Unisys moves on retail aspirations

Unisys moves on retail aspirations

Unisys plans to offer a "vendor wholistic" approach to retail, point-of-sale (POS) and supply chain management through the release of its newly-branded SUREfire application.

Shown at the Retail Business Technology forum in Melbourne last week, the SUREfire POS application is part of Unisys' bid to be a complete retail IT provider, according to the company's Asia-Pacific VP Rod Gallagher.

Interest in SUREfire, he says, is due to the POS data-collating software and the retail sector's preparation for RFID tag introduction.

"For a long time we have not had our own product to support like SUREfire, but this has been architected by true retailers in the supermarket environment; they needed transactions conducted at speed and a strong backend for pricing," Gallagher said.

The uptake around SUREfire is due to the data-richness at point of sale, the ability to look easily at loss prevention and also the web-enabled facility, he says.

So far, SUREfire is live in a few applications in Western Australia and New Zealand; however, the RFID-enabled application has yet to be fully deployed.

Cost of the tags, generally held to be one of the barriers to widespread implementation, is around US$0.25 to $0.30 per piece. Trials at this stage are mostly at the pallet level.

Tom Zielinski, managing partner of Unisys supply chain practice, says those companies that are in trials of RFID tags right now are thinking ahead, but should wait until not only the standards are clear, but for prices to fall.

"The retail system is heading to an autonomous system, and the vision of a general manager of a supermarket on a golf course checking sales figures on a PDA is a possibility today," Zielinski says adding that Unisys is putting an ecosystem in place before RFID tags reach normal barcode pricing.

"The self-checkout and whole equation of mobility will make retail the place to be in five years."

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