Retailers to browse supply-chain tools at trade show

As the flood of holiday gift returns wanes, 15,000 retailers are expected to convene in New York Jan. 13-16 to do a little browsing of their own at the National Retail Federation's annual technology show.

NRF 2002 will host 300 exhibitors as well as the International Retail Standards Forum, where standards bodies, including the Association for Retail Technology Standards, will report their progress on e-commerce and application integration standards, and also detail cooperative efforts among XML standards groups.

Slated to make its debut at the show is Brickstream. The company is headed by Amir Hudda, who in 1993 founded Entevo, which made a suite of Windows NT management tools. After selling Entevo in January 2000, Hudda founded mobile customer relationship management (CRM) vendor Emtera, of which Brickstream appears to be a descendent.

Brickstream purports to do for brick-and-mortar stores what click-stream Web-analysis software does for online retail sites: Capture data about customer shopping behavior, load it into a data warehouse for analysis, and turn it into usable sales, marketing and customer service metrics. Video cameras tape in-store shoppers, then Brickstream's software analyzes the images and gleans data for reports, which can be pushed to wireless handheld devices so retailers can track customer habits on the fly.

A number of exhibitors will also announce products at the show:

-- Wireless device maker Symbol Technologies is debuting software called AirBeam Smart that lets companies wirelessly upgrade mobile device software, including operating systems, applications and radio firmware. No docking stations are required; the software handles software distribution over any wireless LAN, according to Symbol.

-- 360Commerce will introduce two product suites designed to complement its line of point-of-sale transaction software. 360-Store Back Office provides store managers with access to their sales and inventory data, management functions and reports. 360Enterprise Central Office gives store personnel access to enterprisewide supply chain management (SCM) data.

-- Retek is launching Retek 10, the newest version of its flagship suite of CRM, merchandising and SCM software. New to the suite is Retek Integration Bus for linking legacy applications with Retek modules.

-- New to JDA Software's lineup of merchandising, point-of-sale, analytic and collaborative software is the AdPlan Promotion Management module, scheduled for release this quarter. The Web-based tool lets marketing staff collaborate online with business partners to streamline advertising and promotion processes. Users can share plans and data, negotiate promotions, and track expenses and invoices.

-- Retail planning vendor Marketmax will unveil Space Optimization, Merchandise Allocation and Event Planning - modules that work with the company's flagship Integrated Merchandise Planning suite.

-- Timera makes workforce management software for labor forecasting, scheduling and tracking employees. At NRF 2002 the company will announce Timera Workforce Interaction Portals, which aim to streamline information exchange among managers and employees. Its Supervisor Portal pools Timera's scheduling software and reporting functions, and lets managers approve employee scheduling requests, review work histories and receive alerts for no-shows.

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