Category Archives: Announcements

Announcing XOMNI 4.0

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In-Focus: Security, Integration and Deployment

Today is such a big day for us at XOMNI. We are proud to announce verison 4.0 of our cloud platform and a huge overhaul of our API authentication architecture.  This innovation makes our powerful feature set for rich application development even more approachable for customers who want to integrate their on-premise infrastructure. In addition, XOMNI 4.0 drastically improves how we handle device access licenses and overall device management and authentication.

Supporting a new way of distributing in-store applications

In the past, device access licenses were issued and distributed centrally through our Management API set. This worked very well for customers who want to use their current application distribution models and infrastructure.  With XOMNI 4.0 we introduce new APIs to enhance this model while adding support for public application stores like AppStore, Google Play and Microsoft MarketPlace. Applications distributed through private application stores will be able to provision their own licenses on-the-fly.

Introducing Federated Authentication

XOMNI 4.0  replaces basic authentication with a multi-level oAuth implementation to help authenticate Public, Private and Management API sets. Multi-level oAuth continues to support the simple and easy to use API access our customers love while enabling federated PII data access through 3th party identity providers. We are confident developers will enjoy the flexible yet simple approach we took handling various levels of sensitive data.

Start today!

In order to migrate your application to XOMNI 4.0 feel free to take a look at the API changes on our developer portal. http://dev.xomni.com/v4-0/releases We are sure you will find the process straight forward. Be sure to let us know what you think on twitter and facebook. We are already working on the next version and would love to hear your feedback!

Iterative Improvements with v3.2

Releasing major functionalities and enabling new scenarios to help our channel partners accomplish more is at the core of our product development. We are happy to announce our next iterative development to our V3 production environment with a minor version named V3.2.

Performance in every aspect

When we design our APIs we always keep in mind that the speed of experience delivery is key. Our customers and channel partners need a platform where a client application can access just the right amount of functional data with less round trips to the cloud with the minimal caching as possible. We love to emphasize the fact that for the last four years at NRF Expo we had our showcase experiences running on conference wifi with no glitches and perfect fluidity fully connected to our cloud with zero caching.

In this minor version we focused on improving what’s already close to perfect. We wanted to make it better, faster, smoother and more customization. From now on we give you the ability to opt-out of our analytics platform. In case you think you are not going to use it, and you want to squeeze out more performance out of platform you can disable bits and pieces. This is just a small part of the iceberg. The good news is you don’t need to migrate your applications.

No migration required for the next version!

This is amazing right? To start using V3.2 and leverage all the improvements we listed above you don’t need to migrate your application. You don’t need to submit another application to an App Store. In fact, you don’t need to do anything. Your applications are actually benefiting by all the improvements just before this blog post is up. Congratulations!

In case you would like dig a little bit deeper and see a couple of changes specific to V3.2 from API schema perspective here is the link to our release notes. No breaking changes! As always our SDKs are up to date as well.

XOGO is ready for NRF 2016

Some of you following our blog are well aware that January is an exciting month for us at XOMNI. It is the month where we travel to beautiful New York City for the NRF Expo. As usual, we did our homework for NRF and we have some exciting news to share. This time, it is a new product; XOGO.

XOGO is not your traditional Digital Signage, in fact we call it Decision Signage. XOGO is a very low cost yet highly interactive assisted selling digital canvas for our partners and customers to leverage. Our Dev team is so excited, they wanted to tell you about it themselves!

We wanted to build XOGO to help every retailer, ranging from single store retailers to those with thousands of locations. Unique to XOGO besides its extremely low cost is the ability to leverage existing in-store screens, or quickly add one for the first time. Simply plug in a $35 player device and use existing mobile devices for management. Make sure you hit that play button on the video above to see some action and get more details. At only 5 minutes long it will be well worth your time! Also, if you are at NRF 2016, drop by the Microsoft booth and ask for XOMNI or XOGO. If your are not at the expo, feel free to watch videos captured from NRF 2012 for some nostalgia or from 2014 and 2015 if you are looking for the latest.

XOMNI V3.1 is out!

Just a couple of months ago we launched our V3 Platform. It’s been a huge global launch where our services were highlighted on a couple Microsoft product launches as well. Today, I’m excited to announce that our v3.1 release is out the door, and it’s as shiny as V3.

