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.

 

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.