The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today had a hearing today titled “Challenges and Opportunities in the 5 GHz Spectrum Band.” Sound technical? Well, it is. Thankfully the panel of experts testifying today helped explain to Congress what lies ahead for a critical intersection of technology and manufacturing.
Witnesses from Toyota, Cisco, Comcast, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) discussed a slice of spectrum, or airwaves, and how the automobile industry is using it to increase driver safety and what impact the deployment of wi-fi in that same slice of airwaves may have on these efforts.
John Kenney, Principal Researcher at the Toyota InfoTechnology Center in Mountain View, CA testified extensively on how vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication is a game-changer that will almost allow drivers to “see” around corners. Toyota along with the rest of the auto industry is “making significant progress towards our ultimate goal of zero casualties from traffic incidents,” Mr. Kenney explained to the committee today.
The NAM is fully aware of the importance of wireless technology to manufacturing. Cisco’s Chief Technology Officer Bob Friday agreed in his testimony when he said “And in manufacturing, workers are using mobile devices to get instantaneous alerts of equipment failure, to control machines remotely and to have real time video conversations with coworkers.”
The issue at hand is what impact the use of more wireless devices will have on this new technology and driver safety innovations. We applaud the Subcommittee, the regulators, and all the segments of the industry that are working together to ensure the extensive amount of innovation already achieved and the existing users of the spectrum are not negatively impacted and that all manufacturers, their customers, and consumers benefit as the process moves forward.
Brian Raymond is Director of Technology Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers