WASHINGTON, DC — December 17, 2003 — Keynotes from cultural observers and technology gurus, a new exhibit showcasing the electronic product code (EPC) and a show floor featuring hundreds of strategic retail solutions highlight MARKETECHNICS 2004. This information marketplace will feature the newest strategies to integrate breakthrough technologies with retail and wholesale merchandising and operations.

Presented by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the 12th annual convention will be held February 29 — March 2 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

Following the theme "REAL ANSWERS," MARKETECHNICS 2004 will bring together thousands of retail industry professionals and hundreds of exhibitors together in a city considered to be the birthplace of the modern global technology revolution. For the first time, the International Mass Retail Association (IMRA) is joining FMI as a sponsor of the event.

"MARKETECHNICS 2004 explores the broad influence technology has on retailer and wholesaler communications with both consumers and suppliers, as well as specific applications that significantly enhance top-line results," said FMI President and CEO Tim Hammonds. "Attendees will leave the show with a complete toolbox of strategic solutions that can greatly improve the way they manage their business and serve their customers."

"Our members are the fastest growing and most innovative retailers in a large part because they embrace technology as a means to reaching their goals," states IMRA President Sandy Kennedy. "We're pleased to team up with FMI's MARKETECHNICS 2004 to bring this important educational event to the retail industry."

Exhibit floor highlights for the 2004 show include:

EPC Showcase: Currently one of the hottest technology topics, the EPC is widely viewed by industry experts to be the wave of the future. The EPC Showcase will enable technology innovators and suppliers to demonstrate exciting new EPC applications.

Technology Lane: Created to highlight dynamic new technologies, Technology Lane will showcase products and services that improve business efficiencies.   

BioBucks Program: Using biometric technology, this program enables attendees to receive "paychecks," which they deposit into their "virtual account" at a redemption center on the show floor. When setting up the account, participants will have a fingerprint scanned. As they visit designated exhibits on the show floor, they receive additional paychecks. Then, back at the redemption center, they can purchase products and services with the money in their account — using only a fingerprint!

Opening Night Reception: Show attendees are invited to a networking reception on the show floor on Sunday, February 29, beginning at 4 p.m. Exhibits will be open during the reception.
Top Line Subjects Drive Education Program

Three general sessions featuring nationally recognized presenters and another session centered around a retail executive panel lead the MARKETECHNICS 2004 education program:

Brain Drain and Our Stake in the Global Economy — What does the latest outflow of higher-paying jobs with more intellectual content mean to the United States and its place in the global economy? FORTUNE magazine editor and columnist Geoffrey Colvin, a leading thinker, writer and speaker on today's most significant trends in business, examines the infotech revolution, corporate governance, shareholder value imperative, effective leadership and other current issues.

The Art of Deception: Are YOU in Danger of Being 'Conned?' — How secure is the private information that you exchange electronically every day? In the corporate environment, a large number of unsuspecting victims never realize they have been manipulated. Will your company's employees be next? Kevin D. Mitnick, co-founder and CEO, Defensive Thinking, a former hacker and author of the best-selling book, The Art of Deception, offers an intriguing explanation why security technologies such as firewalls, authentication devices, encryption and intrusion detection systems are virtually ineffective against a motivated attacker using these techniques.

The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology — The increasingly global distribution of knowledge means that it is no longer enough to rely on your own internal knowledge and processes for competitive innovation. The most successful companies today are finding creative ways to profit from ideas that others have developed and profitable ways to share their own knowledge, both internally across divisions and externally with others. Henry Chesbrough, author of Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology, leads a spirited discussion of managing innovation, corporate venture capital, spin-offs, and intellectual property. Chesbrough is executive director of the Center of Technology Strategy and Management, Institute of Management, Innovation & Organization, University of California at Berkeley.

Technology: Benefit and Burden — Technology may open up new opportunities, but it also offers individuals intent on nefarious activities a chance to play havoc with our dependence on technology in our business and personal lives. Recent fraudulent Internet coupons are a prime example, along with viruses and privacy issues. A panel of retail executives examine how IT and loss prevention departments can work together to combat this darker side of technology.

Complementing the general sessions will be focused workshops covering key topics such as data synchronization, customer interactive technologies, 2005 Sunrise, EPC, wireless communications, electronic payment systems and a special look at a "store of the future."

Technology Tour

MARKETECHNICS 2004 will kick off Sunday, February 29, with a Technology Tour led by Tom Murphy, president, Peak Tech Consulting. Murphy, a former Kroger Co. executive, will guide attendees through more than 300 exhibits, identifying hot new technology trends that are revolutionizing food retail operations and consumer purchasing behavior. Tour participants should meet in the Esplanade Ballroom of the Moscone Convention Center at 11:45 a.m.

Electronic Exhibit Features Unique Show Preview

Visitors to the MARKETECHNICS 2004 Web site can experience the show's electronic exhibit, which allows buyers and other visitors to view exhibits and their featured products before the show. The electronic exhibit offers many opportunities for exhibitors:

  • Rotating list of brands

  • Posting of exhibitor press releases

  • Product visuals and descriptions

  • Direct e-mail access to exhibitor

  • Exhibitor invitations to retailers

  • Booth location information

  • Presence on the MARKETECHNICS Web site before and after show

DemoNet Offers Exclusive Showcase Opportunities for Exhibitors

MARKETECHNICS 2004 exhibitors are invited to step out of their booths to participate in DemoNet on the show floor. DemoNet is a theatre for multimedia presentations that allows exhibiting companies to demonstrate their technology-oriented solutions. The DemoNet area will also have computer terminals that attendees can use to access the Internet.

New Research Highlights Tech and Consumer Trends

FMI will release a new research report, Technology Review Highlights 2004, at the show. The study will reveal new data on trends such as B2B e-commerce, self-checkout, POS systems, loyalty programs, loss prevention technology and online shopping.

Loss Prevention and IT Strategy Conferences Co-Location

Two major FMI events will be co-locating with MARKETECHNICS 2004: the annual Loss Prevention Conference and the 2004 IT Strategy Forum.

Examining issues such as Homeland Security, organized retail theft, digital recording for the total store, shrink and diversity, the Loss Prevention Conference will be held February 28-March 3 at the Argent Hotel in downtown San Francisco.

The 2004 IT Strategy Forum will be held Saturday, February 28, at The Palace Hotel — also in downtown San Francisco. Key topics include leadership development, technology portfolio management, IT and business ethics, IT outsourcing and off-shore development.

Attendees to both events will receive free admission to MARKETECHNICS 2004.

Online Registration and Information

Consistent with the show concept, FMI has posted an electronic brochure on the show Web site, http://www.fmi.org/events/tech, allowing retailers and exhibitors to obtain current program information online. Site visitors are also invited to subscribe to the free MARKETECHNICS 2004 e-newsletter, which provides frequent updates on the show.