IBM has signed up two new retail customers to Linux. Big Blue on Wednesday will announce that movie theater chain Regal Entertainment Group and Brazilian retailer Casas Bahia are both rolling out Linux solutions.
"The state of the economy means that retail firms are increasingly looking at cost as a vital component of their IT decisions. The costs are generally lower for Linux implementations than with any other environment, and the reliability and uptime is better," said John Sarsgard, IBMs vice president of Linux Solutions in Somers, N.Y. "The total cost of a Linux implementation is, in my opinion, also significantly lower than for other competitive solutions, which is why more companies are choosing it."
This is borne out by Regal executives, who said they chose Linux because it is an open, affordable operating system that gives them a lower cost and relative ease of programming with the Java projects they already have in place.
Regal Cinemas, which was previously running old electronic cash registers that were not tied to the system or to the back end, is now using 2,400 IBM SurePOS 500 point-of-sale systems running Red Hat Linux at its concession stands, which are linked to an IBM eServer iSeries server at its headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn.
It is also testing a new, in-theater, Linux-based kiosk that will enable movie patrons to purchase tickets or retrieve tickets purchased from an online service.
For its part, Casas Bahia is moving to more than 1,500 IBM 4694-207 and 205 point-of-sale systems running Red Hat Linux in its 320 stores. The company was previously running a DOS system, but felt this lacked an upgrade path, was difficult to grow and had outdated user interfaces.
The point-of-sale screen is also used to display advertisements, but the DOS system did not have the necessary resources to update the screen images. The company also wanted a system that would allow them to implement the whole POS functionalities, officials said.
The IBM Linux solution delivers an improved GUI, increased security, stability and the ability to run new applications. The company also intends to migrate to a Linux-only store environment over time, the officials said.
Linux also gives Casas Bahias developers the possibility of using a Tivoli agent in the point-of-sales systems to optimize the management and software distribution, company officials said.
While both Regal and Casas Bahias have had previous business relationships with IBM, these deals expand those significantly. IBM, which recently entered into a multiyear alliance with Red Hat that includes services and expanded support for servers and software, will provide customer support for these latest deals.
The latest retail wins for IBM follow deals with Sherwin-Williams Paint stores, Boscovs Department Store, global convenience retailer 7-Eleven and Wolfermans, a gourmet baked goods company in Kansas.