You came to network, but you also came to learn.
The keynotes and education sessions at Channel Partners Evolution were top-notch. You walked away with tips on helping customers score mobility, security, cloud services and much more. You also went home with strategies that will take your own business to the next level.
But we know you didn’t have time to attend them all. That’s why we put together this recap – including images – of the very best the keynotes, concurrent education tracks and VIP sessions had to offer.
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The keynotes at Channel Partners Evolution featured a unique concept.
Presenters and panelists were asked to offer advice to a hypothetical startup – Acme Connected Apparel – on how to start and grow a successful digital business. Acme’s CEO, Amy Acme (portrayed by Channel Partners marketing manager Brittany Watts), tapped into the keynoters’ expertise in mobility, security, disaster recovery, compliance and more.
Acme Connected Apparel produces IoT-connected clothing.
Participating in the panel, from left to right, are Broadview Networks’ Brian Crotty, Nextiva’s Ira Feuerstein, Star2Star’s Gary Testa, Richardson Communications’ Jaime Zarate (moderator), Fusion Connect’s Charles Cuggino and Evolve IP’s Scott Kinka.
Robert Boyanovsky, executive director, mobility product management, AT&T (the Channel Partners Evolution title sponsor), encouraged partners to get down with 5G.
Promising speeds five times that of existing fiber-to-the-home connections, Boyanovsky told the crowd that the network will be the driver of the Internet of Things in the years to come.
At the heart of his keynote was the message that solution providers have the opportunity to bring together wired and wireless solutions for their customers. Partners who apply that strategy can boast four times the revenue growth as those who don’t, he said.
Verizon channel chief Janet Schijns reminded attendees that we are well into the countdown to the millennial revolution in the channel. In spite of the official title of her keynote, “So You Think You Have Time? Your 18-Month Business Plan for Success,” Schijns said you better be taking steps now. In fact, you might want to shave that span down to three months.
“Fast is the new big,” she said.
So what are the keys to success in your millennial business plan?
Aaron Withrow, channel partner manager with Google (making its Channel Partners event debut), took to the stage as part of our Fastball segment — six minutes to make a pitch to partners as to why they should team up with the presenting vendor.
Later, in an interview with Channel Partners, Withrow said that Google Fiber is targeting SMBs that have been underserved. The company serves organizations ranging in size from a sole proprietor to a midsize business.
Google’s model is simple and straightforward — Internet connectivity. It offers three tiers of service: 100 Mbps (upload and download speeds) for $70 a month; 250 Mbps for $100; and 1 gigabit for $250.
Withrow told Channel Partners that Google Fiber resonates with businesses that understand technology and are trying to use it to solve business problems.
“What we’re trying to do is bring abundant and flexible bandwidth to as many businesses as we can,” he told us.
The Silicon Valley giant presently has about 60 partners, predominantly managed service providers (MSPs).
This was the scene in the keynote room on the first full day of Channel Partners Evolution.
The crowd piled in to see Channel Partners’ Art Wittmann and Rick Reed kick off the event with a presentation dubbed “The Digital Business Evolution,” which also served as the theme of the conference.
The event’s first keynote panel featured a handful of representatives from mobility, cloud and data-center services providers to discuss how Acme Connected Apparel could position itself for digital-powered growth up and down the stack.
Pictured left to right are Rackspace’s Wiqar Chaudry, Granite Telecommunications’ Jennifer D’Ambrosio, Equinix’s Jim Poole, BCM One’s Michael Goodenough (moderator), MetTel’s Max Silber, Sungard Availability Services’ Derek Siler and mTusker’s Roger Toennis.
Up the stairs from the keynote room, there was plenty more learning going on.
Our concurrent education sessions featured five tracks: the evolution of business, cloud, IoT, security and mobility.
In the session above, panelists encouraged partners to charge for their expertise. High-value customers shouldn’t balk at that proposition. Stress the value of a vendor-neutral, independent IT pro.
Pictured left to right are Atrion’s Paul Cronin, Carrier Access’ Shane Stark, Platte River Networks’ David DeCamillis and Channel Partners’ Lynn Haber (moderator).
