Channel Partners Evolution Kicks Off With First-Time Attendee Reception Sponsored by AT&T

Channel Partners Evolution kicked off Sunday night in Washington, D.C., with a First-Time Attendee Reception filled with partners anxious to start networking.

The conference is expected to include about 2,700 attendees, with 35 percent new to a Channel Partners event. It also features more than 150 exhibitors and sponsors, which is a record number for Channel Partners’ fall conference.

Previously Cloud Partners, Channel Partners Evolution covers a much wider scope, including mobility and connectivity, security, the Internet of Things (IoT) “and all kinds of things that the channel’s involved with right now,” said Art Wittmann, vice president in the Knowledge & Networking division of Informa, the parent company of Channel Partners.

Pedro Del Valle, channel partner program leader for Telefonica USA, is among the first-time attendees.{ad}

“There are a number of channel partners here that are channel partners of ours that I’m meeting for the first time, and others that I like to meet and have additional conversations with,” he said. “And it’s very well attended as far as a channel-partner conference, so I like the fact that these companies that are working with us right now are here, and the ones that we are targeting are also here.”

Telefonica dates back more than 90 years and has been operating on the B2B side in the United States for more than 15 years, Del Valle said.

“We also operate in the IoT space and in the cloud space, which other carriers have abandoned in the last few years, but we’re very strong on the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) side,” he said. “So there are a lot of opportunities to be had with the partners out there that are really the true, trusted advisers and really bring us the business.”

Brian Szady, founder of GetClose Networks, an online web services company, also is a first-timer. GetClose is about to roll out a new suite of services that will bring together all social media and messaging platforms, “and we respond to all the social media posts and messaging that comes in on behalf of the business,” he said.

“We do distribution through VARs, through resellers, through people who already have a bunch of business contacts,” he said. “We’re not going to go build our own core sales force; we use channel partners to sell our products. We distribute through probably 10 decent-size resellers and we’re trying to expand that obviously … and provide the pure margin revenue back to those resellers on an ongoing basis, one the customer continues to build.”

Sarah Miller, carrier sales account executive with PEG Bandwidth, said her company is just now starting to explore becoming a part of the channel, and that attending this conference marks a first step. PEG provides cell site backhaul and small cell as a service for wireless operators, and Ethernet, wavelengths and dark fiber for telecom carriers and enterprises.

“We’re really looking forward to networking with a lot of people that have been involved with this for years to kind of learn what they’re doing and how they’re doing things, so we can figure out how we fit in and what we can do,” she said. “And getting our name out there is really important. What we’ll do next is we’re going to have to do a lot of follow-up meetings with the people we’ve met here.”

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