**Editor’s Note: It’s not too late to register for the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, the gathering place for the technology services community, April 10-13, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.**
The Channel Partners Conference & Expo – the gathering place for the technology services community – is celebrating an anniversary.
It’s our show’s 20th, and we’ve packed in a ton of great education and keynote programming, networking events and more into four days. It’s a little like Disneyworld — so much to take in, but limited time to see it.
That’s why we’ve picked out a handful of can’t-miss experiences that you’ll want to put on your calendar. What follows are some first-ever items on a Channel Partners (title sponsor AT&T) agenda as well as some old favorites that keep you coming back year after year. Use it as your guide for a fabulous Channel Partners experience.
Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.
It all kicks off at 12:30 p.m. on April 10 with our first-ever Business Success Symposium preconference, sponsored by Verizon.
The Symposium features lunch and keynotes from Carolyn April, senior director of industry analysis at CompTIA, and Joe Chuisano, executive director of Verizon Business Markets. Then attendees break up into a trio of education tracks aimed at executives, sales and marketing leaders, and technology leaders.
It wraps with a networking reception.
You’ll need an all-access pass to attend.
The evening of April 10 features two events that have become traditions at our shows.
The first is the Women in the Channel networking event, which kicks off at 5 p.m. It includes a mixer and a program that follows.
Separate registration is required.
Then comes the First-Time Attendee Reception, sponsored by AT&T. It’ll be held at the 1923 Bourbon Bar in Mandalay Bay.
The first 150 people through the doors will get a gift bag, and one lucky partner will win a $1,000 AMEX gift card. You must be present to win.
Separate registration required. And yes, it’s open to first-time Channel Partners attendees only.
The full show kicks off the morning of Tuesday, April 11, with a welcome from Channel Partners team leaders who will discuss the theme of the show — helping attendees start down the road to their own “digital summit.”
It all gets started with breakfast being served at 8:30 a.m.
The day will be packed with informative keynotes, including a presentation from Verizon channel chief Janet Schijns, dubbed “Channel Communities: The ROI of Investing in Others.” Schijns has promised a guest appearance from a country music star. Who is it? You won’t know unless you attend.
Also on tap is a keynote from Michael Schmidtmann, owner, Trans4mers, who will give attendees tips to become more profitable.
Later, a number of our Channel Partners 360° Business Value Award winners will take to the stage with some fresh ideas to solving customer problems.
Keynotes are open to all attendees and exhibitors.
Fastball is back!
Sandwiched in between our keynotes are some quick-hitters, if you will. Exhibitors get six minutes to pitch offerings launched within the past 90 days — and yes, we’re timing them. At the end of each presentation, you can decide for yourself: home run or strikeout?
Among those participating are MetTel, AT&T, CenturyLink, mTusker, Comcast Business, ViaSat and Zang.
We have six concurrent education tracks kicking off after the morning keynotes on April 11: Business of the Channel, Cloud, IoT, Security, Next-Gen Tech and Vertical View.
Among the highlights is a panel in the cloud track dubbed “Changing Role of Tech in Cloud-Forward Companies.” Execs from Ingram Micro and Equinix will be among those featured.
Another session, “Our Brand Really Is Crisis: Lessons from Campaign 2016, Russia and the FBI,” features David DeCamillis of Platte River Networks, who will tell the story behind his company’s involvement with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email server.
Also of note is the hottest technology in the business – SD-WAN – taking center stage in the session, “3 Ways the Channel Benefits from SD-WAN.” Leaders from CNSG, BlueSky IT Partners and VeloCloud will join Ovum’s Mike Sapien for an important discussion.
An all-access pass or full Conference & Expo pass is required to attend these sessions.
Always a crowd favorite, we’ll have more than 275 exhibitors in our giant expo hall this year. It’s a great opportunity to network and meet with vendors whose solutions you might sell in the near future.
The show floor opens at 4 p.m. on April 11, closing at 7 p.m. It’s open from 2-6 p.m. on April 12 and 10 a.m.-noon on April 13.
