Epperson to address communication technology in Adair Lectureship

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Speaking on current communication technology and its anticipated development, Jim Epperson, AT&T senior vice president of strategic communication, will deliver the Larry Adair Lectureship at Northeastern State University on Monday, April 4.

Epperson, a Tahlequah native, served as president of AT&T Oklahoma before being named to AT&T global corporate positions. The public lecture is in the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center Auditorium at 11 a.m. Following the lecture, students, faculty and staff may join Epperson for lunch and a Q&A in the University Center Sen. Herb Rozell Ballroom. Drawings will be held to give away iPads following the lecture and luncheon.

During his lecture, Epperson will speak about the future of communication technology and its recent advancements. He said future innovations will be increasingly mobile, instantaneous, and even personal, with the most significant changes in communication occurring in speech recognition and health care.

"Brilliant scientists in our labs are working on real-time language translation capability and more realistic sounding text-to-speech, which could mean a much more immersive online experience for the visually impaired," Epperson said. "We’re also working on making voice-responsive TV remote control. Instead of scrolling through some on-screen guide or typing words into a search box, you can just say 'American Idol' and the TV will find it."

Epperson said the capacity of using the real-time capability of a wireless network to enhance health care outcomes is "almost boundless."

He cites collaborations between AT&T and health care entrepreneurs to utilize wireless Internet to improve care, including the development of the "Vitality GlowCap."

"It's an innovative pill bottle that reminds you to take your medication on time," he said. "It will call your phone to let you know it’s time to take your medication. It will let your doctor or pharmacist know if you’ve taken your medication and it will even order a refill from the pharmacy when it’s time."

To bring contemporary technology to the most people, Epperson said it is necessary for a corporation to be aggressive and take calculated risks.

"Technology continues to move fast and with that speed comes the risk that some areas, and thus some people, could get left behind," he said. "My dad installed the first telephone service in many rural Oklahoma homes and it changed lives. They could connect to their neighbors, to the doctor, to distant relatives, for the first time. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do to connect Oklahomans, but there is more to do."

AT&T is seeking approval to acquire T-Mobile USA and expand Internet reach.

"If approved, the deal will give us the capability to bring next-generation wireless Internet access to an additional 46 million more Americans nationwide, reaching 95 percent of the U.S. population," Epperson said. "Faster, more reliable mobile broadband all across rural Oklahoma can be a dynamic driver of economic development, education, health care and overall well-being."

Epperson said communication technology has always sought to facilitate the personal handling of tasks and remove procedural steps, noting that people once needed operators to make calls, tellers to deposit checks and ticket agents to book travel.

"Technology has empowered us to make our own calls or digitally photograph a check and deposit it from home. It lets us do all of that ourselves from wherever we may be."

The Larry Adair Lectureship Series is a program provided through the generosity of former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Larry Adair. He is an NSU graduate and prior to representing Adair County at the state capitol in Oklahoma City, he was an educator and administrator in the Stilwell school system. For more information contact, NSU Community Relations at (918) 444-2009.  

Published: 4/5/2011 9:43:57 AM

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