The National Retail Federation’s big annual trade show starts up on Sunday in New York, and I was very happy to learn it should be mid 40sF and sunny when I get in. I have been at that show other Januarys when the winter wind coming off the Hudson chilled anyone to the bone.
NRF is NOT by any stretch a digital signage show, but several CMS software vendors go because that’s the vertical they’re in, or aspire to be in. Stratacache, Scala (in a separate booth from its masters), ComQi, Four Winds Interactive, Hughes and Convergent all have booths. So does Crown TV and Perch Interactive.
I try to go every couple of years not to see those guys – they’re familiar and they’ll pretty much all be at DSE in March. I’m much more interested in complementary and emerging technologies like on-premise analytics, sensors and mobile.
There are numerous companies at the show – mostly start-ups, I’d guess – showing virtual reality and augmented reality products or, at least, ideas. I’ve seen some store planning applications for VR that I think have real possibilities, but I remain a giant skeptic about consumer use of VR and AR in retail settings. So maybe my mind will be blown, and opinion changed, come Sunday and Monday.
I also want to see what Intel is up to – as it has at least four distinct exhibit areas.
Samsung, NEC and Panasonic are also at the show, but with CES just done and ISE in the near horizon, I’d be very surprised to see new product introduced here.
A lot of NRF is a store operations show, with cash handling and POS systems, customer management and store planning software, bar code readers and checkout machines. I’ve done up a list, so I know what to go see and what to avoid. In all, there are more than 500 exhibitors.
It’s amusing to see other industries are just as bad as signage when it comes to companies describing themselves. Everyone’s the global leader and their company statements are often – not always, but indeed often – tongue-twisting, mind bending word salads. Just say what the heck you do! Trust me, most people appreciate that.
If you are going, safe travels and see you there! Also, a head’s up that if you plan to hit the show Sunday, it’s a reduced hours day. The exhibit hall closes at 3.