IBM Retail User Group Conference Focuses On EMV; All Retailers Invited

How can retailers achieve high performance in an environment where many are battling just to keep from falling behind change? And what’s all the buzz about “EMV,” why do retailers need to comply by 2013, and what does compliance entail?

The upcoming 2012 IBM Retail User Group (IRUG) Conference addresses these issues in depth during a four-day networking partnership of retailers, solution providers and other key players sharing information, best practices and next steps for advancing solutions to common retail issues, particularly EMV. All retailers ― whether or not they are IBM users ― are invited to attend the event.

This year’s 35th annual IRUG conference, titled “Keeping Pace with Retail Evolution,” takes place May 20-23 at the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa.


Conference Topics

IRUG 2012 conference topics include, among others:

  • EMV in the U.S.
  • The Future Of Mobile Payments;
  • Making The Cloud Work;
  • Transforming Stores In A Cross-Channel World;
  • The Mobile Customer And Connectivity;
  • Challenges Facing Specialty Retailers;
  • Evolution Of The Coupon;
  • Delivering Compelling Customer Experience And Technology; and
  • The Future Of Social Network Communities.   
  • IBM POS Application
  • IBM Self Checkout

Subjects are examined via key industry speakers, super sessions and elective sessions, dozens of exhibitors, and several roll-up-your-sleeves focus groups, including one that further unravels the significant challenges of EMV compliance.

“I am among the many retailers that attend the IBM Retail User Group’s annual conference because of its retail relevance, networking opportunities and the new tools and knowledge I take back to my job,” stated Ron Ferri, business process consultant of Giant Eagle. “Because of an agenda that is focused on my needs as a professional retail IT manager, I am better able to manage and address key retail issues I face every day in my job. The IRUG conference is a casual, high-value event geared towards the sharing of experiences and solutions with other retailers, industry experts and vendors.  The agenda is relevant to retail technology managers as well as the Tier 1, C-level executive. I also like the open and sharing atmosphere of the exhibitors and the limited, controlled media aspect allowing me to share experiences without the concern that afterwards I will be reading in the press about our company’s sensitive issues.”

The EMV Challenge 

The EMV events of IRUG 2012 agenda are important to retailers like Ferri, “because I know very little about EMV, and it will be consuming my life for the next two years,” he stated. “From what I hear, this will not be a simple journey for retailers!  IRUG attendees will be able to learn about all aspects of EMV from experienced industry stakeholder’s ― all in one place and enable me to implement a smooth transition.

EMV ― short for Europay, MasterCard and Visa ― is the global standard for smart cards, including credit and debit. Smart cards use an imbedded chip that stores cardholder data securely, reducing the number of fraudulent transactions resulting from counterfeit, lost, and stolen cards. According to The Smart Card Alliance, in countries such as the U.K. where EMV cards are a standard, card-related fraud is at its lowest levels. In particular, losses at U.K. retailers have fallen by 67 per cent since 2004.

The move to EMV is underway in the U.S., one of the last countries to adopt it. Retailers must comply with EMV standards or be liable for any fraud related to smart card use. Last year Visa announced that U.S. acquirers must be able to support merchant acceptance of the EMV chip terminal technology by April 2013. Earlier this year MasterCard followed suit, and recently Discover implemented the same 2013 EMV liability shift for acquirers. This means that retailers have up to 24 months to integrate the new technology. All these factors pose challenges to U.S. merchants.

Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Home Depot already have announced plans to become EMV compliant. To minimize the risks and maximize investments, all U.S. merchants should be aware of how decisions and actions taken early in the migration process can impact the industry overall.

IRUG 2012’s “EMV in the U.S.” Session

Much of the information available today about EMV stems from U.S. banks telling retailers what they need to do. Conversely, IRUG 2012’s EMV sessions will be led by retailers seeking company-specific information from each component of the lifecycle process required for EMV. These components include card brands, acquirers (payment processors), system integrators, PIN Pad manufacturers and other influencers.

Specifically, IRUG 2012’s “EMV in the U.S.” panelists include a cross-section of key players in the EMV lifecycle, including:

  • Oliver Manahan, VP Advanced Payments, MasterCard Worldwide
  • Gregory Burch, Director of Business Development, Ingenico
  • Bill Weingart, Chief Product Officer, Vantiv
  • Stephen Braceland, President and CEO, STJ Retail
  • Martine Frobisher, Director, Information Technology, hmv Canada
  • Derrick Carpenter, Group Product Executive, Bank of America Merchant Services
  • Ross Snailer, Senior Business Leader, U.S. Payment System Risk, Visa

Catherine Johnston, President and CEO of ACT Canada, will host and moderate the session. Advanced Card Technologies (ACT) is an international association for the advancement of card technologies. Johnston will share her intimate knowledge of the impact of EMV on retail business and technology strategies, and how the power of industry stakeholders working together helped supported a smooth transition to EMV in Canada. Attendees can leverage the lessons learned by Canadian retailers in their journey to compliancy.

Following the IRUG conference, attendees may participate in an IRUG EMV Focus Group consisting of two interactive workshops focusing on further education and an early adoption program for U.S. retailers. In addition, Johnston and the EMV panel will be available during the entire conference, in an EMV exhibit booth, to encourage one-on-one meetings with the panelists.

“From my perspective, retailers should attend the IBM Retail User Group 2012 conference if for no other reason than to gain this insight about EMV,” Ferri added. “We need to learn all we can as early as possible then introduce the information internally so we can start planning a successful EMV implementation from beginning to end.”

For more information about IRUG 2012 and to register for the “Keeping Pace with Retail Evolution” conference, please click here.

The IRUG conference is not open to the media, allowing attendees to question and speak freely. Media coverage is controlled through the IRUG board and Retail TouchPoints, the event’s sole media sponsor. IRUG’s “no-solicitations” rule further ensures a comfortable and professional educational environment.

For more information about new developments in EMV and mobile payments, please see Retail TouchPoints’ April 17 newsletter.

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