Canada, here we come
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16 September 2011Gareth Lodge
It’s that time again where the payments industry decamps for a week of meetings and parties under the banner of Sibos. This year it's the turn of Toronto. For those of you have not been, it’s like no other conference I’ve been to in the payments industry. Whilst Cartes is larger in terms of visitor numbers, I thought it felt smaller than Sibos (20,000 visitors vs. 8,000). The stands and general slickness at Cartes is nowhere near comparable to Sibos though. Sibos stands have a certain swagger to them. Whilst NACHA Payments may have as large an audience, the exhibition is no where as near as large, reflecting the more practioner focus of the event. Rumours of $1m+ being invested by some exhibitors in Sibos are certainly believable when you see the size of some of the stands, let alone how well staffed they are, and the collateral, demonstrations, etc Is it worth that level of investment? Absolutely. For an industry built on trust, the opportunity to see the right people – albeit often fleetingly – to cement those relationships is invaluable. The seniority of people, and the right mix of people also means that real business gets done. My clients know that the 2 events that I nearly always recommend are Sibos and EBADay. There are 2 parts to the official Sibos event – the conference, and the exhibition. Celent will have a strong showing as usual. Highlights of our activity include Jacob Jegher being a judge and mentor in the Innotribe track and my session, the Executive Payments Forum debate, sponsored by ACI Worldwide on Wednesday at 3pm in CR 4. The event is such that there are all sorts of additional activities associated with Sibos, from the “Brought To You By The Community” presentations, to, of course, the multitude of parties. Whilst I suspect that the extravagance of some of these events has still to reach pre-crisis levels, judging by my inbox, the number certainly hasn’t. There would seem to be plenty to discuss in the corridors. Will we see another crisis unfold before our eyes, as we did in Vienna? Who will actually buy who in the unfolding drama of several of the vendors exhibiting? And of course, the most important of all – who’s got the best stand giveaways this year? With “only” c.50 formal meetings booked, my time to tweet and blog maybe limited, but I will try my best to bring you the highlights of the event – follow me at @gareth_lodge. And if you are in Toronto, please do stop me and say hello.