Earlier this week, we reported that CompTIA’s annual Breakaway conference will now be known as CompTIA ChannelCon--the new name and identity of the trade association’s annual event. Scheduled to occur July 29-31 at the Peabody Orlando Hotel in Florida, ChannelCon, according to Kelly Ricker, CompTIA’s senior vice president, events and education, is a result of an evolutionary change in our industry. “This is not a new event,” she stated. “We are certain that our loyalists will continue to feel comfortable and receive the same benefits” (as they did when the event was known as Breakaway).
Prior to Ricker joining CompTIA in 2008, the former Breakaway was largely focused as a hosted industry event, which consisted mostly of vendor-focused content. In 2010, that all changed with Ricker leading the charge to shift Breakaway to an un-hosted events model, in which attendees could choose to make their own investments to participate. In 2011, a vendor-neutral channel training and education platform was added to the event, so that attendees could work on continuing education and certifications. “We have moved away from the old hosted model, where attendees were paid to come to the event, and they received a session on the side,” Ricker said. “There are no more vendor pitches, and the content is non-specific.”
Ricker says that the name change of the event to ChannelCon was something that was largely based on how the CompTIA brand has evolved over the last few years. “Breakaway has meaning for those that have been with us for a long time, and we also always want to open our doors to new members,” she said. “We are about who can come vs. who can’t come.”
The decision to rename the event ChannelCon, Ricker says was based on the brainstorming of an impromptu committee that CompTIA set up. “We got together and knew we had to rethink the name (Breakaway), so we met and talked about ideas, and came up with something that resonated within 24 hours,” she said. “We then shopped the new name internally, and found that everyone was excited by the name ‘ChannelCon,’ so we went for it.”
According to Ricker, just because CompTIA’s annual event is now known as ChannelCon does not mean that the content and focus will change. It will remain the same, with several new focuses and options peppered throughout. “We are really focusing on a heavily-packed three-day event,” she said. “We want attendees to arrive and participate in community and council meetings, and we will also be running executive certification programs for those that want intense training, which will be part of our Community Day.”
The Community Day will take place on ChanelCon’s first day with the vendor fair opening up that evening, allowing solution providers to meet and greet in the exhibit hall. The next morning will kick off with CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux giving his State of the Industry address, followed by the Keynote Speaker, which Ricker said she could not yet reveal.
Something that is new to ChannelCon this year, Ricker added, is the ability for attendees to attend an “unconference” luncheon session, which is an opportunity for attendees to drive the conference agenda. “We have blocked out 90 minutes on Wednesday during the event to allow attendees to choose what they want to talk about,” she said. “We like the idea of having our community members who want the opportunity to present, and this is also an opportunity for our vendor and distributor attendees to share their vendor-neutral expertise, without pitching a product and/or service.
For those interested in attending ChannelCon, the cost is free to CompTIA members. For those who are non-members, the price is just $250 to join, which includes free admission to CompTIA events.
According to CompTIA, registration and additional information on ChannelCon will be posted to the CompTIA events page later this month.