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  Press Release


Netkey Announces Netkey 6, the Next Generation of Enterprise Self-Service for Retail

NEW YORK – January 14, 2002 – Netkey today announced the launch of Netkey 6, the first enterprise-level software solution for retail merchandising through kiosks and other self-service devices. Netkey made the announcement, and is demonstrating a new suite of multi-channel retail applications built on the Netkey 6 technology, at the IBM exhibit, booth No. 603, at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention and Expo, January 14 -15 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York.

Netkey 6 revolutionizes the way retail self-service applications are configured, personalized and maintained by delivering a powerful, data-driven Web solution ideal for kiosk-based applications including gift registry, virtual sales assistant, product locator, product ordering and loyalty program administration. In addition, the Netkey 6 platform dynamically renders the same kiosk application for the retailer’s website with no alteration to the software. This feature – unique to Netkey 6 – allows retailers to build a single application such as a gift registry and deliver that application both to an in-store, touch screen kiosk and the Web simultaneously with a user interface appropriate to each channel. The write-once, deploy-anywhere environment of Netkey 6 reduces development costs, maintains consistency of message and brand, and increases the ability to sell to and service customers though a single integrated application. Retailers can quickly bring e-commerce applications on-line via the Web, and deploy the same applications in-store with Netkey 6.

“Self-service is rapidly evolving from a niche application to a true enterprise solution that touches many parts of a business,” said Alex Richardson, chief executive officer of Netkey. “Retailers today need a flexible, scalable self-service solution that can be used enterprise-wide, both in-store and on the Web, and delivers on the promise of multi-channel merchandising. Netkey 6 solves a clear set of problems by helping retailers quickly leverage the cost-saving and revenue-enhancing capabilities of self-service, both in-store and on the Web, for increased ROI while at the same time maximizing the efficiency of precious IT resources.”

Evolution of Self-Service
Analysts agree that self-service technology can deliver competitive advantage to forward thinking businesses. "Retailers have experimented with kiosks since the late 1980's. Early initiatives met with marginal success primarily because retailers hadn't developed a specific mission for them to fulfill," stated Jeff Roster, senior analyst at Gartner Dataquest, in the recently released report, A Market Reaches Critical Mass. "Now as retailers shift to a consumer-centric environment and consumers embrace the self-service model, kiosks have a clear mission and a role to play. Kiosks provide consumers with the power of the Internet at the physical location of the merchandise.”

Netkey 6: The Next Generation of Retail Self-Service Solutions
Netkey 6 is the newest generation of Internet application technology used for kiosks and self-service devices that removes the constraints of traditional methods:
-- The first generation technology delivered a company’s Web site to a kiosk, using software that creates a unique interface for the site content, provides operating system security and making it accessible in a touch screen environment. While effective, building and maintaining the interface and application can require considerable custom development.
--The second generation of self-service technology added network and content management capability to monitor the health and activity of the kiosk, provide reports and analysis of activity, and schedule updates of the kiosk content. These systems are much more reliable and easier to maintain, but still depend primarily on a company’s Web site for the bulk of the content presented.

Netkey 6 builds on the functional components of the first two generations and adds to them dynamic application functionality that allows businesses to incorporate store-level product, inventory and pricing data to create data-driven content directed specifically towards customers using self-service. This third-generation evolution in self-service technology dramatically reduces the total cost of ownership for large retailers by accelerating time-to-market and ongoing maintainability. In addition, due to the increased out-of-the-box functionality, less custom coding is required and applications are easily repeated across product lines.

What is Netkey 6?
Building upon the success of Netkey’s patented Netkey Creator application design and authoring software, and Netkey Manager, the company’s market-leading management, monitoring and reporting solution, Netkey has developed a comprehensive application platform with tight integration, rich functionality, and easy-to-use administration. Netkey 6 uses a data driven presentation engine with dynamic menus and navigation structures that allows non-technical business users – either directly or through automated batch processes -- to easily update and modify self-service kiosks and applications. Netkey 6 utilizes a multi-location, multi-item database modeled from the Association of Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) that identifies location sensitive flow, pricing and availability. Applications built in Netkey 6 are scalable and re-usable through changeable design templates.

Netkey 6 delivers an integrated self-service solution with:
-- Dynamic, data driven application content that renders both on kiosks and the Internet
-- Powerful application design, peripheral integration and authoring capabilities
-- An intuitive touch screen interface, URL control, and application and operating system security for kiosks, managed PC’s, dynamic signs or other customer-facing Internet devices
-- Monitoring, reporting and analysis, and content scheduling and updating that allows non-technical users the ability to manage from their desktop a geographically dispersed kiosk network.

Intuitive Development and Maintenance Interface
Using traditional technology, each screen on a kiosk application must be custom configured. With Netkey 6, screens are developed using a powerful yet intuitive interface that guides administrators through a series of prompts and responses that are then modeled into a user-friendly kiosk or Web interface. Based upon inventory changes and marketing promotions, the screens are then dynamically modified so that content is timely and can effectively promote and locate items based upon store data.

Common Platform Supports Multiple Retail Applications
Netkey 6 also allows retailers to have a network of multi-purposed kiosks, with a common architecture that supports multiple disparate kiosk applications on a single software platform. For example, in one aisle a customer can be looking up details of an item (such as price and availability) while in another aisle a different customer is selecting items for a wedding or gift registry. This vision is accomplished through the use of a common database and common navigation engine capable of supporting any self-service application in the retail environment.

Ease of Database Integration
Rather than modeling a proprietary database, Netkey sought out industry-standard models that would meet the IT demands of retailers. By adhering to the ARTS model, Netkey 6 inherits many features required by multi-channel, multi-location retailers including pricing at a store or global level, item organization by departments and manufacturers, and multiple printing devices assigned to specific departments.

Powerful Data Management Capabilities
Recognizing that the usefulness of the data residing within Netkey 6 is dependent upon its accuracy, Netkey has provided powerful tools for the creation and administration of the data. The Data Manager tools include a Data Loader used to create an initial version of the database, a Data Refresher utility for ongoing updates to the data, and a Data Maintainer to enable non-technical business users to modify the data using a front-end user interface.

Netkey 6 is available immediately; contact Netkey for pricing.

About Netkey
Netkey Inc. is the premier provider of self-service solutions for customer-focused businesses. Netkey's clients include Borders, JC Penney, Army and Air Force Exchange Services, Fidelity Investments, Fleet, E*Trade and Ford. The company holds three U.S. patents for its self-service technology. For more information on Netkey, please contact us at 1-800-443-7924, via e-mail at [email protected], or visit us on the Web atNetkey

Penny Crump
Netkey, Inc.
(203) 376-7960
[email protected]


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