Microsoft has launched a campaign to promote its .Net framework for developing XML-based web services to developers of retail systems.
The initiative has the backing of 20 companies including Accenture, BlueCube Software, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Dell, Fujitsu Transaction Solutions, Hewlett Packard, Infosys Technologies, Intel and NCR Corporation.
Dubbed Smarter Retailing Initiative, the programme focuses on three areas: 'Smarter Shopping', 'Smarter Selling' and 'Smarter Operations'.
Microsoft claimed SRI would help retailers benefit from the digitally enabled consumer and provide a path for affordable integration of future innovations such as in-store communications (via internet protocol or wireless) and radio frequency identification (RFID).
The technology behind the scheme centres on web services and XML, along with retail-specific standards such as IX Retail, OPOS, RFID and UCCNet.
Brian Scott, general manager of the retail and hospitality industry solutions group at Microsoft, said in a statement: "There are many opportunities for innovation in the retail industry today, but they primarily lie on the edges, where retailers interact with consumers and manage their supply chains."
Jeff Smith, global managing partner of the retail and consumer goods practice at Accenture, added: "It is clear that the rules for engagement with customers are changing, and new technologies such as RFID are playing a big role."
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