Baseball has one. Football has one. Even rock and roll has one. The mobile industry has one, too: The Wireless Hall of Fame. Last night this geek pantheon inducted four new members at an event in San Diego on the eve of CTIA MobileCon. Shall we take a peek inside?
The Wireless Hall of Fame is a project of the Wireless History Foundation, a nonprofit trade organization supported by the telecommunications industry. With four new inductees this year, the Wireless Hall of Fame has 36 members, a lineup of cellular pioneers in wireless infrastructure, device development and business.
This virtual hall - it no physical location, perhaps appropriately for an institution that celebrates commercialization of electromagnetic energy - celebrates a vibrant spectrum of unsung geek deities. Past honorees include Marty Cooper, founder of the modern cellphone. (I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Cooper earlier this year at the Google Motorola event announcing the new generation of Droid Razr smartphones. He is extremely gracious and affable and still has great ideas concerning the advancement of smartphones.)
Another Hall-of-Famer is Edward “Ted” Rogers, founder of Rogers Communications, which controls a good portion of the wireless industry in Canada. Robert Galvin was chairman and president of Motorola from 1956-1990 and was essential in the creation of modern telephony. Irwin Jacobs was the co-founder and chairman Qualcomm and a professor at both MIT and UC San Diego.
The hall includes no women.
This year’s inductees represent four different aspects of the wireless industry: service providers, technology, industry associate and pioneer:
Wayne Perry (service provider): Founded two wireless companies in McGraw Cellular and Edge Wireless, both of which merged or were acquired by AT&T. Served as Vice-Chairman of AT&T Wireless Services. Also the national president of Boy Scouts of America.
Richard Lynch (technology): A fellow at the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and a member of both the CDMA Development Group and GSM Association boards. Lynch has been a driver in the creation of cellular data and infrastructure that have paved the way to today’s smartphones.
Raj Singh (industry associate): Founded LCC International and Appex, a wireless roaming clearinghouse. A wireless industry consultant that has helped develop the business of the cellular industry.
Amos Joel (pioneer) – Awarded posthumously. Joel was the “father of switching” and was the inventor of automated mobile switching, which changed the nature of the wireless industry. He was awarded 70 patents in his life. He had designs for early digital computers and “cryptanalysis” that helped the Allies with communication and code breaking in World War II. He is also a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Joel passed away in 2008 at the age of 90.
It takes a lifetime of achievement in business or innovation to get into the Wireless Hall of Fame. In the future, the inductee list may include more software developers and industrial designers, such as Google’s Andy Rubin (co-founder of Android) or Apple’s Jonathan Ive, the man that is credited with designing the iPhone. Ive has been knighted in England - Sir Jonathan Ive to you and me - and holds 596 design and utility patents. Inducting him is a no-brainer.
If you are working in the wireless industry (as a software developer, wireless provider or industry associate) ask yourself this: What can you do that will be worthy of entrance into the Wireless Hall of Fame? Are you on the cusp of creating the next giant business in the mobile industry? Are you working on the next-generation smartphone operating system? Perhaps developing the infrastructure for the next round of wireless communication, such as Advanced Long Term Evolution?
Making the world a more connected, intelligent place and is reward in and of itself. But, hey, why not aim for the Hall of Fame?