CompTIA Commits to Convergence

Brian Wiser, the new chairman of CompTIA, says the global association for the IT industry, is making convergence issues a greater priority a transition that is dictated by the market.

CompTIA is not longer a homogenous group of VARs. It hasnt been for some time, said Wiser, noting the Convergence Section is an important subgroup within the organization. PHONE+ spoke to Wiser at Breakaway, CompTIAs annual meeting this week in Las Vegas.

He said its importance will only grow as member companies begin to migrate to convergence models. Speaking for his own company, Ingram Micro, where he is senior vice president of sales and vendor management, Wiser said the company already has a mobility division and will soon launch a VoIP division. Its a natural progression of the business, he said.

CompTIA president and CEO John Venator agreed, noting convergence is a solution whose time has arrived, and as such will be a greater emphasis for the association. He said CompTIA has made some strides in promoting convergence recently. The Convergence Group the new name of the CT Pioneers group CompTIA acquired in 2001 now boasts 400 members, he said. And the section released its C+ Certification program this spring. In addition, a VoIP ROI Calculator was introduced to members about 18 months ago.

Venator said CompTIA also is considering expanding its event strategy to include a separate event on convergence similar to standalone events the group now holds on SMB and managed services. No decisions have been reached.

The question is, how far do you want to get ahead of the membership?, he noted. Sometimes we need to take a leadership role, but we prefer being there simultaneously, he said.

The association attracts a few telephony vendors at Breakaway (see photos below), but the breadth of the conference makes it more challenging to program, Venator said.

The Convergence Group does not have a guaranteed spot on the CompTIA board of directors, but it often has representation. For example, M.J. Shoer, president and virtual CTO for Jenaly Technology Group Inc., a converged VAR in Portsmouth, N.H., will serve as secretary of the 2007-08 CompTIA board of directors, which was elected at the Breakaway conference this week

The Convergence Group has its own leadership in the form of an Advisory Council that presently includes Jeff Myers of Axess Communications, Ed Dylag of Intel Americas, Craig Johnson of Catalyst Telecom, Kelly Lumpkin of Alternate Access and Joe Gillette of Stage 2 Networks.

The Speakeasy booth at Breakaway.

Fun with Aastra.

The CatalystTelecom booth at the event.

Conference Plus at the show.

The MulitTech booth in Las Vegas.

The Objectworld Communications display at Breakaway

The Paracon booth.

ShoreTel made a stop in Vegas.

Ingram Micro
CompTIA Convergence Group

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