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Press Release

For more information contact:
Joe Romano, Partner, HighGround, Inc. at +1 781.279.1320 x208
Frank Yacano, Director of Business Development, +1 617.497.1300

Hollywood Video Puts Stores Audits on Pocket PCs using SYWARE's Visual CE® Database

Company's loss prevention program replaces thousands of pages of paper with handheld-based database application

Cambridge, MA (May 14, 2002)-In some businesses, like video rentals, inventory shrinkage is an unfortunate fact of life. So Hollywood Video, one of the largest video chains in the United States, faces this challenge by performing periodic audits of its 1800 stores to ensure that the correct policies and procedures are being followed. These quarterly audits, which consist of over 110 questions that address various areas of store operations, help the company hold losses as close to zero as possible. But the audits meant the company had to deal with tens of thousands of pages of paperwork each year.

To address this issue, Hollywood Video applied PDA technology to the auditing process. Using Compaq Aero Pocket PCs ( and SYWARE's Visual CE database development software (, the company made the switch from paper-based forms to handheld applications.

Before the switch, the audit was performed using a 12-page paper form that was faxed to corporate headquarters and keyed into a database for analysis and reporting. With 300-400 audits every quarter, this represented a huge volume of faxed pages to deal with, and a massive data entry backlog. Now the company's approximately 20 loss prevention managers conduct quarterly audits using a new handheld application that puts the entire audit on a Pocket PC.

Rather than wrestle with paper, managers tap their way through the audit questions on an electronic form. Drop-down lists and other design elements allow the audit to be adapted for the constraints of the Pocket PC screen without sacrificing clarity or convenience. The program automatically calculates scores for each section of the audit, and assigns an overall grade to the store. Audit data is downloaded from the store directly into a Microsoft Access database at headquarters, eliminating all paper-based operations and making audit data available for reporting the same day it is collected.

The audit application was developed using Visual CE, an easy-to-use Windows CE database development tool from SYWARE ( Forms and underlying databases are created on a desktop system and then uploaded to the Pocket PCs. Audit questions can be easily changed, added, or re-arranged, and the changes synchronized to the handhelds - eliminating the cost of printing paper forms.

Factoring the Savings
"The new Pocket PC approach eliminates all the headaches associated with handling thousands of pages of faxed audits," said Jason Rackley, Loss Prevention Specialist at parent company Hollywood Entertainment Corp., and creator of the Pocket PC audit application. "It used to take about 10 minutes to process each audit, which may not seem like much, except that every quarter, the Loss Prevention department would receive several hundred faxed audits, each 12-13 pages. In addition to the redundant data entry, there were also inefficiencies associated with tracking down lost fax pages and deciphering unclear text - as well as the sheer cost of paper and faxing. Now the auditors simply open the Access database and run whatever reports are needed."

Another key benefit is improved accuracy. The Visual CE-based application performs calculations automatically as questions are answered, eliminating the need for mental arithmetic or to consult a calculator.

"The more hands that touch the data, the more chance of a mistake," noted Rackley. "Now the auditor enters the data and it goes straight into the report. There's no chance of a math error or a name being entered incorrectly during re-keying. The Pocket PC application does everything for us."

SYWARE, Inc. is a leading developer of mobile database tools for business and personal productivity. Founded in 1990, the company offers innovative data management and connectivity software for use in a wide range of applications, including patient monitoring, inventory management, and field surveys. The cornerstone of SYWARE's product line is Visual CE®, the popular database development tool for Windows CE and Pocket PC handhelds used by such companies as IBM, Coca-Cola, ChevronTexaco Corp.Texaco Corp., and US Geological Survey. SYWARE is also the creator of mEnable®, a new software architecture for real-time wireless access to enterprise data located on corporate servers. For more information, please visit

EDITORS: Photography available on request.

For further information, contact:
Frank Yacano, Director of Business Development
PO Box 425091, Kendall
Cambridge, MA 02142 USA
+1 617.497.1300
Fax: +1 617.497.8729

PR Office:
Joe Romano, Partner
HighGround, Inc.
+1 781.279.1320 x208