Josh MacKinnon is Director, Wi-Fi Technologies, BAI Communications and is based in Toronto, Canada.
As BAI’s Director – Wi-Fi Technologies, what goals have you set for yourself in this role?
My primary aim is to develop cutting-edge Wi-Fi solutions that allow for greater capacity, speeds and reliability for the clients we serve. Bettering the customer experience is extremely important in the work we do. In my role, I’ve set out to evangelize BAI Communications to the world as well as cross-pollinate our innovative technological solutions across business units.
What are the biggest industry changes you have seen in the past 5-10 years?
Telecommunications is a continuously evolving industry, with no end in sight. Some of the biggest changes I’ve witnessed in this industry involve the sheer magnitude of technological integration in every aspect of our lives. Technology shapes the human experience. With that, there are limitless opportunities to develop applications that help people do things previously thought impossible.
Being able to keep in touch with all five of my children while I’m away from home, has been completely enabled by recent technological advances in this field. Many of the applications that didn’t exist a few years ago, now allow me to see my daughter get tucked in at night when I can’t be there.
What approach do you take to challenges or issues when they present themselves?
Keeping up with an industry that’s continuously advancing is a challenge all on its own. Being aware of new technologies and having a good understanding of trends in the industry can help predict certain challenges before they arise.
But when challenges do present themselves, I’m fortunate to be surrounded with such incredibly smart, committed colleagues to lean on for support. We really do harbour such great talent throughout this group.
What is the best advice a mentor has ever given you?
When I was younger I worked at a chain restaurant. My manager explained that the consistency of the food we served, was just as important as the quality. While I think that it’s very important to build high preforming networks, we must keep in mind that every time a user interacts with our network, they form an expectation for their next engagement. Much of the frustration that users experience when dealing with Wi-Fi networks is based on a lack of consistency in terms of performance. That is why our focus must be on building networks that preform well under all conditions. As praised by Metro News reporter Luke Simcoe in his 2015 investigative piece about public Wi-Fi in the city: “I log on to the TTC’s Wi-Fi at Union Station. I’m pleasantly surprised to find you can access it from outside the fare-paid area. Throughout the day, TCONNECT proves to be one of the most reliable Wi-Fi networks in town.”
We build in the niche transit market, which experiences consistent fluctuations in terms of network demands. We must ensure that these are our challenges to solve, not for our customers to accept.