Verizon, ASU look to bridge digital divide

By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

Verizon and Arizona State University are partnering on a 5G Innovation Hub to study how fifth generation mobile networks and wireless technology can impact and enhance immersive education, remote learning, virtual reality and data analytics.

The effort also includes research efforts involving teams of ASU researchers and students and the Clinton Global Initiative.

The innovation efforts will also look at 5G’s impact on the digital divide, challenges with internet access and how to make educational institutions more inclusive.As many as one million residents, including more than 200,000 students, do not have regular access to the internet, according to Verizon.

“The first program to launch out of the 5G Innovation Hub at ASU will be “The Digital Equity Jam” sponsored by Verizon, AWS and Inseego. This program kicks off in early February 2022. Competing teams will develop use cases showcasing how Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband and mobile edge compute can be used to help bridge the digital divide. Focus areas will include health, climate, poverty, human rights and education. The winning team will receive project seed funding, access to intensive summer entrepreneurship training in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and VentureWell, and the opportunity to pitch their venture to CGI in fall 2022,” according to a release from Verizon.

“Working with ASU, we have an extraordinary opportunity to research and develop new 5G-enabled experiences that can improve remote learning and help bridge the digital divide,” said Tami Erwin, Verizon Business CEO.

“Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband’s super-fast speeds, high bandwidth and low latency can enhance applications ranging from immersive education to connected communities. By collaborating with ASU’s researchers, we hope to accelerate the innovation process and develop technology that will harness the full potential of 5G”
ASU President Michael Crow sees generational opportunities with 5G.

“We are in the most transformative technological moment since the early stages of the industrial revolution. And even with the social, political, and economic impacts that we are still learning to navigate as a society, there have been incredibly meaningful results from this use of technology,” said Crow. “Who gets educated is no longer socially stratified, we are able to unleash human creativity in ways not possible before…and so what these technologies that leverage broadband at the fastest speeds and most advanced level imaginable allow us to create is an environment in which the person, the learner, becomes emotionally connected in the story around the learning process itself. At ASU, we’ve become, with this next phase of our partnership with Verizon, the furthest at the tip of the spear to be empowered with technology and continue to improve the ways in which we learn, work and live.”

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January 2022