Innovation 2010 Preview

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Innovation 2010 Preview

By Christina Zarrello - 12/04/2009
Innovation is at the core of many of the newest technologies to hit retailing in the latter half of 2009. RIS asked retail technology companies around the globe to share with us the most innovative technology set to hit the show floor at this year's NRF Big Show. Of the 50 candidates we received, RIS selected nine technology innovations that we believe will have a significant impact on improving retail systems and ultimately customer experiences in 2010.

Innovations featured here were developed by NCR, Datalogic, J2, Time Domain, QuantiSense, Netezza, Reflexis, iCongo and Predictix, and were selected for being a product that is truly innovative and will likely impact the fast-changing face of retail heading into the New Year.
 
The Future of Entertainment Kiosks
A digital entertainment kiosk from NCR and MOD Systems is dramatically changing the way consumers purchase, rent and play entertainment titles on electronic devices. Users can choose from more than 1,000 movies and TV shows, then quickly download the title to a secure digital (SD) memory card and play the movie at home. Blockbuster is one of the first retailers to leverage this groundbreaking technology which can be used to download movies, TV shows, music, books, games and other digital content outside of the home and let consumers can then play them on home televisions, computers, and mobile devices. Digital downloads from the kiosk provide an enhanced alternative to existing home entertainment since it offers high-quality playback over streaming content from the Internet. Also the content is portable to other devices inside and outside the home.
 
Mobile Bar Code
Illumix intelligent illumination technology offered exclusively on Datalogic's Magellan 1100i digital imager reads 1D and 2D bar codes at speeds up to 80 inches per second and has the ability to facilitate mobile commerce. Illumix illumination technology does not require special power supplies or configuration changes and automatically detects bar codes being presented from illuminated screens such as those found on mobile phones and PDA's. Magellan 1100i's shutter-based imaging system automatically adjusts to different light levels and can perform in either dark or brightly lit applications. It also performs across different indoor lighting (halogen, incandescent, and fluorescent lighting). Illumix minimizes LED flashing commonly associated with imaging based scanning systems.
 
No Keyboard POS
A versatile touchscreen POS, the J2 650 from J2 Retail Systems, offers an energy-saving "green mode," which turns off the fans and powers down the Intel Celeron Core processor speed, reducing power consumption by up to 25 percent. The J2 650 includes a built-in ambient light sensor which helps reduce power consumption. The J2 650 supports multiple operating systems including Microsoft Windows 7 and can hold up to 4GB of high-speed 800MHz memory. With five USB 2.0 ports and three serial ports, the J2 650 can connect to various optional peripheral devices such as a fingerprint reader, customer-facing secondary LCD for advertising and promotions and 2D and 1D Omni-directional barcode scanner.
 
Next-Gen Workforce Management via Mobile
A mobility-enhanced next-generation workforce management (WFM) platform from Reflexis provides real-time alerts on mobile devices. Mobility-enhanced workforce management enables retailers to accurately forecast, budget, and schedule employees to generate precise labor workloads. The integrated solution helps retailers factor in fixed/daily tasks, customer service, ad hoc corporate tasks such as promotion set ups and new product introductions as well as scheduling labor. The integrated time and attendance solution enables retailers to monitor real-time compliance with labor laws and union rules and issue an alert when non-compliance is detected.
 
Speedy Data Analysis
Netezza's new TwinFin blade server-based appliance helps retailers gain deeper insight into their customers and markets. The TwinFin appliance scales to more than a petabyte of user data and quickly analyzes data volumes. TwinFin stores, filters and processes terabytes of records within a single unit, analyzing only relevant information for each query. The CPU power, which is located next to the data, enables quick movement of processes. The TwinFin appliance is the first in a family of four appliances that will include an entry-level system, a high capacity system and a memory-intensive system as part of a new selection of real-time analytic applications.
 
 
Advanced Market Basket Analytics
Market basket analytics is one of the latest features being offered on the QuantiSense 4.7 platform. Market Basket analytics helps retailers identify which items or categories sell together, which items are part of a multi-item purchase and what items make-up small, large, profitable and unprofitable transactions. Market Basket analytics helps retailers drive sales by including pull metrics for determining which items "pull" other items. Other features include the ability to maximize return on promotions by ensuring the availability of "passenger" or "halo" items. The tool also analyzes profitable versus "cherry picker" promotions, helps retailers learn what sells together and helps train store personnel to better cross-sell.
 
GPS Tracks Customer Interactions
Indoor GPS-tracking technology from Time Domain tracks merchandise, employees and customers using antennas and tags. Time Domain's Precision Location Ultra Wideband System (PLUS) platform uses RFID tracking of products within stores to track customers' interactions with merchandise and provides instant access to product information such as the shopper's size, preferred color and fabric. The technology is being deployed at Clothing for a Better Earth, a 1,100 square-foot eco-friendly clothing store located in the Carousel Center Mall in Syracuse, NY. Upon entering the store, shoppers visit a large retail kiosk to pick up a handheld device -- similar to the iPOD touch -- to help them locate and pair products. Time Domain's PLUS antennas pick up information as the customer shops from PLUS tags and sends promotions based on the customers location in the store.
 
Interactive 2D Marketing
An innovative digital marketing platform, the Virtual Marketer (VM) from iCongo, is an interactive environment where retailers can showcase multimedia, Webinars and video chat live or on-demand. Retailers can host virtual events including product demonstrations, seminars and even workforce-related training sessions. VM delivers real-time content and personalized services by helping customers make more informed purchasing decisions. The multimedia tool is a supplement to a retailer's existing e-commerce platform and helps improve a company's marketing and communication. Live and recorded video is supported in VM as well as collateral download libraries containing brochures, images, charts and audio files. 
 
All-In-One Merchandising
A unified software-as-a-service merchandising solution suite from Predictix offers planning, assortment, pricing, forecasting, allocation and replenishment. Predictix lets retailers see the effects of their decisions: how a change to an assortment affects the forecast for related items, impacts the financial plan, changes replenishment orders and impacts planned promotions. Predictix helps retailers define parameters for hierarchies, dimensions and clusters. The solution also provides built-in reporting and analysis. Predictix applications are delivered over the Web and require a standard Web-based browser to access or can be integrated with the retailer's core IT systems. Predictix applications are licensed on an all-in monthly subscription basis.