As an economist, telecommunications professional, and business leader, I have witnessed a tremendous amount of innovation in the telecommunications space in a very short period of time. We’re on the verge of having networks so intelligent that they can guide cars through city traffic without drivers, communicate one’s heart rate and blood pressure to a medical professional in real time, and the ability to stream our choice of content from the entire catalog of Warner Brothers, Disney, and others, to a devices we carry in our pockets. We save tremendous amounts of time and resources by having access to real time information. Where would we be without traffic apps that guide us to the best route to our destinations?
The biggest innovation we have seen in telecommunications has to do with wireless data; we’ve gone from the second generation of data (2G) to 3G, then 4G and now carriers are rolling out the fifth generation of wireless hardware (5G) that, combined with millimeter wave wireless spectrum, will transmit data up to 100 times faster theoretically. All of this with near zero latency while being able to add up to a million new connected devices. Much of this technology has been developed right here in San Diego.
Another big innovation is the FirstNet public safety broadband network. The FirstNet Public Authority awarded the 25-year contract to build the network to AT&T. With dedicated bandwidth for public safety and the ability to have priority and preemption across the network, public safety first responders will be able to share video of developing situations on the spot like never before.
San Diego has been a leader in the deployment of “smart cities” infrastructure enabling things like gunshot detection in seconds. Drones are being deployed to be on the scene of a crime within ninety seconds and provide video to first responders before they even arrive. Cameras are monitoring intersections and identifying cars that have been reported stolen.
This kind of innovation serves to further drive the economy, enabling people across all industries to get work done more quickly and from a variety of places. Telecommuting is taking off as well. Our connectivity allows us to work seamlessly from home or satellite offices reducing the strain on our roadways and reducing greenhouse gasses in the process.