Comms Connect Virtual Conference Series

Comms Connect (WFevents)

By Jonathan Nally
Monday, 26 October, 2020

Comms Connect Virtual Conference Series

Private LTE, cybersecurity, location-bases services and the future of LMR will headline this important online conference series.

The Comms Connect Virtual Conference Series will deliver a tightly packed program of leading experts and topical subjects across four Thursdays in November.

Brought to you by the team that has led the industry in live event experiences and content for more than 14 years, the new online format has been carefully crafted to suit audiences in this COVID-affected year.

It also makes for easy participation for those who would not normally have been able to attend the traditional face-to-face conference in Melbourne.

The line-up of local and international speakers will cover a wide variety of subjects of direct interest to the business- and mission-critical communications field, with a focus on presenting practical and application-focused material on the hot topics driving the sector across Australia, New Zealand and the wider region.

The event will comprise four, two-hour sessions (10:00 am to midday) spread across the four Thursdays in November.

5 November: Cybersecurity and critical communications

Ensuring the cybersecurity of mission-critical communications and industrial systems will be top of the agenda on the first day of the virtual conference series. Spearheading the discussion will be:

  • Dr Ian Oppermann, Chief Data Scientist with the NSW Department of Customer Service, and Industry Professor at University of Technology Sydney
  • Bill Fisher, Security Engineer with the US National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), part of the US National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)
  • John Beltz, Cybersecurity Lead with the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division of NIST
  • Peter Jackson, Director of Cyber Security with ECL Cyber

Dr Oppermann will tackle of the question of whether the mission-critical communications sector is lagging behind other tech sectors in preparing for and dealing with cybersecurity challenges.

Fisher and Beltz will outline how federated identity systems are the key to secure information sharing when users from multiple organisations need to access services from multiple providers — in particular, the problem of interoperability and information sharing between agencies and among first responders on the scene of a disaster.

Jackson’s presentation will outline the work he and his colleagues have been doing to improve cybersecurity for industrial organisations, with a focus on operational technology (OT) security rather than IT security. He will cover best-practice OT security and give real-world examples of the good, the bad and the ugly, along with some insights into the New Zealand ICS Cyber Technical Network.

12 November: Private LTE

Ensuring there is coverage, capacity and control for the private LTE network of the future will the theme of the second week’s session. The speakers will be:

Lardner will outline his experiences of deploying more than 15 networks within Australia and internationally, and what he sees as being the next phases of development in the sector.

Richmond’s presentation will focus on how critical infrastructure control rooms integrate with LTE networks (private, commercial or national) and how to make use of LTE MCPTT in the broadband migration from narrowband LMR.

Chen will present a case study of a private LTE deployment in the Australian gas fields and how the system was designed and deployed to have high availability and low latency.

Nebe will describe the private LTE networks deployed at three of Gold Fields’ mines, and how the first five years of operation have proceeded.

19 November: Location-based services

Although location-based services applications are now part of everyday life — running across LTE (public and private), LMR, IoT and Wi-Fi networks — it is imperative that they are properly integrated into operational and analytical systems.

This session will feature three speakers:

Tait’s presentation will look at how Fire & Rescue NSW has integrated location-based services into all aspects of its incident management, from call taking and dispatch to firefighter safety at the incident, as well as the new and emerging technologies being investigated to take this capability into its next phase.

Duff’s presentation is intended for both technical and non-technical participants and will highlight the value of LMR for short data services such as GPS, indoor tracking and messaging.

Stevens’ presentation will investigate the use of ESRI and other GIS platforms as a data processing and integration tool, and highlight the use of operational dashboards and web apps as tools for displaying and analysing disparate data sources.

26 November: Next-generation LMR

While global LMR systems sales are expected to grow over the next few years, the challenge for the traditional radiocommunications industry is how to remain relevant into the future. This session will look at the strategies being used by the sector to ensure that happens. The speakers will be:

Graham will examine the reasons why demand for digital, open standards-based LMR remains strong alongside its convergence with broadband. He’ll also outline progress on MCX functionalities.

Riesen will use four TETRA use cases to show how to build coverage with a minimal number of frequencies in low-density networks, such as railways.

Richardson will outline how New Zealand is developing a new critical communications capability for its emergency services sector, explaining who and what is involved and how the challenge of delivering a solution to enable the right care at the right place will be met.

McKenna’s presentation will show how the breakdown of relationships between parties is the greatest risk for any project. He’ll outline the key stakeholder roles required for success and the balance of responsibilities and relationships between project engineer, installation contractor and maintenance technician.

Panel discussions

Each of the four sessions will be MCed by Chris Stevens, who will also lead the short panel discussions to be held at the end of each session. The panels will give the speakers a chance to flesh out their ideas with each other, and there’ll be ample opportunity for registered participants to submit questions.

The easy online format and breadth of speaker talent makes the Comms Connect Virtual Conference Series an event that is not to be missed. Registration is only $75 per person per session, or you can book four sessions for the price of three.

Full session details and registration information are available at

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