After three years and two virtual Meetups, we finally returned to a real-life physical IQGeo Meetup on October 19-21 at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Denver.
When we locked down our October date for the event, we were uncertain whether our customers and partners would have the appetite or time to meet face-to-face. Fortunately, there was no need for concern. With nearly double the number of delegates that attended the last Meetup in 2019, the event was an unqualified success.
We were excited to get back to a live Meetup. With so much growth and positive change at IQGeo over the last few years, we wanted to take the time to share our evolving story as well as listen to our customers’ ambitions and challenges. Despite the benefits of remote meeting technology, there is no substitute for spending quality time together in person.
Crossing the chasm
Since the last face-to-face Meetup, IQGeo has grown dramatically through new customers and the acquisition of OSPInsight and Comsof. Our fiber, telecommunications, and utility customers now stand at more than 500 worldwide and include the industry’s largest and most influential network operators. The innovative IQGeo software suite has crossed the infamous technology chasm and companies now widely accept IQGeo as an industry leading solution that is strategic to supporting network modernization initiatives that impact the entire network lifecycle.
With such a rapidly changing technology and business landscape, the Meetup was the ideal forum to discuss the current state of play and explore future options.
Improving lives with better networks
The CEO of IQGeo, Richard Petti, summarized the theme of the event by highlighting the shared determination and commitment to future telecommunication and utility networks in his keynote presentation. Richard explained that we are in revolutionary times, and we will recognize the people at the Meetup for decades to come for improving the lives of everyone on the planet. From creating digital equity with broadband access to achieving net-zero carbon emissions with renewable and distributed energy generation, the future of our earth depends on agile fiber and utility networks.
Guest keynote speakers Corey Glickman and Jeff Kavanaugh from Infosys explored our theme further by sharing lessons from their years of experience helping organizations deploy sustainability strategies. Corey and Jeff researched this challenge extensively in their book, “Practical Sustainability.” Their methodology breaks this challenge down into smaller achievable goals through micro-change management, with each step building on the previous. They also highlighted the importance of creating network digital twins and the democratization of technology to design and operate increasingly complex networks. The topics from Corey and Jeff parallel IQGeo’s guiding principles of model anything, integrate everything, use anywhere, and innovate constantly.
It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when we are immersed in our day-to-day tactical tasks. The keynote sessions from Richard, Corey, and Jeff were a great reminder of our shared strategic vision of improving lives with better networks.
Day 1 keynote presentations
The Meetup was a two-day event with four unique sessions and more than 25 presentations (view the full agenda). On the first day, all delegates came together for keynote sessions that included a fiber industry overview by Kevin Morgan from the Fiber Broadband Association and a utility industry update from Adrian McNulty. We also had a valuable IQGeo technology roadmap update from James Wheatley and an educational and entertaining introduction to the Comsof technology from Raf Meersman, the latest addition to the IQGeo team.
Three of the most insightful sessions on Day 1 came from our customers: Tonya Spencer from Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), Nilesh Shroff from Brightspeed, and Colt Sailor with Michael Drever from Shaw Communications. The three case studies gave an excellent cross-section of applications and challenges facing the electric utility, fiber, and communication industries.
Tonya told us how WAPA uses IQGeo software to support transmission line inspections for their 17,000-mile network across the western half of the US. The deployment was a “game changer,” supporting both ground-based and aerial inspections with WAPA’s four helicopters. The easy-to-use IQGeo software has been key to their success; Tonya commented that she hasn’t heard any complaints from her field engineers in six months, which is an amazing validation of WAPA’s deployment of the technology!
One of the fastest-evolving and largest fiber operators in the US, Brightspeed gave a comprehensive overview of their end-to-end network management approach. For example, Nilesh shared their highly innovative distributed tap fiber architecture and explained how this approach is helping them accelerate fiber deployment across their growing network. The IQGeo software is key to Brightspeed’s strategy as a technology foundation that supports the organization’s entire network lifecycle from planning through operations.
Shaw Communications is one of Canada’s largest broadband network operators and a new customer. The IQGeo software is replacing aging applications and manual processes with an integrated digital solution that improves network data quality and time to repair. With years of field experience, Colt and Michael gave an excellent overview of the operational challenges operators face when responding to fiber network service interruptions and the benefits of an accurate network model to incident management and prevention.
All the customer case study speakers did a wonderful job of explaining their specific application requirements, the current deployment status, and their ambitious plans for the future.
Day 2 industry working groups
On day two, the delegates broke into three smaller working groups to focus on industry specific technical and operational themes. The size and scope of the conversations were remarkably diverse, and the working groups allowed delegates to get “under the hood” and explore product and operational issues in greater detail with our industry experts and partners.
We received very positive feedback on the informality and structure of these sessions. One particularly well-received topic involved three targeted presentations on integration plans for the Comsof automated planning software in the OSPInsight, enterprise utility, and enterprise telecom sessions.
IQGeo 2022 Innovation Awards
A highlight of every Meetup is the annual IQGeo Customer Innovation awards. This year we recognized seven companies for their outstanding use of IQGeo technology to address critical business and operational challenges. The winners of this prestigious honor were AT&T, Brightspeed, City of Olathe, Congruex, Crown Castle, Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative, and Western Area Power Administration. You can learn more about each award winner by reading our Innovation Award press release that contains a description of these outstanding deployments.
All work and no play…
This year the Meetup agenda also included two evening social activities. The first was the night before sessions began on the 38th floor of the Grand Hyatt overlooking the mountains and skyline of Denver, and the second was at the historic University Club downtown at the end of day one. These events allowed delegates to get to know each other in a casual setting and exchange personal experiences and expertise. Many of the most valuable conversations we had during this year’s Meetup were at the social events where we learned from our customers and partners and shared the IQGeo vision.
Join us for the 2023 Meetup
Hosting a face-to-face Meetup again after three years felt great. We can confidently say that our customers, partners, and the IQGeo team had an educational and enjoyable time. We enjoyed learning from the people who are building better networks for our collective future. Plans for the 2023 event are underway, and the easiest way to keep informed on next year’s event is to sign up for our monthly eNewsletter. We’ll keep you posted on all the details and hope to see you there.