The Southern Hemisphere’s premier critical communications event, Comms Connect, made a welcome return to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre this week, with a two-day conference and exhibition on 18–19 October plus preconference workshops from ARCIA and the ACCF on 17 October. Onsite registrations were particularly strong this year, with the Comms Connect team handing out entry passes from the morning of the first day of the conference right through to the afternoon of the second.

The event felt very timely given recent milestones including the establishment of an Australian Public Safety Mobile Broadband (PSMB) Taskforce, the launch of the Tasmanian Government Radio Network (TasGRN) and the first service delivered on New Zealand’s Public Safety Network (PSN), all of which were discussed in depth at the show. Indeed, the conference agenda was packed with presentations across the themes of Public Safety and Emergency Management, Technology, and Industry — with speakers representing government, industry, telcos, first responders and more coming from as far as Western Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. Meanwhile, the exhibition floor featured dozens of vendors showcasing their wares, with several interactive opportunities (including a number of comms vehicles) for visitors to check out.

Event Director Geoff Hird said day one of the event surpassed any previous single-day attendance in the 15-year history of the event, stating, “It was a fantastic event with plenty of energy on the expo floor and excellent presentations in the three conference theatres — thanks to our sponsors, exhibitors and speakers. You know it’s been a good event when you run out of lanyards at lunch on day two!”

The ARCIA Industry Gala Dinner and Excellence Awards were held on the evening of 18 October, celebrating and recognising the achievement of outstanding individuals, companies and projects in the Australian radio communications industry. Guests were entertained on the night by MC Paul McDermott, who broke out into song on more than one occasion as a means of getting the audience’s attention!

Comms Connect will return in 2024 with events in New Zealand and Melbourne. For further updates, keep an eye on