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UofSC partners with Verizon to establish Innovation Experience Hub

The University of South Carolina is partnering with Verizon to launch the new Innovation Experience Hub, a showcase for applying Verizon 5G Ultra-Wideband Internet technology to cutting-edge discoveries in health care, manufacturing and civil infrastructure.

Located within the university’s McNair Center in Columbia, SC, the Innovation Experience Hub is one of several Verizon 5G Innovation Hubs where Verizon partners with enterprises, startups, universities, national labs, and government/military organizations to explore how 5G can disrupt and transform nearly every industry. Verizon 5G Ultra-Wideband offers massive capacity and super-fast speeds for more efficient transfer of information, including large data sets needed to power advanced applications.

The partnership was announced on Friday (Sept. 16) at a ceremony attended by university officials, Verizon executives, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, and other corporate partners including IBM, Siemens and Yaskawa Motoman.

“Our relationship with Verizon exemplifies the benefits of partnerships between the University of South Carolina and the business community,” university President Michael Amiridis said. “This aligns with our focus on expanding research opportunities that solve problems and accelerate discoveries.”

Initial projects developed in the Innovation Hub will include business solutions for a range of industries critical to South Carolina’s economy. They include:

  • Manufacturing: leveraging 5G Ultra-Wideband connectivity to help improve manufacturing processes with quality sensing and defect detection.
  • Healthcare: testing how 5G can enhance emergency response by enabling remote health monitoring and real-time analysis of patient vitals, as well as hospital connected asset management, to streamline asset retrieval and dispatch operations.
  • Civil infrastructure: examining how 5G communications can enhance monitoring of roads and bridges with condition analytics and reporting, as well as drone-based visual inspection of roads, bridges and buildings using AI-driven computer vision.

“Working with the University of South Carolina, we have a great opportunity to collaborate with dozens of partners to ideate and develop new 5G-powered solutions leveraging the latest technologies, including large-scale IoT, artificial intelligence, computer vision and augmented reality,” said Jennifer Artley, Verizon Business Senior Vice President of 5G Acceleration.

“Our relationship with Verizon exemplifies the benefits of partnerships between the University of South Carolina and the business community.”

President Michael Amiridis

Students and researchers at the university also will benefit from working alongside private-sector partners in the Innovation Experience Hub, said Bill Kirkland, executive director of the Office of Economic Engagement. “The ability to apply the fastest commercial connectivity now available to real-world applications will give our students a competitive advantage in the marketplace while also spurring innovation and entrepreneurship from our own talented researchers.” 

Gov. McMaster praised the Innovation Hub as one more example of how research partnerships are elevating the state’s economy.

"South Carolina’s economic success has been built by our talented entrepreneurs and innovators, making one of our state’s premier research universities the ideal partner for Verizon on this project,” McMaster said. “Combine this with the expertise of our university researchers and the power of private sector innovation, and we can achieve great things for businesses large and small across South Carolina."

The Innovation Hub is the latest project developed through the university’s Office of Economic Engagement, which earlier this year partnered with Apple to open community learning labs in the state’s rural areas. Since its founding in 2013, OEE has created more than $790 million in economic impact, and has forged partnerships with IBM, Siemens, Yaskawa Motoman Robotics, Nephron, and Boeing, among others.