Not sure if you've noticed, but there's an LTE race going on and VZW's wasting no time sprinting to the lead. Despite rival AT&T's February launch of a similar R&D space in Texas, Verizon's cutting its first big red bow on the two years in the making Innovation Center. Located just outside Boston, the Waltham, Massachusetts-based labs began churning out LTE-friendly products in October of 2009, developing 30+ products to date. While most of these may never ride along the borderline blazing speeds of real-world LTE, the environment does give small startups a leg-up in a collaborative, deep-pocketed space (insert emphasis here). The research center also does double duty for the operator's bottom line, offering its Verizon Ventures group first dibs on investment opportunities -- like it did with Nomad Innovation's LiveEdge TV product. Construction on a second mobile applications-focused facility is already underway in San Francisco with its very own opening ceremony slated for late summer. We're glad to see Verizon spreading the bills to spur tech forward, but there's one major thing the carrier forgot -- an emergency room wing for all its crapware-bloated products. Official PR after the break.

[Image credit via PCMag]
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Verizon Wireless Features Five Companies that Collaborated on 4G LTE Infrastructure, Products and Solutions Shown at New Center

07/12/2011

BASKING RIDGE, NJ, and WALTHAM, MA - To mark the official opening of the Verizon Innovation Center in Waltham, Mass., Verizon convened a panel discussion highlighting the value of collaboration and the power of the 4G LTE network in developing and bringing new products to market.

"The Verizon Innovation Center is all about collaboration and bringing companies and ideas together to help deliver the next-generation of products and solutions for the 4G LTE network," said David Small, chief technical officer, Verizon Wireless. "We have nearly 80 companies already participating in the Center, and the stories these five are sharing today are a great representation of the kind of innovative thinking and work that is happening here."

Executives from several Innovation Center participant companies spoke about their company's role in the 4G LTE ecosystem, and their relationships with the Verizon Innovation Center.

Companies speaking included:

Alcatel-Lucent: Alcatel-Lucent is a founding participant in the Verizon Innovation Center. Represented by Ken Wirth, president of End-to-End Network Solutions, the long-trusted partner of service providers, enterprises, strategic industries and governments around the world, Alcatel-Lucent is a leader in mobile, fixed, IP and Optics technologies, and a pioneer in applications and services. Alcatel-Lucent includes Bell Labs, one of the world's foremost centers of research and innovation in communications technology. With operations in more than 130 countries and one of the most experienced global services organizations in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with global reach.
Ericsson: Ericsson is a founding participant in the Verizon Innovation Center. Tim Moss, senior vice president, Head of Engagement Practices spoke about Ericsson's commitment to address the rapidly expanding ecosystem and bring innovative business ideas to market quickly. Ericsson is the world's leading provider of technology and services to network operators, connecting over 2 billion subscribers. Ericsson believes the world is in the midst of a technology revolution in which IT and telecommunications are coming together to create a Networked Society. Just as it did for voice, Ericsson has the ambition to make broadband available and affordable to everyone. When one person is connected, their life changes; when everything is connected, the world changes.
LiveEdge/Nomad Innovations: LiveEdge, which is on display in the Enterprise Lab at the Innovation Center, is the first embedded 4G LTE wireless solution for the transmission of live coverage of news, sports, and other events. The 1.5 pound unit attaches to cameras and provides real-time, high-definition video and audio for broadcast, cable or the Web. LiveEdge offers broadcasters, the military or emergency personnel a two-way audio/video/data connection between personnel in the field and a studio or command center. Live events can be covered without deploying expensive microwave, satellite or production units. The technology company is based in Louisville, Ky., and will have its products commercially available later this year. Robert Klingle, chief executive officer of LiveEdge, spoke on behalf of the company today.
TouchTunes: TouchTunes Interactive Networks, the largest interactive, out-of-home entertainment network in North America, has been working with the Innovation Center for more than a year, and currently leverages the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network in its fleet of Digital Jukeboxes nationwide. TouchTunes brings entertainment and marketing solutions to more than 48,000 bars and restaurants. Last fall, TouchTunes released its myTouchTunes Mobile app allowing consumers to browse and search for music, access their personal playlists, play music from the jukebox, automatically post their plays to Facebook® and Twitter™ and more. Andrej Todosic, vice president technology at TouchTunes, spoke at opening day.
VGo: VGo has been working with the innovation center to provide the convenience of 4G LTE to its robotic telepresence product line. Tim Root, chief technology officer and founder, spoke about how people can establish their presence in a distant location such that they can interact and perform their job in ways not previously possible. VGo allows an individual to see, hear, interact and independently move around in any remote site-enabling anyone to be anywhere. VGo's industry-leading solution reduces costs while improving productivity for remote workers, health care providers and homebound students. With 4G LTE technology, VGo's telepresence robots will benefit from a wider operational range, no longer relying on established Wi-Fi networks, thus enabling deployment to a greater variety of businesses and locations while simplifying connectivity and setup considerations.

The products discussed are among the more than 30 that have been developed and demonstrated in the new building as well as at industry trade shows, customer meetings and other venues.

Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson are founding participants in the Innovation Center. Engineers and other subject matter experts work side by side with Verizon engineers on projects generated within the Innovation Center's labs, and each company has a permanent display highlighting 4G LTE technology and solutions for visitors to experience on the main floor of the building.

For more information about the Verizon Innvoation Center, including a list of all participating companies and information about how to become a participant, visit http://innovation.verizon.com. For more information about Verizon Wireless and its 4G LTE network, visit www.verizonwireless.com/lte.

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Verizon's Innovation Center opens its doors to LTE product development