Verizon and Arizona State University are exploring how 5G can enable immersive educational experiences and transform the future of learning. To do this, Verizon has launched a 5G Innovation Hub at the University’s Learning Futures Collaboratory, Studios and Emporium. Students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and corporate partners can now work together at the Hub to test and create 5G-powered educational experiences that are more inclusive, equitable and accessible. Digital equity is on the national agenda as leaders aim to address the digital divide, deepened during the pandemic. And in Arizona where as many as one million residents, including more than 200,000 students, do not have regular access to the internet, ASU has been instrumental in leading a series of initiatives aimed at surfacing solutions to help further close the digital divide.
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.
“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 and edge compute.”
“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 ASU President Michael Crow this morning during a keynote with Erwin at the Smart Region Summit. “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.”
Additionally, ASU plans to continue testing and deploying a variety of immersive educational experiences, powered by Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband and mobile edge compute. Students will be able to enter a Dreamscape pod where they can experience a Biology class in virtual reality (VR). Remote students will have access to a VR and web browser version. 5G use cases being explored will also include a career arcade using VR, where students can experience a day in the life of certain careers. 5G applications are also being tested for athlete performance analytics applications and virtual fighter pilot training.
This engagement is part of Verizon’s broader strategy to partner with enterprises, startups, universities, national labs and government/military to explore how 5G can disrupt and transform nearly every industry. Verizon operates five 5G Labs in the U.S. and one in London that specialize in developing use cases in industries ranging from healthcare to public safety to entertainment. In addition, Verizon is collaborating with several customers to establish 5G Innovation Hubs on-premises as part of an ongoing initiative to co-innovate and create new 5G applications.
Verizon’s long-standing relationship with ASU includes collaboration and support for Verizon Innovative Learning, Verizon’s award-winning education initiative addressing barriers to digital inclusion and a key program under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. The initiative includes bringing 5G to schools, enabling more robust, immersive learning experiences via technologies like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality. Students leverage technology, social innovation and design thinking through a project-based online curriculum, developed by the J.Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute at ASU, to positively impact their communities. Verizon’s partnership with ASU also extends to Verizon Innovative Learning HQ, a free next-gen online education portal that includes content curated by ASU, among other academic institutions, that provides immersive AR and VR experiences paired with lesson plans. Through Citizen Verizon, the company is committed to providing 10 million youths with digital skills training by 2030, among other goals.