Here’s to all the World-Changers who are Not Billionaires

I’ve been meaning to getting around to writing about Anand Giridharadas’ book, “Winners Take All,” but I wanted to finish Douglas Rushkoff’s, “Team Human,” first.  That all changed yesterday.

I’m taking a departure from writing about #5G to share my tearful joy about a post shared yesterday on Facebook by one of our network Change Agent colleagues, Harald Schirmer over in Germany at Continental AG, the automotive manufacturer.

Please watch the short video after reading this post:


When we established Change Agents Worldwide, it was our intention to inspire leaders and internal change agents to create the conditions where an environment like the one described in the video above now exists.


The healthy criticism (such as Giridharadas’) levied against those who purport to want to change the world, but are not interested in giving up their luxurious lifestyles, nor the practices that led to the soul-sucking rot that is hollowing out our worldwide economies and contributing to societal unrest is fair and necessary.

Yet, I am here to tell you, we are also here (uncelebs out here in the wilderness on the internet) embedded in global corporations and advising them. There are many of us who believe there is a better way. It’s taken some time, but change agents are making a difference in their quiet and understated ways. While they’re not throwing around billions and press releases, they are inspiring movements and heartfelt human connection.

In the panoply of negativity we’re exposed to daily via the outrage culture of social media and 24-hr news cycles, as Harald mentions, I’m still holding out for the meek to inherit the earth. We can do that quietly and faithfully by trusting each other, and connecting to others who share our values.

#ChangeAgentOn

 

It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed Yet

You know, that quote about the future already being here. I saw a tweet at the end of last year about an airport in Helsinki that had already gone 5G replete with welcoming robots. All this progress in various stages of 5G planning, rollout, development, and, well, freakout (conversations we were having in back channels) prompted me to wonder if the time was right to revisit the idea of launching a “5G Adoption Council.”  The market conditions were  similar.  At least here in the U.S., they were very similar.

A heck of a lot of change is coming fast to the Enterprise and all I see out there are vendors and high paid experts driving the conversation on what customers should be doing.  Large enterprises can benefit now by sharing notes and intelligence at this early stage of technology transformation.

There’s no better way to learn how to innovate than to learn how to innovate together with your peers, across industries and geographies in a transparent and generous network of like-minded individuals who share  the same values.

If that sounds like fun and something interesting to you, and you work for a large enterprise of more than 10K employees, consider joining us.

We started putting together a team of interested individuals. We’re calling it The 5G Enterprise Council. You need to fill out this form to apply. But, that’s it. We’ve got plans for a variety of programs and learning opportunities, especially for charter members.  If you were a member of The 2.0 Adoption Council, you will appreciate this new and improved Council. Imagine…  we will venture outside of the cloud for field trips!

Everyone says 5G is going to change everything. It is. But it won’t change what happens when a group of people get together to enjoy each other’s company and help each other grow.

Come grow with us into the future.

 

Orlando is a Perfect Showcase for a 5G Infrastructure Future

Last spring, I attended the inaugural Connect X conference in Charlotte, N.C. Connect X is the annual conference held by the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA). It was a merger of two conferences: HetNet and WIA’s Wireless Infrastructure Show. The emphasis for Connect X is its exclusive focus on connectivity.

This year, the show is nearly 100% centered on the 5G opportunity. Considering the event is going to be here in Orlando in May 2019, I raised my hand early and asked if I could be involved in some way. There is so much talent and innovation here in Central Florida that I’d like to see have more visibility on the national scene, I couldn’t help myself.

For instance, off the top of my head, all these initiatives will benefit from the evolving wireless ecosystem driving the future of our communications:

I know there’s a lot more too. I’ve heard about the SunTrax out at Florida PolyTech too, and other initiatives underway with teams from the University of Central Florida (UCF) working on National Science Foundation (NSF) proposals on Smart City funding.

We’re working on putting together an Orlando Technology Pavilion in the showcase exhibit hall. I’m trying to recruit a few great speakers too, like Chris Castro, who’s become a leading voice for change on all things sustainability and smart city planning.

The show is international; it just happens to be in Orlando this year. At the event last year, the FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, was one of the keynote speakers. It will draw over 3K attendees from every corner of the vital infrastructure community involved in delivering on connectivity solutions.

I’ll be writing more about who’s speaking and what to expect in future posts, but I wanted to get this conversation started because I am eager to start filling up that Orlando Tech Pavilion!

Ping me on Twitter or leave a comment if you want to know how to get involved. You can follow the conference on Twitter at @ConnectX_USA.

Faster, Further, Flashier, and more Fun– 5G: It’s Coming

This update is a follow up to our holiday greeting card. As promised, I alluded to a new direction we’re taking with SoCo Partners. Generally speaking, my partner and I are still focused on innovation and innovators in every tech sector. Yet, over the past few years, I’ve increasingly become fascinated with the massive step changes in increased speeds, bandwidth, and low latency coming with 5G. If you’re not familiar, 5G is the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications. It will ultimately replace where we are now at 4G LTE. Carriers began rolling out 5G in a handful of cities in 2018, and mobile 5G is starting now in 2019 in U.S. cities. By 2020, everyone will be familiar with 5G.

Last week at CES, everyone was talking 5G. The vision speak by the super groovy Verizon CEO was one of the best. It kicked off the massive event. You can watch the entire keynote here:

Growing up in N.J. and majoring in computer science, the goal for most of my fellow student grads was to secure a highly coveted job offer from the famous N.J. research facility: Bell Labs. Before the “phone company” was dismantled by the federal government, Bell Labs was its world-renowned research arm. Perhaps this is the attraction now for me– to circle back to the telecommunications sector– as I wind out this final phase of my tech career. I’ve always been drawn to tech creators and invention, and the Cambrian explosion of invention that is coming in every industry as a result of this next wave of infrastructure backbone is awe-inspiring. 