XOMNI Tag Cloud

  • 3th Party Data Access : This has been one of the most popular requests so far. Retailers moving their data to XOMNI Cloud want to be able to share and syndicate that data with other cloud partners and vendors. In today’s world, with the majority of services moving into a SAAS model, companies are pushing their data to multiple locations and trying hard to keep their data sets in sync. With the XOMNI implementation of API Management you decide how, when and with whom you share your data. The good news is, this is all free. During our Preview lunch of API Management, all API Management consumption for our v3.1 customers will be free of charge.
  • MyStyleGenie Partnership : MyStyleGenie is our first service partner leveraging the V3.1 API Management feature. With V3.1 we are providing out-of-the-box support for MyStyleGenie integration where you can enjoy two way data flow between XOMNI and MyStyleGenie services. Real-time shopping support and basket optimization engine are just some of the services offered by MyStyleGenie. Feel free to take a look at their web site for more info.
  • Cloud Storage for Stores : Besides the concept of providing a cloud storage area for applications running on specific devices (Device Storage) with V3.1, we are introducing the concept of Store Storage. Under this configuration, multiple devices within a store environment can store arbitrary data.
  • TypeScript SDK : While keeping our .NET SDK open source and up to date we heard your feedback and happy to announce our TypeScript SDK initiative. With the release of V3.1 we are covering our Management API set both for TypeScript and JavaScript consumption. Feel free to grab our Bower packages including the JavaScript and DTS files. If you would like to have a direct access to the TypeScript codes it is all on Github, open source.

Feel free to take a look at our release notes for more information about what’s new and what’s changed, and don’t forget to visit our developer portal for deep dive API documentation.

#1 biggest mistake when attempting In-Store Experience

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I understand the desire to re-use the investment made in public websites. Why not increase it’s ROI, right? However, in this case, re-purposing your public website or eCom for in-store experience is the worst idea possible. Not only will it NOT achieve an ROI, but it will erode store value.

Consider the following 5 points:

  • Perception. – Using your public website to power In-Store experience sends the message: “I could have done this at home?” Not a horrible message. However, we absolutely don’t want the customer to think this when they arealready at the store. Rather, we want them to feel good about the visit and value the In-Store experience as a unique experience they can’t get anywhere else.
  • Touch / Device Experience. – Most eCom websites are NOT touch optimized for large touch screen devices (and never will be) due to primary investments focused on either traditional PCs and/or smaller mobile device screens. Retailers that attempt to reuse their public website usually end up installing mice and keyboards. Of course, this causes many other problems. One of the most costly is the marketing effort required to help the customer understand that this device is for their use versus the associate. The end result is a bad environmental design.
  • In-Store Technology Integration. – In-Store experience investments open the door to many promising integration points including: IoT, Machine to Machine scenarios, Augmented Reality (AR), Audience Measurement (Gartner Reinforces these for 2015), Unique Kiosk Peripherals, Beacons, Consumer Device interaction, wayfinding technology and store specific data integration. Your eCom website will likely not support this and any attempt to retrofit will be a costly one-off effort.
  • New Store Workflows. –  Wayfinding, In-store pickup, Returns, Registry, Store Specific promotions, Real-time opt-in Loyalty promotions… are just a few examples of things that most retailers should consider, but cannot do with their eCom website.
  • R&D and Innovation. – In-Store experience innovation should move faster than the eCom website. Tapping into XOMNI version releases and powerful integration with best-of-breed retail technology partners will provide free R&D and a test bed for a potential roll-out to your eCom website.

Perhaps the most powerful reason to avoid re-purposing your website is the anecdotal evidence that it will fail. How many Kiosks have you seen turned off, dusty and in a corner? Of course, there are more than one reason for this occurrence but the stories we hear most often are related to a poor customer experience. I know many Tier-1 retailers who initially attempted to accelerate their in-store experience with their website. Today they are gone and in their place you will notice a combination of rich Endless Aisle and point/purposeful micro experiences. An expensive lesson to learn.

When it comes to the cost of a full scale In-Store experience deployment, taking the right path versus compromised path typically costs 12% – 14% of the overall investment over a 5 year period. This is a small price to pay in order to ensure ultimate UX performance, flexibility and future proofing of the investment. Of course, this number doesn’t factor in cost savings due to XOMNI accelerating and powering the UX while driving down hosting and data center costs significantly. In fact, under this scenario it’s possible for the approach to literally pay for itself.

There are many articles, analysts and anecdotal stories that can be found on the web warning retailers to avoid simply slapping their web presence on an in-store device. I hope my recent interview with OnWidnows will help others avoid this mistake and see a viable alternative: http://bit.ly/1Eho4nk

Creating cloud-powered user experiences in retail

Customer demands are changing – and fast. To keep up, retailers need a flexible, scalable platform that grows with their business, as we find out from Xomni

Creating cloud-powered user experiences in retail

This article was first published in the Spring 2015 issue of OnWindows

It could not be more critical for retailers to bridge the gap between digital and their bricks-and-mortar stores than it is today, says Xomni CEO Chad Brown. “When you think about what the store does for the online channel, and vice versa, it should be about creating a sense of continuity,” he explains. “Bring those channels together and you truly maximise your return on investment, and satisfy the customer.”

