From Small Seeds to 177,000 Square Feet of Show Floor, Complete With a Lamborghini

Art WittmannTwo decades ago, with the ink barely dry on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a few hundred intrepid agents, master agents and suppliers got together to celebrate their successes and look to the future. Fast forward to the 2017 Channel Partners Conference & Expo, which marks our 20th year bringing this community together. Just like you, we’ve been growing and improving ever since. 

That Telecommunications Act, which followed the mandated divestiture of Ma Bell by some 15 years, was sweeping in its reach, touching not just on telephony but the Internet, mobile data and cable services. But pivotal as it was, the legal wrangling of the day was only part of what created the channel. Some prescient attendees at our inaugural show likely had an inkling that a nascent service, just two years old and called VoIP, could be a game changer. Sure, SIP was still a couple years off, but the seeds of a new industry had been planted.

Two decades later, look at how we’ve grown. The integration of voice and data services into every aspect of business is table stakes. Every one of us carries a palm-size computer with power unimaginable in 1997. The Internet connects us to businesses, governments, schools and one another in ways that have become definitional to modern culture.

Just as the technology of today could hardly have been imagined 20 years ago, the channel itself has evolved well beyond what our audience of two decades ago would recognize. They talked about voice, and that was an incredible opportunity. A few dabbled in networking. Today, vast voice and data grids support a panoply of services – mobility, IoT, cloud – that amount to a huge opportunity, far broader than telephony itself. We now have dedicated areas on our show floor where you can explore those services, and one on security too, because that’s foundational to business today.

This year’s expo floor will be, in a word, big — more so than that core group could have imagined. With more than 250 exhibitors, a packed stage lineup and our new Ingenious Bar featuring a range of subject-matter experts, you’ll be inspired as well as informed. There are networking opportunities and education sessions, awards ceremonies and chances to give back, and even a first-ever Business Success Symposium the day before the show floor opens, to help you drive your business to new heights.

Oh, and we hear one of our top exhibitors is bringing along a Lamborghini Gallardo. Hey, it is Las Vegas after all.

Come armed with a vision of how to serve customers better and make it come to life at Channel Partners. Get ready to meet old friends and business partners and grow some new connections.

There’s never been a better time for the channel, or a bigger show to inspire you. Happy Anniversary, and see you in Vegas!

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