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Bruce Wessels, professor and chair of electrical engineering and computer science, with Ken Zdunek and Aggelos Katsaggelos

Seamless transition

Motorola center at Northwestern gets new name, focus

In a dedication ceremony in November, the Motorola Center for Communications at Northwestern University was renamed the Motorola Center for Seamless Communications. The change reflects the center’s focus on technical innovations involving seamless communications and Motorola’s “Seamless Mobility” initiatives, which aim to enable multiple devices to serve up multiple media across multiple access networks and technologies from multiple vendors. In addition, Motorola announced a $600,000 grant to the center.

The Motorola center was established in 1998 as a collaborative effort between researchers in the McCormick School and Motorola to address a wide variety of issues in the telecommunications industry. The Motorola Center for Seamless Communications funds research in technologies needed to accomplish seamless connectivity and access to content and services across multiple access networks and end-user devices.

“We’d like to thank Motorola for its continued support and partnership in establishing the new Motorola Center for Seamless Communications,” said center codirector Aggelos Katsaggelos, who is also professor of electrical engineering and computer science at McCormick. “The faculty and students at Northwestern are excited for the opportunity to collaborate with industry leaders at Motorola in researching technological solutions that will ultimately advance the state of seamless communications.”

Each year Motorola provides funding to the center and works with Northwestern faculty to select up to 10 innovative research projects that address key issues in wireless and wireline communications and applications. Under the leadership of professors from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, faculty members and graduate students work together on these projects to develop new inventions that are relevant to solving outstanding technical and customer problems.

Once projects are completed, Northwestern professors work together with Motorola to transfer project results and inventions into intellectual property for Motorola. In recent years these efforts have resulted in the development of innovative technology solutions, such as wireless ad-hoc routing protocols and image coding technology. The collaboration also has resulted in internships and permanent jobs for Northwestern students at both Motorola and Motorola Labs.

“As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, there is an ever-growing need to create solutions that will enable Seamless Mobility for users,” said Ken Zdunek, vice president, networks research, Motorola Labs, and codirector of the Motorola Center for Seamless Communications. “This year’s funding and renaming of the center recognizes the mutually beneficial and ongoing partnership between Motorola and Northwestern and celebrates the combined efforts to pioneer the future direction of mobile technology.”

—Megan Fellman