TOKYO — March 9, 2012 — In the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo, tourists and commuters pour through the world’s busiest train station and spill out onto skyscraper-lined streets that pulsate with vivid neon and electronic signs — making New York’s Times Square look sedate in comparison. A short train ride away, RetailTech Japan, Japan’s biggest retail trade show, offered a similarly dazzling display this week as thousands of visitors converged on the Tokyo Big Sight International Exhibition Center to view the latest technology solutions for the retail industry, including intelligent systems offered by Microsoft and a range of partners.
As retailers seek to provide more personalized service to customers and realize greater value from their businesses, intelligent systems offer a way to gather real-time customer data and transform it into insight and action. Through networks of specialized devices, back-end servers and powerful software, companies can gain a better understanding of customer behavior and nimbly respond to new demands and opportunities. According to IDC,* more than a third of the worldwide revenue growth in intelligent systems by 2015 will come from Asia Pacific — projected to be the fastest-growing region for the intelligent systems market — and the region will account for more than one-fourth of the embedded systems volume in the region and 70 percent of the revenue.
The RetailTech Japan exhibit floor was focused on devices — not surprising in light of the region’s dominance in manufacturing. Touch screens, tablets, scanners and point-of-sale kiosks placed product and purchase information in the hands of consumers and sales staff, while Microsoft Surface units enabled the exchange and capture of data from a range of Windows Phones and enterprise handheld devices. Microsoft partners demonstrated a range of solutions built on Windows Embedded and other Microsoft technologies, all designed to help retailers respond to changes in the market and create a distinctive, personalized shopping experience for their customers.