The learning didn’t stop in the keynote hall or the education rooms.
At this year’s show, we debuted a number of “experience areas” in the expo hall. They included Mobility City, sponsored by AT&T; the IoT Experience Zone, sponsored by Kore; and the Cloud Computing Lab, sponsored by Synnex.
Each area included a stage where educational presentations were held. In the one in Mobility City pictured above, attendees heard from panelists who explained how to craft a strategy to help customers mobilize their businesses — including selecting the right devices, contracts and rate plans. The strategy set forth included how to sell lucrative services around mobilizing enterprise apps and ensuring security.
Pictured left to right are AT&T’s Jack Laskowitz, MetTel’s Max Silber, DataXoom’s Bryan Hagedon, BluLogix’s Tim Cook and Rev.io’s Evan Rice.
Attendees also increased their brain power at various VIP sessions during Channel Partners Evolution.
This panel, focused on “Helping You Make Money With Public Cloud,” was hosted by Avant Communications. Leading service providers described how they have succeeded in monetizing the public cloud and Avant explained how its ecosystem can help partners participate in this giant land grab.
Back in the keynote room, Leo Taddeo, chief security officer for Cryptzone – a provider of network security software – and a former special agent in charge of the Special Operations/Cyber Division of the FBI’s New York Office, took on Amy Acme’s security needs.
Taddeo noted that small businesses and large ones alike are vulnerable to cybercrime, which has become a lucrative enterprise. It’s typical for malicious hackers to seek confidential data such as credit card information, customer lists and intellectual property.
Taddeo suggests that a business assign someone who is responsible for security and has the authority to enforce security rules. Often, he pointed out, no one within a company is accountable when security incidents occur.
Amy should prevent employees from accessing resources that aren’t necessary for their job, use encryption to protect data, and rely on multi-factor authentication to create a digital identity, he added.
As for the cloud, Taddeo rejected the perception that storing data there is riskier than on customer-premises equipment. When implemented property, the cloud offers a significant security advantage, he said.
We didn’t know it before coming up with the Acme Connected Apparel concept, but channel partner Richardson Communications & Consulting already was working with a real-life business sporting a similar IoT theme.
Richardson reps took to the stage to discuss their relationship with Enflux, a connected clothing company. The first step, the parties said, is learning the customer’s business; only after that can the solution provider can step in with a technology plan.
“Having the business discussion first meets both of our needs about learning about a long-term vision and getting a sense of how things are going to grow,” said Jamie Zarate, executive director, cloud services at Richardson Consulting.
Enflux’s Mo-cap clothing is disruptive body capture and tracking technology with a list of use cases on its radar. A developer release of the clothing is scheduled for before the year is out, followed by a consumer release in 2017.
Pictured left to right are Channel Partners’ Art Wittmann (moderator); Richardson’s Christian Annaboli; Enflux’s Mickey Ferri; Richardson’s Rachel McNeese and Jaime Zarate.
The pending acquisition of Intelisys by ScanSource certainly was on the minds of panelists taking part in the keynote, “The Evolving Services Distributor Role.”
That’s just one example of how the roles of traditional telecom master agents and tech distributors are blending, the panelists noted.
In the coming years, “It will be very hard to tell the difference between a traditional IT VAR and a telecom agent,” said Intelisys’ Andrew Pryfogle.
Also worth noting is the need for the channel to attract millennials — a big challenge. Businesses and partners need to adjust their strategies to cater to their needs.
Then there’s the IT talent shortage, an issue that will require a concerted effort to resolve.
Pictured left to right are TCC’s Theresa Caragol (moderator), Carahsoft’s Harrison Smyth, Pryfogle, Tech Data’s Michelle Curtis, WTG’s Vince Bradley and TelePacific’s Ken Bisnoff.
Another of our quick-pitch Fastball sessions, Christopher Whitaker, director of channel sales for Accel Networks, made quite the entrance with a parachute strapped to his back. It certainly got attendees’ attention.
Whitaker pitched Accel’s nationwide Primary Network Service — fixed cellular broadband service with an SLA available in all 50 states, plus Canada and Puerto Rico.
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April 19 2019 @ 18:17:02 UTC