The first-ever online and onsite CompTIA ChannelCon 2014 event started today in Phoenix. Solution providers, managed service providers, value-added resellers, channel executives, vendors and others -- about 2,000 attendees in total -- are expected to soak up 46 onsite sessions led by 80-plus speakers through Wednesday.
Calling it a truly blended event, CompTIA's senior vice president of events and education Kelly Ricker noted that while online participants will have access to a limited number of the sessions that are listed in the ChannelCon agenda, online sessions will be live and participatory.
"We have dedicated moderators working exclusively with the online audience. Speakers have been prepped so they understand that they'll be speaking to both attendees in the room as well as those at their desktops. And we're encouraging online community engagement. We'll be taking live questions from both audiences, and there are also chat rooms," she said.
CompTIA has received over 1,000 registrations for the online event and expects more than 900 attendees, including partners and vendors, in Phoenix. Ricker attributed the high registration numbers to the open-access model that CompTIA announced in April. This worldwide initiative included a no-cost registered user level with access to select CompTIA content, participation in CompTIA communities, low-cost events and Trustmark certifications.
ChannelCon 2014 will feature the Track4Techs education program that includes both soft-skills training and core technical training for technical professions. Three of the six technical training programs qualify for one continuing education unit that participants can use toward renewing A+, Network+, Security+, Cloud+, Mobility+, CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) and other CompTIA certifications.
Requested by business owners, the core training for IT technicians will feature educational programming such as "Unleash the Sales Person in You & Boost Your Career" and "The Keys to Delivering World-Class Customer Service."
A second track that will run concurrently with Track4Techs targets a broader channel audience with more business-focused content in areas such as marketing, finance, sales and thought leadership. A few examples of these sessions are "The Art of the Deal," "Creating an Effective Mobile Marketing Campaign," and "Quick Start to Profitable Partnering."
There's also an executive track that focuses on prominent topics of today, such as security, cloud and mobility.
"ChannelCon is a great mix of concrete takeaways, building your business acumen, or things to help channel partners build their business and use to improve their business immediately, as well as hot topics and thought leadership pieces to help prep partners for what's coming in the next 12 months," said Ricker.
Partners will also be able to earn Executive Certificates in sessions that include, "Building Your Financial Strength," "Selling Cloud Services," "Profiling Customer Security Risk," and, new to this year, "Business Agility."
Launching at this year's ChannelCon is the Infotech Law Advocate Services. Onsite attendees can get free risk assessments and consultations. The CompTIA Legal Services program will continue to be offered throughout the year with Law Advocate Services based on a subscription, flat-fee or hourly fee pricing.
"The cost of hiring a lawyer on retainer is so expensive that we want to offer a more cost-effective, IT-centric approach," said Ricker.