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Greenville Business Magazine

Verizon Launches 5G Innovation Hub with the University of South Carolina

Sep 16, 2022 05:39PM ● By David Dykes

By C. Grant Jackson

COLUMBIA -- Built around a theme of collaboration, communication and cooperation, the University of South Carolina and Verizon Wireless have launched an Innovation Experience Hub at USC for research into applying Verizon 5-G Ultra-Wideband internet technology to a wide range of business and industry uses.

The Innovation Experience Hub, located in the university’s McNair Center on Catawba Street across from the engineering school, is one of five Verizon 5G Innovation Hubs where Verizon partners with enterprises, startups, universities, national labs, and government/military organizations to explore how 5G can transform business and industry. Hubs are also located at Wichita State University, Arizona State University, Emory University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Verizon 5G Ultra-Wideband offers massive capacity, super-fast speeds and low latency, or the time it takes date to be transferred from its source to the destination, allowing for more efficient transfer of information, including large data sets needed to power advanced applications.

The partnership was announced Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at an event attended by university officials, Verizon executives, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, and other corporate partners, including IBM, Siemens and Yaskawa Motoman.

McMaster praised the Innovation Hub as one more example of how research partnerships are elevating the state’s economy.

“South Carolina’s economic success has been built by our talented entrepreneurs and innovators, making one of our state’s premier research universities the ideal partner for Verizon on this project,” said McMaster. “Combine this with the expertise of our university researchers and the power of private sector innovation, and we can achieve great things for businesses large and small across South Carolina.”

The partnership with Verizon continues the efforts of USC’s Office of Economic Engagement to bring to the university a range of corporate partners including IBM, Siemens, Yaskawa Motoman Robotics and Nephron. Since its founding in 2013, the OEE has created more than $790 million in economic impact, according to the university.

“Our relationship with Verizon exemplifies the benefits of partnerships between the University of South Carolina and the business community,” said USC President Michael Amiridis. “This aligns with our focus on expanding research opportunities that solve problems and accelerate discoveries.”

Projects developed in the Innovation Hub are expected to include business solutions for a range of industries critical to South Carolina’s economy. The initial areas of focus include manufacturing, health care, and civil infrastructure.

For manufacturing, Verizon said innovators at the hub will be able to leverage 5G connectivity and solutions to help improve manufacturing processes “with quality sensing and defect detection.” In health care, 5G “can enhance emergency response by enabling remote health monitoring and real-time analysis of patient vitals, as well as hospital connected asset management, to streamline asset retrieval and dispatch operations.”

As for civil infrastructure, “researchers will examine how 5G communications can enhance monitoring of roads and bridges with condition analytics and reporting, as well as drone-based visual inspection of roads, bridges and buildings, using AI-driven computer vision.“

Officials of Verizon and IBM showed those assembled for the event a video of a drone, in real time, inspecting the Blossom Street bridge.

“Working with the University of South Carolina, we have a great opportunity to collaborate with dozens of partners to ideate on and develop new 5G-powered solutions leveraging the latest technologies, including large-scale IoT, artificial intelligence, computer vision and augmented reality,” said Jennifer Artley, Verizon Business senior vice president of 5G Acceleration.

“Giving researchers access to Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband, with its high bandwidth and low latency, can accelerate the innovation process, leading to new solutions that will transform how enterprises operate and grow,” Artley said.

Students and researchers at the university also will benefit from working alongside private-sector partners in the Innovation Experience Hub, said Bill Kirkland, executive director of the Office of Economic Engagement.

“The ability to apply the fastest commercial connectivity now available to real-world applications will give our students a competitive advantage in the marketplace while also spurring innovation and entrepreneurship from our own talented researchers.”

The partnership will allow USC “to conduct research at the highest levels and advance the culture of innovation we have here at the university,” Amiridis said.

“Our partnership with Verizon demonstrates how we can engage with businesses around the state to help our students develop skills that will allow them to apply for top tier jobs. We want this partnership to enhance the student experience at USC and make it easier for them to find careers, hopefully ones that will allow them to stay in this area.”