1/14/2003 - Delivering on the solution announced at last year's NRF Annual Convention, NRF Foundation, the research and education arm of the National Retail Federation, and Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced the rollout of NRF University wired, a first-of-its-kind learning solution specifically designed for retailers. NRF University wired provides a rich curriculum of training courses available through a highly scalable, fully customizable online distance learning system. Now a retailer based anywhere can consistently train employees whether they are next door or across the country.

Based on the Sun[tm] Enterprise Learning Platform (ELP), this solution provides a single site for gathering materials to educate geographically dispersed employees. Because the content is offered over the Web, it is always fresh and immediately accessible virtually anytime, anywhere in a cost and time efficient manner.

Based on open learning standards and the Java[tm] technology platform, NRF University wired allows content to be transferred over different operating environments and scales to support a large number of users in disparate locations. Thus, companies of any size can create a virtual team-training environment.

"NRF University wired offers a centrally administered resource for businesses of all sizes to use to give their employees the most up-to-date training and information on a wide range of topics directly related to their needs, quickly and efficiently," said Katherine Mance, Vice President, NRF Foundation. "NRF Foundation partnered with Sun, one of the leaders in Internet technologies and global learning, as the provider of this solution to insure a robust, globally available program."

Sun and the NRF Foundation selected leading training-content providers like DigitalThink and NETg, as well as other content vendors, to provide coursework for clearly defined retail-specific learning paths. The coursework was selected based on a review by the NRF Foundation and a committee of retail training experts for best in class retail education. Training topics include excellent customer service, building the sale, advanced product knowledge, management training, and loss prevention.

"Web-based learning solutions clearly offer a solid way for retail firms to improve their employee training programs," said Carrie Picardi, Research Analyst with Meta Group. "This type of solution offers the advantage of module-based content creation that can be rapidly customized, delivered globally on a consistent basis, easily managed, and is less costly in many cases than more traditional classroom or instructor-centric methods. Companies will be able to better track employee development and also align skill needs with organizational objectives, therefore managing their enterprise learning strategy more effectively."

Sun believes in the value and importance of building solutions based on industry standards. Therefore, the content providers for NRF University wired must comply with either the SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) or AICC HACP, both are industry standards for courseware interoperability with learning management systems.

For a demo of NRF University wired at NRF 2003, visit the Sun Booth (#737) or the NRF Foundation Resource Center in the Crystal Pavilion or contact Kim Evans at 415.762.2270.

Retailers, software, hardware and content companies interested in taking part in the NRF University wired solution should contact Katherine Mance, NRF Foundation Vice President, at 202.626.8111 or

Sun In Retail
Sun's global retail clients are in all retail segments, including soft and hard goods specialty businesses, discount and mass merchandisers, department stores, food service, grocery businesses, convenience store businesses, chain drug stores, electronic retailing merchants, catalog and home shopping. Fast-growing retailers are building their technology foundations on Sun Enterprise[tm] servers, Sun storage and Sun[tm] Open Net Environment (Sun ONE) to deliver Java[tm] Web Services. Sun services turns technology into value for its customers via choice and open, standards-based, secure integration across the retail enterprise. Sun also offers the scalability to help ensure retailers can meet the extreme load demands they experience in seasonal peaks throughout the year. Additionally, with its iForce[sm] Initiatives, best-in-class partner relationships with proof-of-concept solutions, its open systems and software infrastructure, Sun can help support the retail enterprise, from the stores, to headquarters, to distribution centers. Sun makes the net work for retail.

About the National Retail Federation
The National Retail Federation (NRF) 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 and independent stores. NRF members represent an industry that encompasses more than 1.4 million U.S. retail establishments, employs more than 20 million people - about 1 in 5 American workers - and registered 2001 sales of $3.4 trillion. NRF's international members operate stores in more than 50 nations. In its role as the retail industry's umbrella group, NRF also represents 32 national and 50 state associations in the U.S. as well as 36 international associations representing retailers abroad. For more information about NRF, visit The NRF Foundation is the education and research arm of the National Retail Federation.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer[tm]" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Sun, Sun Microsystems, The Sun Logo, Sun ONE, Sun Enterprise Servers, Java, iForce, and The Network Is The Computer Are Trademarks Or Registered Trademarks Of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in The United States And Other Countries.

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