COVID-19 Update: Intelisys, TBI Postpone Events as Sandler, Avant Stay the Course

Some companies, like Datto, have chosen to go virtual with their conferences.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

September 10, 2021

7 Min Read
Post-COVID-19 Road to Recovery

Channel companies are taking different approaches to event planning as COVID-19 cases rise with the delta variant.

Some event hosts have postponed their fall events, others have moved them to a virtual format and still others are keeping their in-person plans in place. Channel partners are putting their fall travel plans together as positive coronavirus tests rise and the federal government mulls vaccine mandates.

The national 7-day average dropped as low as 11,237 in June according to the New York Times, but that number has skyrocketed in August and September due to the highly transmissible nature of the delta variant. The national 7-day average reached 166,105 on Sept. 1, the highest number. Although the current number of cases dwarfs in comparison to last fall and winter (and also appears to be dropping), it has risen high enough to worry event promoters.


Source: New York Times: Coronavirus in the United States: Latest Map and Case Count

Intelisys Makes the Call

Intelisys surprised the agent channel earlier this week with the announcement that it would postpone its Channel Connect event. The services distributor would have held the event in Oct. 11 through Oct. 14 in Monterey California. California is currently sitting at a 7-day positive case average of 10,071.

“The fluid state of the COVID pandemic and regulations in the State of California precludes us from hosting an event with pure enjoyment at the size and scale we need, absent of any fear or worry,” Intelisys said in a statement. “The health and safety of our partners, suppliers and employees is our number one priority. While we were planning to implement protocols to mitigate potential health issues, the risk associated with just one person becoming dangerously ill or possibly worse currently eclipses the benefits of getting together in person.”

Intelisys has not decided on a new date. Intelisys President John DeLozier said the event will reconvene in the future “at the best, earliest, convenient time.”


TBI Follows Suit

Chicago-based competitor TBI has officially postponed its Oct. 6 Big Event. Their team reported “increasing concerns of COVID-19’s delta variant.” They will monitor state and federal guidelines to set a new date. The new event will take place in the spring, according to the event website.

“This was not a decision we have taken lightly, and our primary concern is always the responsibility we feel towards our partners and our provider sponsors, who fund the event,” TBI said in a statement.

On the other hand, two tech services distributor events continued events with a slight tweak. Sandler Partners hosted  its National Summit Sept. 13 in Huntington Beach. It provided a virtual option. The combined number of in-person and virtual attendees totaled about 800. Attendees largely stayed outside during mixers and meals, according to event organizers.

In addition, Avant will host its Special Forces Summit in Austin, Texas Sept. 27-29. It has added a virtual option as well as laid out health protocols for the in-person event.

“Avant is providing two options for attendees to make an informed and comfortable decision for this year’s Special Forces Summit. For in-person guests, we have established COVID-19 safety protocols to help reduce concern and mitigate potential health risks for onsite attendees in Austin. Our main stage is designed to be a virtual broadcast studio so our more than 1,000 and counting registered virtual participants will enjoy a broadcast quality, optimized viewing experience from a remote location of their choice,” said Alex Danyluk, Avant chief strategy officer.

Furthermore, the Channel Partners Conference & Expo and MSP Summit will take place Nov. 1-4. We previewed the show in an article today.


Rad-Info’s Peter Radizeski

Partner Perspective

Peter Radizeski, founder and president of Rad-Info, does not travel to as many events as the average agent.

“There is a section of the channel, of the market, that is eager to get back out there. Back to the hustle and bustle, meeting people face to face and schmoozing. I have always been remote. I rarely meet my clients face to face. So for me it has been business close to usual,” he told Channel Futures.

He said for him the risk of attending shows in 2021 still…… outweighs the benefits.

“When I talk to partners, channel personnel and customers, my understanding is that too big of a chunk is unvaccinated,” he said. “Do I worry about getting sick or compromising my family? Absolutely. I am trying to balance that while trying to ignore people who sneer at me for still wearing my mask and using anti-bacterial or still worrying about COVID as if it expired.”

Datto Goes Virtual, Acronis Goes Hybrid

On the MSP side, Datto on Friday announced that its Oct. 11-13 DattoCon event will occur virtually. Instead of hosting a three-day event in Seattle, Datto will host an online summit on Oct. 13.

And on Oct. 25-27, Acronis’ #CyberFit Summit will take place both in-person in Miami and virtually. This also marks Acronis’ first-ever #CyberFit World Tour that will kick off in Miami, followed by three major events in some of the world’s largest cities. The conference took place virtually last year.

Among safety protocols, all attendees, speakers, sponsors and Acronis staff will be required to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth while at the event, even if they’re vaccinated. In addition, all attendees, speakers, sponsors and Acronis staff will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival onsite at the event. A COVID-19 PCR testing station will be at the event for anyone needing to show proof of a negative test prior to returning home.

Moreover, Acronis is encouraging attendees to get vaccinated.

Patrick Pulvermueller is Acronis’ CEO.


Acronis’ Patrick Pulvermueller

“For the Acronis #CyberFit Summit in Miami, we conducted a thorough review of our current plans and processes to determine how to create a successful event experience while also providing a safe environment for in-person engagement,” he said. “After consultation internally and with external experts, we have decided to continue with our hybrid event approach (in-person and virtual). We want to give our partners and customers the choice to attend live or virtually, and are confident that attendees will find it extraordinarily impactful, no matter how they choose to participate.”

Enterprise Connect Stays the Course

Informa’s Enterprise Connect will be live in Orlando on Sept. 27-29. The event is expected to draw 1,200-1,500 attendees and 90-100 exhibitors. Of course, numerous safety protocols will be in place to ensure attendees’ safety. The event took place virtually last year.


Enterprise Connect’s Eric Krapf

“Running this as an in-person event will bring our community together at a time when our industry—communications technology—has never been more important to the world,” said Eric Krapf, general manager and program co-chair of Enterprise Connect. “To keep our attendees safe on site, we are requiring all participants—attendees, sponsors, event staff, etc.—to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of arrival at the event, or proof of full vaccination. We are also requiring masks in all event spaces.”

This is on top of other Informa all secure guidelines, Krapf said.

Edward Gately contributed to this report.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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