Verizon operates the largest 4G LTE network in America, but it does much more than enable you to IM at lightning speed from your coffee shop of choice. Verizon's Innovation Centers, for example, focus on solving global issues in sustainability, health care, and more. Dan Murphy, Director of Technology at Verizon Wireless, graciously offered his insight into the goals of the Innovation Centers, as well as Verizon's plans for the future.
Q. What inspired Verizon to create Innovation Centers?
For any technology to take off, there has to be a thriving ecosystem to support it. The Verizon Innovation Centers were created to help build the ecosystem around its 4G LTE network well before the network was built. Both Innovation Centers — one in Waltham, Massachusetts and the other in San Francisco — were designed to provide the technical capabilities and consultative expertise necessary to bring breakthrough ideas to life across markets and industries. The Innovation Centers are places where companies, regardless of size, are empowered to deliver the next generation of products that wirelessly connect people, places and things. The Verizon Innovation Program grew out of the Innovation Centers and acts as a way to inspire innovation and establish meaningful relationships through the spirit of collaboration.
Q. The Innovation Program focuses on solving society's problems from a technological standpoint. How does Verizon go about identifying areas that need more attention, and why is it important that Verizon meet these challenges?
We're interested in supporting new solutions in all areas — including sustainability, public safety, education, transportation and healthcare. We believe our wireless, broadband, and cloud networks can serve as catalysts for these new solutions — especially ones that may be applied to solve some of the world's biggest challenges and address social good.
Q. How do you choose your partners, and what makes them ideal candidates for partnership?
We work with individuals, companies, and organizations all over the globe who have interesting ideas and a desire to innovate through new and different ways of leveraging wireless technology.
Q. How can a prospective partner be considered for collaboration? Is there a pitch process?
Companies that have great ideas and want to participate in the Verizon Innovation program should visit innovation.verizon.com to apply. We're currently reviewing the submissions to our 2014 Powerful Answers Award competition, which looks to uncover the best, most innovative ideas in education, healthcare, transportation or sustainability. The award offers a chance to win $1M and a relationship with Verizon that will help bring that idea to market.
Q. What are the next concrete endeavors for the Innovation Program? What projects and partnerships are currently in the works?
We're looking to expand the number of Verizon Innovation Program participants over the next few years, to develop even more solutions using the technology and expertise found in the Verizon Innovation Centers, and ultimately, see more and more products and solutions come to market as a result of this work.
At the moment, we're excited about solutions that deliver solar charging benches, as well as a smartphone application for the visually impaired which has the potential to greatly improve quality of life.
Q. What is the end goal for the Innovation Program and the Innovation Centers? How does Verizon picture the initiative growing in the next five, ten years?
As far as we're concerned, there is no "end" to the possibilities when it comes to innovation and technology. We're looking forward to expanding the breadth of partnerships and products over the coming years, and to providing new ways for our customers to benefit from all that technology has to offer.
Visit Verizon's Instagram page for an exclusive look at their innovative technology.
Dan Murphy is the Director of Technology at Verizon Wireless.