Summarizing the high points of a large industry conference, like WISPAPALOOZA 2018 is like eating a foot-long sub-sandwich in one bite – impossible unless you’re a mutant with alligator-sized choppers.
The conference boasted more than 2,000 attendees who took in dozens of certifications courses, educational breakouts and caused hundreds of vendors to speak themselves hoarse. There were dinners and free drinks galore – an ideal balance of work, learning, connecting and celebrating.
No doubt many wanted to hear the State of WISPA keynote address from Claude Aiken, WISPA’s new President and CEO, who will continue the transformation strategy begun by the WISP volunteer Board of Directors in 2014. In his first six months in office, Aiken has already advocated for WISP interests in Washington D.C. and pledges to continue his efforts to address industry challenges.
With big investments in time and money, was there a payoff to WISPAPALOOZA? In this blog, WISPs and vendors sound off about the value connecting a name to a face and other valuable experiences that you can only have at WISPAPALOOZA:
Malcolm Robinson, Saisei Networks – “As a vendor, you talk to real people, get real feedback and the real story. We get feedback about the things customers want and add it to the development wish-list,” he said. “As a customer, you see all the vendors together, so you’ll be able to make comparisons and judge which vendor will be easier for you to work with.”
Howard Kamish, owner of Howard’s High-Speed a WISP that serves the Glenwood, Iowa region describes his approach to WISPAPALOOZA, “Everyone here can educate me.” The two-year WISP owner-operator is open about how newbies can acquire helpful info, “I ask – there are so many other WISPs who are willing to share their knowledge with you.”
April Houston of Eastern Carolina Broadband, serving regions around Deep Run and Pink Hill North Carolina, says that with a little preparation, WISPs can get their questions answered, “Get your questions together before the conferences, make contact with the people who can answer those questions, and if you find they can’t answer them, find out who can.”
Dan Siemon, co-founder of Preseem notes that WISPAPALOOZA is different from other industry conferences, ”The “funnest” thing about this show is that everyone is relaxed, you can have substantive conversations – It’s less stuffy than other conferences. There’s a ton of camaraderie.”
Dallin Sisk, of ServerPlus, agrees and adds that new WISPS can get a lot of value, “This is a good way to build trust and a name in the industry. One person will know 10 others who can help you.” Mike Coles, also of ServerPlus adds, “It’s one thing to have a phone call, but when you see someone, that personal interaction gives you a better understanding of whether you’ll get along.”
Stay competitive by being the first in the industry to know what’s new in technology, regulatory issues and business trends. Renita Steenburgen from IPPay says, “It’s worth it to come and explore new options, learn new things and meet new people. It gets you outside of your box and makes you aware that there are more options.”
The owner-operator of Double Dog Communications Dave Hagen agrees but adds that more must be done to connect the WISP community. “You have the ability to see the latest technology, share thoughts and info with colleagues and envision the future of technology,” he said and advocates for a more complete WISPA member database. “The community of 2000 WISPs is tight-knit, but if we are going to conquer and divide, we need to be able to know who is with us.”
As WISPAPALOOZA ends for another year, it’s important for WISPs to be proactive to stay
connected and gain knowledge throughout the year. WISPA provides resources to help WISPs stay up-to-date with industry matters and new ideas from member blogs.
Keep an eye out for industry-related information, such as Preseem’s Fixed Wireless Network Report and Visp.net’s WISP Operational Effectiveness study.
To check out what WISPs are saying about WISPAPALOOZA and all things WISP, become a member of the WISP Talk Facebook group. Stay connected, pursue success and community and we’ll see you in Cincinnati for WISP America in March 2019.
Thank you, Raw Pixel for the use of your image from Unsplash.