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:
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
A few weeks ago, I was quietly seated by a window in a noisy Cambridge Chipotle eating my burrito bowl. It was a warm, sunny day and I was watching MIT students buzz between classes and enjoying the farmer’s market set up in the tents nearby.
I remember saying to my friend that I was sure I was the oldest person on that block that day by ten years.
I snapped this photo to capture the memory. It was more than the warm, sunny day and the activity, it was the “tech community” that I wanted to preserve. It occurred to me in that experience, that there is something unique about the type of individuals who are drawn to tech.
Tech is a big tent that extends to every race, religion, gender, ethnic background, age, and sexual orientation. Yes, of course we can argue about how career opportunities, advancement, and access to capital is still subject to the same prejudices as other industries, but the basic mastery of the skills– when it comes to 0’s and 1’s– is blind to human differences.
Spending time walking around MIT, and recently attending events at UCF, as well as participating on our Data Science board, I realized I’m still as much in love with tech as I’ve ever been. I attended a Data Science Summit yesterday on the UCF Campus where more than one panelist and speaker made the comment, “This is a great time to be alive.” The inference was that there is so much possibility right now with the technology we have at our disposal, it’s almost as if so many of us who’ve been in this field for our entire careers have been waiting for this exact moment.
For that reason, I decided to reclaim my time with the ITSinsider blog. I’m going to start writing about the areas that I’m interested in. It’s where I started a dozen years ago here on the web, and it led to some interesting places. Hope you come with me for the ride.
It was about six years ago that the concept of “Working out Loud” started picking up traction in the blogosphere. It was an easy way to describe the contagious, fun way to work in a more transparent, generous, and authentic way. Of course, you needed a platform to work out loud on, but the tribe who was following this new mode of corporate conversation, communication, and collaboration was already well aware of the power of enterprise social networks.
My friend, Bryce Williams of Eli Lilly, an inaugural member of The 2.0 Adoption Council and later a Change Agent as well, had attended a panel at the 2010 Enterprise 2.0 conference, and heard the term used loosely to describe this new phenomenon. Bryce, a regular blogger, then remixed the phrase to create an entirely new way to look at working collaboratively in a large enterprise social network. His original blog post describes his thinking.
Of course, the purpose of the Council in those days was to accelerate learning and sharing, so it wasn’t long before others started remixing and re-purposing what Bryce had started. The most notable WoL champion today is my hero John Stepper who left his investment bank day job to strike out on his own mission to spread the love of Working out Loud to the ends of the earth. John’s book, Working Out Loud: For a Better Career and Life has become the revered playbook for this fast-growing movement. (There’s a web site too.)
We’ve been saying in the Change Agents Worldwide network, that we can “feel the tide is turning.” Last week was international #WOLweek, and while scanning the post-election news, I serendipitously stumbled upon this incredible photo on Twitter:
This 8 x 12 foot sign was literally affixed to an office building in Sri Lanka. Who would have imagined in those early days, circa 2009, that this could possibly result from a group of like-minded, random people who came together to improve the world with enterprise social networking technology? I could.
The big story behind the phenomenon of this worldwide movement is just starting to unfold. Of course, talk of a possible Slack IPO doesn’t hurt. But truthfully, Slack was late to this game (2013) and had been working somewhat independently of the community that fueled the organic adoption of social tools. The way had been paved by many that came before Slack took off. For instance, McAfee’s seminal piece in MIT SMR is already a decade old.
I’m just as excited as ever about the possibility of enterprise social tools to improve life on the planet. In fact, I kicked off my social impact startup, Big Mountain Data, using Yammer. Part II of this post is next that explains that.