CoBank annually holds a meeting to gather communications executives across the country to hear from an amazing array of speakers who share their insights on current and historical issues and perspectives. Finding time to attend a meeting that I don’t need to attend or is not an NTCA meeting feels like an extravagance but given all that is going on in the industry and seeking to get a beat on what our friends in the lending community are hearing, it made sense to work it in to the schedule this year. And it didn’t hurt that the meeting was held down the highway from CoBank in lovely Colorado Springs…so maybe I needed to come out a few days early to give my hiking boots a workout?
From CEO Tom Halverson talking about the looming impact of the federal debt on our economy to Timothy Biltz, CEO of Lumos Network and Sprint Communications sharing his perspective on trends in the industry around fiber, RLECs, data centers and wireless plays and how he and his team helped to craft the largest independent fiber network in the southeast and mid-Atlantic as they recrafted their network to building “your network, your way.” My biggest take-away from his discussion was how bullish Biltz was on the key industry trends of fiber and how critical it will continue to be in the world of IoT, infrastructure deployment and the demands that this next generation will certainly be putting forth to network providers.
Greg Williams, CEO of WIRED Magazine kind of scared me as he projected forward on the future of Artificial Intelligence – there is simply no way I am EVER going to get into a drone to be dropped off at the office and I will leave that Brave New World to our next generation – but being thoughtful and mindful on how automation fueled by technology will change jobs in the future is worth pondering.
The entire rest of the program was fascinating and it was really nice to see a number of NTCA members in another venue and having so many share that they will see me in Seattle in September as we kick off our 2018 Fall Conference. My thanks to CoBank for the opportunity to hang out and participate. Now off tomorrow to spend some time and share some thoughts out here in Colorado Springs for the Alexicon user group meeting – the ultimate best use of travel time!