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Tyco Opens Experience Center for Wal-Mart

The facility is intended to provide Wal-Mart executives and other employees with access to Tyco technology as they plan upgrades to existing store EAS and RFID systems.
By Claire Swedberg

Tyco has a decade-long history with Wal-Mart when it comes to RFID technology's use at its stores, and that may be expected to grow. The reason White expects the retailer's RFID usage to grow is that 100 percent of the retailer's stores already have EAS systems in place, and RFID provides the additional data that Wal-Mart may need. The Retail Experience Center is intended to help Wal-Mart personnel understand how they could advance from existing loss-prevention or item-level tracking systems to those offering greater actionable intelligence that ultimately increase efficiency and store profits.

The new Experience Center held its open house on Aug. 25, at which time local officials and Wal-Mart representatives toured the facility. White says he didn't count the attendees and there was no sign-in sheet, but "there was a steady stream from 12 to 7 PM."

Now the center is taking appointments to show Wal-Mart employees around as needed, so they can learn more about the available technology options. Tyco has also been in conversations with representatives from some of the retailer's larger consumer products suppliers, which have been interested in viewing the center as well, for such purposes as seeing how the RFID tags can be used and to what benefit.

"The retail world is changing rapidly," White says. Customers are buying products online, retailers are moving to an omnichannel model to sell their merchandise and Wal-Mart is scaling to stores with smaller footprints, such as its Wal-Mart Express stores. "The technology side is growing rapidly, and security is more important than ever," he reports. For retailers, it can be impossible to keep up with all of the changes without some help, and Tyco intends to offer that assistance via the Experience Center.

"If we do our business right," White states, "we will have given Wal-Mart tools they need to pursue their objectives." Those objectives are greater efficiency, improved sales and reduced loss. As technology changes occur, he says, Tyco will update the Experience Center as well, in order to reflect the latest RFID or other technology tools available to Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart declined to comment for this story.

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