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Partnership with CMMB launches new center on smart, connected communities

June 23, 2017

From left: CMMB Vice-Chairman and CTO Hui Lui, Professor and Chair Radha Poovendran, Dean Michael Bragg and CMMB President and CEO Charles Wong.

CMMB Vision (CMMB) has awarded the University of Washington Department of Electrical Engineering (UW EE) a $1.5 million gift to establish a new research center. The CMMB Vision-UW Center on Satellite Multimedia and Connected Vehicles will focus on the development of the next generation of smart cars and ubiquitous connectivity.

“We picked a vehicle, because it is simply a smart phone on wheels,” CMMB President and CEO Charles Wong said. “It is a mobile device in itself. It allows for the most mobility and ubiquity, which cannot be accommodated by the existing cellular network.”

As self-driving cars become more of a reality, CMMB focuses on delivering data to the vehicles with unprecedented speed, scale, low-cost and universal connectivity. The company uses next-generation satellite and broadcast technologies to deliver the broadband data, multimedia data and big data to vehicles and mobile devices. The company focuses on delivering this data with unprecedented speed, scale, low-cost and universal connectivity.

“We’ve expanded satellite broadcasting from radio to video and Internet data,” Mr. Wong said. “Our technology is global. We have two satellites – one over Asia and one over the Middle East and Africa. From Asia to Africa, we cover 6 billion people and over 143 countries.”

Many developing nations do not have the infrastructure to support current broadcasting technologies. According to Mr. Wong, mobile devices can become that less expensive option to connect resource-poor communities.

“The whole world can eventually be quite well connected,” Mr. Wong said. “One of the most important factors that this technology supports in developing nations is education. It allows for students to have access to teaching resources.“

For CMMB CEO Mr. Wong and Vice-Chairman and CTO Hui Liu, the University of Washington reflects this global vision and possesses the innovation to support it.

“We have all of the confidence that we picked the right place to further the study and technology of mobile multimedia broadcast,” Mr. Wong said. “A technology that is coming out of UW can be globalized.”

From left: Professor and Chair Radha Poovendran, CMMB President and CEO Charles Wong and Dean Michael Bragg.

For Dr. Liu, who was a professor in UW EE, he remembers the university and department’s dedication to entrepreneurship and invention. For a technology that is the first of its kind, creative thought is important.

“The UW is one of the foremost innovative universities in the country – something we are really looking for in the development of this technology,” Dr. Liu said.

The center comes at a time when smart cities research is flourishing. In Fall 2015, UW EE signed a “Smart Cities” agreement with leaders from the School of Electrical Information and Electrical Engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). The agreement formalized the commitment of both universities to work together on smart cities research, teaching and collaboration.

Within the past year, UW EE researchers have promoted the development of smart cities around the country through the development of smart posters and clothing, the redesign of spectrum wireless usage and the tackling of urban mobility challenges in the Cities of Seattle and Nashville.

“UW EE is dedicated to the advancement of smart cities,” UW EE Professor and Chair Radha Poovendran said. “This partnership with CMMB further advances this mission and will foster impact on a global level.”