StorefrontBacktalk Week In Review Audiocast Recorded Thurs., July 27, 2006

Another group of retail technology analysts sat down Thursday late afternoon to look at the retail technology week that was. This week's panel independent retail technology consultant John Fontanella—veteran analyst with the Aberdeen Group and AMR Research—along with returning guests IHL President Greg Buzek and the Retail Systems Alert Group's Paula Rosenblum. StorefrontBacktalk's Editor Evan Schuman moderated. This week's topics were Alien's delayed IPO and the problematic ROI picture of kiosks. If some disappointing earnings and a few economic darkclouds are any indication, the retail tech sector may be in for a serious downturn. If so, what segments will fare well and which will likely get bloodied?

A few vendors have been pushing digital watermark technology—somewhat equivalent to a 21st Century microdot—as a clever way to bridge the physical store and online worlds, without the need for keyboard interactions. The cellphone becomes the remote control. Is this where much of retailing is headed? Will it work? What are the practical implications for customer service?

Are there topics or panelists you'd like us to consider for next week? Please don't be shy.