CDR team presents research to Sprint executives

Thu, 07/10/2014


Charles Linn
School of Architecture, Design & Planning

LAWRENCE — The sky is the limit in terms of using wireless technology in different applications, according to a team of 10 Center for Design Research students from the University of Kansas. They were invited in May by Sprint’s representatives to present new concepts for utilizing Sprint Velocity– a comprehensive end-to-end solution designed specifically for auto manufacturers– in new markets at Sprint Headquarters.

Students came up with diverse ideas, said Greg Thomas, CDR director and professor of design. Leveraging Sprint Velocity, concepts ranged from delivering blueprints of buildings to firefighters to improving safety for offshore drilling rig workers. Other ideas included enhancing the operations of a national chain of bagel stores and helping aid caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients.

“The opportunity to work with Sprint this past semester was a vital part in my career as a student at the University of Kansas,” said Emma Murano, a May graduate and a summer intern at Bayer HealthCare. “I had the opportunity to work on forward-thinking projects utilizing cutting-edge technology. The feedback from the members of the Sprint Velocity team let me know that my creative thinking is appreciated on a corporate level.”

Sprint senior management including CIO Peter Campbell; Brian Finnerty, director of Connected Vehicle Program; Jeff Uden, manager of Connected Vehicle Product; Amyn Nanjee, product manager; Nina Kim, global marketing manager for Sprint Velocity, and approximately 20 representatives involved in Sprint Velocity were present at the presentation.

“The students covered a tremendous amount of territory in terms of the interconnectivity of things, connected cars, wearables, all the same areas the company is interested in,” Campbell said. “I was impressed with the professionalism and capabilities of the students. In context, these are all ideas that are actionable.”

With Sprint Velocity, auto manufacturers can provide customized in-vehicle connected services, such as infotainment, navigation, mobile device, connections, security and emergency services.

After spending the spring semester learning about Sprint Velocity, students developed different applications to expand the potentials of this cutting-edge technology beyond the automotive context.

The industry relationship with Sprint was initiated last fall when Thomas engaged Sprint representatives in discussions about incorporating Sprint Velocity technology into a different project – the wireless doctor’s office on wheels called the WellCar.

One of the valuable aspects of the CDR’s industry relationships is the extensive involvement of company representatives in each sponsored project, and the Sprint Velocity project was no exception.

Thomas worked with Uden to create this educational opportunity for his Advanced Topics in Design class, Design 560. Throughout the project, Nanjee held frequent conference calls with the class and often traveled to Lawrence to meet with them.

“It has truly been a rewarding experience working with the students,” Uden said. “The students had the opportunity to participate in real-life business projects while we gained some marketing insights from them that we have not considered.”

“Even though the CDR’s relationship with Sprint is less than a year old, we have already produced a significant amount of important research,” Thomas said. “We are delighted with their extensive involvement and enthusiasm for our work.”

Following the successful completion of the Sprint Velocity program, several CDR projects, including the WellCar project, have been identified for future collaboration with Sprint. Discussions about an internship program and more industry-sponsored projects are also ongoing.

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