National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show 2014

I just returned from the National Retail Federation (NRF) “Big Show” in New York City with over 25,000 in attendance.  IBM CEO Ginni Rometty delivered the keynote titled "A New Era of Value." A video replay is available online. IBM had one of the largest booths on the expo floor and showcased a wide range of Smarter Retail and Smarter Commerce solutions. A few of the key highlights:
  • IBM Presence Zones which seeks to replicate the online shopping experience in a physical store leveraging location-based technology to engage shoppers and improve the customer experience.
  • IBM Watson natural language integration with an upcoming release of The North Face shopping website.  For example, enter "What gear do I need for a 14 day backpacking trip to Patagonia" on the website and Watson performs like a virtual shopping assistant by providing recommendations, product reviews from third-parties and asking additional questions (e.g. you've selected a backpack, do you want to look at sleeping bags next?).  The integrated is designed to reduce the risk of abandoned shopping cast or the need to open another web browser to find information to make an informed decision.  Just last week, IBM announced the creation a new Watson group to meet the growing demand for cognitive computing solutions.
  • Segments of One from IBM Research which looks at technology traits gleaned from social media and other text in order to tailor communications for the individual. 
In addition to meeting with clients, I also had the opportunity to meet with a number of IBM partners including Intel and Motorola Solutions.  With over 500 exhibitors, there was much to see including point of sale equipment, mobile payments, digital signage, omni-channel marketing, electronic commerce and much more! 

#NRF14 on Twitter