The Channel Partners Conference & Expo keeps growing, with 30 percent of our attendance in 2017 being new participants.
Nowhere is that more obvious than the expo hall, where you flooded in on April 11 and the two days that followed to meet with both new and veteran exhibitors, have a drink and strike up a conversation — whether about business or simply good old-fashioned catching-up.
By all measures, the event – inside and outside the expo hall – was a rousing success. Take a tour with us inside this image gallery for a look at the biggest and brightest booths, as well as news highlights you might’ve missed. You’re bound to see people you know.
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As usual, the expo hall was crowded after it opened up to attendees on the afternoon of April 11. But there was a reason it might’ve seemed even more packed than usual.
We topped 5,600 in total participants — more than a 10 percent jump from last spring’s show. That included more than 275 exhibitors in the expo hall.
There’s a reason that CenturyLink was honored for Best Booth in the Channel Partners Best in Show awards.
The company designed a structure with a digital reader board that wrapped around the top of its booth, as well as an interior that reminded expo-goers of the Royal Palace of Oz.
CenturyLink is making a huge push in the channel via its four routes to market.
“It’s going really great … and the partner participation … I knew that they were going to come out excited about it, but I wasn’t prepared for how excited they are,” said John DeLozier, VP, CenturyLink Channel Alliance.
DeLozier noted that once CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3 Communications goes final, CenturyLink will be the second-largest networking company in the world.
AT&T, the show’s title sponsor, put an emphasis on IoT in the expo hall. This BMW showcased a number of connected-car features enabled by the connectivity giant.
The carrier’s Partner Exchange channel program used the Channel Partners Conference & Expo as a platform to launch a written guide for channel executives looking to develop their IoT strategies. Partner Exchange also launched a readiness assessment that allows partners to see where they’re beginning, and it released an IoT starter kit that lets partners develop prototype solutions.
Meantime, the AT&T Alliance Channel added an irrigation solution to its smart cities portfolio.
In addition to being the title sponsor, AT&T sponsored Mobility City in the expo hall.
Speaking of cars, Star2Star Communications showed off a Lamborghini that highlighted its “Speed Weekend for 2” giveaway. That put the company on the “fast track” to winning Best Giveaway in our Best in Show awards.
The Cloud Computing Lab, sponsored by Microsoft, was one of four Experience Areas where suppliers set up shop in kiosks where they could put on demonstrations for potential partners.
That’s the team from Sungard Availability Services – one of the Lab’s vendors – in the foreground.
Security Central, sponsored by Verizon, was the new kid on the block among the Experience Areas.
Making its debut at the 2017 Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Security Central was a hot spot for partners interested in cybersecurity to meet with suppliers who are at the forefront of that industry.
Verizon highlighted “community makers” at its booth.
The carrier’s channel chief, Jane Schijns, honored country music star Jimmy Wayne with the first “Community Maker” award on stage at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. Wayne told his story of growing up in the foster system and being given a chance to succeed — an opportunity he’s passed along to other children who have experienced a similar upbringing.
Verizon and distributor ScanSource announced a significant new partnership at the show, coming via Intelisys’ purchase of Kingcom, one of the carrier’s largest partners. ScanSource bought Intelisys last year.
TPx Communications shared some of the biggest news of the show — its rebrand.
The former TelePacific Communications told us it made the change to signal a shift in services and a shift in geography. TPx wants to be known as a national managed services carrier. Recent expansions and acquisitions have stretched its footprint from coast to coast.
“We’re not the company we used to be,” Ken Bisnoff, senior vice president of strategic opportunities, TPx, told us. “We’ve really transformed our business. In the past our origin was out of a a CLEC — and that’s a term that really has become a part of history, [like] Blockbuster or Kodak cameras.”
Broadvoice gave brave attendees a chance to ride its mechanical bull. We’re happy to report the only injuries were bruises — bruised egos, that is, for partners who couldn’t stay on for long.
Among the provider of hosted voice, UC and SIP trunking services’ announcements was the launch of a 4G failover service, giving business owners what Broadvoice says is an inexpensive backup plan for power outages, weather events and fiber cuts.
Windstream told us that it is planning further enhancements to its partner program now that its purchase of EarthLink is complete. The organizational structure already has changed.
“We were originally running it under separate regional presidents throughout the country, and we’ve collapsed the entire organization under one leadership structure,” said Olen Scott, new channel chief of the combined companies. “We’ve already begun to see some benefit just from a synchronization of work effort. We have 200 people specifically dedicated to the channel; that’s a massive investment. Bringing it under one shop will drive a lot of significant benefit to the channel.”
Furthermore, Windstream has added dedicated sales engineering team members located across the company’s service areas, a consolidated service-order coordinator and channel advocate programs aimed at ensuring more focused and responsive sales-support functions, including quoting, partner support and order entry/processing.
Education on the Jive BIG Stage in the expo hall on April 11 centered around the various Experience Areas — not only Security Central and the Cloud Computing Lab, but also the IoT Experience Zone, sponsored by KORE, and Mobility City, sponsored by AT&T.
Pictured is a session on mobility moderated by TelecomQuotes’ Michael Bremmer. Panelists were: Samsung’s Frank Alberson, Mobi’s Chris Koeneman, Asavie’s Nick Raj and AT&T Partner Solutions’ Bruce Rose.
Master agent WTG advertised its invitation-only party – featuring the Blues Brothers – at the House of Blues inside Mandalay Bay on April 12.
The company also announced a new strategic partnership with pdvWireless, a private wireless communications carrier and provider of mobile workforce management solutions. The agreement gives WTG’s partners a new channel sales offering: DispatchPlus.
RingCentral, the cloud-based communication and collaboration provider, launched its Channel Harmony: One to Infinity Program, at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo.
The program awards partners 100 percent commissions on all deals while allowing them to work alongside a vertical-and segment-specific subject-matter expert.
RingCentral also announced a new premier master-agent partnership with PlanetOne Communications that extends its market reach to U.S.-based agents and MSPs looking to migrate large enterprises from legacy on-premises systems to cloud services.
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