NEW YORK — Cisco announced a series of new technology solutions and multivendor architectures that will help retailers improve security and reduce complexity of store systems in addition to increasing employee productivity to enhance their customers' experience.
Cisco is launching the Lean Retail Architecture, a new way to help retailers "do more with less," which features information technology (IT) improvements designed to help retailers reduce costs, enhance business flexibility and increase data protection. Additionally, Cisco is jointly announcing the expansion of the Cisco Payment Card Industry (PCI) Validated Network Designs to the Internet edge and data-center environments with NCR Corp.; RSA, the Security Division of EMC; SAP; VeriFone and Verizon Business. Lastly, Cisco is working with several software suppliers to create solutions that bolster retail employee productivity and increase the amount of time that staff can spend with customers, and continues to advance its Cisco Digital Media System for digital signage and desktop video.
Lean Retail Architecture
Retailers are under constant pressure to increase profits by boosting sales and controlling costs. Cisco's new Lean Retail Architecture allows stores to save on operating and capital expenses by reducing IT complexity in the store environment through data center consolidation.
"Cisco's Lean Retail Architecture offers retailers the opportunity to drive down the cost of the daily operational IT maintenance and management," said Jon Stine, director of Cisco Internet Business Solution Group for Retail. "By migrating business-appropriate applications and servers out of stores and into regional or central data centers, retailers can realize data efficiency gains of up to 30 percent."
Cisco's Lean Retail Architecture enables retailers to reduce the monies budgeted for fixing, updating or adding hardware and applications, and it provides them with the ability to roll out new services quickly and effectively. In addition, retailers can realize up to 70 percent greater data storage efficiencies through server and storage virtualization. By consolidating resources in the data center, retailers can expect to decrease the need for additional server and storage purchases as well as lower energy costs.
Another component of the Lean Retail Architecture is Cisco application acceleration technologies that help enable retailers to move many applications from stores to the data center without compromising performance or security. With the ability to centralize business information and data outside the store, retailers will have less to worry about from a PCI-compliance standpoint.
Last year, Cisco introduced the Cisco Payment Card Industry Solution for Retail, a set of PCI reference architectures designed to help retailers manage the complexities associated with the PCI Data Security Standard. Cisco is taking its PCI offering a step further by enhancing its design recommendations to include the data center and Internet edge sites, environments that many retailers also must commonly address under PCI to protect customer and employee information as required by industry regulations. The Cisco PCI Solution for Retail Validated Network Designs has been tested and deployed in Cisco's labs as well as validated for both the wired and wireless environment by an outside PCI auditor (QSA) Verizon Business (formerly CyberTrust).
Cisco also has tested other retail technology solutions to minimize infrastructure complexity and simplify integration with Cisco's architectures and products. Relationships with NCR Corp.; RSA, the Security Division of EMC; SAP; and VeriFone exemplify how technologies such as point of sale and encryption can be incorporated to provide an end-to-end PCI Solution for retail.
"Retailers worldwide are under pressure to ensure that credit-card data is protected within the store and data-center environments," said Jim Melvin, vice president of marketing and security solutions at RSA. "RSA has collaborated with Cisco to help retailers address many of the most complex PCI requirements including authentication, data encryption and compliance reporting. With our combined solutions we are not only able to help retailers comply with today's requirements, but also to establish security best practices and technologies that will help equip them to meet future data security and compliance challenges."
Employee productivity is boosted by making time and attendance functions accessible on Cisco Unified IP Phone touchscreen displays and by extending some functions through Cisco Unified Communications voice services. Cisco has tested this solution with Infor (formerly Workbrain), a leading workforce-management application provider, to eliminate wasted time and effort going back and forth from a dedicated timeclock device.
Additionally, Cisco is working with Reflexis Systems, a leader in retail execution management. Reflexis is taking advantage of the Cisco Unified Application Environment to bring sophisticated task-management capabilities to Cisco Unified IP Phones, allowing store managers and employees to view their assignments, provide real-time status updates and feedback, and proactively respond to alerts.
Cisco is bringing innovative networked digital media solutions to the store environment. The Cisco Digital Media System is a flexible and comprehensive solution for digital signage and desktop video. It enables retailers to create, manage, publish and access high-quality digital media for compelling customer and employee communications. In addition to being able to market to and deliver an improved rich-media experience for customers, retailers can use digital signage and desktop video to give employees easy access to training, corporate updates and real-time messaging before or after business hours.
Additionally, Cisco and IBM also have collaborated to develop the Expert Advisor Kiosk solution that helps retailers put their customers in direct and immediate contact with off-site experts. These off-site experts can answer customer questions, provide customers with product recommendations, then execute a warm transfer to an on-site sales representatives to complete a purchase. IBM's AnyPlace Kiosk uses IBM's Consumer Device Services middleware platform and monitoring software in combination with Cisco's Unified Communications technology, helping deliver an end-to-end solution that provides seamless, multichannel access to product information at the customer's point of decision.