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North Texas Is Testbed for Next Generation of App Development

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One of the keys to creating an economy of innovation is to create an atmosphere where the best minds are encouraged and offered a chance to collaborate, especially in a digital, broadband, and high speed network environment. Thanks to North Texas’ long history of technology advances, especially in telecom, the innovation roots in North Texas are deep. We also have deep infrastructure resources to make it happen again, especially with a recent announcement that we will receive the next generation’s digital highway to build tomorrow’s technology and applications.

Thanks to North Texas’ long history of technology advances, especially in telecom, the innovation roots in North Texas are deep.

The US Ignite program has selected North Texas as a center of one of their giga-speed application development communities. Just like our past innovative culture has brought profitability to our community, we believe the next wave is on our doorstep.

US Ignite is a national public-private effort to spur the creation of applications for ultra-high-speed broadband networks or “the next generation Internet.” The benefit of US Ignite is engaging inspirational technology innovation minds with the next generation of tools and infrastructure for them to use in building and delivering their creations.

Our tech community continues to benefit from having an emerging research school in the University of Texas at Dallas, which is advancing towards Tier One research status, something we’re all very committed to make happen. One key advantage of having a Tier One is being put in the path of next generation opportunities. UT Dallas’ home, Richardson, is one of 15 communities chosen to participate in the US Ignite project and is the only one in which a university has joined with a community.

Our region brings plenty of creative juice to the table for this project and can be the perfect solution where university research and enterprise needs intersect. Before US Ignite was created, UTD professors were working on research that involves huge amounts of data collection and/or dissemination. Their work can be the basis for the types of applications US Ignite is seeking, but only if the next generation Internet capabilities are in place.

UTD will soon provide the gateway to the ultra-high-speed internet capabilities via a grant from US Ignite and the National Science Foundation. Texas universities already have an ultra-high-speed broadband connection known as LEARN. The National Science Foundation grant has funds dedicated to providing a GENI rack (Global Environment for Network Innovations) that will provide an access point at UTD through LEARN so that developers can test their applications.

Our region brings plenty of creative juice to the table for this project and can be the perfect solution where university research and enterprise needs intersect.

Our tech community has a strong base of high-tech companies and entrepreneurs who could develop and test applications on the ultra-high-bandwidth accessed through GENI.

The university is represented by Dr. Donald Hicks, a very entrepreneurial and business focused professor, who is a champion for using academic research to spur private investment and regional economic development. Hicks has identified several possible applications for US Ignite from UTD research and narrowed those down to two for the initial focus.

One of the applications would crunch massive amounts of data from decades of global air quality research, real-time data from air quality sensors plus weather data to produce real-time air quality warnings in small geographic areas. Its academic name is Timely Health Indicators Using Remote Sensing & Innovation for the Vitality of the Environment.

Just as in the past, the next big thing is at our fingertips, and North Texas’ innovative talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and continued resources to grease the wheels are making it happen.

The other project is dubbed Industrial Cloud Robotics Across Software-Defined Networks. The idea is that successful manufacturing in the future will be an increasingly networked and data-driven process that will combine automation, sensing, and control at every level from the shop floor to the factory control level to the global supply chain. To accomplish that, you need to be able to move massive amounts of data rapidly and possibly to multiple locations. The Software-Defined Network (SDN) adds the flexibility to more quickly and easily move the high-capacity network around as needed.

Just as in the past, the next big thing is at our fingertips, and North Texas’ innovative talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and continued resources to grease the wheels are making it happen. In the meantime, we are creating environments that foster lots of smaller “things” that feed the imagination, build the profitability of our enterprises, and keep our economy thriving, electrified once again by technology.

Texas is the leading tech exporter in dollar volume in the nation and is the second largest tech workforce (behind California). The partnership of Richardson and UTD with US Ignite is one more way we can advance the technology ecosystem in DFW and remind the world of the wonderful resources and capabilities in our community.


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William C. Sproull is president and CEO of Tech Titans, which is a forum that leverages the regional technology community to collaborate, share, and inspire creative thinking that fuels tomorrow’(...)

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