Red Hat’s Mobile Portfolio Centre rolls into Toronto

The Red Hat Mobile Porfolio Center has been hosting customers and partners in Toronto

Red Hat has brought its Mobile Portfolio Centre to Canada, following up stops in Vancouver and Victoria earlier this summer with a stop in Toronto this week, before moving on to Montreal and Quebec City next week.

The Mobile Portfolio Centre is Red Hat’s name for an 18-wheeler trailer transformed into a mobile education and training facility. The trailer, decked out in the vendor’s logo and colours (Red, naturally), as well as those of partner Intel, pulled into Toronto’s downtown core this week, setting up its temporary residence in a parking lot across from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front Street. The idea for the facility is help bring Red Hat’s technology to customers, rather than requiring customers to come to them, said Chris Hawver, marketing lead for the West Region at Red Hat, and the executive behind the trailer.

The trailer has made 38 stops thus far since its christening at the end of May, and Hawver said it has 62 total events currently planned, with 36 more year to be planned. In all, he expects the trailer to make 120 stops around North America before its tour ends, likely in March of 2019.

“The whole idea is what do we do to take our open source platforms and technologies to the market, versus saying you’ve got to come to us — to our office, to our event,” Hawver said.

At each stop, customers and partners are invited for a variety of content — including seminars, workshops, and user group meeting. The agenda for each stop is set by the company’s field sales team in consultation with partners, and all education and training centres around what Red Hat sees as the big five IT challenges, and its areas of focus — IT operations, cloud-native development, agile integration, hybrid cloud infrastructure, and IT automation and management.

“The rule is no sales pitches,” said Hawver, who travels with the trailer each week. “It’s about enhancing our customers’ knowledge and experience with Red Hat platforms through our experts. All the presentations are delivered by our solutions architects.”

That includes access to experts at the company’s headquarters in North Carolina or elsewhere via videoconferencing.

After spending this week in the Toronto area, including stops in satellite suburban cities, the Mobile Portfolio Centre will move on to La Belle Province, with stops in Montreal at the beginning of next week, and then two days in Quebec City to end the week. It’s also slated to swing back through Toronto in three weeks’ time.

Inside, the Mobile Portfolio Center offers about 1,000 square feet of classroom space.

Hawver said the trailer has proven popular as an event with the company’s partners, many of whom invite their own customers to come and check it out. It’s an easy way, he suggested, for partners to identify what their customers’ and prospects’ top concerns area.

“We really recommend you bring as many customers together as possible, and get them to interact to flesh out their ideas. It’s all about collaboration and getting the whole community involved — just like the open source community itself.”

So far, there have been some 2,600 customers and 200 or more partners in the 1,000-square-foot learning space in the trailer, and Hawver said that’s tracking towards 8,000 total attendees. Engagement, he said, has been tremendous.

“We’ve never had a session end on time” due to the number of questions being asked and conversations being had, he said.