I just returned from the 2019 NRF (National Retail Federation) conference in New York. It’s a gathering of about 38,000 people at the Javits center, and if you’re at all interested in the things that make retail work, it’s where you need to be in January. Every type of business that supports retail is present and in force. Here are some of my observations from my few days in retail land:
New mobility options, such as on-demand scooters and bicycle-sharing operations, are popping up in cities all over the world. As these types of mobility options proliferate and use grows, accidents and injuries are sure to follow, resulting in property damage and liability claims. Unfortunately, the existing marketplace for this type of situation is murky at best.
Will your existing auto insurance cover you if you are using a bike-sharing program for 30 minutes? What about when you rent an electric scooter and use it on sidewalks? What if you do not have auto insurance or own a vehicle? Who is responsible for providing insurance, and how do you protect yourself?
Anyone who has seen me on a panel about technology talent or innovation (or even seen me sitting in the audience when there’s a mic nearby) will know I have strong views on how and where the capital markets (and other areas of the financial services industry, I’m sure) are going wrong in trying to attract and retain tech staff. This is not about offering individuals the ability to wear a pair of jeans to work—a shift in mindset and even policy is required.
As the sun rises on 2019, it will also be shining on a new equities exchange application. The launch of Members Exchange (MEMX), founded by a consortium of nine financial services firms, was announced this week, and according to the press release, it will apply for U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approval in early 2019. Given the IEX exchange application approval and the public fights between the incumbent exchanges and their members, the introduction of a new exchange application should be no surprise. There are already 13 exchanges and over 45 equity alternative trading systems (ATSs) operating in the U.S.; MEMX will make number 14.
First, there were just usernames. Then came usernames and passwords. Then came multifactor authentication (MFA), which requires something you know, such as a username and password; something you have, such as a one-time password token; or something you are, such as biometrics using your fingerprint or a retina scan. Now frictionless identity access management (IAM) is the “soup du jour” as companies work to make MFA more effortless for the end user. Many of the chief information security officers with whom I've spoken attribute the lack of MFA adoption in the enterprise and in web applications to the amount of friction it causes for the end user.