The biggest vendors in the channel made their presence known at the TBI Big Event last week.
The conference, hosted at Soldier Field in Chicago, packed education and networking opportunities into one day. Channel chiefs from AT&T, 8×8 and Comcast took to the main stage to share their visions, and several shared themes emerged. The first was customer experience, which is all the rage in the industry now. Another was 5G, which a Verizon called “an innovator’s playground.”
Check out our event recap, and scroll through the gallery below to see what you missed in Chicago.
Photos courtesy Ana Miyares Photography
president Geoffrey Shepstone opened the event.
The Chicago-based master agent framed the forum around application, procurement and user experiences related to technologies such as 5G, IoT, mobility and cloud-based solutions. Shepstone founded TBI in 1991 and was one of the earliest participants
in the Channel Partners Conference & Expo.
Bryan Reynolds, TBI's director of sales operations, welcomed more than 460 partners and employees to the conference. He emceed the event, serving as the "official" in keeping with the Soldier Field theme.
Reynolds, the self-dubbed chief millennial officer of TBI, recently earned a promotion
from director of post sales.Check out part one and two of Reynolds' recent column series about setting expectations for your business.
Communications provider Granite Telecommunications
came on stage to award $10,000 to JDRF
for diabetes research.
JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) is a nonprofit that serves people who suffer with type 1 diabetes. Youth ambassador Matt Howe (second from right) gave a speech about his experiences with the disease.Read Granite's announcement about donation.
Fraz Baig, Ace Hardware's senior manager of corporate indirect procurement, poses with Dave Landsberger, TBI's director of training and events.
Baig explained the procurement ecosystem to partners, helping them to understand which customers' decision-makers are involved in a transaction.Watch the live video interview Baig participated in after the session.
Four Presidents' Club winners sat down for a panel. TBI announced that its 2020 President’s Club trip will be held in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Robert Shidla, senior manager of emerging technology and market business segments for Verizon Wireless
, shared statistics and predictions for 5G technology. One takeaway from his talk was that Verizon remains committed to the maintenance of its 4G LTE network.
"Everyone needs to understand that 5G was built upon the shoulders of a giant,” he said.
Read more of his comments in our 5G recap from the event.
Craig Schlagbaum, Comcast Business'
vice president of indirect channels, gave partners the lowdown on Comcast's activity in the software defined networking (SDN) market. He encouraged the audience to think of Comcast as a provider of network management, not just network connectivity.
"People think of Comcast as just cable, network asset, connectivity," he said. "But it’s much more than that."
Read more of Schlagbaum's comments in our initial event recap.
CEO Janet Schijns moderated a mobility panel at the event. Schijns, who's well known for her channel leadership at Verizon and Office Depot
, offered insight on 5G
“If you’re not today talking about it, you really could be in trouble,” she told partners. “And I think it comes down to thinking about how you’re going to present that to your customer.”
Check out the keynote speech Schijns gave at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo last month.
Channel Chief Stacey Marx sat down for an interview with TBI's Mike Onystok. We first met Marx
last month when she replaced Zee Hussain
as the leader of AT&T Partner Solutions.
She said she will continue the strong growth
of AT&T's channel programs.We quoted her in our 5G article.
John DeLozier, 8x8
channel chief, shared his thoughts on the new speed of business. DeLozier and 8x8 have emphasized the theme of "Generation CX
" over the the last year.
One of his main points: We're not taking customer experience seriously enough.We've already included the link to our article about customer experience, but here it is again.
TBi digital marketing manager Amanda Roszkowski led a breakout session on social media selling. The TBI marketing department offers customized social media training as well as consultation for website content and general marketing practices.
Gaurav Chand, CenturyLink
's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, gave the final keynote speech of the day. He focused on how data drives the fourth industrial revolution, citing how companies like Tesla are using AI to drastically improve the customer experience.
Ryan Hathaway (pictured left), president of Global Telecom Solutions
, Jamie Boedeker, channel sales manager, and Mark Stackpoole, CEO (center), accepted the Partner of the Year Award from TBI. They were joined on stage by (from left to right) TBI president Geoff Shepstone, channel manager Mary Beth Wendt, SVP of operations Mike Onystok and SVP of finance Pete Shah.
We wrote about the 10 vendor awards the master agent presented.