Committee Examines Economic Potential of Wireless Innovations from Small Businesses

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Washington, Feb 11 | comments

The Small Business Committee, led by Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), today held a hearing on the impact of wireless technology on small business growth and the overall economy, and the potential challenges and barriers that could limit growth.

The Committee received testimony from small businesses that create or rely on innovative wireless technologies about the economic benefits of these advances, and the need for spectrum so that expansion continues. Demand for mobile data soared by 62 percent in 2012, and is forecast to increase ninefold by 2017, according to the technology firm Cisco. Rapid innovation and new capabilities in wireless devices are driving this growth. A McKinsey Global Institute report estimates that one trillion devices and machines may be connected across the globe by 2025.

“Wireless technology brings a new job-creating dimension and efficiencies to all sectors of the economy with far-reaching potential for small businesses,” said Chairman Graves. “Not only are small firms designing new innovations, but also small businesses and family farms are effectively using wireless technology in myriad ways. We must ensure that future innovations aren’t limited by constraints on spectrum or other government-erected barriers that could restrain growth. The testimony of the witnesses today provided excellent insight on the innovative ways they rely on wireless technology for business growth.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quotes:

Michael Feldman, Vice President of Engineering, BigBelly Solar, Newton, MA, said, “This industry is aimed at connecting devices together all around us, and providing useful data for humans to make intelligent decisions. A significant part of the BigBelly solution incorporates wireless technology to transmit data from the trash receptacles to a central database for processing…The technology used is very similar to that found in modern cell phones today, only instead of calling another person, the BigBelly calls another machine.”

Brian Marshall, Owner, Marshall Farms, Maysville, MO, testifying on behalf of the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farm Bureau Federation, said, “For years, farmers have used technology advances to better match varieties of seeds, production inputs and management practices with specific field characteristics… While farmers have been experimenting with this technology for well over a decade, only now is the industry starting to consider all the uses of this transformative technology.”

Leo A. McCloskey, Senior Vice President, Technical Programs, Intelligent Transportation Society of America, Washington, DC, said, “Another challenge is the need to preserve dedicated spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band which was set aside by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure high-speed, accurate, secure and reliable communications which are critical for connected vehicle safety systems. It is essential that the availability and performance of this spectrum is protected for safety purposes, while also freeing up additional spectrum where it makes sense and where it can be done without jeopardizing safety for expanded WiFi applications.”

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