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In an eerie snapshot of where some top marketers want to take the next generation of search engines, a Japanese government-backed research project is working on a search that is based on what a user does, not a keyword a user types in. But the specific tactics being considered—and detailed in a Web site for the group officially dubbed the Information Grand Voyage Project—includes searching history of game programs, blog postings, surreptitiously captured video segments from TVs and computers, tracking Wi-Fi locations and using an RFID reader connected to a cell phone to identify a consumer's activities "based on data captured by mobile device camera."
Staples' Canadian operation has been quietly testing 2-way live video kiosks at 34 locations, but these kiosks do more than talk with customers: They remotely control hardware, including scanners and payment authorization devices. The trial, which one Staples Business Depot manager described as "one of the largest pilots that we've ever done," involves one video kiosk—with a high-resolution Web camera, microphone, scanner and a touch-screen—at each store that is networked to 10 kiosks at a Toronto office with customer service reps.
Despite an almost universal embrace of the idea of merged channel, most retailers aren't getting any closer to making it a reality, with overly restrictive inventory reserve policies, inconsistent data and political resistance getting most of the blame, according to a new Forrester Research report. "How many smart people are out there who are simply not reserving inventory" for all channels, asked Forrester Principal Analyst George Lawrie. "You never know where demand is going to crystallize." He cited morale—not to mention inventory—problems caused by "reserving inventory for stores that could have been sold by the catalog or online channel."
Bill Homa, who just stepped down July 1 as the CIO for the 165-store Hannaford grocery chain, considers Microsoft's OS to be "so full of holes" and describes the fact that current PCI regs do not require end-to-end encryption as "astonishing." But Homa's key point is that most retailers handle security backwards: Don't pour everything into protecting the front door. Assume they'll get through and have a plan to control them once they're inside.
Retail deployment of the 2-D barcode, a technology that allows consumer cellphones to see virtually unlimited amounts of content by taking a picture of a special barcode, has slowed after an initial flurry of activity in January. But several major cellphone carriers are preparing to bundle the 2-D barcode software with phones as they ship. Will that make a difference?
RFID vendor Impinj on Thursday (July 10) purchased all of Intel's RFID operation--including the R1000 RFID reader chip. A joint Intel/Impinj statement said that the acquisition details are not being released, but The Seattle Times reported that Intel will get an equity stake in Impinj. The move is not expected to change things much for RFID-focused IT execs in the near term, because both firms were pretty much headed in the same direction anyway. But ABI RFID Research Director Michael Liard said the move could accelerate already-projected RFID reader price drops over the next few years.
The PCI Security Council is branching out a little, with an attempt to bring unattended payment terminals (UPTs) under its jurisdiction. As kiosks get more sophisticated and start taking cash, credit...
Although the question of RFID safety has been debated extensively over the years, with conflicting study results, a major new medical study released this week points to very specific electromagnetic...