CPS Global celebrates ‘an unbelievable ride’
Scott Munro was perched on a hill on his farm, cradling a laptop computer and watching his son play rugby – live-streamed from Kenya.
“He was playing a sevens tournament on the other side of the world,” Scott recalls, “and there I was, up the back of the paddock, watching it live.”
It was 2014. Out there at Humula, on the South West Slopes of NSW, far from the demands of Scott’s Sydney job, it was one of those moments he had to pinch himself. In a few short decades, the mobile telecommunications revolution had changed the world. It had utterly transformed the way we worked, played and connected.
And Scott had been part of that revolution from its earliest days. “I fell into it,” says the country boy who started his working life as a stock and station agent, then moved to the city and sold CBD skyscrapers.
In 1990 he took a contract job with Telstra, managing site acquisitions for its mobile base stations while he studied law at night. Two years later, Scott founded his own company, and this year it is celebrating 25 years of growth beyond his initial imagining.
“It’s been an incredible ride,” says Scott, managing director of CPS Global.
Today the company provides network infrastructure services for the mobile telecommunications sector. It has served all of Australia’s major carriers and has supported the NBN rollout. The ever-expanding industry goes to CPS Global for its multi-disciplined team, from property specialists and town planners to designers and engineers. Their work can be found across the Australian landscape, from city rooftops to rural highways to airports and beyond.
Scott remembers the early days. “I recall wading waist-deep in water at the bottom of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel.” He recalls “walking amongst a labyrinth of rooms” at the new Parliament House, plotting its mobile networks. And he remembers knocking on farmers’ doors while scouting for sites for mobile base stations.
“We did it the old-fashioned way, wearing out some shoe leather. Perhaps you’d get bitten by the dog.”
“Once upon a time,” Scott adds – he’s talking about the 1990s – “you’d work with topographical maps. You’d have to select the right heights on the topo maps, then we’d have to fly along the highway in light planes, inspecting the sites we’d selected. Nowadays, you can do all that from the boardroom, using Google maps.”
How rapidly the world changed.
“The oddity,” says Scott, “is we never expected that our part in the industry would last more than a year or 18 months.”
Back then, mobile phones merely allowed people to speak to one another. Scott and colleagues expected demand would soon reach 100 per cent of the population, and so there would be little need to keep building more network capacity.
But then came the data revolution. Soon the phones in our pockets became our portal to the world. The carriers had to meet an exponential growth in network demand.
“Until recently, data traffic has been doubling every year,” says Scott Munro.
And the next big surge in demand is coming. “It’s likely to driven by ‘the internet of things’. Massive amounts of data will be sent from machine to machine.”
He lists some of the data demands of the not-so-distant future: driverless cars; farmers monitoring their livestock remotely; vigilant consumers tracking how and where their food is grown; the management of power, smart cities, transport and air quality. It will require evermore network capacity.
Scott prefers to keep some critical elements of the business down to earth and face to face.
“It’s still about the people,” he says. “You can do your research and due diligence via the internet, but when it comes to sorting out the commercial arrangements, it is much better to have those discussions sitting across the table.
“Our people are really important to us. We create a happy working environment where our staff can be their best, where they can excel. We are rewarded for that because we get outstanding performance.”