Partnering in Paradise – CP Expo Wraps Up

By Cara Sievers

The Fall 2009 Channel Partners Conference & Expo came to a close in Miami, and partners headed home after a stint of hard work and play. As always, the exhibitors delivered the local flavor with surf boards, margaritas, Cuban cigars and other beachy themes for the show floor. This being the first time the show has visited Miami since 2003, it was clear that everyone was ready to take on the networking possibilities, beach views, balmy weather and hip nightlife that the South Beach locale had to offer.

With more than 2,000 participants, the Fall 2009 Channel Partners Expo, which took place Sept. 23-25, had one of the most crowded opening receptions of all recent fall events. Miami drew several new attendees and exhibitors, adding some new partnership prospects to the pack.

The show’s educational agenda kicked off with a Hot Topic session on International Opportunities. A natural fit for Miami, the panel led attendees through the process of identifying international customer opportunities and approaching them, along with the ups and downs of partnering with U.S.-based and international providers and carriers.

The show’s first afternoon featured a keynote address from Christopher Dean, chief strategy officer for Skype, who addressed service provider transformation. This industry keynote also served as the closing event for the VON Conference & Expo, which ran Sept. 21-23, and was colocated with the Channel Partners conference.

Also stars in the education lineup for the show were the Hot Topic workshops on Carrier Ethernet, Hosted VoIP/UC, Telecom Lifecycle Management and 4G. The new workshop format allowed for very targeted discussions and more in-depth presentations from a broader lineup of subject matter experts.

Other topics for educational sessions included startup strategies for agents and social media, along with a well-attended and lively General Session about hidden charges. The panelists went over some of the common charges that appear on bills and explained whether they were fees or taxes mandated by the FCC or if the agents should pay special attention to the carriers’ reasons for such surprise surcharges. Furthermore, the panelists advised agents on how to file disputes with carriers when they feel their customers have been billed in error.

Rounding out the second day of education was the Peer-to-Peer Networking Mixer for independent agents and subagents. The agent-only event, reprised from the Spring Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, allowed attendees to meet each other and hold discussions in a no-pressure environment. After some speed networking, the attendees split up into roundtable discussions on topics such as marketing, suppliers and hot products.

The show came to a close on Friday with a Bloody Mary Continental Breakfast, still keeping with the spicy Miami theme. But as the Miami show died down, so began conversations of the Spring Channel Partners Conference & Expo, March 1-3. See you in Vegas!

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