To that end, here is what I’ve been up to. My longtime friend Keith and I started a communications strategy firm where we are using the power of storytelling to connect to audiences. It’s an interesting mix of what we both love to do (write), coupled with the savviness of years of understanding how innovation cycles work in tech. We created this Story Cube Method as a guide to help clients get started. Our goal is to capture real-life stories in this fast-growing sector as these innovations begin to emerge.

While we’re at the early stages of planning for this 5G-inspired future, there are many adjacent areas of interest that have captured my attention. Because of exploratory work I did working on big data while working on Big Mountain Data, I was fortunate to join the University of Central Florida’s (UCF’s) Master of Science Data Analytics program board. As a result of that work, I’m now contributing to the UCF Data Science Board, as well. Massive data is at the heart of the currency of the “everything” that 5G will connect, as explained by Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg. As such, all these areas of interest are converging for me. 

Daphne Kis, CEO WorldQuant University

One of the initiatives I’m pleased to be help bring to UCF again this year is the Women in Data Science 2019 (#WiDS2019) program. UCF will be one of the Ambassador hosts for the event, along with over 150+ other locations throughout the world, led by the team from Stanford University. I was able to recruit Daphne Kis, CEO of WorldQuant University, to be our keynote speaker for this event. Daphne is an icon in the women in tech and investor community. It’s a tremendous honor to have her travel to Orlando for our event, and we are pleased to have her join us on campus. We are in the process now of planning a terrific agenda for the students, faculty, and local employers.

I’m also assisting the producers of the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) who will be hosting their annual spring Connect X conference here in Orlando get to know the innovators on the ground here in Central Florida. It’s a great opportunity to put our local teams in front of these national audiences while they’re in town and to showcase our local talent. A special thanks to Rob Panepinto for the introduction to the Orlando Economic Partnership that got the ball rolling out at CES.

Finally, I’ve been kicking around the idea of starting up another new and improved “Adoption Council.” This time, for enterprise customers* interested in understanding how they can prepare for the oncoming opportunities and challenges associated with the 5G transformation. I’ve been reaching out to former Council members and have received interest in this idea. If you want to be part of the exploratory group looking into this, sign up here. It feels like deja vu all over again. But in a really good, really fun way.

The future is so bright, I gotta wear VR goggles…

*Just like The 2.0 Adoption Council, this is an early adopter community for large enterprises. No vendors, consultants, media, analysts, etc.

 

Oh Hello 5G; I Didn’t Expect You So Soon

Well, I guess the future is already here.  I saw a headline today that announced 5G is even launching in Florida here too. For a couple years I’ve been reading about how 5G is going to transform connectivity and mobility as we know it, but I always felt it was somehow in the distant future. If you’ve not heard of 5G, it’s the next evolution of signal after 4G and LTE. But, it’s more than just a minor technology upgrade.

When 5G is fully implemented, it’s going to enable the underlying infrastructure we’ll need to build the smart cities, homes, autonomous vehicles, robotics, virtual and augmented reality systems everyone’s been designing and daydreaming about for the past decade. Think of it as one of the magic ingredients needed to bring the Internet of Things  (IoT) market– with its estimated projected 21 billion devices– to life.

Today, I listened to the AT&T 3Q earnings call.  Haven’t done that in years, and it was pretty interesting:

John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications said, “AT&T’s on track to be the first wireless carrier to introduce mobile 5G services in the United States in the next few weeks.”

He went on to explain that the company would introduce 5G in parts of 12 cities by the end of the year. He also talked about how “fiber is the backbone of 5G” and that “we have one of the nation’s largest fiber networks.”

On the business side, Donovan said the company plans “to be in more than 400 markets by the end of this year with nationwide coverage by mid-2019.” He reported customers are seeing a “dramatic lift in speed with theoretical peak speeds reaching 400 mbps.”

Well, all that sounds exciting, no?  I think I will leave you with this dancing robot to anticipate the future now at your disposal.

 

 

 

The Smart Infrastructure of the Future Hinges on Smart Partnerships

Last week I attended a Data Science Summit at the University of Central Florida (UCF).  The day merged two of my favorite topics: Smart Cities and Data Science. It was the final event in a series held by the Southern Data Science Conference.

The event opened with a partnership announcement by longtime partner Siemens. The technology company committed to over $1 million in in-kind hardware, software, and expertise to build out capabilities to the UCF Smart Infrastructure Data Analytics Lab and will incorporate the existing Siemens’ Digital Grid Lab.

“There’s a definite synergy between buildings and the grid, as seen with energy becoming more decentralized and buildings assuming more of a prosumer role,” said Mike Carlson, President of Siemens Digital Grid – North America. “The opportunity to take what we are already doing with UCF related to grid digitalization and combine supply and demand in coordination with technology for building automation will make this a benchmark program for Siemens.”

Through the Smart Infrastructure Data Analytics Lab, Siemens will leverage data through machine learning, real-time analytics and artificial intelligence to help automate certain processes to be initiated by building systems whenever possible.

Dave Hopping, President, Siemens Building Technologies and Dr. Michael Georgiopoulos, Dean, UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science

The UCF students and faculty will have the opportunity to experiment with various aspects of smart building infrastructure with real-world implications. For Siemens, the benefits are abundant in research, application, and ready-made talent pools.

UCF is known for its partnerships with industry. The relationship with Siemens goes back three decades, and has been a successful partnership resulting in Orlando’s national reputation as a leader in sustainability.

In the fall of 2017, Siemens provided UCF with an in-kind grant of product lifecycle management software with a commercial value of $68 million, one of the the largest grants in university history.