CCWeek Set to Put Spotlight on Mission Critical 4G, Impact of 5G

Tony Gray, Chief Executive, TCCA

Spotlight on Critical Communications |

Over the past many years, Critical Communications World has become a unique event for the global Critical Communications ecosystem wherein vendors, operators and customers converge. This year the event is being organized by TCCA – in a virtual format in the form of Critical Communications Week (CCWeek). The event is set to put spotlight on adoption of Mission Critical 4G and impact of 5G for the ecosystem.    

Tony Gray, Chief Executive, TCCA speaks with Zia Askari from about this year’s CCWeek and how it will deliver unique experiences for the attendees.

In the backdrop of this global pandemic, how is TCCA as an industry body embracing the new normal today? 

Our first priority is to ensure that everyone who supports and contributes to TCCA’s work can continue to do so safely. Much of the work on our many projects is carried out via remote collaboration in normal times, so there is little change. Currently there are no physical meetings, all meetings are being conducted online but again this is not impacting progress.

As a not-for-profit membership organisation we have always strived to keep costs as low as possible, so while meeting colleagues in person is always a positive experience, it is not essential to project progress. To ensure everyone is kept informed of our work and that of the critical communications ecosystem, we are running a series of Critical Update webinars, and these are proving so successful that we will continue this program even after physical events return.

This year we are set to have CCWeek, the new virtual experience for the critical communications sector. What can the critical communications industry expect from this year’s digital event?

The expectation for Critical Communications Week is that it will provide similar levels of interaction with the sector as a physical event, but from the convenience of attendees’ own home or office.

The conference programme is already shaping up to be excellent, with experts from across the industry addressing some of its greatest challenges. We’ve also secured many of the biggest critical communications companies in the world to participate in the virtual exhibition.

The platform on which the event is running has been utilised to ensure the attendee experience is as bespoke and interactive as possible in order to receive the maximum benefit for their business.

This is the next logical phase our sector, leveraging the latest communications technology to help benefit the entire critical communications ecosystem.  While we are keen to resume physical events, a complementary online presence is clearly here to stay

What are some of the technology themes that are going to power this year’s event?

 A major theme for the event will be the ongoing move from narrowband to mission critical 4G currently being undertaken by public safety organisations across the world. This is becoming an increasingly important topic for the sector, particularly with the likes of FirstNet in the US and the UK’s Emergency Services Network now being able to provide data services to users.

As well as 4G meanwhile, CCWeek will also focus on 5G and its anticipated impact on the market, which has the potential to be immense. The primary focus here will be on how massively increased data rates – coupled with negligible latency – could revolutionise not only public safety, but other business critical verticals such as transport and industry.

The third key content strand for CCWeek is the ongoing development of narrowband technology over the next decade or so. We believe that TETRA is still the gold standard for both mission- and business critical push-to-talk, something which will be reflected across every day of our event in November.

Critical Communications World usually attracts an engaged and dedicated audience along with market-leading suppliers. What’s the support for CCWeek been like so far?

The support we’re receiving from the market is nothing but positive, both from exhibitors and potential attendees.

There is a real appetite for participating in the ongoing debates and discussions around critical communications, making new connections and discovering the latest developments. There’s also huge interest from those who wouldn’t normally travel to a physical event, even under normal circumstances. Distance and budget are no object to attending a virtual event.

With no on-ground events happening, today there is a lot of focus being given to combining AR and VR for realising the full potential of digital events. What are your thoughts on this?

Virtual reality and augmented reality are becoming accepted enhancements across many sectors, and both are likely to be used across any number of different environments going forward.

There are already many examples in use, from the connected ambulance to facial recognition. The benefits of truly immersive virtual training meanwhile are obvious, no matter what field or profession it is being used in.

We are always open to new ideas, particularly when they can provide a palpable advantage for our members, and we will be looking to enhance both the virtual and physical events as new enabling technologies become available.

Critical Communications Week – the interactive exhibition is taking place from 2-6 November 2020 for the critical communications sector.