Updates - From the Office of the NYIT President
Nov 16 2011
Welcoming Remarks at Motorola Solutions’ Golden-i®dea Competition and Partner Conference

NYIT President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., welcomed technology leaders to Motorola Solutions’ Golden-i®dea Competition and Partner Conference, a two-day event at the NYIT de Seversky Mansion. The partnership with Motorola Solutions encouraged students to come up with innovative applications for Golden-i, a cutting-edge, wireless headset computer, and provided invaluable networking experience for students.

Good Morning.  Welcome to NYIT.  We are pleased to play host to this event.

University presidents take on all kinds of tasks I never expected.  For one thing, I get photographed every week, sometimes hundreds of times a week. When I first became president, a sage old politician told me to never get photographed with a drink in my hand. Got it. So one time, when we were hosting a Lebanese festival and a belly dancer kept getting closer and closer, trying to get me on the dance floor… all I thought about was my image on YouTube. Not what 89,000 alumni and 14,000 students want to see. 

Well, the other day, one of my tasks involved me getting fitted with a Golden-i headset in my office, accompanied by students who had some exciting ideas for apps.  I agreed to a photo with the promise I would not see myself on the web wearing it in some photoshopped fantasy… regardless of how cool the product is.

Headsets: Imagine thinking that THEY would be cutting-edge. The Golden-i that I tried on has the great potential to make significant improvements in medical care and law enforcement, education, architecture, and entertainment. 

Today and tomorrow, we’ll learn about the game-changers, the imaginative ideas that preceded Golden-i.  We’ll hear experts discuss the research that led us here, the markets this new technology can open up, the industries it can serve. 

Along the way, NYIT students will present their “apps in progress.”   We will learn from the learners, as the agenda notes.  That’s fitting.

I have spoken often — here and abroad — about NYIT and innovation.  It’s part of our DNA.  Educators teach, model, and innovate.  We nurture ideas — that happens when our students and faculty from our campuses around the globe collaborate.  Increasingly on our campuses, we see students and faculty from various disciplines conferring about real-world solutions to real-world solutions to real-world challenges.  We’re a “next-generation” global university with an interdisciplinary mindset.

Clean energy, sustainable practices, global health improvements…all have taken root here at NYIT.  Our faculty and students designed and built the first hybrid car.  To give you some perspective: that year, Steve Jobs was taking a calligraphy class in Oregon and Bill Gates was a Congressional page in Washington.  Twenty-two years later, NYIT won the Clean Air Road Rally with our solar-powered plug-in hybrid vehicle. 

Now, how did we get from hybrids to headsets?  Well, about a hundred years ago, the headset was the brainchild of a student at Stanford University.  Even back then, campuses were hotbeds of innovation. Still, it wasn’t until right before World War I that the technology gained some popularity. The U.S. Army bought crude headsets for pilots.

Even those of you who have spent years perfecting the Golden-i might not know what caused headsets to become truly widespread.  It was Major League Baseball in the 1950s, when headsets were outfitted with a wireless microphone for umpires.

And today … well, we have students primed to show you their ideas for headset computer use.  At NYIT, we have been trying to integrate STEM with the arts, so it is fitting that we consider the words of the American painter Edward Hopper. “No amount of skillful invention,” he said, “can replace the essential element of imagination.”  The students here today proudly carry the banner of imagination, upholding NYIT’s tradition of innovation.

The essential element Hopper spoke of — imagination — is all around us.  It’s at the heart of what you do:  brainstorming ideas, thinking “what if” scenarios, then following through. Or sometimes not following through… especially with photographs of belly dancers.

Universities are often the lynchpin in public-private partnerships.  We power the collaboration and commercialization of new technologies.  Campuses are “idea centers” where commerce, culture, intellect, and academic training come together.  Beyond our classrooms, we can help change public perception about the need to accept and even embrace new technologies.

Of course, the headsets you will study here would not have been possible 15 years ago, before wireless and mobile became parts of our landscape. Consider the revolution we are undergoing:   For the first time, the number of wireless subscriber connections in the United States and its territories — 322.9 million — has surpassed the population — 315.5 million. While we’re on the subject of this country, I should mention that there are more American children who own mobile phones than American children who own books – disheartening news for a professor.   

The impact of technology on the developing world is even more dramatic:  right now, 48 million people in the world have mobile phones, even though they do not have electricity at home.

In the case of Golden-i, we can envision field workers in so many industries, using this device to advance scientific discoveries in remote or dangerous areas, checking inventories in vast warehouses, improving safety measures, delivering better health care, scanning buildings or projects in construction … the possibilities go on.  Consumer use — even for college presidents — is likely right around the corner, as long as we have imagination and vision.  When I met with the students and their professors, I even pitched my own idea for an app.  I won’t divulge my inventive notion just yet but I hope one of our campus creatives will consider following through on it.

One week ago, the tech world and others celebrated the tenth anniversary of the iPod.  I mentioned Steve Jobs – well, his genius married technology and art to change whole industries and pave the way for even greater technological consumer products….Perhaps someday we will mark the anniversary of Golden-i as a touchstone along the way we use technology.

So again, welcome to the 2011 Motorola Golden-idea Competition and Partner Conference.  We have fascinating ideas to explore during the next two days and, I am confident, the energy and passion to carry them forward long after the conference ends.  That, to me, is the sign of a productive conference.

Thank you.