Greener retail IT from IBM
IBM has announced the Green Retail Store portfolio, a range of more energy-efficient IT products that handle all aspects of retailing, from the shop floor to the back office.
The SurePOS 700, the best-selling point-of-sale (POS) terminal in the world, has been updated with new, more efficient processors. IBM claimed that it reduced power consumption by up to 36 percent.
According to a IDC report published in January, a large retail client replacing 5,000 POS terminals with SurePOS 700s, operating with 33 percent better energy efficiency, can reduce annual energy costs by $131,000; that's nearly $1 million over the average seven-year life of the products.
For store back office serving, IBM offers the BladeCenter S, which can reduce energy costs by 20 percent and back office noise by 50 percent. Retailers could also run the system desk-side, in smaller stores for example, which frees up space previously needed by a back office server rack.
The BladeCenter S can plug into a standard power outlet, be secured anywhere in the store and simplify management of the common retail applications. It also has Store Integration Framework (SIF) certification, which means that it enables more than 75 SIF-certified retail independent solution providers to create and run applications on the system.
At the datacentre level, IBM consultants can use 3-D modelling and thermal analysis to locate hot spots and inefficient air-flow patterns. The datacentre layout can then be amended to reduce energy costs further.
Outside stores, the powerful and compact IBM AnyPlace Kiosk uses an energy-efficient processor and chipset. Designed with an IBM partner it uses environmentally friendly materials and processes in its construction. IBM also offers a single point of management for all its retail IT systems.
Steve Ladwig, IBM Retail Store Solutions' GM, said: "Retailers are looking for ways to differentiate and build customer loyalty in a fiercely competitive environment, and consumers are increasingly showing preference for retailers who are environmentally responsible.
IBM technologies and services not only help retailers appeal to consumer requirements, but also help protect the environment and save money by making their operations more efficient."
The SurePOS 700 (models 723, 743 and 783) are priced between $1,900 and $3,500 (About £1,000 and £1,750 at normal conversion rates). IBM retail system management software products are available at no additional cost with the purchase of an IBM point-of-sale system.
IBM BladeCenter S, which includes power supplies, fans, rack rails and a DVD/CD combo drive, starts at $2,599 (£1,300) which, IBM claims, is at least $2,000 (£1,000) less than the current closest comparable competitive offering.
Retailers obviously guzzle up vast amounts of energy with open-topped chilled displays and overly bright lighting in stores. The contribution to reduced CO2 emissions from more efficient retail IT kits won't be huge in the overall scheme of things. But, as Tesco says, every little bit helps....
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