I wasn’t really sure what to expect for my first participation in NonStop TBC. The event was the first in-person TBC since 2019 and my first in-person conference in nearly 5 years. But I was excited for several reasons. First, it was INETCO Systems Ltd’s first-ever chance to participate. We became an HPE Silver Technology Partner in 2021, after working with HPE’s Alan Charley and Mark Flanigan to develop a collector for our Insight and BullzAI software solutions. These software products comprise our intelligent payment security platform which provides transaction monitoring, transaction analytics, and payment system protection from fraud attacks and sophisticated BIN and Bot attacks. Given the prevalence of NonStop servers in the financial services industry, it made perfect sense for INETCO to join the NonStop community.
Secondly, due to COVID-19, all my interactions with HPE team members had been virtual. I looked forward to meeting the people I’d been talking to on Zoom and Microsoft Teams for over a year.
Thirdly, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to make NonStop customers and HPE salespeople aware of the powerful INETCO solutions that were now available to them.
Finally, some of our key customers would be attending. Also because of the pandemic, our interactions with them over the last two years had been entirely virtual.
We decided to sign up as a Platinum Sponsor. Kathy Wood, Kelly Luna, and Stacie Neall were our excellent guides through the process of preparing for the event. They gave us data on past participants, such as the industries that were represented, the level of technical expertise of the delegates, and which past presentations had been most popular. It was important to us to create a presentation that was more than just a marketing exercise; we wanted to deliver information that the audience would find useful.
Working with INETCO’s Product and R&D and Marketing team members, we drafted the presentation. At the same time, our hard-working marketing manager organized all of the logistical requirements. She ordered 3 shiny, new pull-up banners (more on these later), swag that was practical but easy to transport, and set up our virtual booth on the Whova event app. Like most of us, I’ve attended my fair share of virtual conferences since 2020 and Whova is one of the best apps I’ve seen.
With the pre-work done, I set off to Burlingame, CA. It’s an easy 2.5 flight from Vancouver, BC to SFO. It did feel a bit strange being on a plane again. When I arrived, I was relieved to find out that my colleague and our presenter, Ali Solehdin was already there. Unfortunately, only 3 of the 4 packages that had been picked up at our Vancouver office by FedEX had actually made it to the Hyatt. Only two of our three brand-new banners made it. Fortunately, the box containing the swag and those necessary trade show tools-adjustable screwdriver, duct tape, and an extension cord-did make it.
When I first walked into the huge Grand Peninsula Ballroom on day one, I saw hundreds of people reconnecting and renewing old friendships and acquaintances. I felt a bit like I’d stumbled into a college reunion for a college I hadn’t attended. But then I spotted the very first person HPE person I’d ever spoken with and the one with whom I’ve interacted the most over the last year. Even though we’d never met in person, Ozen Ercivik, HPE Product Manager, greeted me like an old friend. Throughout the event, he introduced me to people and suggested who I should meet. And that really describes the whole experience. It was great to meet so many HPE people and partners. I found everyone to be open to introductions and discussions. It was particularly interesting to meet so many HPE engineers and HPE partners. The former were uniformly curious about INETCO’s solutions and what they can do for NonStop customers, while the latter were open to exploring opportunities to collaborate.
Meeting people from two of our key customers, Discover/Pulse and Pt Alto, who came all the way from Indonesia, was definitely a highlight. The pandemic has proved that while you can do business over video calls, nothing beats being able to meet with people in person.
Ali delivered our presentation flawlessly on day two to an engaged audience. His presentation was titled, “Protecting the NonStop Environment in an Era of Escalating Threats. The session was aimed at card-issuers, retailers with a payment switch, payment providers, and anyone requiring payment transaction monitoring. He discussed how fraud and cyberattacks have been evolving as well the market drivers impacting the current threat landscape and strategies for protecting against those threats. It was gratifying to see the number of attendees who stayed afterward to ask questions.
All in all, it was a great event. Although attendance was (not surprisingly) down from the last in-person NonStop TBC, the organizers did an excellent job. The food was excellent, the presentations and workshops were engaging, and the event app worked perfectly.
I never did find out what happened to our third banner. Maybe it will show up at next year’s NonStop TBC in Denver. I’ll be there for sure!