Bits & Bytes
What’s in a Name?
Technology is everywhere in
our society and viewed as a
tool to optimize our existence.
When I watch my kids use
their smartphones or tablets,
there is no thought in their
minds about how the “magic”
happens, because the technology is no longer magic (much
like TV was to me at their age).
The fact that we take
technology for granted
is a sign of progress. It
indicates a turning point:
Technology has become
more about the ideas of
democratization and ubiq-uity than technical bits and
bytes. But make no mistake,
there are still serious people continuing to work
to make the magic more commonplace.
Democratization of technology is now the
challenge, as right-of-way market powers attempt
to exert control over data flow, as legal aspects of
data security become debate in Washington and
as card brands fight to preserve market share. In
all of these non-technical conflicts, the power of
specification of technology is used as a weapon
to carve out markets, costs and profits. Never has
the power of open, transparent standards been so
critical to innovation and economic freedom.
In 2009, PCATS assumed two new challenges (in
addition to its core mission of creating data inter-
change standards and connecting the industry’s
smartest technologists): advocating for open stan-
dards and making our market attractive to innovative
technology. Our aging four-year-old initiatives on
the future of card payments and data security have
emerged as a burning industry platform in the wake
of the Target breach. We have attracted some of
the world’s best innovators, such as Qualcomm and
MCX, to join us in preparing the industry for the rev-
olution in mobile commerce. Our industry is on the
forefront of progress and is not an afterthought.
This progress of PCATS laid bare a glaring prob-
lem: the PCATS brand. While serving us well the
past 10 years, the brand no longer encompassed the
breadth of what we do or how essential we are to the
industry. PCATS leadership undertook a nine-month
project to understand our mission, the consumers of
that mission (everyone in our industry it turns out,
not just IT folks) and our role in shaping the future.
At the PCATS Annual Conference in Tucson this
month, we unveiled our new name — Conexxus —
and began the important task of conveying our new
brand. We connect people, industries and systems,
being the nexus of thought leadership on future
technology and related policy.
Our mission touches every discipline in our retail
segment, because technology is not just about the
magic anymore. What’s in our name is everything
we do and everything we aspire to do: Conexxus.
Executive Director, Conexxus