Linda Doyle: Why the World Has Not Changed More!

As we head into the last few months before the Bay Area Hackfest in November, this blog will feature a series of abstracts of the talk that our speakers, each of them a thoughtful and engaging expert in their field, will be sharing in November.

a photograph of Linda Doyle
Linda Doyle
Director of CONNECT, Professor of Engineering and the Arts, Trinity College Dublin

Software radio, when it first took off, promised much. While the vision of a world of dynamic spectrum access that often accompanied those promises has not been realized, we are in a world where spectrum sharing is more accepted. And it is true to say that software radio underpins many technologies and has helped greatly in the research context in allowing us to see inside the black box. So you could say that in certain ways software radio has delivered in spades.

But I want more. I want the powers that be, in the communications world, most especially in the cellular world, to be significantly challenged. While access to spectrum has been an issue in this context, the move towards dense small cells, the concept of small cell as a service, the idea of neutral hosts, the softwareization of the network, more opportunities for spectrum sharing, and new ISM bands should make it especially possible for a radical new way forward.

The challenge may be tougher on the UAV side with ‘airspace’ being treated as an even more restricted resource than ‘spectrum’. The enclosure of ‘invisible’ resources seems to be as ‘visible’ as ever. The challenge for us is to think how we can create interventions that open up the space and foster change.

The Makers of the world can and should disrupt more.