Behind the Curtain: International Wireless Communications Expo

The International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Over the years, IWCE has stayed true to its roots in two-way radio communications, keeping attendees abreast of the evolution of technology from mobile radios to push-to-talk integrated cellphones to today's coordination with IoT devices. But what IWCE is even more excited about is what the next 40 years hold for the communications technology industry.

As the core technology and devices have evolved, the audience at IWCE is increasingly moving toward a more public sector crowd with public safety, utilities, and transportation sectors highly represented. At the show, attendees meet with vendors showcasing the latest technologies, discuss policy, and receive training on new tools, policies, and techniques.[Tweet "Behind the Curtain: International Wireless Communications Expo | March 27-31 #GovEventsBlog #IWCE"]

Show Director, Stephanie McCall, shared some insights into what to expect at this year's show happening March 27-31 in Las Vegas, NV.

Q: With your long history, how has the show evolved to meet the needs of your public sector attendees?

A: The public sector has a diverse set of needs for wireless technologies and it mirrors the commercial sector. Obviously, public safety is a huge user. In fact, FirstNet, the First Responder Network Authority, was launched at our event in 2012. This federal organization has the mission to build, operate and maintain the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety. The goal is a single interoperable platform for emergency and daily public safety communications. Each year officials hold town meetings at the show to discuss progress and challenges. We also have a whole track dedicated to the work on FirstNet and LTE.

Beyond FirstNet, our show meets the education and training needs of engineers, IT professionals, and executives alike charged with making sure first responders and other critical government personnel have secure and reliable communication channels. Leaders from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate are at the show each year to share their needs in terms of technology as well as applications of existing solutions. Finally, there is obviously a lot of discussion around spectrum allocation and FCC policy.

Q: What sessions and tracks are you most excited about?

A: Our keynote, Dr. Preston Marshall, Technical Program Manager, Spectrum Access Technology at Google, is sure to be informative and exciting.[Tweet "IWCE Keynote: Dr. Preston Marshall with Spectrum Access Technology at #Google #GovEventsBlog #IWCE"]

In terms of tracks, the FirstNet track always draws a huge crowd. This year we expect to hear a lot about applications and how they fit in the planning of the network. Imagine being able to track an approaching ambulance like you do your Uber driver. The technology is there today to make this happen.

Even in other tracks, FirstNet is a major topic. For example, the Push-to-Talk track addresses the future of push-to-talk technology under FirstNet.Similarly, our 911 and Public Safety track will be looking at the next generation of 911. This includes how to implement text to 911 and how to get updates to and from drones and robots.

We're also looking forward to discussion around smart cities and how IoT intersects with wireless technologies. Finally, cybersecurity is a focus that we're looking to expand this year especially in our discussions of smart cities and IoT.

Q: How are you using social media as part of the event?

A: We're on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and we've found those channels to be really helpful in raising our profile with younger professionals. We've also created a mobile app for use at the event and we will do some live streaming. We're going to keep growing in this area as we're seeing more and more demand and interaction from our attendees. As a long-standing conference, we're very careful to make sure we're meeting the needs of the people who come year after year, but also creating an environment where younger people want to come and learn from seasoned professionals.

Q: What's something new people should look forward to this year?

A: We're having a great 40th birthday bash with a 70's theme. It will be held in the convention center as a fun and informal venue for networking. It will include slideshows of our history and a photo booth to capture our present.[Tweet "The International Wireless Communications Expo is celebrating 40th anniversary. #GovEventsBlog #IWCE"]

Also new this year is our Young Professionals Award. We are recognizing young professionals under 35 who have made a significant contribution to his or her company in the communications technology industry. The individuals nominated are executing some of the most innovative ideas, showing creativity and initiative and we're thrilled to share their stories this year.

For more information on IWCE 2017, visit the listing on

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