From what I hear day in and day out, the biggest debate in the industry is not over the pandemic’s lasting effects, cloud momentum or security breaches, but about whether everyone is suffering from virtual event fatigue — better known as Zoom burnout.
There may be some fatigue creeping into our daily lives spent on video conferences. But the Channel Partners Conference & Expo is testament to the fact that channel executives are showing no signs of slowing down the consumption of virtual event content. This group of executives from the telco and IT channels is hungry for content that will help them grow their businesses, identify new products and services, and learn from peers. The number of attendees signed up for this week’s event makes it one of the largest independent gatherings of channel partners to take place in the industry. The event brings together nearly 2,000 attendees to hear from 100 speakers, subject-matter experts and a large number of tech vendor sponsors. You can view the agenda here.
It is clearly evidence that Zoom fatigue takes a back seat to the desire for industry trends that could help channel organizations stay a step ahead of the competition. Of course, we do hear every day from our attendees and sponsors they are anxious to return to face-to-face events. But until that day comes, our community is eager to engage on digital platforms because of the quality and accessibility of the content presented in the Channel Partners Conference & Expo agenda.
The unique platform that brings together voices in the telco/cable/service provider channel with MSPs is a major attraction to leaders who want to understand the entire channel opportunity.
There are so many great keynotes and breakout sessions that support the event’s theme of accelerating evolution that it's hard to single out just a few. But let me share some highlights of our main keynotes to guide you through this gathering.
- Like a skilled boxer knows, you have to come out swinging. That is exactly what happens at this event with a keynote from veteran channel executive Janet Schijns of JS Group, who will help attendees understand the opportunity around edge and 5G.
- Schijns will turn the main stage over to our Channel Influencer of the Year, Jay McBain of Forrester, who will lead a panel discussion on how marketplaces are reshaping the way all channel partners and their customers source technology. In boxing parlance, that is a one-two punch to start the show.
- Hearing the views of today’s channel leaders on growth opportunities is one of the main reasons senior channel leaders return to this event year after year. That’s why we are excited that on day one of our event, AT&T’s Chris Jones, who leads the Alliance Channel master agent organization, will provide his views on channel trends and how to leverage them. I don’t want to steal any of Jones’ thunder, so tune in to hear it for yourself.
- On day two, T-Mobile’s new channel leader, Pat Watkins, will unveil her vision with a main stage keynote providing a glimpse into her strategy for growth. She is making her channel debut at this event as one of the industry’s most prominent leaders. Watkins was recently featured on our Channel Partners website in an exclusive interview featuring her thoughts on the outlook for the T-Mobile channel and the company’s leadership in 5G. This is an opportunity to hear from this next-generation channel leader.
- The star-studded list of channel leaders also includes 8x8 SVP John DeLozier, who will help everyone understand the impact of remote work that is driving customer demand for an integrated communication stack. DeLozier will weigh in on the trend of moving business communications to the cloud, which represents one of the largest SaaS market opportunities for partners.
- RingCentral’s Jeff Winnett believes there are only four things partners need answered in 2021 to unleash the greatest potential. Anytime you can hear from a leader who has boiled down the most pressing issues of the day to just four, it is worth tuning into.
- Finally, the Channel Partners Conference & Expo offers everyone an opportunity to give back and do some good. We're partnering with Telecom for Change to raise money for the World Central Kitchen, a leader in food relief and distribution. On the eve of the event, we had raised $15,000 through donations from Granite, the Informa Tech Channel group (Channel Partners/Channel Futures) and the efforts of Telecom for Change. If you would also like to support this effort to help feed families and those in need, visit telecomforchange.org. Here's where you can donate.
Back to my opening point. It all reminds me of the quote often attributed to Mark Twain about the weather. The quotes goes something like, when it comes to the weather, everyone is talking about it, but nobody is doing anything about it. Well, while everyone is talking about video conference fatigue, we are doing something about it with the content and engagement on our conference platform.
Bobby DeMarzo is the content lead for media and events at Channel Partners and Channel Futures.