Xomni – a company whose name stands for ‘Experience Omni-channel’ – is achieving this vision through a cloud-based omni-channel experience enablement platform. The company caters for creative interactive agencies who want to leverage the Xomni Cloud to gain access to retailers’ existing systems, add new data sources (think IoT), orchestrate the data and leverage a consistent API to develop applications. Xomni Cloud also incorporates retail-specific functionality that makes building visually rich concierge, assisted selling and self-service applications easy.

“The idea of using a cloud platform to develop applications isn’t new,” says Brown. “However, we are not talking about one-size-fits-all applications. The Xomni model is unfettered UX and scenario development that enables contextual and personalised experiences without compromising massive scale. If our channel partners can dream it, they should be able to build it.”

This March, Xomni launched the third generation of its cloud platform, complete with significant scalability enhancements. “We base our performance requirements on what a retailer might experience during peak shopping days,” says Daron Yondem, CTO of Xomni. “For example, a tier-one retailer’s requirements include 60 queries per second and 11 gigabytes of data. With the release of Xomni Cloud v3 we can scale well beyond the industry’s current need.”

Cost effective and quick to implement, the solution incorporates a blend of typical retail functionality along with some novel capability designed to accelerate innovation.

One such feature is OmniPlay. Highlighted in a recent GameStop win, OmniPlay allows individual assets, product views or the customer presence to be passed from one device to another, assuming certain rules are met (geofence, beacon location or device capability). In this implementation, video content can be initiated from a consumer or associate device and sent to a 4K display in store, significantly increasing the ROI of a passive digital sign by making it interactive.

The GameStop experience is a compelling one, however, as Brown notes, one challenge that Xomni faces is the perception of complexity. “The term omni-channel inspires thoughts of user-centric, integrated, immersive and, by connection, complicated experiences,” he says. “First, Xomni makes integration with existing systems easy; second, although Xomni provides a seemingly endless list of features and supported scenarios, no one said you must use them all in one application! We encourage the use of what we call ‘micro experiences’ to engage customers in a meaningful but simplistic way. From there, you can encourage a deeper engagement.”

With the launch of Xomni Cloud v3, all the tools are there to build deep ‘macro experiences’ and more pointed ‘micro experiences.’ Version 3.1, which is targeted for a June release, will build on this thanks to the adoption of API Management – a new feature of Microsoft Azure.

“APIs bring innovation and agility, and at the same time drive a lot of data that can and should be used to improve user experience,” says Evgeny Popov, principal program manager at Microsoft. “That is why we teamed up with Xomni to deliver a powerful end-to-end retail platform.”

“Really, Xomni Cloud v3.1 should be called v4 as we consider it to be a major release,” adds Brown. “It’s significant for many reasons, but primarily because it will allow us to easily incorporate super innovative third-party technology partners such as My Style Genie.”

A new Xomni Technology Partner, My Style Genie is an expert in dynamic recommendations and has technology capable of putting together coordinating products that are highly relevant based on personal style, preferences, use, or even margin. “Through this partnership, retailers are able to provide the high-touch personalised service of days gone by in store, mobile, outbound or online,” says Laura Khoury, CEO at My Style Genie. “Our web service enables retailers to serve shoppers as a trusted personal assistant to help them find the best products for them, and suggest complete ensembles tailored to their objectives and style. The result is a win-win experience – customers are delighted with the personal service they receive and retailers have increased basket size and customer loyalty.”

Behind the Xomni-My Style Genie integration is thebigspace, a specialist in retail consumer engagement and connected experiences. “Our Omni-Channel Style Guide application needed the power, speed and flexibility of Xomni and the dynamic integrated analytics of the MSG recommendation engine to quickly analyse data,” says founding director Dick Lockard. “Working together, we’ll be able to optimise the customer’s buying decision and create highly targeted and relevant connections while maximising profit for retailers.”

Of course, as Brown knows all too well, the future of retail is always evolving. “The question is, what’s next?” he says. “If anyone tries to tell you definitively what the future of retail engagement is, they’re making it up. No one knows! This is why flexibility is core to our platform. We’ll involve the best partners, give them the utmost flexibility and see what great things happen!”

What Do YOU See In The Clouds? – The Future of Cloud Powered User Experience

Why do most “cloud based” SaaS companies take a highly templatized, one-size-fits-all approach to User Experience Delivery?

In the forthcoming release of OnWindows magazine I’m going to talk about the risks of taking such an approach and the value of adopting a more flexible model which respects the creative process.

Updated 4/10/2015 with OnWindows Article: http://bit.ly/1Eho4nk

In the interim, please meet some “like minds” or as we commonly call them, XOMNI Channel Partners:

If you are interested in Omnichannel Experience Management with a focus on UX flexibility and extreme performance, let’s connect and share stories.

