With the National Retail Federation’s SVP of Communities Vicki Cantrell announcing a 30 percent increase in retailers represented with 200 exhibitors in the expo hall, the NRF PROTECT loss prevention conference educational sessions kicked off Wednesday morning.
The keynote speaker was introduced by ex-Navy SEAL Rorke T. Denver who acted as master of ceremonies for the opening session. Alec Ross, author and digital advisor to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, spoke to the gathering about “the intersection of security and technology.” His talk warned the audience that people, not machines, should be the focus of preventing data security incidents, especially in light of the exploding Internet of Things where today’s 16 billion connected devices will grow to 40 billion in the next five year. He advocated that LP executives team with IT and other corporate peers to implement a single information-security platform using behavior-based analytics with strong forensic capabilities to produce actionable information that can be disseminated to the entire corporate organization.
The rest of the day was split between the expo hall where solutions providers demonstrated the latest technology and service innovations, and breakout sessions throughout the afternoon. The expo hall not only housed vendor booths, but also the NRF Fusion Center sponsored by eBay and Macy’s where LP professionals could network with representatives of over twenty local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to discuss organized retail crime tactics, exchange viewpoints, and enhance their working relationships.
Fifteen different breakout sessions offered presentations on a wide-range of topics, including incident response planning, developing leaders, embracing emerging technologies, interviewing and interrogation techniques, supply-chain security, protecting international travels, innovative approaches to return on investment, return fraud, data analytics, workplace violence, and other topics.
The long day ended with networking opportunities at the Long Beach Convention Center and numerous vendor-sponsored events throughout the city and waterfront.
Day two begins early Thursday with an investigator’s network and law enforcement breakfast meeting and concludes with an evening gala finale and awards reception featuring NBA all-star Larry Johnson, World Cup soccer champion Mia Hamm, and Hall of Fame baseball player Frank Robinson. Watch for our day two recap on Friday.