A High-Powered Panel Discusses NY’s Growing High-Tech Economy

NYU WIRELESS Director Sundeep Rangan Talks 5G and More at City & State Forum

City and State

On March 9, City & State New York, a media company devoted to covering government and politics, hosted an “On Technology” event that drew such figures as Sree Sreenivasan, the city’s chief digital officer; Miguel Gamiño, Jr., its chief technology officer; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; and State Senator Martin Golden. Joining that august company was Sundeep Rangan, who heads the cutting-edge research center NYU WIRELESS.

Individual sessions at the Forum were devoted to incorporating the Internet of Things into life in New York and the technological progress the city has made in recent years, among other topics. Rangan was called upon to participate in a conversation about the burgeoning impact of technology on the economy and Tandon’s role in supporting that growth.

“Connectivity is key,” he asserted, “if we want to ensure adequate broadband for all New Yorkers and democratize Internet access.” NYU WIRELESS’s seminal research, he explained, is ushering in the era of 5G, which is predicted to reach speeds magnitudes faster than those obtained with 4G devices, and with it will undoubtedly come myriad new business opportunities and civic applications. (Rangan helps host an annual summit that brings together international leaders from industry, academia, and government to discuss the future of wireless communications; the 2017 event will be held from April 19 to 21, in Brooklyn.)

Touching upon the ongoing renovation of 370 Jay Street, which when completed will provide some 500,000 square feet of space for classrooms, labs, and research centers — including NYU WIRELESS — he said, “That infrastructure will allow us to continue to be research leaders. And if we forge strong public and private partnerships, that research will no doubt fuel new businesses, services, and civic benefits. We just have to harness its power.”

The creative, entrepreneurial, tech-savvy students attracted to NYU, as more than one panelist pointed out, were also drawn by the prospect of studying, living, and working in the city’s dynamic environs, making this town-and-gown relationship a particularly synergetic one. That synergy was also evident when Gamiño extolled the virtues of New York City’s tech companies, saying, “They don’t want to simply do well; they also want to do good.” With that widely applauded sentiment, he was echoing in some respect the overall mission of Tandon: to use technology in service to society.

NYU Tisch’s Frank Lantz, who heads NYU’s Game Center, was also in attendance and concurred that NYU was an essential player in the borough’s tech scene. Noting that 370 Jay St. had been the longtime site of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority building, he quipped, “It will remain the MTA building, but now it will stand for Media, Technology, and Arts, demonstrating NYU’s leadership in those overlapping areas.”

Brewer, a former longtime chair of the City Council’s Technology Committee, and Golden, who currently heads the State Senate’s Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation, and Entrepreneurship, were unstinting in their support for New York’s growing technology sector and Tandon’s important role in it. “New York State has long been a place where entrepreneurs, developers, and designers of all types can thrive,” Golden asserted, “and Tandon faculty, students, and graduates are making major contributions to that landscape.”

The Forum made plain that it’s not only possible to foster economic development while working for the good of the world — the two go hand in hand, especially at Tandon.