The opening reception on Tuesday will be sponsored by CenturyLink. Wednesday features the traditional pub crawl, sponsored by 888VoIP, CBB, Digium, Five9, Granite, Onramp, Sonic, Sotel, TeleDomani and Vivial.
Everything in the expo hall is open to all attendees.
New to the expo hall this year is the “Ingenious Bar,” where you can hear from a wide range of experts committed to bringing attendees that “a-ha!” moment in marketing, business enablement and more. Got a stubborn problem or nagging question? Drop by, work it out on a Microsoft Surface-powered visual display and walk away with a custom plan.
Sponsors of the Ingenious Bar include Mojo Marketing, SwarmSales, VARStreet and World Synergy.
Find the Ingenious Bar in Booth #331.
The Experience Areas that we debuted at Channel Partners Evolution last August in Washington, D.C., return in grand fashion at Mandalay Bay.
Joining the successful Cloud Computing Lab (sponsored by Microsoft), IoT Experience Zone (sponsored by KORE) and Mobility City (sponsored by AT&T) is Security Central (sponsored by Verizon) making its debut.
All of the Experience Areas feature vendor kiosks and programming dedicated to their respective subjects. In Security Central, partners can find the latest security solutions and learn how to protect their customer’s sensitive data.
The Jive Big Stage (Booth 450) will be home to all of the programming stemming from the various Experience Areas, but that’s not all.
Both days (April 11 and 12), the agenda kicks off with a live version of the popular Channel Partners podcast, “Coffee with Craig & Kevin,” featuring executive editor Craig Galbraith and business-development lead Kevin Morris.
Also featured on the stage on April 11 is Speed Networking, where invitees will meet as many as eight highly regarded suppliers in an hour. That’s plenty of time to exchange business cards and get a quick elevator pitch — in other words, just long enough to know whether you want to find out more. It’s fast, it’s effective and it’s productive.
On the stage on April 12, we’ll take you inside the 11th Annual PartnerPath Survey, where you’ll learn important partnering trends. There will also be the opportunity to learn about many of our new exhibitors in the “New Exhibitor News Desk.” We’ll also have our Passport drawing, with a chance to win a $2,500 AMEX gift card. We’ll also dole out our Best in Show Awards.
And speaking of awards …
… the Channel Partners 360° Business Value Awards return, as we honor 25 partner businesses for providing holistic solutions to their customers. By invitation only, the networking event will be held the evening of April 11 at Eyecandy Sound Lounge in Mandalay Bay.
On April 12, we’ll pay our respects to the honorees in this year’s Channel Partners Circle of Excellence at the Aureole restaurant — also in Mandalay Bay. Introduced in 2013, the Channel Partners Circle of Excellence program recognizes IT and telecom channel leaders who are helping their partners create business value for customers. The Circle of Excellence honors executives for their vision, innovation and advocacy of the indirect channel during a time of transition and convergence.
This event, too, is for invitees only.
Wednesday, April 12, is loaded with more great keynotes.
They include the presentation, “The Power of IoT: Changing Lives & Transforming Businesses,” led by leaders from AT&T; “Distis & Masters Look Ahead,” a panel featuring top execs from Telarus, TBI, Intelisys and Synnex; and “The Changing Channel: Making the Most of Market Opportunies,” featuring John DeLozier, chief of the CenturyLink Channel Alliance.
The learning doesn’t stop on Tuesday.
Wednesday’s education sessions include “The Incredible Expanding Line Card: 3 Ways to Grow Smart.” Continuum’s Michael Barnes will tell you how to focus on clients and verticals, what value you can add, and your staff’s strengths.
Our Vertical View track is in full gear on Wednesday, including “The Digitization of Banking: 5 Things You Need to Know.” This track is run by our sister publication, MSPmentor.
Separate registration is required for the various VIP events being held throughout April 11 and 12, but it will be well worth it.
The powerhouses hosting VIP sessions include AT&T; Avant; CarrierSales; Comcast and Spectrum Business; CCH SureTax/Wolters Kluwer; Verizon; Sungard Availability Services; and ViaSat. Topics include the gamut from mobility to disaster recovery, cloud to unified communications, and much more.
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