From CTIA WIRELESS 2009®, Verizon Wireless detailed its approach to driving product and service development on its upcoming fourth generation, or 4G, network. The company is now developing the Verizon Wireless LTE Innovation Center, which will be designed to drive innovation and help foster creative solutions connecting people, places and things wirelessly using LTE technology, which in turn will help build a broad ecosystem of devices in tandem with the aggressive deployment of Verizon Wireless’ LTE network. The Verizon Wireless LTE Innovation Center will leverage the wireless leader’s experience to help developers assess what types of new products and services may best succeed in the marketplace.
“We are building the Verizon Wireless LTE Innovation Center to be an incubator where imagination will be the only barrier to designing incredible new wireless products and services,” said Roger Gurnani, Verizon Wireless senior vice president of product development. “With support from two of the most important wireless infrastructure companies on the globe, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, we expect to provide innovative companies with the tools they require to launch a whole new generation of wireless consumer and business products and services.”
Based in the suburban Boston community of Waltham, Mass., Verizon Wireless’ LTE Innovation Center will include a lab for product testing and development, as well as home and business environments designed to simulate usage of products in real-life situations.
A catalyst for early development of non-traditional products for use on LTE networks, the Verizon Wireless LTE Innovation Center is expected to see significant activity across three product areas: 1) consumer electronics and appliances; 2) machine-to-machine (M-2-M) products in the areas of healthcare, security and utility metering; and 3) telematics.
The Verizon Wireless LTE Innovation Center will support early stages of product development, including concept validation, usability studies, product design analysis, prototyping, and lab and field trials. Once a product is proven through the development process and ready to come to market, Verizon Wireless can help the developer quickly access the most appropriate sales channels for a given product.
Verizon Wireless’ Gurnani said, “The Verizon Wireless LTE Innovation Center will be solely focused on helping Verizon Wireless technology partners quickly develop and bring to market new and innovative LTE-based solutions. We’re at the onset of the LTE revolution, and the Verizon Wireless LTE Innovation Center will set the standard for product development and help us lead the way toward near-ubiquitous global wireless broadband connectivity and mobility.”
Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, primary network vendors for Verizon Wireless’ initial LTE network deployments and founding partners of the Verizon Wireless LTE Innovation Center, will offer expertise to a wide array of companies, many of which never have had products ripe for commercial deployment on a wireless network. This includes providing commercial-grade hardware and software for prototyping, testing and validation, and resources to help manage the lab and work through any service integration and hand-off design issues that may arise during the testing process.
Angel Ruiz, chief executive officer and president of Ericsson North America, said, “The Verizon Wireless LTE Innovation Center will help create an ecosystem to explore the full potential of the LTE mobile broadband experience and its value to consumers and business customers. Ericsson is proud to be part of this unique collaboration to bring together leading wireless technology, device and application innovators to help create future opportunities with LTE, the emerging global mobile technology.”
Ken Wirth, vice president of sales for Alcatel-Lucent, said, “By fostering an environment uniting companies, Verizon Wireless is helping build a strong ecosystem aimed at effectively innovating, removing business and technical barriers, and defining new models to accelerate mass adoption of new services and devices. As a founding partner of the Verizon Wireless LTE Innovation Center, Alcatel-Lucent is building on our proven success in developing open-device networks that will help bring whole new classes of services to market.”
In addition, Verizon Wireless today named Brian Higgins as executive director of the Verizon Wireless LTE Innovation Center. Higgins, a 14-year veteran with significant technology planning and product development experience within Verizon Wireless, will be working on building a broad-based community of interest, focused on the rapid development of new and innovative business models – ones that can only be unleashed through the power of LTE.
Higgins noted, “My team will be focused on working through a simple question with our device and application partners: If we gave you the ability to wirelessly network anything, what would you do?”
The LTE network will connect a full range of consumer electronics devices and machines to each other – the holy grail of true wireless interconnectivity. Initial commercial products using LTE technology will likely include faster versions of existing 3G products, such as PC cards and smartphones, with significantly faster e-mail and Internet access and better quality video services. However, advanced LTE-based wireless networks will offer the ability to take home or office applications into the mobile world, provide coverage options in some rural areas not currently served by broadband, and create opportunities for wide-scale international roaming that may provide a significant benefit for companies looking to wirelessly enable their consumer electronics, M-2-M and telematics products.