In less than a month, more than 1,200 professionals in the hosting and cloud industries will attend Parallels Summit 2014, an annual event that brings together service providers, telecos, ISVs, and system integrators to talk about issues and opportunities facing their respective businesses and the ecosystem as a whole.
The conference, held in New Orleans from Feb. 24 – 26, offers an exhibit hall, networking opportunities, keynotes, as well as breakout sessions designed to help service providers better serve their customers by understanding market trends and developing partnerships.
“The cloud sector is very dynamic and is changing quite rapidly so giving people an opportunity to look around and see what is happening is very valuable for any business owner or service provider,” John Zanni, CMO and VP of Strategic Alliances, Service Providers said. “When we put together this event we actually start almost a year in advance. We want to make sure that besides having all of these people together for a few days, that we provide the content that’s needed to really spawn those very interesting conversations and partnerships.”
Aside from the networking events, keynotes are always a highlight at the Parallels Summit. This year there are a couple standbys, including Parallels CEO Birger Steen and Executive Chairman of the board Serguei Beloussov, and Parallels has invited other speakers to share their insights on cloud computing trends.
“We have Blake Irving, the CEO of GoDaddy, who is going to talk about his view of the future of cloud services and some of the perspective he and GoDaddy have on how this market is going to transform over time,” Zanni said.
Another keynote speaker is Abhijit Dubey, a partner of consulting company McKinsey and Company.
“In the past we’ve had analysts from Gartner and Forrester speak, but this year we chose Abhijit because he’s done a lot of work in understanding how to sell cloud services to small and medium sized businesses and how that is an untapped opportunity here,” Zanni said. “Once again we will give some fodder for the attendees to really think about their opportunity in the cloud world and how they can take advantage of it.”
Finally, there is guest speaker Nicholas Carr, who is the bestselling author of the Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google.
“He should have a fairly entertaining and thought-provoking discussion on what cloud computing means to the world and how we should think about this transformation,” Zanni said.
Zanni said that this year’s event looks to be bigger than the last, though he didn’t give specific numbers as people are still registering. In terms of where attendees are coming from, Zanni said it is mostly people and companies from the US, but “there are a significant portion who also come from Europe, Asia, Latin America, as well.” The majority of attendees are service providers and hosters, though there is a significant percentage of telecos, Zanni said.
“We wanted to make sure that we innovate for all service provider types,” he said. “The way a teleco sells is usually attached to a broadband offer for example, and is very different than a large shared hoster or web developer or even an IT pro using Parallels Plesk panel to manage a website. We’ll announce a series of innovations that really help the specific audiences. So what you’ll hear is what we did to really help the shared hoster or teleco to grow their business, and you’ll hear about some new capabilities that take advantage of some of the most popular software out there, including Microsoft and WordPress.”
“Between the networking, the keynotes, and the track sessions, we’ve put together an experience that service providers will be able to leave the event with the ability to make very good business decisions as to where to take their company or where to focus for the next 1 to 3 years,” Zanni said.