ARCIA President’s 2019 Annual Report
By Hamish Duff, President, ARCIA
Thursday, 19 September, 2019
It has been another busy year for the Association; it certainly feels like it has gone by in a blur. ARCIA continues to represent the industry across many areas. Spectrum remains a key focus for the industry, ensuring both existing and future arrangements take into account what our industry does for Australia. Members of the Association’s committee attended the annual ACMA RadComms conference in Sydney, have met with ACMA officials and responded to consultation papers.
Many areas of spectrum management are changing, with 5G, spectrum sharing and legislation issues prominent. ARCIA has invited ACMA staff to attend our events around the country, as we find this is very useful for both the ACMA and members of the industry. Once again our Executive Officer, Ian Miller, has spent a huge amount of time responding to consultation papers on which the ACMA often provides very little. However, the input from the Association is valued and, regardless of future technology options, the Association believes it is important to highlight the value that all users of spectrum represent.
Events are the primary way that members of ARCIA get together, and over the past 12 months there have been excellent events all around the country. Those events have been well attended with more than 1000 people coming together to network and celebrate the industry. Each state selects and awards a member who exemplifies best practice; the list of very worthy winners continues to grow. It never ceases to amaze me how many dedicated and knowledgeable people are in our industry.
For this year, ARCIA ran daytime training sessions followed by networking events in Perth and Brisbane, rather than the traditional Comms Connect during-the-day approach. Once again we must thank Ian Miller for stepping into the breach and making this happen. Despite my personal concerns, members and guests did respond well and the events worked well. In Perth, Chris Fosten from the ACMA provided a presentation on focus areas for the ACMA, with the subsequent question and answer session proving very useful.
Of course, the headline act is the Annual Gala Dinner, and in November 2018 around 500 attendees celebrated at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. Held alongside Comms Connect, both events were a terrific success and we expect that 2019 will be even better.
The Association continues to work with international partners to share information and bring information back to Australia. Over the last 12 months we attended the annual meeting of the Government Wireless Technology & Communications Association (GWTCA) in the US and, of course, the annual meeting of our close neighbours from New Zealand, RFUNZA. Committee members from RFUNZA attended our annual planning day in Brisbane and excellent discussions were held on many subjects. ARCIA also attended the PSCE conference in Lancaster in the UK in June — this event encompasses most of the European critical communications community, and we were pleased to be both able to represent our region as well as bring information back to our members. Everyone has similar issues with spectrum, training and technology; by working together we are able to learn the lessons from other countries.
For 2019, the Association’s planning event was held in Brisbane so that local members could attend. We enjoyed two excellent days that were very well attended by committee members, partners and associates. There is a growing recognition that our Association is not really a ‘radio’ association anymore; the needs of our industry are far broader. We have many members now providing private LTE networks in the mining industry (amongst many other services), and this supports our belief that the wireless future goes beyond traditional LMR. This year the association met with the TCCA and the ATF to discuss how we can work on our common interests in critical communications, and we intend to further those relationships.
I am delighted to report that over 2018–19 we finally got started on ARCIA-led, industry-based training, with more than 150 members attending sessions in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane. ARCIA is very grateful to RF Industries for providing content and the assistance of key staff. We intend to expand the program and provide membership value through training.
Finally, I would like to thank our committee members for their dedication and commitment, our commercial partners for their support of the Association and our media partner WF Media (publisher of Critical Comms) for their efforts across the country over the last 12 months. Our industry has a lot to be proud of, and with everyone’s continued support, we can continue doing what we do.
You can read greater detail about the topics I’ve discussed here, in the annual report available on ARCIA’s website, arcia.org.au.
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