Notes from the Field
Retail Systems Chicago June 2001
by Craig Keefner : 06/27/01
Always nice to visit Chicago. As usual I stayed here at the Hyatt at McCormick. The show began yesterday and is a
walk thru the main conference area where the NECC is going on (educators). They have all of the right side and there
are some pretty massive booths from all the bigboys in there. Farther down across the bridge is Retail Systems and
it has a very large area again with all of the bigboys concentrated in the first half and then all of the rest in
the other half.
Mike Jackman of KIOSKmarketplace is also here and attended the big
by Gerald Storch of Target.
Members I have "run into" include; Factura kiosks in Lexmark, InfoTouch and Compaq are in Microsoft, a large IBM
booth with 20 or so NetVista's and more, Netkey and Penny Crump are in the IBM booth with their latest grocery
application running on a NetVista, the Compaq XPOS booth, NCR has the 7401 in full display and several models
of its new self-checkout units. The "convertible" is really cool as it changes from customer activated to storeclerk
mode in less than a minute. Apunix is in the Sun booth, Hand Held Products is here as is Connect Tech and Brown Innovations. Westrex has a nice booth and the Symbol booth is a smorgasboard of handheld wireless.
I spent some time over in the large Intel booth. They are very much targeting POS and Retail. Wincor Nixdorf has
large booth as do the folks at Radiant (I love their terminals).
I ran in Michael Kachmar of Edgell and their retail publications including Kiosk Business. They have a large booth
here. Gerry Ryerson is here (looks like his cellphone is one busy device).
Today promises to be exciting. Francie of Summit gets here (we have dinner at 7 remember Francie...). Had a nice
demo from Billy G. of IBM with their cool new handheld wireless units (Symbol but any can be used). Mike Zweber and
Brian Francis of NCR are here. We had good long talks and I was happy to hear Mike is making a visit to Minnesota
where he is from originally. Hard to stay away from Minnesota once you have lived there.
I was really impressed with level of engineering that IBM has done with the NetVista's. I kidded the IBM folks
asking them how their "7401 Killer" is doing and they of course pooh-poohed that moniker, though I think it is
closer to the truth. The IBM folks are very nicely diplomatic complementing the NCR units. Being the troublemaker I also had to ask the NCR folks what they thought of the IBM unit and
they were naturally good-natured and complimentary. If there is any one unit that is the template for success, I
would have to say the NCR 7401 is it, and it continues to evolve.
I wasn't fully aware of it but I also made note that IBM is
re-entering the ATM market. Sometime back they had sold to Diebold their domestic business but now they are
back at the table so to speak.