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An Insider's Look at Triumph of a Wireless Technology Startup

Qualcomm founder and CEO emeritus to deliver Patterson Transportation Lecture April 24

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Irwin M. Jacobs, founding chairman and CEO emeritus of Qualcomm, will discuss the impact of wireless technology and the curbside charging of electric vehicles at the 32nd Annual William A. Patterson Transportation Lecture Wednesday, April 24, at Northwestern University.

In his talk, “The Impact of Wireless on Logistics and the World from OmniTRACS to Ubiquitous Smart Devices,” Jacobs will provide an inside look at his adventures at Qualcomm, one of the telecommunications industry’s greatest startup triumphs. Founded in 1985, today Qualcomm is a global leader dedicated to wireless technology and services.

The lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Owen L. Coon Forum, Donald P. Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. Sponsored by the University’s Transportation Center, the event is free and open to the public.

Jacobs, who was trained as an electrical engineer, also will address the growing scope of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. He will describe an experiment currently under way in London on wireless curbside charging of electric vehicles.

Jacobs will take questions from the audience at the conclusion of his talk.

As CEO through 2005 and chairman through 2009, Jacobs led the growth of Qualcomm from startup to Fortune 500 Company. As CEO, Jacobs oversaw Qualcomm’s revolutionary innovations in Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), a technology fundamental to today’s 3G mobile wireless standards.

Beginning with OmniTRACS in 1988, a satellite-based data communications system for the transportation industry that enabled truck fleet operators to track and monitor their vehicles, Qualcomm in 1990 quickly moved to pioneer CDMA, a key standard of hardware and coding schemes that opened up the modern era of wireless connectivity and cellphone communications.

Qualcomm now manages no less than 14 distinct streams of continually evolving technologies that touch consumer products, mobile Internet experiences, mobile commerce revenue channels, business and government communications and tracking systems, wireless health networks and devices, and a host of other hardware and software products and services.

The Patterson Transportation Lecture is an annual event supported by the Patterson Transportation Endowment, established at Northwestern in 1979 and honoring the late William A. Patterson, founder and chief executive officer of United Airlines. 

The Transportation Center is an interdisciplinary education and research institution at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, dedicated to the long-term improvement of global transportation and supply chain systems.

For further information, call (847) 491-2280 or visit the Transportation Center’s website.

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