Comdex Virtual: The Next Generation


Coming Soon: Interactive tech event that takes aim at industry trends


In its heyday, Comdex played an integral role in the industry, bringing together technologists and businesspeople so they could learn from one another, share their views on key trends and align with the "next big thing." IT professionals from every corner of the industry gathered for what became a voluminous and exhausting solution provider networking event to understand how key technologies were disrupting the way people worked or how solutions were being delivered.

Today, these same professionals, along with a new generation, are facing daunting challenges analogous to what many faced in the '80s, '90s and the early 2000s. However, the challenges of installing PCs and simple networks have been replaced by more complex issues surrounding mobile apps, cloud services, unified communications, security and next-generation networking. So it is fitting that Comdex Virtual's theme is "New Business Solutions: Embracing Disruptive Technologies and Changing Delivery Models" because it harkens back to the past but is firmly focused on the future.

The growing acceptance of virtual events along with a convergence of disruptive technologies paved the way for Comdex to return as a virtual and interactive event, Comdex Virtual, featuring industry luminaries and conference tracks on various technology and business topics. It also will feature a vendor expo center with booths and settings where solution providers can engage tech suppliers. There are many other features associated with live events that will be delivered online as part of Comdex Virtual as well. The event airs on Nov. 16-17 and will be available on-demand for another six months so attendees can view topics and speakers of interest, brush up on key trends or technologies, or revisit advice from industry experts.

Almost a year in the making, there are nearly 90 speakers that span some 40 sessions covering such topics as cloud, virtualization, social computing, mobility, security, custom systems, data center/green IT, storage, networking, and business management and strategy. Comdex Virtual also features the CRN Test Center, which will stage a review of leading products and technologies. Those sessions, each featuring prominent industry experts, are the heart and soul of the conference, which was designed by Comdex Virtual's track chairs along with members of Everything Channel's various advisory boards. As testament to their advice and guidance on the content, several thousand attendees -- mostly high-level executives in the channel -- have already registered well in advance of the event.

Several prominent CEOs will take to the Comdex Virtual stage to present their thoughts and vision for where the industry and their companies are heading. Comdex Virtual, like its predecessor, is focused on the future so each CEO and industry keynote speaker will present his or her view on what trends will shape the market in the coming year and how solution providers can build strategies to propel their growth. Intel CEO Paul Otellini will share his views on the platforms and processors that will drive new growth opportunities. His address will include a Q&A with Intel's top channel and partner executive, Steve Dallman. Symantec Chief Executive Enrique Salem is using Comdex Virtual to unveil a new vision for Symantec along with how fundamental shifts are changing the course of the security and storage industries. Salem will be joined by Everything Channel's Robert C. DeMarzo for an interview on how those changes are impacting the partner community. The next generation of networking will be discussed by Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson, whose views are changing the way solution providers deliver networking solutions to their customers.

Joining these illustrious CEOs will be high-tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and founder of HDNet, who got his start in business as a solution provider. Cuban, in a one-on-one with Everything Channel CEO Robert Faletra, will discuss his formula for success while dispensing advice to today's VARs. Faletra also will serve as a keynote speaker delivering his views on how the channel is changing. Longtime CIO Niel Nickolaisen, vice president of strategy and innovation at Energy Solutions Inc., will discuss the customer's point of view with a particular focus on midsize enterprises and what technologies they need, what they are looking for in partners and how the CIO's role is changing. Jeff Kaplan, managing partner of ThinkStrategies, made a name for himself identifying and defining the SaaS trend and will bring a fresh perspective to cloud technologies and services.

In addition to those speakers, the conference tracks are populated with some of the most recognized names in the industry, including many speakers from the original Comdex live event. You can view many of these individuals and their session topics by visiting ComdexVirtual.com.

Robert C. DeMarzo is senior vice president of strategic content at Everything Channel and has served as the Comdex Virtual conference chair.

BACKTALK: Contact Robert C. DeMarzo at robert.demarzo@ec.ubm.com.