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ARTS Announces New IXRetail Schema to Support Best-Practices Event-Driven Architectures in Retail

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kathy Grannis or Ellen Davis (202) 783-7971
Email: grannisk@nrf.com or davise@nrf.com

ARTS Announces New IXRetail Schema to Support
Best-Practices Event-Driven Architectures in Retail

Washington, DC, September 8, 2006 -- The Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) has released the IXRetail Notification Event Architecture for Retail (NEAR) schema for review and comment. This schema defines a common XML envelope for small event-based messages that help retailers connect applications in a stateless, decoupled fashion.  This is especially useful for applications such as suggested selling, loss prevention, targeted offers, operational alerts and remote monitoring.  Adoption of this standard will lower integration costs and increase the real-time capabilities of the retail business.

The scope of this effort included defining a framework, guidelines, and best-practices for using NEAR in the retail environment.  Additionally, some initial business events were defined to seed the library of XML messages, which will be expanded in the future. 

Each time a cashier performs a no-sale, the point-of-sale could emit a NEAR message containing the event type and its context.  Applications listening for these events, such as a manager dashboard, will receive the message asynchronously and take appropriate action.  In this case, perhaps the store manager is alerted after three no-sales from the same cashier in a day.  Neither the point-of-sale nor the manager dashboard applications know about each other, so integration is very simple. 

“The sooner retailers have access to actionable information, the sooner they are able to take corrective action,” said Executive Director of ARTS.Richard Mader,  “It’s good to know about issues after the fact so you can prevent them in the future, but its even better to be proactive and solve them before they impact the business at all.  NEAR moves the retail industry toward this goal.” 

The development of the NEAR schema was accomplished by a team of retailers and vendors including Clicks and Mortar, El Corte Ingles, IBM, Microsoft, PCMS and Target under the leadership of David Dorf, Senior Manager, Product Strategy, Oracle Retail. 

Together, Event-Driven Architecture (EDA) and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) have the potential to transform retail applications into real-time, agile systems that will better serve both retailers and shoppers.  “NEAR messages are an efficient way for applications to notify each other of significant events,” said Oracle’s David Dorf. 

“NEAR provides the needed retail-specific context, enabling retailers to respond more quickly to exception scenarios so they can capitalize on positive events and reduce the impact of negative events.” 

In addition to the goal of application integration via business events, monitoring events are also included.  This unifies the IXRetail event model to include all types of events.  The existing REMC and proposed NAFEM events fit within the NEAR framework, but can also be used independently.  Using a single consistent framework will be more cost-effective for both vendors and retailers. 

All ARTS standard XML schemas and their charters are in the public domain and available for download at no charge from the ARTS website at http://www.nrf-arts.org/. Technical documentation describing use cases is also available, free to ARTS members and for a nominal fee to nonmembers. 

The Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) is an international membership organization dedicated to reducing the costs of technology through standards. Since 1993, ARTS has been delivering application standards exclusively to the retail industry. ARTS has three standards: The Standard Relational Data Model, UnifiedPOS and IXRetail. Membership is open to all members of the international technology community- retailers from all industry segments, application developers and hardware companies. http://www.nrf-arts.org/.

The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.4 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 23 million employees - about one in five American workers - and 2005 sales of $4.4 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations. http://www.nrf.com/.