Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2018

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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BROADBAND APPLICATIONS 6 6 | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 8 New Education Initiatives Drive Fiber Demand SXSW EDU 2018 made clear that as education technology advances, the demand for fast, reliable broadband will continue to grow. By Rollie Cole / Sagamore Institute for Policy Research E ach year, SXSW EDU brings together stakeholders from the worlds of business, government, nonprofits and education with a shared goal of influencing the future of teaching and learning. Like the larger SXSW conference – a hub of creativity for the interactive, film and music industries – SXSW EDU is all about "empowering its global community to connect, discover and impact." is was my fourth year attending the conference, and I Ieft as inspired and hopeful about fiber broadband's promising role in shaping the future of education as I have in the past three years. AI and neuroscience are changing education, and strong fiber networks are key. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE In 2017 the conference's main focus was virtual reality (VR). For the broadband industry, VR holds promise because it requires large files to be served remotely, and therefore provides economic and political demand for high-quality broadband (almost always fiber) to schools and perhaps also to students' homes. is year, a key focus was artificial intelligence (AI). Using AI still may require large files served remotely. However, some recent developments may mean powerful local devices can handle the user portion. e speakers and vendors at SXSW EDU used the term AI to refer to two separate extensions to the if-then logic in software coding and in "programmed learning." e first extension referred to the way developers built if-then logic. Instead of asking smart programmers to construct the entire range of if-then possibilities in advance, the developers applied "machine learning" or "deep learning" to huge data sets of educational inputs and educational outputs. is enabled the program itself to develop the if-then scenarios. I use the term "educational" rather than "learning" or "teaching" because some of the most developed apps at the conference addressed facility scheduling and operations or staff and student safety rather than teaching or learning. e second extension was that many of the AI programs did not stop "learning" once developed. Instead, each use provided more data points to include more scenarios and refine existing ones. e goal was for the apps to improve over time as they gained more experience. What are the implications of AI for broadband and fiber to the home? At first blush, they're much less significant than the implications of VR or its companion, augmented reality (AR), which will require large datasets Artificial intelligence programs continue learning as they gain experience.

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