TCCA exclusive interview: exploring new horizons
In his first interview since being awarded the position, incoming TCCA chief executive Kevin Graham outlines his plans for the organisation
What excites you most about the prospect of becoming TCCA CEO? Why did you want the role?
I am very humbled to be the first non-European appointee to this position in the 26-year history of TCCA. My appointment is another indication that TCCA is an internationally recognised association, bringing together the end-user community and the diverse ecosystem of supplier organisations and other stakeholders.
What excites me most is the broad spectrum of TCCA stakeholders and global affiliates, including vendors and users, who are actively collaborating. The member participation in a variety of global initiatives is amazing.
These include TCCA Working Groups, contributions to open standards evolution, and support for standards-based broadband solutions, including development of an associated device certification regime. It also includes continued enhancement of the TETRA standard, as well as collective desire for regulatory support, including equitable spectrum access and harmonisation.
What do you hope to accomplish, both in terms of the critical comms sector and the organisation?
I will aim to expand our existing global membership and alliance collaborations, to enhance the excellent traditional support within Europe, and further strengthen our collective voice and advocacy. By 2026 – with the collective involvement of TCCA’s community and others – I would hope we can ensure that 3GPP-compliant MCX solutions and certifications are well established, and that interworking functions between LMR and broadband are extensively deployed.
Of equal importance, we also need to ensure that spectrum availability has been committed to. This is to support both private and telco carrier services so they can meet global critical industry grade of service requirements. We must also ensure that 5G+ mission-critical standards are confirmed.
What does TCCA need to do to remain integral to the industry and keep driving it forward?
User demand drives industry investment, innovations and standardisation priorities, all of which are essential to meet user future functional requirements. TCCA needs to continue to drive ongoing TETRA standardisation enhancements in conjunction with ETSI. This will maintain the momentum already created regarding MCX broadband standardisation, through TCCA’s market representation partner status in 3GPP.
Future success depends on industry investments and planning now. We all need to take our individual and organisational responsibility in this journey. TCCA and I welcome CCT readers’ feedback and participation.
What can TCCA do to help meet key issues?
The key priorities are to provide ongoing support of critical communications LMR open standards and products, such as TETRA, P25 and DMR. It is also necessary to advise and support end-users in confirming/re-affirming their desire for solutions that ultimately support open-standards-based MCX.
The commercialisation of standardised interworking functions between LMR and mission-critical broadband is crucial. Also crucial is the commercialisation of MCX standards-based solutions that are fit for purpose for government, public safety, PPDR and critical industry. The availability of multi-vendor standards-based MCX interoperability and certification regimes is very important.
TCCA is already deeply involved in all these areas but requires further global industry and end-user participation to add to the effort and expedite the outcomes.
How do you see the TETRA standard evolving, taking into account mission-critical broadband?
There are significant investments globally in TETRA. Irrespective of the emergence of critical broadband, there is acceptance that the practical timelines to achieve organisation-wide change are measured in years – possibly a decade or more.
TETRA also continues to expand with new deployments in vertical markets. The TETRA community therefore must collaborate with end-users to ensure that network and device support, as well as refresh cycles, meet requirements.
Group packet data transfer optimisation, enhanced futureproof security options and the interworking function with MCX broadband remain high on the agenda of ETSI TC-TCCE. Any advancements of the standards need to also be supported through TCCA’s interoperability testing (IOP) processes that underpin the global success of TETRA.