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First look: Microsoft Manhattan flagship

BY Marianne Wilson
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Microsoft Corp. has opened its first Manhattan flagship, within blocks of its major competitor.

The new Microsoft store is located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street, just several blocks away from Apple's Manhattan flagship with its famed glass cube entry. Microsoft has been planning the five-floor, 22,369-sq.-ft. store for more than six years.

"One of our goals, since we started the stores in 2009, was to have a real marquee location where we could bring an expanded retail presence," said Kelly Soligon, general manager, worldwide marketing, Microsoft Retail and Online Stores.

The new flagship is the company's largest store to date. It is designed to offer a vibrant shopping experience that immerses customers in the company's tech offerings.

The store, designed in collaboration with Gensler, has a striking, all-glass facade that provides passers-by a full view of the contemporary interior. An exterior digital wall, 40 ft. wide by 20 ft. high, displays artistic imagery that complements the building's architecture and facade.

The interior showcases Microsoft's full lineup of products and services, including the first-ever in-store display for Microsoft Surface Hub.

"The larger footprint means a deeper customer experience of Microsoft's ecosystem in what we consider to be one of the greatest shopping districts in the world," Soligon said.

The store's highlights include an in-store Dell Experience shop offering a full range of products built with Microsoft technology. The "Answer Desk," which offers support for PCs and phones regardless of where the device was purchased, is larger than that of other Microsoft stores.

In addition, the flagship has two theater spaces, which will be used for training sessions, community programs and other in-store events.

High-definition video walls and digital signage are featured throughout the space, streaming video, images and information. A two-story video wall is located behind the answer desk. And in a fun feature, customers can play Xbox One on video walls while surrounded in directional sound.

Microsoft operates more than 110 stores across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

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Sleepy’s realizes EMV, NFC payment dream

BY Dan Berthiaume

Sleepy’s, The Mattress Professionals is staying awake when it comes to the latest in consumer payment.

The privately held specialty mattress and bedding accessories retailer has committed to upgrading to Ingenico Group smart terminals to securely accept EMV credit and debit cards and NFC/contactless mobile payments at all of its 1,000-plus stores by the end of 2015.

Ingenico Group provided Sleepy’s with its iSC Touch 480 smart terminals and the IngEstate remote terminal management system. The smart terminals allow Sleepy's to accept debit cards, EMV chip cards and NFC/contactless payments from customers. The terminals also include large touchscreen displays that enable signature capture.

Specific benefits for Sleepy’s include reduced processing and gateway fees, the ability to offer multiple payment options, and of course compliance with EMV fraud liability mandate.

“Sleepy’s evaluated all the top vendors, and found that Ingenico Group was the best fit for our needs,” said Tom Citrano, director of quality assurance at Sleepy’s. “We were impressed with their global experience and also with the responsiveness and flexibility of the Ingenico Group team – from our initial meeting all the way through our deployment, they were by our side facilitating every step of the way to ensure that everything went smoothly.”

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JDA looks south of the border for new excellence center

BY Dan Berthiaume

Retail enterprise technology provider JDA Software Group Inc. is increasing its 24×7 technical support capabilities for clients in North and Latin America.

JDA is opening a new Center of Excellence (CoE) in Monterrey, Mexico. The new facility is the fourth CoE, and the first in Latin America, operated by JDA to provide expert 24/7 support to more than 4,000 customers.

Worldwide, JDA’s global CoEs in Bangalore, India, Hyderabad, India and Warsaw, offer technical support employees who collaboratively work to serve customer needs. The new CoE will provide support primarily to JDA customers in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the rest of Latin America. These specialists help customers optimize results from their JDA solutions via a range of online and phone support.

While the new CoE will initially include services and support, in 2016, it will expand to include cloud and consulting services.

“As Monterrey is a very dynamic city, and enjoys a high concentration of businesses and highly skilled talent,” said Salil Joshi, executive VP, Center of Excellence at JDA Software. “Monterrey’s central geographic location allows JDA to establish a quick physical and linguistic connection with North and South America. Finally, Monterrey’s time zone should help JDA synchronize its support staffing with key customer service windows in the Americas region.”

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