The University of Southampton

IET President to give Engineering@Southampton Distinguished Lecture

Published: 2 April 2015

Professor William Webb, President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and alumnus of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), will be giving an Engineering@Southampton distinguished lecture at the University of Southampton on Wednesday 6 May.

His lecture is entitled: ‘The Internet of Things: why is the promise taking so long to fulfil?’. Professor Webb will consider the fact that the Internet of Things promises much: to make our world work better, improve healthcare, reduce congestion and much more. But despite that fact that 50 billion devices are predicted within a decade, little has happened. William will discuss why this is the case, and explore the lack of wireless connectivity standards in some areas and the plethora in others. He will look at how standards are formed and become widely accepted; the key drivers and motivators of the major players in the industry; and, finally, he will predict how we might resolve the connectivity issue and reach the promised 50 billion.

William, who is the youngest President of the IET for over 100 years, has held a number of senior positions in the IT and telecommunications sectors. He began his engineering career at Southampton in 1986 and after completing his undergraduate degree in Electronic Engineering, he embarked on a PhD with Professor Ray Steele and also worked for his consultancy company part-time. He has held a number of senior positions in the IT and telecommunications sectors. He is currently CEO of the Weightless SIG, the standards body developing a new global M2M technology. He is also a Director at Webb Search, an independent wireless communications consultancy.

He was one of the founding directors of Neul, a company developing machine-to-machine technologies and networks, which was formed at the start of 2011. Prior to this he was a Director at Ofcom where he managed a team providing technical advice and performing research across all areas of Ofcom’s regulatory remit. He also led some of the major reviews conducted by Ofcom including the Spectrum Framework Review, the development of Spectrum Usage Rights and most recently cognitive or white space (refers to frequencies allocated to a broadcasting service but not used locally) policy. He worked for a range of communications consultancies in the UK in the fields of hardware design, computer simulation, propagation modelling, spectrum management and strategy development, as well as spending three years providing strategic management across Motorola’s entire communications portfolio, based in Chicago.

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