Nearly 3,000 people descended on Channel Partners Evolution last week to make the fall’s biggest independent channel event one to remember.
One of the most memorable showcases – as always – was the expo hall, which featured more than 150 key vendors, distributors and more, all meeting with partners to do business. This year, we featured longer hall hours, giving attendees that much more time to meet with their favorite suppliers.
Our new Alliance Makers program also called the show floor home, with education programming for suppliers.
Did someone say education? We put our partner education sessions in the expo hall as well, making it nearly a one-stop shop for everything you wanted to do at the show.
Of course, the biggest and best booths were among the top highlights. We’ve compiled many of them in the image gallery below. Click through to see the people and companies you know.
, the cloud and customer-engagement solutions provider, was front and center before you even entered the expo hall. Its giant sign and meeting area greeted attendees in the hallway as they approached registration and the entrance to the hall.
More vendors, including the big carriers, are turning their attention to a focus on security. Verizon
was among those with a steady stream of partners wanting to learn about its security solutions and more.
Did we mention something about security and the big carriers?
The topic was front and center at AT&T's mammoth booth at the front of the expo hall as well. AT&T
, Channel Partners Evolution's official expo sponsor, also touted the oncoming 5G experience that partners are starting to be able to take advantage of.
, which has successfully transformed itself from a connectivity provider into one that offers both connectivity and managed services – so much so that it ranked No. 2 on this year's MSP 501 list
– last month agreed to be acquired by a private-equity firm in a move
the company says will take its managed services to the next level.
Partners were eager to learn about any new opportunities that might afford them.
, the cloud-based UC and collaboration provider, has announced a number of new partnerships in recent weeks. Among them: Converged Technology Professionals joined RingCentral's partner program to meet the rising demand for cloud enterprise UCaaS, and the company forged an agreement with Westcon for distribution of RingCentral products and services.
We also honored RingCentral channel chief Zane Long as one of our Top Gun 51
channel executives during an awards dinner at Channel Partners Evolution.
Poly is still getting its partners used to its new name, which it (formerly Plantronics) adopted
a year after announcing it would buy Polycom.
it's been a busy year for the UC and collaboration provider, which hired
an executive VP of strategy and has unveiled
a handful of new products and services.
Another name in relative infancy is Intrado, the cloud-based technology provider. Its old name, however – West Corp. – is no stranger to the channel.
The rebrand happened on June 27. The company says the name change "is just another example of how West Corp plans to stay up-to-date in rapidly transforming digital environment."
told us it liked its spot in one of the most heavily trafficked parts of the expo hall. And the pop-a-shot was a good incentive to get people to stop by and talk about the secure infrastructure provider's partner program.
Dell Expert NetworkDell Expert Network
, the tech giant's division focused on MSPs and SMB customers, made its debut on the Channel Partners Evolution show floor.
The company was active throughout the event, also sponsoring the Robin Robins Marketing Workshop
on preconference day.
It's not a Channel Partners show without some fun and games. Distribution giant Tech Data
brought a giant version of the classic arcade game Space Invaders to the expo hall, welcoming attendees to flash back to their youth.
Speaking of fun, GPS Insight
, the fleet management provider, hired comedian and magician Erick Olson to show off a few card tricks at its booth.
Our top-notch partner education was on the show floor for the first time.
That's Mary Abbajay, president and co-founder of Careerstone Group, addressing partners during her presentation, "The Culture Imperative: The Bedrock of High-Performing Organizations." It was part of the business strategy track, sponsored by Nextiva
All too often, Abbajay says, organizational culture is left to chance — or worse, shrugged off as an impossible hurdle to overcome. She shared practical, real-world strategies for creating a high-performance culture.
Marketing & Technology
Our marketing and technology conference track featured this session, "Get Finance and IT Aligned for Hybrid Cloud Success," and featured Peter Phillip, general manager of Sparkhound
's Houston office.
In the session – also sponsored by Nextiva
– Phillip explained how skilled consultants can broker a strong relationship between a company's IT and finance departments to maximize the use of multiple clouds.
Other conference tracks at the event included security, careers, and WiFi 6 & 5G.
Man, was this a doozy.
One of the most talked-about panels on the Channel Futures Theater stage in the expo hall was the convergence debate
. Panelists took on the edgy topic of whether IT and telecom convergence is happening rapidly, if it's necessary, and if different partner types will be able to work together effectively.
Pictured left to right are TelecomQuotes' Michael Bremmer, Pax8's Andrew Pryfogle, TBI's Corey Cohen (moderator), Datto's Rob Rae and Rad-Info's Peter Radizeski.
Alliance Makers Program
Featured on the Channel Futures Theater stage throughout the show was our new Alliance Makers program. Channel Partners is famous for our partner education throughout the show, but this programming gave suppliers a chance to take advantage of some education — just steps away from their booths.
Pictured above is Carrie Simpson, CEO and founder of Managed Sales Pros
. the sales prospecting firm focused on the IT channel.
Thunderdomes, where suppliers go head to head in front of an audience of partners to debate which of their solutions is best, are quickly becoming a popular Channel Partners tradition.
This one in the "Lincoln Room" on the show floor focused on UCaaS. There also were sessions on 5G and RMM.
Pictured left to right are moderator Bryan Reynolds of TBI, Mitel’s Jim McGarry; Intrado’s Wade Wing, Vonage’s Mario DeRiggi and NetFortris’ John Young.