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Checkpoint Systems introduces new line of EAS solutions

BY Dan Berthiaume

Thorofare, N.J. – Checkpoint Systems, Inc. is launching its next generation of intelligent electronic article surveillance (EAS) solutions. The Evolve iRange comprises six different EAS antennas, a broad range of EAS labels designed for visible and source-tagging application to various types of merchandise, and the Counterpoint iD deactivation unit for faster and consistent deactivation at point-of-sale (POS).

Together, the portfolio is designed to deter theft from potential shoplifters and provide confidence that protected merchandise has been deactivated efficiently to avoid false alarms for honest shoppers, and that the antenna alarms are indeed shoplifting attempts so store personnel can respond appropriately.

EAS Jammer detection technology is one of the latest additions to the Evolve iRange. Integrated into antennas within the portfolio, the system identifies if an EAS “jammer” has been brought into the store and activates an alarm, which alerts staff to the potential threat. A selection of new visible labeling solutions is also now available.

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Staples names former Home Depot exec as marketing head

BY Dan Berthiaume

Framingham, Mass. – Staples has named a veteran marketing executive, Frank Bifulco, as executive VP marketing, effective June 23. Bifulco previously served as chief marketing officer at Home Depot.

In the newly created role, Bifulco will lead marketing across Staples. He will report to Ron Sargent, chairman and CEO, and will be a member of the company’s executive committee.

Bifulco has spent the past three years as founder and managing director of the Boston-based consulting firm Frank Bifulco & Associates. Prior to that he spent three years at Home Depot as chief marketing officer. From 2003 to 2007, Bifulco was with Hasbro, where he last served as president of North American sales.

Prior to Hasbro, Bifulco was with Timberland where he served as chief marketing officer and from 1994 to 2000 he was with The Coca-Cola Company where he served as senior VP of marking for North America.

“Frank is a passionate leader who brings an immense wealth of marketing, analytic and sales experience at some of the world’s most-respected companies to Staples,” Sargent said. “He will help us build on the success of our Make More Happen brand launch as we continue to let customers know that Staples has every product their business needs to succeed.”

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MIT CIO Symposium: Disruption, Immersion Key for CIOs

BY Dan Berthiaume

Every May, the MIT Sloan School of Management hosts a one-day CIO Symposium where great academic minds mix with great business minds. The result is always an outpouring of IT and business thought leadership, and this year was no exception. A panel of CIOs, including Adriana Karaboutis of Dell and Roger Gurnani of Verizon, discussed what leading the digital enterprise means for today’s top IT executives, and why taking a leading digital enterprise role is so critical. Following are a few insights gleaned from the session:

Embrace, then Lead, Digital Disruption

“The Internet and e-commerce were major disruptors, but what we’re seeing now is the biggest disruption ever from a technology perspective,” said Karaboutis. “Embracing digital technology will enable you to lead the digital enterprise.”

Karaboutis pointed out that the current wave of technology disruption does not just include well-publicized applications like connected devices and social media, but also nanobots as well as wearable and even ingestible technologies. Thus, CIOs need to fully embrace and master every aspect of digital disruption as it develops, to prepare themselves to take a leading role.

“Embrace change so you can make change happen,” she said. “Stop asking people what they want. If Henry Ford had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Immerse Yourself in Your Customers’ Lives

Today’s constantly connected, tech-savvy consumers present CIOs with a radically different engagement model. Gurnani advised CIOs to immerse themselves in their customers’ lives, using Verizon’s customer service strategy as an example.

“More than 80% of our customer interaction is digital,” said Gurnani. “Customers engage with Verizon through their entire technology portfolio, and we engage with them in the way they live their lives.”

Customer immersion means that when Verizon sees customers adding devices like video game consoles, smartphones and tablets onto their home networks, the company reaches out and makes recommendations for service upgrades they can perform with a single click on their TV or device. As more devices, such as vehicles and appliances, are enabled with Internet connectivity, immersion into customers’ lives through all their digital touch-points will become more important.

Customer in the Middle

The notion of a “customer-centric” IT strategy, where enterprise technology is implemented around the needs of the consumer, is not new. However, Karaboutis and Gurnani both emphasized that in this era of hyper-connected customers, keeping them in the middle of your digital enterprise is especially crucial.

“The digital enterprise is about winning the customer,” said Karaboutis. “The customer is at the center of everything we do. Data is the new currency in the digital world. You can (use digital technology to) gain insights from, have personal conversations with and tailor offerings to your customers.”

Gurnani agreed that knowing and serving the needs of customers is of paramount importance to CIOs.

“Customers have a vast amount of information and a stronger voice,” said Gurnani. “We live in a digitally charged, super-connected society, and are only getting more so.”


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