IKEA checks out of self-service

A stores, by design, are a destination shopping experience. The Swedish-based retail stores draw in customers with modern home furnishings at an affordable price, while their massive store spaces and winding floor plans often keep shoppers inside for an hour or more. Spending that much time picking out a book case is one thing. Waiting another 20 minutes to pay for it is another. And after a rash of complaints from customers who described just that kind of repeated delay, IKEA stores in the United States are yanking the self-service checkout systems that were causing the back-ups. While most IKEA stores house a sprawl of checkout lanes, both self and cashier operated, typically the cashier lanes were opened only on peak shopping days. That meant that customers were funneled into a smaller group of self-checkout lanes that became clogged with shoppers trying to operate the system and manage their purchases. IKEA did not return calls to be interviewed for this story, but company spokesperson Joseph Roth told The Tampa Tribune that the self-checkout system "wasn't as efficient as we originally hoped."  

ViewSonic Debuts Smart Display Monitor

ViewSonic said on Wednesday that its VSD220 Smart Display will be sold in North America in mid-to-late October for an ESP of only $399. It will combine a 1920 x 1080 full-HD 22-inch LED-backlit dual-touch panel, an ARM Cortex-A9-based OMAP4428 dual-core SoC (1 GHz) from Texas Instruments, and Google's Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" operating system. It will also feature 8 GB of internal storage, although a microSD card slot will be available for added capacity. "The VSD220 Smart Display is engineered for today’s cloud connected world," said Jeff Volpe, president of ViewSonic Americas. "ViewSonic is embracing the post-PC transition with what will be a full range of connected display solutions. For consumers, the VSD220 is perfect for surfing the web, engaging on social networks and enjoying a world of Android apps. For commercial opportunities, the VSD220 serves as a flexible solution that can address the needs of Android compatible vertical market applications such as signage, hospitality, point of information, and kiosk. Whatever the need, our new Smart Displays are the future of connected computing."

HomeToys eMagazine - Special Coverage of CEDIA 2012

Here is a synopsis of the many CEDIA 2012 news and product reports that we have prepared this year. Use these links to browse the coverage from your easy chair.

CEDIA EXPO 2012 - Tradeshow Report

As expected, CEDIA was full to the gills with cool and interesting products. In the article below, you can read about our take on industry trends and see what products we considered noteworthy.

Hometoys - CEDIA 2012 News Report

Tons of news from CEDIA 2012 - Almost 200 news announcements at last count and still growing. Be sure to add your own company news to this report - just click the link that says "Click here to Submit Your Free Show News Release"

Realizing An End-to-End Digital Signage Solution

A successful digital signage implementation requires more than purchasing hardware and throwing together a bit of content. Choosing a good solutions provider prevents the customer from being overwhelmed with technical details and ensure the correct mix of services and warranties.

iPhone 5 Disappoints Home Automation Users

In my opinion, Apple has made a grave error with the iPhone 5 that will set it back a year compared to Android: lack of support for NFC. As expected, it’s faster, thinner, higher resolution, has a better camera, integrated voice and data on a single chip, and some new cool apps. It’s hard to fathom how Apple could have omitted such a key, and rapidly growing, technology. What’s really bizarre is that Apple has six patents related to mobile payments . At last week’s CEDIA, Crestron debuted their airConnect solution that allows $1 NFC tags to be scattered liberally around the house and it uses a Phone’s NFC reader and WiFi to communicate with the main server. Even retail is ramping up its use of NFC with more and more swipe to pay terminals appearing. According to Gartner , worldwide mobile payments will surpass $170 billion in 2012 (up 61.9 percent over 2011) I’m bitterly disappointed and will have to seriously consider switching to Android or WM 8. I’m not prepared to wait another year for NFC.

CEDIA Expo Draws Nearly 17K Attendees

CEDIA EXPO 2012 showed positive growth with non-exhibitor attendance gains of 4% over last year’s event. Ninety new exhibitors and more than 80 home technology products made their debut at CEDIA EXPO 2012, Sept. 5-8 in Indianapolis. More than 450 exhibitors participated in the 2012 event and over 16,900 attendees from 71 different countries. Of the total attendance 15% were first-time attendees to EXPO. This year’s event, exhibitors, and attendees were defined as “electric”, “high caliber”, and “rock-solid”. CEDIA EXPO offered 175 training courses including manufacturer product training. This year’s show was focused on educating electronic systems contractors on the network in addition to the foundational and advanced home technology education. Of those courses, 22 were new advanced IP Networking courses, all of which sold out. Additionally, CEDIA introduced a new credential, the Residential Networking Specialist, aimed for those who have demonstrated mastery of the network.

Is Digital Signage Worth the Investment for Small Retailers?

Digital signage is an increasingly affordable marketing technology that has become a lot more accessible to small retailers in the past couple of years. Digital signage display screens with HD resolution no longer cost the earth, while professional digital signage software can be downloaded for free. In fact, if you have a spare PC and either a plasma screen or LCD screen available it is pretty easy to get up and running at zero cost. But will it bring small retailers more sales? The signs are positive. Digital signage is strong on the delivery of high impact visuals that capture attention and motivate consumer action. Animations, image movement and video on a well-positioned screen will certainly grab eyeballs. Data from Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau Europe (OVAB) suggests that moving images are as much as 28% more effective in attracting attention than static posters or billboards.

Scala Software Bundled In New Digital Signage Evaluation Kit 2012 From Intel, Kontron And Microsoft

Scala Inc. today announced its Scala digital signage software is packaged as part of the new Digital Signage Evaluation Kit 2012 (DSEK-12) introduced by Intel, Kontron and Microsoft. Scala digital signage software makes it easy to develop and deliver bold content that commands attention by tapping the advanced computing performance, and enhanced media and graphics capabilities of the DSEK-12. Scala software drives content creation, management and distribution in digital signage networks. Scala has certified the DSEK-12 as a Scala player, ensuring optimal performance for display manufacturers, systems integrators, software developers and digital signage users. Scala software fully leverages the latest, 3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) processors in the DSEK-12 to produce and display visually stunning, broadcast-quality content in implementations ranging from a small number of screens to thousands of displays in a global network.

CEDIA Expo 2012 - Underway in Indianapolis

HomeToys.com has a special Newspage devoted strictly to all the news and product announcements coming out of this years show. So make sure to read and post all the news from the show. Click here for our Special Newspage. CEDIA 2012 the leading tradeshow in the residential electronic systems industry is set to open its doors in Indianapolis, IN this week.  Boasting 444+ exhibitors showcasing thousands of products, over 135 education sessions taught by the industry's most respected experts and over 20,000 expected attendees from all around the world.  

Expanding Role of the Service Provider-from Music to Games to the Connected Home

Opportunities for value-added services span such categories as entertainment, technical support, home management, energy services, and healthcare. Each one offers a unique value proposition, and service companies view these services as means to retain customers and as platforms for future revenue growth.

How Poor Industrial Design Loses Sales

Features and price are the two most common reasons why companies lose sales, but poor industrial design can also be a factor.

Business Model Evolution in OTT and On-demand Video Markets - 2012 Edition

In the study Business Model Evolution in OTT and On-demand Video Markets - 2012 Edition, IMS Research estimates that in 2011 the market for on-demand video reached 998.9 billion video transactions. Pay transactions are estimated at 7.2 billion streams/downloads in 2011, generating $16.2 billion in revenues.

The Wireless Speaker & Audio Association

The Wireless Speaker & Audio Association's remit is to advance the adoption of wirelessly transmitted, interference-free high-definition (HD) surround-sound audio in the home theater environment. We spoke to President, Jim Venable about the organization and the standard.

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