Comms Connect Sydney 2019 preview

Comms Connect (WFevents)

By Jonathan Nally
Thursday, 06 June, 2019

Comms Connect Sydney 2019 preview

Sydney’s premier critical communications event is back — don’t miss it!

Comms Connect returns to Sydney on 12–13 June. This conference and exhibition is always a don’t-miss opportunity for those in the business- and mission-critical communications sector to come together and share and learn from one another. Once again the event will be held at beautiful Rosehill Gardens, very close to Parramatta in the geographic and demographic heart of the greater Sydney region.

Sessions, workshops and panels

In addition to speaker presentations — including some from the world’s top authorities — this year’s conference will include several special workshops, an IoT industry forum and a country-specific forum from Finland.

The first day will begin with a keynote address from Heikki Riippa, Senior Adviser, Suomen Erillisverkot Oy Authority, Finland, on the topic of ‘Moving to the VIRVE 2.0 mission-critical broadband service’. This will be followed by a keynote address from Ed Parkinson, senior executive with the US's FirstNet Authority, who will speak on the ‘Insights and lessons learned from the US FirstNet public safety broadband program’. It will be interesting to listen to these updates and compare and contrast the two countries’ approaches to public safety mobile broadband (PSMB).

Following the morning break, the conference will then split into two streams — public safety and emergency management, and technology. The former will include presentations from Mary Egan (NSW Telco Authority) and Luke Brown (Department of Home Affairs), both of whom will speak about PSMB developments in Australia, while Tony Gray (TCCA) will speak on mission-critical narrow- and broadband standards. The technology stream will include presentations from Alex Rizgalla (Keysight Technologies), Brad Welch (TPL Systems Asia Pacific) and Sohan Domingo (Tait), who will cover 5G, hybrid technologies and multi-bearer switching.

Portrait image of Ed Parkinson

Ed Parkinson, senior executive, FirstNet Authority

After lunch, there will be two parallel workshops to complete the day’s sessions. The first will be hosted by the Australasian Critical Communications Forum (ACCF) and The Critical Communications Association (TCCA) on the subject of ‘Critical communications standards supporting a multi-vendor and interoperable environment for all mission- and business-critical sectors’. The other workshop will be hosted by Ged Griffin and Geoff Spring (both University of Melbourne), Geoff McKernan (ACRNA) and Mark Holmes (Circadian Australia), who will lead a discussion on ‘Sensors, smart cities and the implications for critical control rooms’.

The first day will conclude with networking drinks between 5 pm and 6 pm in the exhibition hall, followed by the ARCIA Industry Networking Dinner at 6 pm at the Rosehill Gardens venue (see below).

Second day

The second day will begin with a plenary address from Steve Hwang, Business Development Manager, Nokia Enterprises Korea, who will provide an update on the SafeNet Forum, South Korea’s PSMB project. Again, it will be interesting to compare SafeNet with FirstNet and VIRVE 2.0.

The public safety and emergency management, and technology streams will continue until the morning break. The former will include presentations on ‘High bandwidth air-ground communications system for ACT emergency services’ (Dale Stacey, SAT Pty Ltd) and ‘Transitioning to a data-enabled world in a mission-critical environment’ (Graham Tait, Fire and Rescue NSW). The technology stream will have presentations on ‘Tower auditing using CSI techniques’ (James Reed, Titan ICT) and ‘Ensuring your next critical communications project is a success’ (Robert Tait, Nova Systems).

Following the morning break, there will be two special parallel sessions. The first will see representatives from Finland — including Tero Pesonen (TCCA) and Elina Avela (Beaconsim) — bring us up to date with mission-critical communications developments in their country. The other session will be presented by the IoT Alliance Australia, and will focus on security and data sharing — presenters and panellists will include Geof Heydon (IoT Alliance Australia) and Ian Oppermann (NSW Chief Data Scientist).

A man on stage speaking to an audience

Following the lunch break, the technology stream will continue with wireless, mesh and LMR presentations from (respectively) Eddie Stephanou from Cambium Networks, Grant Jamieson from Wireless Innovation and Hamish Duff from ARCIA.

At the same time, there will be a special ARCIA professional development training workshop on multicoupling and filtering, facilitated by Chris Stevens (SLSA communications advisor) and Mark Mezzapica (RFI Wireless). This workshop — which has also been held in Melbourne and Perth with great success — can be booked and attended separately by non-conference attendees if required (see for details) or as part of an overall Comms Connect registration.

The final part of the day, after the afternoon break, will see a continuation of the ARCIA workshop through to 4.30 pm. Simultaneously, the overall closing panel session will be held, moderated by ARCIA’s Ian Miller, on the topic of ‘The Q&A of PSMB — what have we learned, or more importantly what do we still need to learn?’ A similar panel held last year at Comms Connect Melbourne was very well attended and threw up all sorts of interesting questions and responses.


One of the best parts of Comms Connect is the opportunity to meet and greet with exhibitors. It’s a chance for equipment users and their suppliers/manufacturers to compare notes, give feedback, get up-to-date information on the latest technologies (often including pre-release or developmental details) and generally build connections within the industry. Dozens of companies, large and small, are booked in as exhibitors… so make sure you come along to meet and greet and create some sales or buying opportunities. If you can't stay for the whole conference, you can register for a free exhibition pass.

Handheld radios lined up on a bench

Networking and ARCIA dinner

Another highlight of Comms Connect is the opportunity to catch up with colleagues old and new, from near and far, and share knowledge and experiences. While this can be done all throughout the conference, there will be two special opportunities for networking and socialising. The first will be the networking drinks, from 5 pm to 6 pm on the first day. The second will be the ARCIA Industry Networking Dinner, to be held from 6 pm that same day, also at Rosehill Gardens. Make sure you book for the ARCIA dinner at

Comms Connect Sydney is the perfect opportunity for you to hear from the experts, discuss your requirements with leading vendors and suppliers, and share the challenges faced by industry colleagues and professionals who use communications technology in their working environments. Make sure you register today to guarantee your place. See you there!


Comms Connect Sydney 2019

Conference: 12 June (8.50 am–5.00 pm), 13 June (9.00 am–3.30 pm)

Exhibition: 12 June (9.00 am–5.00 pm), 13 June (9.00 am–3.30 pm)

Where: Rosehill Gardens

Who: More than 500 delegates and 25-plus exhibitors


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