**Editor's Note: Click here for Channel Partners' complete coverage of CompTIA ChannelCon 2014.**
CompTIA ChannelCon — CompTIA, the IT trade association, is mixing things up at ChannelCon 2014 with first-time offers for channel partners attending the event Aug. 4-6 at the J.W. Marriott in Phoenix. Channel Partners spoke to Kelly Ricker, senior vice president of events and education for CompTIA, about what’s new. Here are the highlights:
- ChannelCon Online. For the first time, CompTIA is video streaming some of the vendor-neutral education for partners who can’t attend ChannelCon in person. Select sessions, including some of the keynotes will be viewable online. And, Ricker said, remote viewers will be able to ask questions via chat with the instructor or a CompTIA proxy. This interactivity is a must for some of the Track4Techs, which qualify for continuing education credits. Ricker said pre-registration for virtual event is about 1,000, doubling the show’s expected attendance.
- Track4Techs. The entire Track4Techs is new to ChannelCon at member request. Ricker said CompTIA members asked for help training their technicians on soft skills like selling as well as technical training. Three of the six Track4Techs sessions are eligible for continuing education credits that count toward recertification for A+, Network+, Security+, Cloud+, Mobility+, or CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP).
- CompTIA Executive Certificate in Business Agility. This new executive certificate provides a pathway for business leaders to adapt their businesses by choice, rather than chance. Ricker said the program was piloted in the spring and is being offered for the first time as a full-day, face-to-face workshop at ChannelCon. Participants leave this session with an action plan for charting out their business adaptation strategy.
- New and Improved Marketing Toolkit. CompTIA is updated its Marketing Toolkit to include information on social, digital and mobile marketing. Through Aug. 15, the toolkit will be available to ChannelCon attendees for free. After that it is only available to Premier members.
- Social Media Rally Station. This year, CompTIA partnered with Channel Maven Consulting to help channel partners improve their online presence on a variety of social media platforms – from LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to Vine, Pinterest and Google+. In less than 25 minutes, attendees can go from novice to expert with one-on-one consultations with social media experts.