*This post originally appeared on the Wavelink blog prior to the rebrand in January 2017, when Wavelink, LANDESK, Shavlik, AppSense, and HEAT Software merged under the new name Ivanti.

The 2017 edition of the National Retail Federation convention and expo brought some familiar technology back to the forefront. Walking among a number of cool new experiences – virtual reality among them, NRF2017 showed some of the best of what has been and what can be for the retail industry! From a mobile productivity perspective, here are a few observations I found noteworthy:

RFID returns

Not since the days of the 2004 mandate have I noticed so much buzz around this form of data capture. Unlike the industry chatter of last decade, RFID seemed to make a strong comeback driven by really compelling use cases. I’ve written about the consumer-side of retail productivity in the past, and some of the use cases leading RFID vendors were touting seemed to be experiences that boost customer satisfaction, accelerating the connection between shoppers and the products they want to buy – in the right sizes, colors, and more.

Screens of all sizes

From mobile devices and tablets to digital signage that can present shoppers with unique, targeted ads, to kiosks and more, there were a number of new ways to engage shoppers in the store! The touch-enabled interaction is really booming, and with more use cases for customers to interact with store info - from gift registries, to inventory checks and more, the user experience in these apps is so important for customer satisfaction.

Lots of IoT buzz

As expected, the talk around supply chain IoT amplified even more this year. Close to home, it was exciting to hear about Honeywell and Intel making announcements to further IoT throughout the supply chain. It will be exciting to see the creative solutions this technology continues to bring to the supply chain. We have been hearing some exciting ideas from customers and partners, and announcements like these will undoubtedly fuel more interest!

For our part, we had great conversations about Velocity app modernization across the growing number of Android mobile devices (and vendors) retailers are evaluating. Booth visitors liked the progression that Velocity offers – they can migrate to a new Android device, using Velocity in a green-screen/native mode, optimize their workflows on the Velocity platform, and then “flip the switch” to the modernized UI when they are ready. Several indicated this “step-by-step” approach further minimized risk to their business, while building confidence in their ability to upgrade their hardware without application re-writes.  Want to read more? Among the earliest, great NRF 2017 recaps was this from Retail Info Systems News.