IBM goes mobile with shopping framework based on WebSphere

IBM is pushing its J2EE shopping framework with the recent announcement of partnerships with systems integrators including Active Decisions, 360Commerce, Cuesol, MeadWestvaco Intelligent Systems, PCMS International, Retek, Symbol Technologies, and Triversity.

IBM Store Integration Framework, a comprehensive solutions framework for enabling the next generation of retail solutions based on open industry standards was announced at the end of the year and is currently available. Built specifically for the store, the Store Integration Framework connects information, processes and business logic both within the store and between the store and the enterprise.

Systems integrators embracing the framework will be able to provide retailers with applications for 'guided selling, faster checkout, dynamic digital merchandising, employee scheduling, employee task management and key performance indicators for store managers,' according to an IBM spokesperson.

All the applications will benefit from being based on open standards, including 'J2EE and Linux, allowing them [developers] to develop an interoperable and scalable IT infrastructure,' the spokesperson said.

Asked why retailers would buy into J2EE rather than Microsoft’s .NET platform, Kay Freund, of IBM Software Group, tells ADT via e-mail: 'WebSphere Remote Server delivers a J2EE-based solution designed to rapidly integrate existing and new technologies to help retailers achieve quicker time to value and greater flexibility.  The retailer gains openness and choices of operating systems such as LINUX, Windows, AIX, HP-UX, etc.'

The retail framework fits into IBM ubiquitous “On demand” promotion.

'On demand retail companies need an IT infrastructure that can keep up with their business as it grows and evolves in today's fast-paced environment,” Freund says. 'WebSphere delivers the world's leading application and transaction infrastructure, providing a secure, reliable and high performance IT platform for running today's on demand businesses. IBM's Store Integration Framework is the technology foundation, delivered via WebSphere Remote Server, for on demand retail solutions.'

A core component of the IBM Store Integration Framework and the on demand store environment is the IBM WebSphere Remote Server, which has been specifically designed to enable retailers--even those with thousands of stores--to better target and cater to local sales and promotional preferences, according to IBM. 

The offering enables retailers to quickly and efficiently 'snap-in' new applications and devices such as mobile shopping devices, self checkout and smart shopping carts, which can improve and enhance the customer shopping experience. Such devices are compatible with increasingly popular technologies such as digital media displays, consumer wireless devices and radio frequency identification (RFID) devices, according to IBM.

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