A Message From Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg

“The events unfolding across the country that are rooted in hate are contradictory with our beliefs as a company and leave me with a feeling of regret and sadness.  Verizon is fiercely committed to diversity and inclusion across all spectrums because it makes us and the world better. I am hopeful that the rest of the country will come to understand that valuing everyone equally is the best way forward. We cannot commit to a brand purpose of moving the world forward unless we are committed to helping ensure we move it forward for everyone. We stand united as one Verizon,” Hans Vestberg, Verizon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

View full statement from Verizon.

Built In: How 100 Tech Companies Are Supporting Their Communities

In a world where lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders restrict physical movement, digital technology is filling the void to keep households connected, supplied, entertained and informed. 

But amid the increased demand for digital products and services — and the logistical challenges associated with a massive work-from-home transition — many tech companies have not forgotten those who are struggling right now. We asked leaders at 100 startups and larger tech companies across the United States to describe how they’re giving back to their local communities during this uncertain season, and the responses offer a fine example of our industry’s wealth of ingenuity. 

View full article in Built In.

CNBC: Verizon Customers Making 800 Million Calls A Day Now—Double The Amount On Mother’s Day

As people across the country remain isolated at home due to the spread of COVID-19, Verizon has seen a huge spike in cell-phone usage, higher than peak times like Mother’s Day or New Year’s Eve. 

“We’ve had 800 million calls a day. That’s double the amount of calls you would have on Mother’s Day, which is the busiest [Sunday] of the year,” Verizon CEO Hans Vestburg told David Faber on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Friday.

Full article here.

Built In: Tech Companies Are Finding New Ways To Help Communities Address COVID-19 Challenges

In February, before the first case of COVID-19 community spread in the United States was documented, the World Health Organization convened a meeting with a few prominent tech companies at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. Companies including Amazon, Google and Twitter met to discuss how to slow the spread of misinformation about COVID-19.

As an estimated 1.5 billion people around the world are under orders to shelter in place, and as people are increasingly conducting all aspects of their lives online, tech companies are in a unique position of influence and responsibility, whether it’s to combat misinformation, to offer discounted or free services, or to give help to frontline workers.

View full article in Built In.

NPR: ‘Panic-gogy’: Teaching Online Classes During The Coronavirus Pandemic

As colleges across the country pivot online on very short notice, there are a host of complications — from laptops and Internet access to mental health and financial needs.

Digital learning experts have some surprising advice: do less.

“Please Do A Bad Job Of Putting Your Courses Online” is the title of one popular blog post by Rebecca Barrett-Fox, an assistant professor of sociology at Arkansas State University. Her point: “your class is not the highest priority of their or your life right now.” She suggests not requiring students to show up online at a particular time and making all exams open-book and open-Internet.

View full article in NPR.

Government Technology: AI-Enabled Tech Could Soon Help the TSA Pinpoint Biohazards

Professors in electrical and computer engineering are using machine learning to build a robust system to alert authorities to airborne biohazards as travelers pass through TSA security checkpoints.

Assistant professor Dr. Jie Huang and visiting professor Dr. Rex E. Gerald II, their lead graduate student Chen Zhu, and assistant research professor Dr. Qingbo Yang are working on the prototype. Dr. Donald Wunsch, who has expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), recently joined the research effort.

View full article in Government Technology.

The New York Times: A Warehouse Robot Learns To Sort Out The Tricky Stuff

Inside a warehouse on the outskirts of Berlin, a long line of blue crates moved down a conveyor belt, carrying light switches, sockets and other electrical parts. As they came to a stop, five workers picked through the small items, placing each one in a cardboard box.

At Obeta, an electrical parts company that opened in 1901, it is the kind of monotonous task workers have performed for years.

But several months ago, a new worker joined the team. Stationed behind protective glass, a robot using three suction cups at the end of its long arm does the same job, sifting through parts with surprising speed and accuracy.

View full article here.

WTTW: Gym Class Without the Gym? With Technology, It’s Catching On

Grace Brown’s schedule at West Potomac High School in northern Virginia is filled with all the usual academics, and she’s packed in Latin, chorus and piano as extras.

What she can’t cram into the 8:10 a.m.-2:55 p.m. school day is gym class.

So she’s taking that one minus the gym, and on her own time.

The 14-year-old freshman is getting school credit for virtual physical education, a concept that, as strange as it may sound, is being helped along by availability of wearable fitness trackers.

View full article in WTTW.

The New York Times: The Tech That Will Invade Our Lives in 2020

The 2010s made one thing clear: Tech is everywhere in life.

Tech is in our homes with thermostats that heat up our residences before we walk through the door. It’s in our cars with safety features that warn us about vehicles in adjacent lanes. It’s on our television sets, where many of us are streaming shows and movies through apps. We even wear it on ourselves in the form of wristwatches that monitor our health.

In 2020 and the coming decade, these trends are likely to gather momentum. They will also be on display next week at CES, an enormous consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas that typically serves as a window into the year’s hottest tech developments.

View full article in The New York Times.

Forbes: The Top 5 Fintech Trends Everyone Should Be Watching In 2020

All indicators confirm that investment in fintech, new technology that can improve and automate financial services, is skyrocketing and is expected to exceed $30 billion by 2020. This investment will translate into dramatic time and cost savings and enhancements to service offerings from financial institutions. Here are the top 5 fintech trends everyone should be watching in 2020 because they will impact anything that involves money.

View full article in Forbes.

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