No Tech Event in 2014

Published in CSP Daily News

NACS confirms PCATS conference dates in spring, but no technology trade show

By  Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Content Development Coordinator

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Officials with the c-store industry's largest trade association confirmed that it will not host the technology conference in 2014 that it formerly called NACStech and this year redubbed "The Tech Event."

Instead, association spokesperson Jeff Lenard confirmed that the annual technology-related gathering hosted by its own Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards (PCATS) will be having its annual meeting--typically held in the beginning of the year--during the timeframe usually set aside for the Tech Event.

The PCATS annual conference is set for April 28 to May 2, 2014, at the Loews Ventana Canyon venue in Tucson, Ariz.

Lenard would not comment as to why the Tech Event would not be held again, but at least two sources who asked to remain anonymous say that suppliers did not receive the kind of financial return that they had hoped for last year and that essentially, "the writing was on the wall."

The PCATS conference and the Tech Event were decidedly different gatherings. PCATS is typically a "working" conference, where attendees develop actual technology standards that are then published for use by providers working in an open-architecture environment. Subcommittees on topics like data security, point of sale and lottery meet to create specific end products.

At the Tech Event, workshops and session speakers addressed general technology topics and a trade show with supplier exhibits space was laid out for attendees.

Last summer, PCATS held a strategic planning meeting in Chicago and identified key technology areas that attendees believed would be important to retailers going forward. The group also brought up initial plans for its 2014 annual conference, but no formal trade show was discussed at that time.

NACS had been focused on technology for many years. In 1995, it created the Technology Standards Project, which became a separate entity in PCATS as of 2004. In the ensuing six years, PCATS grew its membership to about 150, representing more than 20,000 stores and a broad range of industry technology and services vendors. In 2010, NACS integrated PCATS back into the association, but kept the two individual structures, where both entities retained separate, but in many cases dual memberships.

NACS represents more than 2,100 retail and 1,500 supplier member companies.

By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Content Development Coordinator
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