ARCIA celebrates 10 years!

Australian Radio Communications Industry Association

By Hamish Duff, President, Australian Radio Communications Industry Association
Thursday, 09 November, 2017


Hamish carousel

This year (and indeed the decade) seem to be rolling by faster than ever, and before we know it we will see the year 2020. By that time the Swans will have won two more AFL flags, the Wallabies will hold the Bledisloe Cup, the Socceroos will have won the World Cup and all of public safety will be on LTE.

Of course, all that we know for sure is that the future is wireless.

As new technology options arise, ARCIA will continue to advocate for and educate on the benefits of wireless technologies. You will see this in action firsthand at Comms Connect in Melbourne in November. It is a fantastic achievement by ARCIA and the Comms Connect team to assemble such a world-class line-up of people to discuss the future of public safety mobile broadband. ARCIA would like to thank everyone who is giving up their valuable time and travelling from around the world to participate in the event.

ARCIA will also be celebrating its 10th birthday during Comms Connect, and it is worth noting that the industry is indebted to all the individuals and partners that have put time and money into the association over the past 10 years. So much has happened in those years — we have a lot to be proud of, and we think we have a great future ahead.

Regardless of the technology that markets adopt, the wireless industry will still need engineers, technicians, installers and administrators. Industries cope with change over time as new markets emerge and regulation changes. ARCIA firmly believes that regardless of our wireless technology future, government and industry need to understand how to manage it. Systems are becoming more complex and more connected than ever before and, while we all enjoy the benefits that are provided, the security risks must be understood. In many critical systems, such as energy, transport and public safety, we must not put convenience or cost before security. In some cases this might mean that keeping systems separate might be a less risky and ultimately cheaper option than putting all our eggs in one basket.

ARCIA has been presenting our thoughts on the future of wireless to the ACMA and DoCA. Thinking about what ARCIA represents brings to mind the approximately 65,000 apparatus licences in our market. Each of these licences exists for some kind of private network, and the fact that they exist tells you there is a market need for private networks. It is hard to imagine a future where demand for private wireless networks ends.

Just as the railway operators, public safety agencies, energy utilities, state governments, mining companies and others have argued that access to spectrum is vital to the success of their respective businesses, ARCIA argues that access to spectrum for new technologies must be available to all markets, not just a select few. ARCIA is watching developments in new technologies closely and we, as an industry, need now more than ever to keep working together to ensure that the benefits of new technology are available.

If you think about a parallel in the IT world, we all have at home and in our businesses private IT networks. We keep them private because we know that having that network in a confined area is easy to understand and manage. For the most part, the gateway to the world protects us and we get to enjoy the benefits that these productive tools provide.

But what would happen if the government came to us and said, “IPV4 is a finite resource and we just can’t make any more IP addresses. So what we have decided to do is create an auction process for IPV6 addresses and everyone will just have to use the one public network. The new owners will of course assure us that there are no issues, as the new system has so many IP addresses that there will be plenty for everyone.” Would you will feel like giving up control of your private IP network? And so, ask yourself: are your wireless communications any less important?

Ian Miller and Rod Dowling standing together

Ian Miller presenting Rod Dowling with the SA Industry Professional award.

Finally, the most recent ARCIA event was held in Adelaide, with the local industry gathering at the National Wine Centre. The event was well attended and as always Adelaide put on a great night with an engaging guest speaker. The SA Industry Professional award was presented to Rod Dowling for his long-term work and commitment to public safety communications for South Australia and indeed for his involvement on national committees.

Hamish Duff, President

Australian Radio Communications Industry Association

Top image: Hamish Duff.

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