Based on the elaborate trade show booths, free give-aways, and lavish parties, you would never know there is a global recession at the annual spring Channel Partners Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. Many Chicago companies and companies from all around the USA make it a yearly tradition to head west to attend this March event which has grown over the past thirteen years to become the premier telecom trade show for agents and resellers who provide a host of voice and data services to the business community.
Ever since the Divestiture Act, which broke up the Bell Company/AT&T monopoly, this sector of the telecom industry has grown to include hundreds of competitors who range in size from mom and pop shops to billion dollar corporations. The evolution of the products and services that they provide has grown exponentially to include everything from local, to long distance, to VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), to new cutting edge products like SIP trunking and cloud computing which are heralded as the wave of the future. Basically anything that a business needs for communication can be found at this show, and the 150 companies who exhibited were not bashful about touting the benefits of their wares to the 3200 attendees. Khali Henderson of PHONE+ magazine which sponsors the event says, “The theme of the conference was "Exploring Transformation”, which resonated well with the channel as is evidenced by the number of attendees at the event. The telecom and IT channels are faced with many challenges to traditional models, including a flagging economy and the emergence of alternative delivery models. The Spring 2010 Channel Partners Conference and Expo was a great place to start looking for some new success strategies." Ironically, the worst off the economy gets the better this sector tends to perform, due to the fact that more often than not these telecom dealers can save their customers significant amounts of money along with other valuable resources such as time and effort.
Tom Turner, VP of Sales for Chicago based integrated solutions provider Access One, states “The Vegas show is by far the best one in the industry and Access One always comes to this event because it is essential for networking with agents.” The Channel Partners Trade Show follows a standard format including key-note speeches, breakout sessions, workshops, and an enormous expo floor filled with elaborate booths staffed with friendly industry veterans who are just as happy to talk shop as they are to give away various trinkets ranging from mini basketballs to hand operated flash lights--all embossed with blatant company logos. One of the best speakers was Tim Basa, VP of Sales for Chicago based Internet provider Nitel, who taught the group how to harness the power of the Internet to promote their business and attract new customers. Basa combines 20 years of old school telecom experience with fresh new ideas about using social networking and blogs to generate buzz and business.
All in all, despite the global recession, the PHONE+ Channel Partners Conference and Expo continues to attract business people from Chicago and around the country to come dial for dollars in sin city.