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    Retail Tech Execs Speak out on IT and the Economy

    International Mass Retail Association's (IMRA) Technology Summit included an interactive audience response session.

    TUCSON, Ariz. -- More than 80 top retail and consumer manufacturing technology executives gathered in Tucson, Ariz. for the International Mass Retail Association's (IMRA) Technology Summit yesterday participated in an interactive audience response session. Results show cautious optimism regarding the economy, with 37 percent thinking the economy will turn around and 56 percent in a comfortable mood.

    When it comes to IT spending for 2004, a slight majority -- 59 percent voting yes; 40 percent voting no -- believe that IT spending will rise in 2004. When asked to characterize the technology world today, 47 percent described it as "innovative." Fifty percent felt the technology world to be in a "delivery" mode.

    The questionnaire also explored several new technologies. The choices were: implemented, valuable; implemented, value unclear; explored, promising; explored, not promising; and don't know. The results are as follows:

    RFID
    * 78 percent explored, promising

    Web services
    * 46 percent implemented, valuable
    * 25 percent explored, promising

    Broadband to the home for remote workers
    * 66 percent implemented, valuable

    Real-time analytics
    * 52 percent implemented, valuable

    Wireless networking
    * 50 percent implemented, valuable
    * 33 percent explored, promising

    Wireless messaging
    * 30 percent implemented, valuable
    * 26 percent don't know

    Videoconferencing
    * 30 percent implemented, valuable
    * 20 percent implemented, value unclear
    * 24 percent explored, not promising

    Business process modeling languages
    * 33 percent explored, promising
    * 37 percent don't know

    The summit was the second meeting of IMRA's newly created Technology Leaders Council, which launched the association's Leaders Council series. The Leaders Councils are a new model created by IMRA to build communities around the key disciplines of the retail industry.

    "Our goal for the Leaders Councils is to bring suppliers and retailers together to work on the key issues facing the industry," said IMRA President Sandy Kennedy. "Through these councils, both our retail and supplier members can improve their businesses. Together, we can raise the bar for the industry as a whole."

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