-Checkout"> Hollon demonstrated how Self-Checkout and RFID Perimeter Security work. In Self-Checkout, you can pay for your goods just by waving an RFID-enabled credit or debit card in the air. Theres no need to put a card in a slot, Hollon said. As you exit the store, the Perimeter Security system takes a look at what youve paid for, as well as anything you havent. If you try to make off with any unpaid-for goods, an alarm will sound. "In reality, retailers rarely chase down shoplifting suspects any more, because of the lawsuits that can ensue. But at least this gives them a record of exactly whats been stolen, so they can re-order the merchandise," Hollon said.IconNicholson, producer of the RFID displays, is one of six "leading partners" in "X05" (Exploration 05), the vendor consortium that put together the futuristic store for the NRF show, in partnership with Hybridia Design. The other five partners are IBM, Cisco Systems, Takett, ID Merchandising Group, and Wilsonart Laminate. Almost 20 other companiesincluding Microsoft, Intel, MasterCard, Liz Claiborne, Talbots and Lands Endwere sponsors, too. Outside of the RFID area, Conchango, a third-party partner of Microsoft, demoed Windows CE-based phonesoperable over a variety of wireless networksfor mobile viewing of retail KPIs (key performance indicators). "This is great for district managers who move around a lot from store to store," Conchangos Sang Shin said. To read about retail CIOs demonstrating RFID prototypes at the show, click here. Cisco partner Vocera hawked microphone-shaped devices, worn around the neck, for hands-free inbound and outbound voice communications among roving retail staff over a choice of cellular or VOIP (voice over IP) networks. Other areas of XO5 attracting especially heavy foot traffic included the TouchTunes booth and IBMs Everywhere Display. TouchTunes Music, another XO5 sponsor, showed Maestro and AudioWave, two digital jukebox systems from Bose that let shoppers play songs by pressing on touch panels. One user at the TouchTunes booth wanted to know whether the systems can cut CDs for customers, too. "These systems arent really designed for CD burning, but theres no reason that couldnt be done, too," said Ed Tuhkanen, director of national accounts. Demoers in IBMs Everywhere Display booth showed swarms of visitorsincluding IBM sales reps and their retailer customershow this product might be used to help shoppers locate books and DVDs on a shelf. Users were able select a particular book or DVD by touching on an interactive portion of the shelf, surrounding wall or nearby floor. Then the requested volume was highlighted via an attached computer and lighting system. For the moment, the Everywhere Display has re-entered beta, said an IBM official on hand at the booth. IBM had released the product, but now has pulled it back so as to get more feedback from users. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on technologys impact on retail.
Meanwhile, in the Smart Shelves component of the RFID exhibit, you could see a back-end inventory system getting automatically updated whenever you picked up an item off a shelf.