ORLANDO, Fla. — Attendance totals for the annual Retail Delivery Conference & Expo, hosted by the Banking Administration Institute, are expected to hit around 3,500 — 1,700 registered attendees and 300 company exhibits packed with some 1,800 exhibitors. It's a decline, said BAI communications specialist Jeanette Weiland, but an expected one.
The attendance decrease impacted some exhibits, but not all. NCR Corp., Diebold Inc. and Wincor Nixdorf — the big three in ATM manufacturing and among sponsors of the expo's largest booths — said the attendee level, although lower, seemed to be more qualified and interested. Economic shifts, others said, actually have piqued financial institutions' interest in risk-management and neural/analytical tools that up until now have remained among the "like-to-have" technologies that most FIs vowed to invest in at some later point.
For other exhibitors with less obvious presences, attendance satisfaction was a bit lower. Once the curtain drops on the conference today, exhibitors say the real assessment of the expo's worth will be laid on the table.
And attendees will make their own assessments. Sifting through the technical variations of similar technology displayed from one booth to the next has been difficult for some attendees. For others, the technology displayed appears to be close to the same they've seen in previous years, but this year their understanding of the technology is finally jelling.
Innovations in mobile solutions have definitely added some differentiation, from a technology perspective; and stronger focuses on third-party software solutions, from the likes of Level Four, for ATM testing, KAL, for multivendor ATM driving, and Phoenix Interactive for 360 ATM-transaction views, also made an impression.
And some forgotten faces re-emerged with their own unique solutions that offer practical cost-savings options FIs and retail. Carrollton, Texas-based Tidel Engineering L.P. came to the show debuting its Revolution cash and coin management system. This year marks the company's first attendance at RD since the sale of the Tidel ATM line and brand to NCR Corp. in early 2005.
"Our solution can interface with all brands of cash management," he said. "It's closed-loop cash management, so it's very secure."
The Revolution comprises three parts: a coin recycler, a note recycler and middleware that integrates all cash-handling functions and provides a reporting set. The coin and cash recyclers validate, count, sort and dispense. Coins are dispensed directly into a till drawer or into coin cups, and 3,000 coins can be process in a minute.
"This is truly a revolution for large retailers who have extensive sets of equipment, headcount to run the equipment and are manually inputting numbers into a database manually," said Mark Levenick, president and chief executive of Tidel Engineering. "We will automate all of the cash processing down to the exact till drawer and simplify the process to the point where cashiers will start and end their shifts without interacting with anybody but Revolution."