Strength in numbers

Australian Radio Communications Industry Association

By Hamish Duff, President, ARCIA
Monday, 18 March, 2019


Strength in numbers

The year is off and running and ARCIA members have been busy across a number of areas. It was very pleasing to see that out of our involvement in school careers events, Karera Communications initially gave a work-experience placement to a student and has now offered him an apprenticeship. Hopefully we will see this happening in other areas around Australia as well.

ARCIA had a first meeting with new ACMA staff, and together we have outlined some key areas on which we would like to work together — they include enforcement, LM8 licensing guidelines, industry training and market trends. ARCIA has worked hard over the last few years with the ACMA on a variety of issues to ensure that we have good lines of communication with this critical federal agency. One of the areas we discussed is where the next trained people are going to come from… those who will understand and manage spectrum in the real world. This is an industry-wide problem and one that will affect the ACMA as well as industry. On that theme we are hoping that we see more ACMA staff at our ARCIA and Comms Connect events, and there may even be some shared training. Please reach out to any ACMA staff and make them feel welcome.

ARCIA held its annual planning days in February in Brisbane. We are fortunate that we are able to gather our committee and partners together over two days; this really sets the platform for the year and helps us all better understand where to direct our energies. One of the key items for 2019 is to find a replacement for our retiring executive director, Ian Miller… which, as we all appreciate, is going to be a difficult task. Ian’s passion and industry knowledge is going to be very difficult to replace.

The planning days cover all of the ARCIA events and how we invest members’ funds into complimentary projects such as training. We also meet with our key industry partners to find out how they see the industry and what they would like to see ARCIA do. All of the committee members who attend are taking time out of their busy schedules with the backing of their employers; we thank them for their continued support.

2019 will see further engagement with PSCE in Europe, FirstNet in the USA and control room groups. A recent example of such engagement was a joint submission with the University of Melbourne to the federal government, on the importance of critical communications for smart cities. We feel it is important that ARCIA advocates for all users of critical communications, including LMR and future technologies such as LTE. The technology used is not the critical question, it is the recognition that there are a group of users that require specialist access and features, and that these communications needs extend beyond the traditional boundaries. Smart cities, the IoT and Next-Gen 000 are now all becoming part of the one critical communications ecosystem. Internationally, the TCCA has taken up this role, and it is important we learn from our international colleagues, users and suppliers.

Finally, we should have the new ARCIA website up and running in 2019 and we hope it will be easier to use and manage. Make sure you check out the events in your local state and put them in your calendar now. Perth is the first event for the year (28 March), so for our Western Australian members… we hope to see you there.

Hamish Duff

President

Australian Radio Communications Industry Association

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