ASU and Sprint are partnering to enable future economic, educational, technological and social growth for communities in Arizona by expanding Sprint's 5G network and Internet of Things operating system, the two announced Oct. 22.
Grace O’Sullivan, associate vice president at Corporate Engagement & Strategic Partnerships at ASU said the partnership came about mutually with Sprint looking to expand their 5G network and ASU looking for partners for research, education and technological projects.
“We’re always looking for partners to help enhance the student experience, to help do better research projects,” said O’Sullivan.
5G, which is the fifth generation of mobile wireless communications, will bring faster and more reliable connection to cell phones, according to Sprint's website. The Internet of Things is a “connected technology with a purpose impacting how people live, businesses operate, and society evolves.”
Sprint chose ASU because of how involved they are in the Phoenix area and how they hope to better the community.
"We have identified how embedded ASU is with greater Phoenix through our Center for Smart Cities and Regions, our ASU Consortium,” said Chris Richardson, deputy chief info officer of development, mobility and smart cities
The Center for Smart Cities and Regions aims to advance urban and regional innovation with a variety of local partners in hopes to improve the quality of life for every person living in the region.
Sprint’s goals in working with ASU expand beyond just the University.
Jay Thorne, assistant vice president of media relations & strategic communications, said Sprint is "very much in dialogue with the other cities in Arizona that are looking to be engaged in” the expansion of their 5G network.
Beyond just the implications this collaboration has for the ASU community, Richardson said this inventive partnership has great ambitions that will attract new citizens and companies to the Phoenix metropolitan area.
The internet service provider is still refining plans to roll out its 5G to most areas of Arizona, but “what greater place than an innovative place like ASU to figure it out?” Richardson said.
Working directly with ASU, Sprint will be creating a "5G incubator" at the University’s Novus Innovation Corridor. Novus aims to bring research from ASU and global businesses together in order to create a hub to encourage growth in commerce and economics.
To maximize the effectiveness of this partnership, ASU is creating a certificate program to educate future graduates for the new capabilities of 5G and the Internet of Things so they are prepared to enter the workforce when these technologies are more prevalent, said O'Sullivan
Creating a certificate program that is directly aligned with Sprint’s goals will be a mutually beneficial arrangement, O’Sullivan said.
“This will also, I think, have really great effects back into our own curriculum because our faculty members will be teaching these courses in partnership with industry experts, and once we have this feedback loop it will really help us make sure our curriculum is very current,” O'Sullivan said.
Both ASU and Sprint hope to benefit the Arizona community as a whole with this collaboration, aligning with ASU’s charter to help the overall health of the communities it serves.
Throughout all of Arizona, including tribal and rural communities, Sprint has aligned with ASU’s mission to serve its communities in unique ways, in this case with utilizing the Phoenix Valley in particular to be one of their main use cases, Richardson said.