Executive Speeches and Viewpoints

A Golden Age of Innovation

November 07, 2013

55th Annual TechAmerica Innovator Awards Dinner
Menlo Park, CA

Lowell C. McAdam

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Speech Overview

Lowell McAdam receives TechAmerica’s highest honor, the David Packard Medal of Achievement Award, which recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of the high-tech industry and distinguished service to the community, the industry and humankind.

Key Points

My career in communications has coincided with one of the most sweeping technological revolutions this or any industry has ever seen. We’re very close to having as many cell phones as there are people on earth. Almost 40 percent of the world’s population is connected to the Internet, and with the spread of cloud computing we have the capacity to give anyone who wants it the equivalent of their own supercomputer.

Verizon’s role in this revolution has been to build the fiber-optic, 4G wireless and high-speed global Internet networks that underlie it. The convergence of these great, disruptive technologies makes every industry an information business and puts the transformational power of Moore’s Law within reach of every sector of the economy and, increasingly, every society around the globe.

Verizon is helping create an ecosystem of solutions that leverage our networks to solve the world’s biggest problems. We’re focused on three areas in particular – education, energy and health care – where we believe technology joined with innovation can change the game, creating value for both business and society.

We’re in a golden age of innovation, with the tools for technology transformation more affordable and more powerful than at any time in history.

Lowell C. McAdam, Chairman & CEO

55th Annual TechAmerica Innovator Awards Dinner

Script as Delivered

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Medal of Achievement Award – Acceptance Speech Remarks
Introduction by Ray Lane, Executive Chairman, HP.

Thank you, Ray, and thanks to TechAmerica for this award. I am honored to share the stage with Dan Rosensweig and Matt Flannery, whose leadership at Chegg and Kiva inspires us all. It’s especially humbling to receive an award named for the legendary David Packard, who with not much more than a great idea, a lot of guts and a whopping $538 in capital started the Silicon Valley revolution.

On behalf of Verizon, I can say we are very proud to be part of this community of innovators.

I’m fortunate that my career in communications has coincided with one of the most sweeping technological revolutions this or any industry has ever seen. Just last month, we marked the 30th anniversary of the first commercial cell phone call, made from Soldier Field in Chicago to the grandson of Alexander Graham Bell on a Motorola DynaTAC phone that weighed in at 1.75 pounds and cost a cool $3,900. That was around the same time that I was just getting started in my career at Pac Bell, the phone company here on the West Coast, fixing the copper wires of Bell’s original phone network.

Three decades later, we’re very close to having as many cell phones as there are people on earth. Almost 40 percent of the world’s population is connected to the Internet. The brand-new market of mobile broadband already has more than 2 billion users worldwide. With the spread of cloud computing, we have the capacity to give anyone who wants it the equivalent of their own supercomputer, and the growing Internet of Things is transforming the physical world into a giant, programmable information system.

Verizon’s role in this revolution has been to build the fiber-optic, 4G wireless and high-speed global Internet networks that underlie it, creating a platform for spreading innovation on a worldwide scale. The convergence of these great, disruptive technologies makes every industry an information business and puts the transformational power of Moore’s Law within reach of every sector of the economy and, increasingly, every society around the globe.

In short, we’ve spent the last 30 years putting a fantastic new set of tools in our toolbox. The challenge for the next 30 years is to leverage the power of these tools to raise living standards and transform societies in ways we never dreamed of before.

To do that will take the engagement, creativity and collaboration of the whole tech community. That’s why Verizon is helping entrepreneurs, app developers and device manufacturers interface with our networks and bring next-generation connected products and solutions to market. One of the ways we do that is through our two Innovation Centers. We opened the first center in Waltham, Massachusetts in 2011, and just last month we launched a second one in San Francisco. Take a look:

VIDEO: San Francisco Innovation Center (2 minutes)

One of the people you saw on that video, Jack Tang, is with us tonight, and as he can tell you firsthand, we’re really excited to be rolling up our sleeves and collaborating with the great entrepreneurs here in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Verizon’s role is to catalyze innovation and create an ecosystem of solutions that leverage our networks to solve the world’s biggest problems. We’re focused on three areas in particular – education, energy and health care – where we believe technology joined with innovation can change the game, creating value for both business and society:

  • In education, we’re working to give teachers the tools to reinvent the traditional bricks-and-mortar model and use mobile technology to improve outcomes for underserved students.
  • In energy, we’re using M2M and the cloud to create smart utility grids and transportation systems that can lower emissions and reduce fuel consumption.
  • In health care, our 4G LTE and cloud networks are being embedded in a new class of biometric devices and apps that put people in charge of their health and shorten the distance between patients and top doctors.

The potential for this explosion of innovation to change society on a worldwide scale is immense.

But what really drives it home for me – and what gets me motivated to come to work every day – is the potential for technology to transform an individual life in a way that would have seemed miraculous just a year or two ago. One of the companies we’ve been working with at our Waltham Innovation Center – Visus Technology – is a great example. Take a look at what 4G, a smart phone and one ingenious app can do to change a life for the better:

VIDEO: Visus Technology Augmented Reality Video (2 mins., 12 seconds)

We know there are countless more life-changing solutions out there, just waiting to be discovered. At Verizon, we’re committed to finding them. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, we announced our “Powerful Answers Award,” a competition that will award a total of $10 million in prizes for apps that use our assets to create new solutions in the areas of health care, education and energy. We’ll be announcing the winners at CES 2014, who will then have the opportunity to work with our Innovation Centers to bring their products to market.

I believe we’re just at the beginning of a revolutionary new era in the history of communications.

In fact, in many ways we’re in a golden age of innovation, with the tools for technology transformation more affordable and more powerful than at any time in history.

But for all the progress we’ve made, there’s still a long way to go.

Sixty percent of the world’s population is not connected to the Internet.

Eighty percent of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day.

Nearly a billion people are unable to read a book or sign their names.

I guess the good news for all of us is, we still have plenty of big mountains to climb. Think of the power that will be created when all of those people become connected contributors and innovators.

I thank you all for recognizing Verizon with this award tonight. I look forward to partnering with the tech community to find creative solutions to the challenges ahead. I think we are at the same point as when David Packard sat with $538 in his hand and a gleam in his eye. The future looks very bright.

We are just getting started.