Corporate Conversations: AT&T on the Biggest Challenges Facing Higher Ed

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Prioritizing reliable, secure, future-ready connectivity can help higher education institutions tackle some of their biggest challenges.

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Joe Drygas
VP of State & Local Government, Education, and Healthcare

Hi, I'm Joe Drygas, and I lead our education segment at AT&T. I'm often asked what is the biggest technology challenge facing higher education? It is all about connectivity. According to AT&T Labs, users will consume five times as much content in 2025 as in 2021. You're likely seeing this trend on your campus today. AT&T connects thousands of higher education customers, enhancing their learning communities, campus life, research, and administrative efficiencies. We service several higher education institutions across the country, enabling four distinct areas. The first is teaching and research. Educators and students need reliable high bandwidth connections to share and access course materials, participate in discussions, take assessments, and turn in assignments. Connectivity is the bridge that allows for dynamic, interactive, and personalized learning. The second is research. The ability to access and contribute to massive data sets, share findings, and collaborate with peers around the world hinges on robust, secure connectivity. The third one is community. Alumni to students, fans to employers and board members require intuitive, accessible digital interfaces to the institution and to each other. Connectivity fosters stronger relationships and deeper engagement. And the last one is administrative transformation. Take from AT&T's private sector approach and apply it to academia to build digital infrastructure that can streamline operations, ensure cost effective and efficient services and keep everyone secure both on and off the campus. All the basics, bandwidth accessibility, integration, efficiency, resiliency, and of course, security, and even the potential of AI rely on foundational technologies of connectivity. A good example is the work we did with Texas A&M University and their RELLIS campus. They opened up one of the nation's largest 5G testing areas. As 5G wireless technologies now compare with legacy wired networks in practical terms and with fiber pushing wired networks faster than ever, opportunity's about. Researchers are using this test bed to explore improvements in emergency health, business collaboration, and even agriculture. We applaud the Texas A&M University system for supporting their faculty and partners with innovative research opportunities. And we look forward to working with other institutions around the country to solve problems and advance opportunity through connectivity. As our world rapidly digitizes higher education from research institutions to community colleges must think ahead about connectivity. They need to prioritize establishing a reliable, secure, and future-ready digital infrastructure. AT&T is so proud of our deep expertise in research. We have more than 11,000 active patents and 14 Nobel Prize winners. Connectivity is the foundation upon which all other innovations are built. We are excited to continue our work with higher education institutions to dream bigger and to innovate together.