Nokia Bell Labs inventor will talk about the “Internet of everything” on Sept. 27 at UD

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the first telephone, patented 141 years ago, he couldn’t possibly have imagined what our phones can do today.

“The world has really been revolutionized by the use of the mobile phone and the ability to be connected at all times, in all places,” said Theodore (Tod) Sizer, the Head of IP and Optical Network Research in Nokia Bell Labs.

In a lecture at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at Mitchell Hall, Sizer will talk about how this constant, reliable connectivity can help people maximize a precious resource: time. He will also discuss the role of 5G technology in establishing an “Internet of everything,” where devices beyond phones — from cars to drones to appliances — work together to help people live better.

Sizer is the first speaker in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s 2017-2018 Distinguished Lecture Series. A reception will follow in the Evans Hall iSuite, the state-of-the-art electrical and computer engineering teaching laboratory that opened earlier this year.

At Nokia Bell Labs, Sizer leads teams innovating in all aspects of IP and optical solutions for core, submarine, and data center communications.  He was previously Head of Wireless Research, leading the company’s vision and research for 5G.  Sizer has had significant impact as a key proponent and inventor of the lightRadio™, a wireless networking paradigm, and small-cell technology, which helps network providers handle more traffic in more spaces.

He envisions a future where everyone has reliable, constant Internet access that links every device they use together. This is often referred to as the “Internet of things,” but Sizer calls it the “Internet of everything.”

“That will really enable a new technology revolution—the expectation that you can connect all things, and those things will work together to serve people well,” he says.

As a result, people will have more time to do things they want or need to do. Mobile phones stopped the practice of waiting by the phone for a call. The next generation of connected devices will help people save even more.

“If you think about driverless cars as just one example, what are they good for? They’re good to drive you around so that you can do other things and use your time in various ways as opposed to having to focus on driving,” Sizer said.

“Saving time and creating time is an important human need we all strive for.”

In some settings, every second is critical, and connected devices may be particularly helpful. For example, in hospitals, connected devices might convey lifesaving patient information. Law enforcement officials might use connected technology to locate a missing person.

5G technology, the methods used to connect phones and other devices to the Internet in a wireless fashion, will enable this new technology revolution, Sizer said. He estimates that 5G will be deployed next year.

Sizer received his master’s and doctoral degrees in optics from the University of Rochester. He has 52 U.S. patents and over 50 refereed publications.