Channel Partners News – Gearing Up for Chicago

The fall Channel Partners Conference & Expo will be held Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 at the Chicago Hilton. On tap are new innovations in the conference program and new networking opportunities.

The Windy City will blow the education session in new directions. Most significantly, the planning team at Virgo Publishing has decided to take a break from the standard vendor-channel partner kick-off general session, an industry summit designed to get the community dialoguing about issues facing the group, such as contracts and billing. In its place, a session on voice over IP will cover the next-gen technology from every possible angle. While the conference has focused on convergence for some time now, the topic will get the full treatment in one large session, rather than attacking its parts piece meal in short break-out seminars. Experts will address the market opportunity, partners will offer inside tips and vendors will talk about the technology. Will all involved, the Channel Partners Conference hopes to give attendees a valuable take-away: a well-rounded, solid foundation on what it takes to go out and sell IP telephony successfully.

Other new developments include roundtable discussions to anchor the education, covering a wide array of topics from contracts to regulatory issues. Concurrent sessions will see fresh seminars on local service, residential/consumer opportunities, security and vertical/affinity marketing.

TAG will unveil a new TAG-Compliant certification course in tandem with top carriers. Standard required training from the vendors will be offered on-site, running as a third education track throughout the conference. Agents can get required training at the show and avoid an extra trip out of town. Theyll also become TAG-Compliant and gain access to online follow-ups and other education perks. TAG also plans to announce a master agent certification program, which will carry the stamp of approval from the carriers. True master agents can differentiate themselves by meeting a stringent set of requirements to be considered a master agent, validated by an objective third party.

As for networking, Chicago offers a rich pantheon of opportunities to mix business with pleasure. The planning committee is exploring the idea of an off-site party at a blues club, a night out at Chicago Cubs game and/or a golf tournament.

This time were really melding the host city with our programming, while bringing new content and fresh education ideas to the partner community, says Bridget Brave, the shows education manager. Were here to be the third-party resource for the channel industry, and we continually evolve to meet the needs of our attendees.

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