Guest Commentator: Joseph Divis, Assistant Vice President, External Affairs, AT&T @att @jf_divis5

How will technology infrastructure impact the future work of the Chamber’s Roadmap for Growth Action Team?

After returning from South by Southwest (SXSW), Mayor Jim Kenney made a defining statement to Philly: “As we consider job growth and the types of businesses to attract, or even the types of skills to teach our kids in school, tech has to be part of the conversation.”

Indeed, tech does need to be part of the conversation. Depending on who is doing the framing of that conversation, tech can mean any number of different things that bring dynamism and innovation to our community.

Underpinning the city’s tech present and future – and the future of Philadelphia’s economy, commerce, public safety, government, and civic life — is an element of infrastructure that we should consider as part of the Chamber’s Roadmap for Growth Action Team’s “Leveraging Our Infrastructure” pillar. That is the wireless and wired high-speed internet networks that serve our city, its businesses and its residents.

We don’t have a vibrant tech sector if we don’t have the robust network capacities for engagement, ideation, interaction, and collaboration. Strong networks, particularly wireless, also support Philadelphia as a destination city as they enable tourists and visitors to move about the city, handle real-time video and interaction, and capture and share their memories (remember all those smartphones raised as Pope Francis rode the Parkway?)

We are on the cusp of taking our network capabilities and the innovations they support to the next level with the prevalence of connected devices, Internet of Things solutions and even 5G speeds. Private investment in 5G networks and the development of civic solutions that make entire cities smarter are happening right now. But, to ensure our networks are prepared for this connected future, we must invest in our infrastructure today.

Small cells will be a critical network infrastructure component to deliver on the promise of 5G, the IoT and Smart Cities, unlocking opportunity and innovation that can fuel Philadelphia’s growth as a tech destination. These unobtrusive network elements can be placed in buildings or outdoors. Small cells can be attached to existing utility poles, light poles, traffic lights or exterior walls of buildings. They help densify wireless networks to handle capacity demands that are growing exponentially; enable a better experience for customers as video dominates bandwidth needs; and lay the foundation for future technologies.

Leveraging Our Infrastructure is a Roadmap pillar. Investing in our infrastructure — in this case through small cell densification — will add to that pillar’s strength.

Upcoming Roadmap Event

Roadmap for Growth
The Science of Growth

June 7, 2017
5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Quorum at the Science Center
3711 Market Street • Floor 8 • Philadelphia, PA 19104
Tickets starting at $35

Join us for our third Roadmap for Growth issue forum featuring Ph