The number of people who networked in planned and spontaneous meetings, visited the 183 exhibitor booths, and attended a range of educational and social events at The Electronic Transactions Association 2008 Annual Meeting & Expo is not yet tallied.
But, Thomas Goldsmith, the ETA's Director of Commu-nications and Public Relations, reported it looks like attendance at the premier industry event was up from a year ago. Held from April 14 to 18, 2008, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the multifaceted expo was packed with announcements of interest industrywide; individual company product and program rollouts and demonstrations; and speeches, panels and informational sessions galore.
Of the issues explored, education and security seemed to have particular resonance.
On Tues., April 15, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council (SSC) released version 1.1 of the Payment Application (PA) Data Security Standard (DSS), which replaced Visa Inc.'s Payment Application Best Practices (PABP).
The PA DSS establishes criteria for secure applications in all payment card transactions and enables the council to manage a globally recognized list of validated payment applications. When implemented in a PCI DSS-compliant environment, PA DSS-validated applications minimize the potential for data security breaches.
On April 15, the ETA held its gala President's Dinner, a much-anticipated event at which ETA Star Awards winners were announced, as follows:
Also, in addition to offering traditional ETA University (ETAU) classes on a range of essential topics for payments professionals, the ETA introduced ETAU online.
The new program consists of interactive, Web-based certificate courses, which are accessible 24/7. The first to be offered is sales channel development. Coming soon are introductory courses on electronic processing, operations, sales and marketing, and technology.
Many companies wait until the ETA's annual meeting to officially celebrate their latest developments and achievements. Just a few of the many highlights include:
To celebrate Elavon's ascendance as a global force, the company hosted a party at Mix Lounge, high atop THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, where howling winds may have forced the event inside but did nothing to dampen enthusiasm.
Harvey predicted, however, tougher times ahead for smaller acquirers that do not compete worldwide.
This is being done through expanded product offerings, enhanced services and faster delivery. The Phoenix Group, POS Portal and Alliance Data were among the first resellers to sign up.
Also, Paul Rasori, VeriFone's Vice President, Product Mark-eting, told The Green Sheet the issue of encrypting transaction data while it is in transit is something the PCI SSC just may examine in the near future.
The Green Sheet received press releases from numerous other exhibiting companies and posted the news on our home page (www.greensheet.com) under News From the Wire.
From the opening address by Brit Hume, Managing Editor of the Fox News Channel - he talked politics to a crowd that was warmed up by The Capitol Players, who poked fun at Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama and John McCain in equal measure - to the closing panel of pros who discussed the state of the payments industry - and every session in between, payments professionals generously shared their knowledge with one another.
Many presentations took place in rooms partitioned in the back of the exhibition hall, which made them highly convenient to attend, thereby increasing attendance. Here's a sampling of topics that whetted many an attendee's appetite:
And then, of course, there were the happy hours and parties, public and private. But you know what they say about Vegas.
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