May 17, 2022 - Axios Events

The next era of 5G: Austin

Participants enjoyed a seated dinner during the discussion.
Participants enjoyed a seated dinner during the discussion.

On Tuesday, May 10th, Axios hosted an Expert Voices roundtable discussion in Austin, featuring leaders in local business, technology, education and government who examined the next era of 5G, from developments in the innovation pipeline to applications across industries. Axios’ business reporter Hope King and technology reporter Margaret McGill led the conversation.

Digi.City founder Chelsea Collier speaking to the Axios roundtable group.
Digi.City founder Chelsea Collier speaking to the Axios roundtable group.
  • Chelsea Collier, founder of Digi.City, spoke to the important role 5G will play in addressing the digital divide. “The digital divide of course is an urgent issue…I think again if we communicate effectively the role of 5G, what it can deliver, that it can help to increase computing at the edge and what that means for the average citizen while also addressing the case of connectivity issues, I think we’ll get closer, but it’s still this very tough issue.”
  • Thomas Alomes, director of Sports Innovation Texas, explained how 5G technology is bringing innovation to the operations of the sports industry. “We now have the technology through things like 5G and now we have the desire as an industry to implement these things like digital ticketing, cashless, advanced applications of augmented reality…so that’s where 5G is really exciting for what it unlocks.”
Sharad Mudhol, smartDigs Austin principal, engaging with guests.
Sharad Mudhol, smartDigs Austin principal, engaging with guests.
  • smartDigs Austin principal Sharad Mudhol expressed excitement about the potential for 5G to integrate technologies like augmented reality into home and building construction job sites. “Imagining the house in 3D on the job side, that’s going to be so revolutionary… there’s a lot of things that are hyped, but this one is actually going to help us, and then now imagine just not in a single family residential home, imagine a 50-story high rise that we’re building in Austin and getting everything lined up in the AR and VR, it’s going to be so transformative when we get there.”
  • Robert Spalding, CEO of SEMPRE, maintained that the connection between 5G and national security is largely an issue of economic opportunity and investing in our national infrastructure. “Unfortunately, we tend to think about what China is doing, not what we should be doing. All of these applications are wonderful, but ultimately they need infrastructure to enable them. And today when infrastructure is built it’s single tenant single use, and that’s a problem…so what 5G enables is this ability to have multi-tenant multi-use in infrastructure that gets built.”
Jeffrey DeCoux, Autonomy Institute chairman, speaking to fellow attendees.
Jeffrey DeCoux, Autonomy Institute chairman, speaking to fellow attendees.
  • Autonomy Institute chairman Jeffrey DeCoux emphasized the need for more infrastructure to support the rollout of 5G. “I think one thing that 5G has opened up the door to for all of us is this is going to spawn the largest infrastructure buildout in our nation’s history.”
  • Hon. Larry Wallace Jr., Ph.D, Chief of Staff in the City of Austin’s District 1 and former Mayor for the City of Manor, pointed out how small cities often don’t have ample resources to access technologies like 5G. “Technology is great, but it also hinders us. And, it hinders us even further when we are not able to access it…”
  • Emma Grant, Verizon SVP of Corporate Strategy, illustrated how 5G will also enable accompanying technologies to grow. “All of this technology that today we’re starting to see come to life…it’s because we lacked a certain set of other accompanying technologies, we didn’t have edge computing…we didn’t have ubiquitous connectivity, we don’t yet but we’re in the direction to getting there. And I think about how 5G will enable those, and that excites me.”

Thank you Verizon for sponsoring this event.

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