Glad I made it
Murphy’s Law had me firmly in its grip this year on my way to APCO. In fact, it probably terrorized several travelers this year with ever-increasing canceled flights and delays. My flight to Boston was canceled, stranding me in Chicago, and when I called my hotel to tell them I’d be late, my room had been canceled. (Don’t ask me why.) They could accommodate me for that one night, however.
I finally arrived in Boston about 10:30 p.m., and United was only operating one small luggage belt, which was having mechanical problems. So I stood around the luggage belt with passengers from three other full flights for an hour and a half.
I was relieved when at about midnight, my bag showed up. I don’t know what flight it came in on, but at least it was there. I snatched it up and headed for the taxi stand. But the line for taxis stretched along the building as far as I could see ….
The next morning, the concierge called my room and said the hotel could not extend my stay. So, the only thing I could do was get up and go to the conference.
Guess what? Registration couldn’t find my name when I went to pick up my badge. (It just follows with the rest).
Other than that, APCO was a success this year (I did get in). The good nature of the attendees and exhibitors quickly brought me out of my self-pity. (Several people offered to share their rooms with me.) The convenience of the Hynes Convention Center made up for the other inconveniences. The number of booths was tremendous – too many to visit, but public safety communications officials could easily find something they were looking for.
The FCC even participated in APCO this year to a larger extent than I’ve seen before. Commissioner Gloria Tristani gave the keynote address, and Thomas Sugrue and D’Wana Terry of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau participated in a regulatory Q & A panel.
One of the big questions was regarding the encumbered nature of the 700MHz band. The year 2006 is a long way away, and no one could seem to tell us if the band was going to be cleared any earlier than that. My magic eight-ball says, “Outlook not so good.” Tristani herself said, “We will need to find additional spectrum to carry forward the public safety mission.”
Other important issues were covered all over the conference, on the show floor and in sessions, such as the arrival of TETRA, 800MHz interference, 9-1-1 issues, convergence and voice over IP.
All in all, when I asked the magic eight-ball if I would ever have such an experience again, it answered, “Cannot predict now.”