The U.K.-based John Lewis Partnership has joined a growing list of retailers to launch technology incubators. The retailer announced JLAB, a partnership to identify and develop technology innovations that will provide the retailer with future strategic advantages with customers' needs at the core of each idea.
Google has snapped up SlickLogin, an Israeli security start-up that created new sound authentication technology to replace online passwords.
After much speculation Microsoft has named Satya Nadella as its new CEO, succeeding Steve Ballmer, who is retiring. In his new role, Nadella will develop a mobile-first cloud-first strategy to grow the company.
Gary Maxwell has joined the Supply Chain Management Research Center at the University of Arkansas as an executive in residence.
Thomas Nielsen has joined ArcherPoint, a Microsoft Dynamics Gold ERP Partner and provider of integrated business solutions for retailers, as presales consultant to the retail delivery team. For nearly 20 years, Nielsen has held leadership roles in private industry and within Microsoft Dynamics NAV Partners, working exclusively with retail organizations and specializing in Dynamics NAV and LS Retail installations across Europe, Asia and Australasia. As presales consultant with ArcherPoint, Nielsen will support the retail sales team in driving new business.
The IT industry is likely to experience moderate growth in 2014, according to the IT Industry Outlook 2014 released today by CompTIA.
Target almost avoided being the victim-- along with more than 70 million of its customers-- of the largest data breach in U.S. retail history. It had a chip-based smart card program but failed to successfully roll it out.
Retailers are investing in IT like never before as priorities shift and systems integration becomes the key to omnichannel success.
Is iBeacons really the killer new iOS feature that some Apple watchers think it is? According to various claims, iBeacons is Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) solution for payments, for "indoor GPS," for replacing RFID tags, for tracking customers everywhere and for in-store mobile marketing. Most of that is the usual technology-lust silliness. But iBeacons really do have some interesting in-store possibilities for retailers. And the technology is cheap enough—and low-risk enough—that, for once, chains really can have some fun experimenting with technology. Here's the basic concept: You can put small, free-standing, battery-powered Bluetooth transmitters called beacons at key spots in your stores. When a customer running the right smartphone app comes close enough, the beacon sends out a message—longer than a Tweet but smaller than a web page—for the app to display. The beacons are cheap (starting at about $35 each), easy to move and reuse, and short-range (so they really can send messages to just people in, say, the produce department). Think digital signage without that expensive, bulky sign and you've started to scratch the surface.
Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) is in trouble over pricing discrepancies for the third time this year. On Aug. 27, the Missouri attorney general sued the 7,800-drugstore chain, claiming that undercover investigators were charged more than shelf tags said they should for more than 20 percent of the items they bought in tests at Walgreens stores in five Missouri cities. That's after a $1.4 million January settlement in California over pricing issues in the San Francisco Bay area and a $300,000 settlement in March in Wisconsin in a similar case. At a certain point, this begins to smack of sloppiness, and not just at the level of store management. Yes, that's likely a problem, since one of the most common reasons for pricing problems is that shelf tags haven't been updated. But this is now a recurring issue in three separate states. That makes it time for Walgreen's IT to start looking for technology solutions that will be cheaper than trying to get store managers to do their jobs. (That is what store technology is for, right?)