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Symbol Technologies debuts its 'wireless store.'

Symbol Technologies debuts its `wireless store'

NEW YORK - Symbol Technologies Inc., a leader in the technological transformation of the retail marketplace, unveiled the "wireless store," a system for connecting point-of-sale equipment to retailers' host computers, at the National Retail Federation convention.

"This system has two distinct advantages over current communications methods," says Tim Harrington, director of product marketing.

"First, there is a onetime cost for the system, as opposed to the rewiring costs retailers face every time they want to move cash registers around. Second, by removing the limitations caused by wiring, retailers are freed to enhance customer service and take advantage of merchandising opportunities by moving their P-O-S equipment."

The technology that makes wireless data communications possible is spread-spectrum radio modulation; Symbol calls its version the Spectrum One Network. Current in-store data communications utilizing radio frequency transmissions rely on narrow-band technology, which limits the amount of information that can be transmitted and is relatively slow because it works on a single radio band.

Spread-spectrum technology, which was developed by the Defense Department during World War II, distributes data uniformly over a larger frequency range than that used in narrow-band transmissions. The expanded signal gains significant redundancy, which results in precise communications even in the presence of interference, and can carry as many as six times the bits per second as a narrow-band signal can.

"The system is ideal for retailers who want to give themselves maximum flexibility," says Judy Murrah, senior market manager for Symbol's bar-code scanning division. "It allows them to reconfigure floor layouts as often as they wish, and it can be expanded in order to accommodate acquisitions and grow with companies."

Retailers with the technology will be able to add registers at such peak selling seasons as Christmas, and integrate business at such remote locations as garden shops and mall kiosks into their normal operations.

The Spectrum One Network, which unlike narrow-band systems does not require a Federal Communications Commission license to operate, interfaces with Symbol's point-of-sale products and IBM, Fujitsu and NCR cash registers.

The system, which will be beta tested at two leading department stores beginning in April, is expected to be on the market sometime this summer.

"We think this technology will be revolutionary," says Paul Kemp, senior vice president of marketing and sales. "Retailers will take this system and do things with it that we can't even imagine."

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Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Feb 25, 1991
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