Q&A with Quixoticity's Peter Clemons

Comms Connect (WFevents)

By Jonathan Nally
Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Q&A with Quixoticity's Peter Clemons

In the lead-up to this year’s Comms Connect Melbourne conference and exhibition, we’re continuing to bring you a series of Q&As with speakers and exhibitors… to find out what they will be sharing with the audience at Australasia’s biggest critical communications event. Today we speak with Peter Clemons, founder of Quixoticity.

Peter has been attending Comms Connect since 2011. He is a former director and board member of the TCCA, and founded next-generation critical communications consulting firm Quixoticity in 2012. Quixoticity is a full member of 3GPP, ETSI and TCCA, and is focused on developing global next-generation critical communications solutions as well as publishing the Quixoticity Index, launched for the first time at last year’s Comms Connect.

Peter’s Comms Connect presentation, ‘Global public safety and critical communications on the road to 5G’, will start at 12.15 pm on Wednesday, 21 November. Peter will also take part in the closing panel session (‘The Q&A of PSMB’) at 3.30 pm on Thursday, 22 November.

What brings you to Comms Connect every year?

Comms Connect Melbourne has a special atmosphere compared to other events I attend around the world. I actually came up with the name Quixoticity early one morning while out for a jog in Docklands during my first time at the event in 2011, and I also gave a keynote setting out the main topics and goals for Quixoticity the following year. Of course, I also launched the Index in Melbourne last year and will be giving a comprehensive update this time on the global trends as our industry and community moves towards more advanced communications solutions. Over the years, I have also acquired some very good friends who always make me feel welcome here in Australia.

What will you be talking about this year?

A lot has happened within the world of critical communications over the past 12 months. I will be presenting a comprehensive update of the Quixoticity Index, highlighting the progress being made by eight representative pioneer nations, including Australia, as they move towards nationwide public safety broadband capabilities. Something new for this year which is generating a lot of interest is the inclusion of eight of the most globally significant communications equipment suppliers.

What do you believe lies in the future for critical communications?

It definitely looks as if we are approaching a very significant tipping point for critical communications globally. Our community has been engaged with 3GPP — the global standards body — for around six years now, and we have been able to incorporate many of our users’ requirements into recent Releases. FirstNet in USA, ESN in UK, SafeNet in Korea, the ambitious European Commission BroadWay initiative, Telstra LANES in Australia and a growing number of countries across Europe, Middle East and elsewhere are driving the public safety mobile broadband market to greater maturity, thereby enabling radically new services and applications in a secure environment. Many of these initiatives will be discussed at Comms Connect 2018.

Although good old PMR will still be around for some time, and even though it may still be several years before we reach high levels of penetration of the new services, we now have the opportunity to help create a better, smarter, safer world during the 2020s. These are most definitely exciting times for our industry and community.

What is the role of the Quixoticity Index?

As far as I’m aware, the Index is the only analytical tool currently available for describing, following and predicting the future trajectory of the growing number of large-scale public safety initiatives around the world by combining mission-critical, 5G and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into a common framework.

It’s taken us seven years to get this far and there’s still plenty of work required to capture even more data, and eventually automate the tool to allow real-time analysis. But we’ve come a very long way since 2012, as has the industry and community we are studying.

How does Australia fit into the global picture?

It’s fair to say that Australia was not at the top of last year’s Index and that there is still a lot of work to be done to catch up with some of the trailblazers. However, significant progress has been made over the past 12 months, as has been reported by Critical Comms. I’m looking forward to hearing Luke Brown’s (Emergency Management Australia, Department of Home Affairs) Comms Connect keynote about the current status of public safety mobile broadband in Australia. My friends at Telstra have also promised something new for Comms Connect.

Of course, one of the highlights for many of us at 3GPP this year was the Plenary Sessions that took place on the Gold Coast in September (hosted by Telstra), as we continue to develop the standards for imminent 5G services that promise so much in the future for our community.

Any final thoughts?

We are in the middle of a period of rapid technological change, moving from one era of humanity to another over the next two decades or so. The world could potentially be a very different place from 2030 onwards. The challenge our industry and community faces is to develop the next generation of networks and services that will guarantee the continuity of all critical communications and prevent or mitigate attacks on citizens and critical national infrastructure in an increasingly automated and machine-driven world. To a certain extent, our very future depends on reliable, predictable, stable communications.

Don’t miss Comms Connect Melbourne, 20–22 November 2018. Head to the website for full details of the conference program, exhibition and registration details.

Pictured: Peter Clemons, founder, Quixoticity.

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