A new era for Comms Connect

Comms Connect (WFevents)

By Geoff Hird
Thursday, 03 September, 2020

A new era for Comms Connect

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the world, entire industry sectors have been dramatically affected and many plans have had to be put on hold. This has extended to the conference and exhibition industry, of course, and you’ll be aware that we have had to postpone or cancel our physical Comms Connect conferences and exhibitions for 2020.

One regrettable consequence of this is that the person who has helmed Comms Connect from its inception, Paul Davis, has now moved on to new challenges outside of the conference sector. So I wanted to take this opportunity to thank him on behalf of WF Media — and on behalf of all members of the Australasian critical communications industry — for all the hard work he has put in to make Comms Connect the success it has become, and to remind everyone of just how much Paul and his hardworking team have achieved over the years.

Paul joined WF Media 15 years ago, and we launched Comms Connect Melbourne (known then as Radio Comms Connect) in 2007. That event had just 16 sponsors and exhibitors and 35 conference delegates. By contrast, Comms Connect Melbourne 2019 attracted 90 exhibitors and sponsors, more than 250 official delegates and over 1500 exhibition visitors. That’s a pretty remarkable expansion when you consider that for many years it was widely thought that the traditional two-way radio market in Australasia was on the point of collapse.

In order to make this happen, Paul forged strong working alliances with all the local critical communications industry associations (ARCIA, ACCF and RFUANZ) and worked closely with global industry experts to help grow Comms Connect Melbourne into the largest gathering of critical communications and public safety professionals in the Southern Hemisphere, and the equal in quality of any of the major overseas events.

And then in more recent years, Paul worked hard to expand Comms Connect to include major events in Sydney, as well as in New Zealand (in partnership with RFUANZ), and smaller satellite events in Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide (in partnership with ARCIA).

Paul and his team have a remarkable ability to pull together conference programs and exhibition displays that are both varied and vital, ensuring delegates and visitors always come away better informed and better connected with their peers.

Comms Connect has had to transform itself for 2020 — with masterclasses, training courses and seminars now held online — again with great credit to Paul, Lisa, Katherine, Lauretta and Narelle for instigating these innovative delivery methods. The virtual sessions have proven very popular, with a number of them having to be repeated due to popular demand.

While it is everyone’s hope — and certainly our aim — that the physical Comms Connect conferences and exhibitions will return in 2021, we will in the meantime continue to develop innovative ways of delivering great content for the critical communications sector. The Comms Connect Virtual Conference Series will be running throughout November — with more details to follow very soon on this exciting project.

None of this could have happened without the foundation that Paul built. We’re very sad to see him go, and we wish him well with all his future endeavours. And we know that the reformatted Comms Connect events and programs are in very good hands with the long-standing Comms Connect team and industry partners.

Geoff Hird is Managing Director and Publisher of WF Media and WFevents.

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