FCS to focus on ‘disruptive technologies’ at Business Radio industry summit

FCS Business Radio event at Chateau Impney in Worcestershire will highlight new technologies and approaches that are likely to disrupt traditional models in the business radio market and looks at how the industry needs to respond

FCS to focus on ‘disruptive technologies’ at Business Radio industry summit

This year’s Federation of Communication Services (FCS) Business Radio (BR15) event will focus on the impact disruptive technologies will have on the business radio community in the future. The event takes place at Chateau Impney, Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire on Thursday 19 November.

Explaining the key themes behind this year’s presentations, Chris Pateman, CEO, FCS, (pictured) said: ‘It’s a time of increasing stresses and pressures within our industry. So it’s more important than ever not only that the industry meets and takes thought together, but that it faces up squarely to the challenges which lie ahead.

‘We make no apology, therefore, for asking our keynote speakers to focus on disruptive technologies and third-party innovators -- people who might well come from outside our industry, and not play by our familiar rules, such as Google.

‘The background to this year’s summit is well familiar to anyone in the industry,’ he continued. ‘Our business landscape is changing. Voice services still dominate of course, but sales based on data applications are growing rapidly. Better and better applications for data systems are coming into the market. They may well transform the whole sector, unlocking completely new areas of business.’

Questions for the future
Pateman noted that the advent of these new technologies begs a number of questions, such as: What will these new applications actually be? What value-proposition drives the new businesses? Who will be the major players? How will the industry assess the quality and reliability of the applications? How can the business radio community develop new standards that can be used as references when sourcing applications for its customers?

‘At the same time, how do we look after those existing customers with well-established systems and operational modes?’ asked Pateman. ‘How do we make sure quality of performance is maintained into the future? How do we grow the whole business and not have one aspect of the business cannibalise the rest of the market?’

Pateman believes that the overall outlook for the sector is good. But he warned that growth may be held back through lack of radio spectrum and inefficient deployments by a minority. ‘How will these radically different systems and the added volume of air-traffic be accommodated? Do we need data-only channels? Do we need a new ETSI Standard for channel access for data-only systems – an access protocol that actually works?’ he questioned.

Conference highlights
The aim of the FCS Business Radio event is to put these questions and more on the table at BR15 and hopefully provide some answers during the one-day conference for the entire industry.

The conference will kick off with a presentation from Tom Mockridge of Motorola Solutions on how third-party applications are bringing new dynamics to the digital radio space.

And in a rather off-beat finale, Hugh Dickerson from Google’s self-driving car project will be challenging delegates to learn the lessons of the car industry – not only to look over their shoulders at traditional competitors, but to keep an eye out for disruptive influences from outside the comfort zone.

Their insights will be balanced by contributions from major industry players like Hytera, Motorola, Tait and Sepura, sharing the insights and opportunities which drive their own product development strategies.

Pateman said: ‘Of course, the whole purpose of the day is to allow dealers, suppliers and industry players to draw their own conclusions and set their own strategies: we’ve built in plenty of time for discussion at the exhibition stands during the day, and over dinner at the Industry’s black-tie Gala Dinner in the evening.

Ofcom presentations
He added that BR15 is, as always, very pleased to enjoy the support of Ofcom’s spectrum management team, from whom the event can once again expect a significant presence, as follows:
• The surveillance vehicle in the main hall and capability of showing it in operation.
• Full demo of latest equipment in break-out room next to stage
• Three-aspect presentation covering all aspects of Ofcom’s BR work - where we are going theme.

Business Radio Gala Dinner
Attendance at this year’s Business Radio Gala Dinner looks set to break all records, with more than 100 individuals already registered to attend. After-dinner entertainment will be provided by guest speaker, former policeman Alfie Moore.

Gerald David Award for Innovation in Business Radio
The FCS will also be presenting the Gerald David Award for Innovation in Business Radio. This year’s shortlisted finalists are: Hytera; Maxxwave; Motorola; Simoco; and SMC.

As an added incentive to attend, Pateman pointed out that unlike last year, there is no coach trip to interrupt the post-dinner conversation, with a late bar booked at the Chateau Impney through into the small hours.

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