News and Numbers

How the World Transacts - ICMA Expo 2019

The sales and marketing team from Superior Tape & Label recently attended the Card Manufacturing & Personalization Expo that was located in Orlando, FL. Along with 50 exhibitors and 322 attendees, members descended on the Omni Resort Championsgate for a three day conference of networking, learning and improving their skills and processes in early April. The conference included speakers, speed networking sessions, entertainment and the annual Elan awards where 18 different awards were given out.

The show is a great way for international companies to discuss new technologies and changes to the industry. Discussions on economic and geopolitical outlook and opportunities, the “greening” of the industry, biometric cards, and continued development in metal cards were some of the topics covered in sessions. Contactless payments in the US were discussed as well as combining physical and digital technologies for secure identity.

The first card you reach for when you open your wallet is called top of the wallet. According to Adam Wahler of A to A Studio Solutions, there are many factors that impact top of wallet position and the changing card designs is one. The trend of vertical design in newer debit cards was discussed. This may not just be to look cool, but the natural design for those belonging to Generation Z. Gen Z consists of people who have lived all or most of their lives using technology and are very comfortable with it. A vertical card is more natural to look at because it has the same orientation as smartphones. These newer cards are mostly being used in the debit card industry. Credit cards are still mainly horizontal although innovative styling and materials continue to come into the industry. David Tushie, of the ICMA discussed the “greening” of the card industry and the challenges it brings because the cost to produce the cards increases however the cards do not necessarily have the same durability or meet the same ISO standards. Consumers are however receptive to companies who are trying to make an impact.

The expo provided multiple times to network between suppliers and card manufacturers. These opportunities included the speed networking time during the show day which allowed attendees five minutes with each exhibitor. In addition, there were evening events to continue conversations from the day. During the first group dinner, attendees enjoyed a casual All-American meal complete with classic foods and country music. The next evening included the Elan awards and dinner with the theme of Seven Wonders of the World. The dinner included foods from Asia, England, Germany, Italy, and France, as well as entertainment from Carnaval dancers and a DJ.

Once again, the expo was a great time of collaboration and learning for those in the industry. This year celebrated the 29th year of the event and next year is sure to be even more exciting with the 30th anniversary and a new location.