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SFM Critical Issues Conference Speaker Discusses ZEP

The Society for Foodservice Management (SFM) 10th anniversary Critical Issues Conference was held April 17th at JPMorgan Chase’s renovated LEED Platinum-winning headquarters in New York. It focused on “Technologies of Today, Trends of Tomorrow—Looking Ahead to the Future of Foodservice.”

The seven speakers addressing the conference included Stefan Saroiu, PhD, a researcher in the Mobile Computing Research Center at Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA, who addressed the topic of Facial Recognition and Zero Effort Payments.

"Imagine the future of commerce," he said. "The moment you enter the door of a hotel, a restaurant, a plane, they have a lot of information about you, so you can check in without standing in line. We have the technology today that’s needed to turn this vision into reality."

He noted that a system that uses a wireless proximity transmitter that "announces 'I'm here!' from a smartphone, combined with a facial recognition program and a final validation from a human staffer, could be used to trigger a ZEP (Zero Effort Payment) transaction that is completely convenient yet has a high level of security. The transaction would trigger an e-mail receipt that includes a link to a video showing the purchase. Of course, customers could always opt out of such transactions if they are uncomfortable with the privacy implications.

Other speakers at the CIC included

• keynote speaker Danna Vetter, vice president of consumer strategies for Aramark, whose address, Connected Consumer, Connected Experience, argued that the objective of businesses has shifted from fighting for a share of wallet to fighting for a share of life.

• Scott Snyder, chief strategy officer for high tech firm Mobiquity, senior fellow in the management department of the Wharton School and founder/leader of the Wireless Innovation Council, who spoke about mobile and social computing and how they are changing the business environment, and

• Jonathan Pryor, director of sales for software vendor Agilysis, who discussed the Future of Hospitality Technology

In addition, there was a group presentation that discussed how technology is changing the way school foodservice is deployed in the Pinellas County (FL) Public Schools. The panel included Bill Geary, manager of retail and education industries for Fujitsu Biometric Solutions Group, who talked about the use of palm scanning technology to validate customers in the district; Bob Gottlieb, director of sales for VE South, which piloted a program to vend reimbursable meals using biometric hand scanners with Pinellas Schools; and the director of food services for Pinellas Schools, Art Dunham, who talked about how the changes using hand-scanning technology were introduced and implemented in the 100,000-student district. (FM ran a full description of the Pinellas County program last September here.)

For an animated slideshow of networking at the Critical Issues Conference, go here.

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