StepOne at NRF09

NRF 2009

NRF 2009

For the NRF show our focus was on our suite of snapRETAIL products, SNAP Store Performance and Shopping Experience Apps.  Most of the application we have shown before, but this year we added Stock Room Management and an MK500 Item Checker.  Both of which we think have great potential and were both well received by those customers we talked with.

Despite the financial collapse and the reduced traffic at NRF09, it was still one of our better shows.  Each year we get better at setting up our trade show booth and in continue to improve our entire company.  However, despite having a good show, the show was somewhat disappointing since everything we are doing is so much better than ever before.  It’s just all that more difficult due to the economy.

The StepOne Booth

For the second year, we decided to have our own booth.  In June when we made the decision, it was a no-brainer, but with the economic collapse leading up to the show, it was looking like a less good idea and we scaled back some of our plans.  Although we decided to cut back on some expenses, we did continue to improve our presence at the show and despite a generally poor attendance and floor traffic, we still had a good show.

While having our own booth is a huge amount of effort and expense for a small software company, we continue to see it as an important part of our overall marketing strategy.

This year, we had Sharp Creative design the graphics and layout of the booth.  It really makes a big difference having a real marketing company develop our booth and have some real graphics.  We had originally planned on replacing our booth this year, but ending up “re-skinning” the old one with a bunch of vinyl graphics.

In general that new graphics worked out great, but due to some scheduling challenges we weren’t able to set up the booth ahead of time to test everything out.  When Todd and I started setting it up everything was going great until we went to set up the corner pieces, the mobility boulevard street signs.  Originally the two mobility boulevard signs were to be attached on the rounded corners of the booth, but the vinyl that they were printed on were too stiff to attach to the curved partitions.  After an hour of panic and reusing some of the graphics from last year, we ended up with something that looked pretty good.  With a couple of more tweaks we should be in good shape for the rest of the year.

The Motorola Booth

Since we are one of Motorola’s top ISV’s we also had a pod in Motorola’s area, one of the busiest parts of the entire show.  This has proven to be a great source of leads for us at the show since nearly every retailer visits this area.

This year we had a great location, right in the front corner of the booth, which gave us great visibility at the show.  We definitely had better traffic in the Moto booth than our own.  They had a steady stream of customer tours through the booth and it also gave us a great opportunity to network with the other vendors and Motorola team.

In addition, Motorola had their traditional networking event at the Rainbow Room on Monday night which for us is a huge networking event since we have such a long history with Motorola (Symbol).  This year was no different.   After a slow first day of traffic on the floor, we were able to more than make up for it with this event.  It will be strange when NRF moves to Washington DC in 2011 and all the traditions will change.

Spreading the News

This year we limited the handouts to the StepOne News and a snapRETAIL handout.  This ended up working out very well, though we do need to find a more cost effective way to print our collateral.

StepOne News – NRF 2009 Edition

The StepOne News gives us the ability to highlight many of the great things that are happening at StepOne.  This year we featured the new Stock Room Management application, our MK500 Item Checker and the Mobility Boulevard concept.

snapRETAIL Handout

In contrast, the snapRETAIL is a much more traditional product handout that gives a nice overview of our snapRETAIL set of products.  It provides a standard feature summary of snapRETAIL and the features that is available.   It gives a nice summary of the products and provides a good complement to the newspaper.

Wrapping It Up

So despite one of the worst economy in recorded history and a somber NRF, it was still a good tradeshow for us at StepOne.  Now that we are back home we’ll follow up on the opportunities and see if it was truly a worthwhile event.

Motorola Joins the Android Revolution

In a recent development, Motorola is making a major investment in supporting Android on mid-range Motorola phones.  In the high end handhelds they are still supporting Windows Mobile/CE, but in the mid-range they are adopting Android.

This will finally bring a real application environment to the average phone and people will no longer have to make the decision to invest hundreds of dollars in a Blackberry or Windows Mobile Phone.  Now they will have a mobile platform with a complete set of mobile capabilities.

The other advantage that Motorola has in this market is that their legacy in barcode scanning through their Symbol acquisition.  We can now realistically have barcode scanning in a mid-range handheld which will open a whole new world of applications such as ShopSavvy.  In the past Symbol has made attempts to bring scanning to the mobile phone, but with very limited success.

Of course the next question will be with the higher end terminals.  With all of the capabilities that are coming with the Android platform, what will happen to the high-end terminals.

Motorola Introduces the MC17T

Motorola has recently introduced the MC17T, the long awaited successor to the MC17.  While offering the same great ergonomics of the MC17 and many new features and improvements, the key difference is the addition of a touch sensitive display.  This makes an already great customer terminal into an awesome customer terminal.

With this small change in the user interface, the application possibilities for this terminal expand exponentially.  Instead of being limited to custom applications specifically written to use the five supplied buttons, applications can use all of the windows graphical components including buttons, sliders, tab pages, etc.  And with the ability to use a virtual keypad, users can now type in short text.  All told, this is a huge step forward for application capabilities on the Motorola MC17T.

Although adding a touch screen is a huge feature, it is not all that is new.  Motorola has obviously listened to their customers to take this terminal to the next step.  The processor has been upgraded to an Intel PXA270; 32 bit; 520 MHz, the radio now also supports 802.11a, and a 1 GB SD storage card has been added to store more applications and data.

In addition to the hardware enhancements, there have been several improvements to the standard installed software.  They have added the Motorola PocketBrowser, MSP Client, and AppCenter programs.  All of which make the terminal more useful for an out-of-the box configuration.

Of these the most important is the inclusion of the Motorola PocketBrowser in the standard feature set.  With this browser and the full Internet Explorer 6.0 browser supplied with CE, the possibility of real lightweight mobile applications is becoming a reality.   Actually StepOne is currently developing a set of next generation mobile applications based on this technology that we are introducing later in the year.

With the inclusion of touch screen, a faster processor, more memory, PocketBrowser, and much more the MC17T is an ideal customer facing terminal.  All that is needed are great applications that take advantage of the terminal such as StepOne‘s Escorted Registry or next generation mobile applications.  If you are interested in the MC17T, and customer facing applications, keep StepOne in mind.

Related Links: