided me with a unique breadth of knowledge to bring to the technology field. I have degrees in Hospitality Management, Cybersecurity, and Information Sciences and Technology, which makes point of sale a fitting niche for my work. After my bachelor’s degree, I quickly shifted from the hospitality industry to work for a long-established point of sale company. After moving from an operations and implementation role into product management, I found my calling when finally landing on the product team at Appetize.
Bringing this foundational knowledge to Appetize has allowed me to innovate in new and exciting ways. Starting out by revamping our restaurant solution set, I’ve created a robust backlog to change user experiences for the better. Upon completion of our restaurant roadmap, I moved into my current role overseeing payments, security, and hardware. With Appetize’s strong development team, we are offering flexibility and speed of service that is leading the industry into new and frictionless experiences.

The Year of TLS

The term Transport Layer Security (TLS) has been trending lately, and there’s a good reason why. This year marks a major shift for security standards in the payment card industry. Warnings from merchant services, processors, and gateways have been announced as we approach the looming date of June 30, 2018. To understand why that date is so important, let’s first take a look at the role of TLS in payments.
Have you ever noticed whether a site uses http or https at the beginning of its web address? That added “s” is critical to securing data. Payment data follows the same principles as general internet traffic. Https traffic encrypts all data through standardized encryption methods. The most common encryption method is SSL, which is similar to TLS.
However, TLS is considered to be an upgrade from the somewhat outdated SSL. As computational power increases year over year, the older methods like SSL become easier to crack. TSL, however, has been adapted for a modern tech landscape, and it continues to stay up-to-date by releasing newer versions (so far, there’s TLS 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2). TLS 1.2 is currently leads the industry in security standards, ensuring that modern-day attacks are no match for its advanced encryption protocols.
So how does June 30, 2018 tie into the emergence of TLS as a security standards leader? That’s the cutoff date set by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, or PCI, for eliminating SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0 from systems that handle payments and card data. At Appetize, we’ve decided to remove TLS 1.1 as well to protect against  any possible security threats from that version. By May 2018, Appetize will run entirely on TLS 1.2, the newest protocol widely supported by operating systems. We’re going one step further than the PCI mandate to make sure our customers get the absolute best protection for every payment.

Speeding Up EMV

We all understand the value in speed of service whether we are the operator or the customer. The best experience has the least amount of friction between deciding what to get, ordering, and paying for the item. Although the liability shift happened years ago for EMV (EuroPay, Mastercard, Visa), we still haven’t seen it take over all industries as quickly as expected. That’s because it can make a major difference in how each payment functions. Whether it’s adding eight seconds to every customer transaction, having to buy expensive tablets that sit at every table, or simply not having a point-of-sale system that supports EMV, there’s been a lag in general adoption for the hospitality industry. However, innovative payment options may provide the catalyst for that change to finally take place.
With newer payment methods coming out nearly every year, we’re seeing payment options that are as secure as EMV but can continue to provide a frictionless experience. NFC (Near-Field Communication) and mobile payments like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay require physical proximity to the payment device, but are much faster and more secure than an EMV chip with signature at the cash register. Contactless cards like Paywave, which have been present offshore for years and intermittently in the U.S., are experiencing a big resurgence, as well, since they can provide EMV security at a faster rate. Last but not least, the EMV specification itself has been sped up through standards like Quick Chip, which simply cache and tokenize the card quicker. Without this, EMV can add eight or more seconds to every transaction.
Appetize supports all of the methods of payment mentioned above. Rapid adoption in the concession, quick service, and fast casual spaces is expected to continue throughout 2018 and beyond, subsequently driving multi service-round operations to switch to tableside payments. Providing frictionless mobility is one of our central goals at Appetize. Our focus on flexibility in devices (with the ability to upgrade for tomorrow’s payment methods) ensures that our customers are ready for whatever the ever-changing payment industry comes up with next.

Convertibles Aren’t Just for Cars

Mobility is causing disruptive innovation in nearly every industry thanks to the consumer-driven devices that have changed the way we live every day. In many ways, these are disposable devices; carriers incentivize us to constantly upgrade them, and we pay a simple monthly fee instead of upfront capital. Essentially , these devices aren’t an investment but rather something that we lease. The initial spillover of consumer devices into industry and purpose-built markets was especially disruptive. Hardware was either cheaper at the sake of being less robust and not purpose built (“jack of all, master of none”) or simply rugged enough to support a short life cycle with planned obsolescence.
This was a significant trend observed within the point of sale space around 2013-2016. iPads paved the way, being quickly followed by sleek Windows 10 and Android devices. As the mPOS market grew and gained revenue, hardware manufacturers decided to tap into the trend and its potential profitability. iPads are still widespread and solve some operators’ use cases perfectly. However, Android’s versatile hardware allowed consumer devices to be customized for industry-specific applications. As a result, POS devices could be mobile, smaller, rugged, extensible, and running current versions of operating systems while having greater longevity.
Extensibility and modularity are key to developing an efficient point-of-sale system. This flexibility allows peripherals to connect directly to the unit over USB, Bluetooth, or the network. By using power and communication hubs, Appetize offers industry-built tablets that convert from a traditional fixed POS unit with hard-wired peripherals to a mobile tablet that can be used for clienteling or line busting anywhere, anytime. Depending on which vertical is being used, customers can also take advantage of cellular connectivity, built-in scanners, and swappable batteries. When combined with Appetize’s Activate POS, these terminals provide purpose-built platforms to disrupt industries.


Kyle Pugliese
Kyle Pugliese is the Director of Payment Technologies and Security at Appetize. He received his undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science, Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management. He went on to receive his Master of Science in Cybersecurity from The University of Maryland University College. Kyle is a motivated individual who enjoys a challenge. He applies principles of pragmatic marketing to his solutions to ensure effective problem solving. In his spare time Kyle is an avid photographer and can be followed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kylepugliese/

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