Enterprise LTE offers a technology pathway
By Hamish Duff, President, ARCIA
Monday, 11 November, 2019
The end of 2019 is upon us, and the industry will gather again at Comms Connect Melbourne and of course the ARCIA annual Gala Dinner. These two premier events attract people from all over Australia and many from overseas. The dinner is how our association celebrates the year and recognises those in the industry who have been nominated for various awards. And behind every award is a great story, often many years in the making. When you listen to these stories you begin to understand how many people are working on communications projects and the impact they have all over Australia. This is a part of our industry that is not understood by many people, including those in government.
Our industry covers many different wireless technologies, use cases, locations and risk profiles. Technicians are expected to have specific knowledge of the technology they are working on plus a wide range of general experience making them part sparky, engineer, rigger, programmer, IT expert, off-road driver and many more. We may as well call them wireless MacGyvers! So congratulations to all our MacGyvers, and please keep those submissions coming into the ARCIA awards for all events, state and local.
Several events have been held in the last couple of months including the ARCIA South Australia networking event, during which two professional development training sessions were held. We had around a dozen attendees at these valuable workshops, bringing the total number of people trained to over 160 in the past 12 months. Also, the title of South Australian ARCIA Industry Professional of the Year was awarded to Stephen Biggs of the South Australian Ambulance Service for his work over many years in providing great support and good planning for the essential service’s communications. Stephen is planning to retire later in the year and the fact that he will represent South Australia for the national Peter Wallace Industry Professional of the Year award in Melbourne in November will be a fitting tribute.
If you haven’t already done so, keep an eye on ARCIA-led training sessions at Comms Connect Melbourne. ARCIA will look to do more of these activities in 2020 and we have plans underway to expand the kind of information and training that can be provided. Many groups find that sending staff for these short training sessions, along with a look at all the technology, is a great way to get your staff involved, as well as giving you the benefit of helping to motivate your staff and give them a great learning experience.
On ACMA matters, ARCIA has continued to respond to requests for input on spectrum bands and some members attended a session on potential new spectrum sharing models. ARCIA continues to prosecute the argument that private networks are required by many different user groups and that spectrum should be used as a productivity lever for the country. As an association we have been lobbying the ACMA and Department of Communications to recognise the demand for private or ‘enterprise’ LTE networks, and recent changes to the licensing regime and spectrum planning are now opening up this opportunity.
When we think about enterprise LTE networks and look at developments overseas like the Citizens Broadband Radio Service in the US, we can see that these types of services will be of real use to our traditional two-way radio clients — so this is an exciting opportunity for our industry and ARCIA members. We have foreseen that this will offer a technology pathway to give our members a long-term business model to provide employment and ongoing business for many years to come. If you haven’t thought about getting involved in this part of wireless communications then now is the time to begin to learn about the opportunities it will bring; after all, the potential users are already your clients. It is important to remember that LTE is still basically just a digital radio system… the modulation format might be a little different and the frequencies a bit higher, but it is still just radio as we understand it.
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