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Tyco Retail Solutions enters patent agreement with Round Rock Research

BY Dan Berthiaume

Nehausen, Switzerland — Tyco Retail Solutions, a provider of retail performance and security solutions, has entered into a patent license agreement with Round Rock Research, LLC regarding RFID solutions. The agreement resolves the involvement of some Tyco retail clients in a patent infringement suit Round Rock filed in January 2012.

Tyco Retail Solutions provides RFID-based Inventory Intelligence solutions, which feature Sensormatic RFID readers, antennas and tags, and TrueVUE software offerings. The agreement provides a worldwide license to Round Rock’s RFID patents that allows Tyco and its customers to continue to deploy innovative RFID solutions.
This licensing arrangement with Round Rock is non-exclusive and royalty bearing, which allows other RFID reader and tag providers the prospect to achieve similar resolutions, thereby making a host of options available to customers. Additionally the license allows customers to use readers purchased from Tyco with tags that are purchased from Tyco or another licensed supplier.

“For nearly 50 years, retailers have depended on Tyco products,” said Nancy Chisholm, VP and general manager, Tyco Retail Solutions. “Tyco continues to invest heavily in research and development to advance both hardware and software products. Our commitment to technology innovation is the cornerstone of our business, with RFID-based Inventory Intelligence solutions being a primary area of focus. This agreement with Round Rock offers our retail customers a clear path to deploying our new RFID-based solutions, free of Round Rock patent assertions and without business interruption from potential litigation.”

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Sears promotes fitness program with former Steeler Hines Ward

BY CSA STAFF

With the new year come resolutions and Sears is looking to capitalize with the FitStudio.com “Points for Progress” program — a fitness rewards program that incentivizes members to incorporate movement into their daily lives to get and stay fit — with the help of pro football analyst and former Steeler Hines Ward.

“I have known a lot of people who are great at working out, but not so great at tracking their progress. We all know that fitness results aren’t always immediately visible, and with this program, it is easy for people to set achievable goals and track their progress — all with the backing of the FitStudio community,” said Ward. “Members can essentially track their progress with their wallet by earning Shop Your Way points just for being active — and that is something that will help keep them motivated to reach goals and acquire their desired results.”

By registering for FitStudio.com, connecting a fitness app or device and tracking activity members earn Shop Your Way points that can be redeemed for merchandise in stores and online at Sears and Kmart.

“To promote and reward healthy behaviors, we integrated our successful fitness community, FitStudio.com, with the popular Shop Your Way program to give our members the resources and incentives they need to get moving and stay fit,” said Hugo Malan, SVP and president, fitness, sporting goods and toys at Sears Holdings. “We know this is the time of year that people put fitness first and as a leading fitness retailer, we are committed to helping our members lead happier and healthier lives.”

As part of the #FitIn14 challenge, members will earn $5 in points (5,000 points) for every 14 miles walked or run in 2014.

FitStudio is a free online fitness community that features exercises, workouts, programs and articles on fitness and nutrition. Members can sync select fitness apps and devices to track fitness activity on FitStudio.com, including FitBit, MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun and Netpulse-enabled fitness equipment at more than 500 gyms across the U.S. and Canada.

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Target deals with data breach in style

BY CSA STAFF

The phrase “massive data breach” is the last thing any retailer wants to see their name associated with, but when bad things happen to good retailers Target’s response to the situation is a blueprint for other retailers.

Target will be dealing with the fallout for months, if not years, from the data breach which occurred during the holidays and affected some 40 million credit and debit customers. Lost sales, lawsuits, negative publicity and a sullied reputation are just a few of the consequences. However, if there is a silver lining to the situation it has been the manner in which the company communicated with customers to calm their fears and minimize the negative effects of the breach on the business.

The company proactively communicated with customers to provide assurances to those who were, or still are, understandably anxious about the situation. For starters, the company took the extreme and margins-killing measure of offering a 10% discount during one of the holiday seasons busiest weekends. The retailer’s home page also featured the alert, “Important notice: unauthorized access to payment card data in U.S. stores,” for longer than was probably necessary even after the matter was resolved. That warning linked to a separate landing page where, importantly, the company shared extensive information and put a human face on the situation. A large photo showing dozens of executives sitting around a horseshoe-shaped table discussing the data breach let those who visited the page know that real people were taking the matter seriously.

In addition, the company featured a large photo of Target president, CEO and chairman Gregg Steinhafel along with a message in English and Spanish that first appeared in a letter dated December 20. There was also a series of video messages from Steinhafel discussing various topics.

Whenever a data breach occurs, those affected understandably have a lot of questions so Target offered an extensive frequently asked questions section. However, it did so in a way that was clear and plain spoken and didn’t sound like it was written by lawyers even if it was. For example, “How could Target let all this credit and debit card information get accessed?”

Good question. IT professionals, Target executives, law enforcement officials and lawyers will be probing that one for some time. In the meantime, other retailers should be saying, “there but for the grace of God go I,” and paying close attention to Target’s disaster response strategies because in all likelihood it will be a matter of when, not if, another retailer finds themselves coping with a data breach.

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