Chad Brown | XOMNI

XOMNI Cloud v3 Launch Update

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Last week we officially launched XOMNI Cloud v3 and the response has been amazing! We wanted to share a few helpful links so you can get to know what this new release has to offer, starting with a Whitepaper authored by Microsoft.

Super Search: Hyper performant search is key for any quality product catalog based in-venue and mobile experience. Of course, scalable search is just as important when dealing with Tier 1 retailers and their VERY deep product catalogs. XOMNI is ready for the largest of large catalogs out there today.

Simple Experiences: A common misconception about Omnichannel is that it’s complicated. From Omnichannel implementation to the experiences themselves, they are user centric, integrated, immersive and by connection complicated. Not true. First, XOMNI makes integration with existing systems easy. Second, although XOMNI provides a seemingly endless list of features and supported scenarios, no one said you must use them all in one application! It’s true, endless aisle, associate experiences and what we call epicenter experiences can benefit by rich functionality. XOMNI powers many such experiences. However, we encourage the use of what we call Micro Experiences to engage customers in a meaningful but simplistic way. We are excited to announce new mechanisms as part of XOMNI Cloud v3 to attract customers and measure success.

Expert Support: You don’t need to figure out the Micro and Immersive mix of experiences all by yourself! For this, we encourage engaging our Channel Partner ecosystem to selectively use XOMNI features that accomplish specific goals.

We can’t wait to see how our customers and channel partners leverage the new functionalities shipped in v3. If you haven’t already, please follow xomni_cloud on twitter to share your success and keep up with the latest in Omnichannel innovation.

Thank you!
Team XOMNI

XOMNI V3 Released!

The XOMNI Release Engineering Team is happy to announce the immediate availability of the final release of XOMNI Cloud Platform V3, a major milestone. We are sure you’ll enjoy the many improvements. We’ve done our best to bring the latest technology to our platform while still maintaining the stability, performance and security that you’ve come to expect.

Here are some of the advanced features and improvements we would like to highlight:

  • Twitter Integration : When we first released our Facebook integration specifically crafted for retailers, our partner ecosystem fell in love with it. Engaging social scenarios + simplicity + innovative analytics makes adding social to your application a no-brainier. Now, we are extending the functionality to Twitter as well!
  • Inventory Support : Today our partners implement inventory logic on our platform thanks to the flexibility of our APIs.  Now, we have much more! As part of v3 we have build-in inventory support with extended functionality designed to enhance the customer experience. A powerful inventory API will make contextual scenarios where inventory data is required much more effective.
  • UI Analytics : In our V2 API we released the back-end analytics integrated with loyalty data. With v3, we have UI analytics as well.  Interactive agencies can now easily implement flexible scenarios to track much more including simple A/B testing. Is your pilot hitting your success metrics? You’ll now know. Combine this data with Audience Measurement and gain even greater insights.
  • Public API SDK for .NET : Starting from V3 of our APIs you can build in-store experiences on top of our Public API SDK for .NET and not worry about straight API implementation at all. This has been one of the popular requests we received from our partners and very happy to ship it!
  • Meaningful Open Sourcing: This is huge! Our hope is to open source EVERYTHING that takes a dependency on our APIs. Samples, Reference Applications and even our CMS! As of v3, we have all of our SDKs open sourced on GitHub! This means you can grab the source code, discover the inner workings and contribute. Make it your way!  We will have much more to announce in time.
  • NuGet Packages : Our developer experience team wanted to make it easier for you to start building your next back-end integration or the next amazing client experience you are envisioning. Now you can simply use our NuGet packages without worrying about API minor updates or SDK updates at all. This will streamline the update rollouts directly to your developers desktop. A dream come true for many of our partners and certainly and dream to use!

For the geeks within us, here are some technical insights about what we did in V3 for better performance;

  • Azure Search : Search is a critical part of XOMNI. We were extremely happy to be invited to participate to a very early adoption program for Azure Search and work with Microsoft’s Azure Search Development Team. It’s not a coincidence that we have released our V3 APIs at the same time Microsoft released their Azure Search product and made it available globally just now! See Microsoft Blog for their announcement with a quote from our CTO, Daron Yöndem.
  • Azure DocumentDB : We worked very closely with the Microsoft Azure team on their first document type NOSQL product. We got our hands on the program while they were building it and were able to provide very early feedback to make sure DocDB and XOMNI are a success together. We migrated our back-end analytics infrastructure to DocumentDB and built the all new client analytics on top of it. Check out the the interview our CTO, Daron Yöndem gave to InformationWeek about DocumentDB!

I hope you find our resources on our developer portal to be useful, and thanks very much for all of our early adoption partners for their support on our journey.