Next week is the NRF BIG Show, the biggest retail technology show of the year. While I’m not looking forward to the frigid temperatures and windy streets of NYC, I am looking forward to seeing the next step in the evolution of retail IT. This event is really a mixed bag for me. There’s so much to see and, unfortunately, not all of the solutions on display will be sold through the reseller channel. I’m on the lookout for solutions you, our reseller audience, can add to your portfolio to have a more successful 2014.
Mobilility — I’m very interested to see how mobility is evolving in the retail space. Whether we’re talking hardware (tablets, smartphone sleds, wireless access points) or software (when will there be enough software/app choices?). Beyond these straight-forward examples I just gave, I’m sure there are some companies who’ve been developing things our minds can’t yet fathom.
Payment Processing — While you can find every processing-related company at shows like ETA a few months from now, the serious players show up at NRF for the first event of the year. With the way the payment’s industry has been evolving, I’m sure I’ll come across some unique solutions, whether due to enhanced security, mobile enablement, or something we haven’t yet seen from a company.
IP Video — NRF isn’t the premier show for video surveillance, but since the event is so focused (i.e retail), it’s much easier to find stand-out solutions. When I attend security events like ISC West and ASIS, it’s nearly impossible for me to identify the retail-focused solutions amidst the sprawling expo floors. Loss prevention solutions most likely won't impress me. I'm looking for ways to increase the ROI of IP camera investments through unique and powerful uses (e.g. tied to marketing, operations, etc.) of the technology.
Recurring Revenue Opportunities — No matter the technology, I’m looking forward to seeing what products are available for VARs and ISVs to sell as a service. I’m a firm believer in the power of the recurring revenue model, so the more you can pad your line card with such options, the better.
The X Factor — Last year, one of the most impressive products I saw at NRF was Epson’s OmniLink receipt printer. I know, wow, a receipt printer! The fact that Epson took something as ubiquitous as a receipt printer, added an on-board computer, and partnered with a handful of ISVs to create a bunch of outside-the-box solutions was impressive and, frankly, surprising. That’s what I love about NRF; You never know what solution is going to come from left field to blow you away.
Regardless of where the must-see technology comes from or what it is, I’ll keep you posted here on my blog or via Twitter (@monocello).