Lake Nona is setting the stage as one of the first fully connected communities, where innovative technology is piloted among residents, otherwise known as citizen scientists.
The living lab is powered by Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network, enabling real-time data for the city’s healthcare, autonomous mobility, wellness, retail, and education facilities. Together, Verizon and Lake Nona are making it possible for innovators to pilot new technology with more resources and less barriers, closing the gap between ideation and real-life application.
Take a closer look at life inside of a connected community as we hear from Verizon and Lake Nona about what the future holds for this innovation hub.
A Testbed for Innovation –– Together, Verizon and Lake Nona are making it possible for innovators to pilot new technology with more resources, and less barriers. Using Lake Nona as the testbed for full coverage 5G technology, Verizon is unlocking real-time data at the intersection of technology and everyday life inside the community, including retail, education, wellness, energy usage, and much more. Lake Nona presents a unique opportunity for innovators to see how their technology performs in real-time, and fine tune it before deploying to the world at large.
Unlocking Endless Potential –– With 5G processing data in real time, new possibilities for immersive digital environments have been unlocked, bringing traditional 2D screen experiences to the 3-dimensional world. With 5G embedded in the living lab’s infrastructure, the process of testing, assessing, and scaling new technology is accelerated considerably. This includes innovative technology for manufacturing, healthcare, media, remote work, athletic performance, and education, changing the way we engage with these pillars of society.
Accelerating with Community –– The diversity of culture in Lake Nona is part of what makes it an attractive place to test new technology. Entrepreneurs, enterprises, and startups have the chance to pilot innovation alongside an incredibly diverse community, including individuals of all backgrounds, families, and students ranging from grade school to PhD programs. Health, education, and technology are the centerfold of the project, and the residents, also known as citizen scientists, are eager to take part in accelerated technological advancement as a community. Lake Nona will serve as the blueprint for implementing smart cities to the world at large as our society becomes even more connected. Anyone can get involved, whether it be a start-up, an established venture, students, or individuals inspired by the living lab.
Sheena Fowler 00:01
Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us on your Wednesday afternoon. We've got a conversation today: "Lake Nona: Life Inside the Living Lab". I'm Sheena Fowler. I'm the Vice President of Innovation at the Orlando Economic Partnearship and executive to the Orlando Tech Council. Now, today is a special day. It's officially the first conversation in the Verizon/Lake Nona event series. Over the coming months, we're going to explore all facets of that partnership, and what makes this community so unique. Lake Nona is setting the stage as one of the first fully connected communities where technology based solutions are piloted among thousands of residents. Now this living lab is powered by Verizon's 5G ultra wideband network, enabling real time data across the city center's healthcare, mobility, wellness, education, and retail infrastructure. Together, Verizon and Lake Nona are making it possible for enterprises to introduce innovation with more resources and less barriers, closing the gap between ideation and real time application. Wow. Okay. Without further ado, let me introduce my incredible panelists who are here with us today to speak on the innovation that's taking place. Let's start with you, Debika. Debika is the Senior Vice President Verizon Business Group. Welcome Debika. Can you introduce yourself?
Debika Bhattacharya 01:26
Great, thank you Sheena, very happy to be here. And hello, everybody. My name is Debika Bhattacharya, as Sheena mentioned, I'm a Senior Vice President at Verizon Business, and my team delivers solutions globally to enterprise and government clients. For those of you who may not be aware, in addition to the United States, Verizon provides solutions to over 150 countries. So, exciting times and very happy to be here.
Sheena Fowler 01:58
Thank you so much for joining us. And the other great partner we have with us today: Rasesh Thakkar, Senior Managing Director of Tavistock Group, the owner of the Lake Nona project. Rasesh, welcome. Introduce yourself, please.
Rasesh Thakkar 02:11
Sure, as you mentioned, Senior Managing Director of the Tavistock Group. Tavistock Group itself has a number of different businesses: we're active in Eastern and Western Europe and North and South America. Our Lake Nona project is really our crown jewel, and something that I think will be a legacy project and something that all the way from our chairman on down, everybody is so focused on it and just bounds out of bed to be involved in it. So it's a really exciting time. And I wanted to say welcome today because well, I can't tell you how much fun it has been working with Verizon on the newest of the projects that we have.
Sheena Fowler 02:58
Fantastic. Well, I know this is magic in the making. Thank you so much for joining us. Now, before we kick things off, I'm gonna talk to you audience! We've got some question and answer features that are available to you. Go ahead and drop your questions in that chat feature, and we'll get to as many as we can towards the end of the broadcast. All right, ready? We're gonna start with an introduction to dive deep into what's truly special about Lake Nona. We're going to touch on the city's prefitted infrastructure, and talk about some goals. Now. Rasesh, let's start with you. How's everything going? What's new? What's new to Lake Nona?
Rasesh Thakkar 03:39
So, what's new, you know, when we first master planned this community, it's 17 square miles. And we set out a plan with a mission statement. You always worry about whether the mission statement will stand the test of time. I think it has; I think we're ahead of plan here. Even with all the craziness that we have out there in the world, with the pandemic and et cetera. Last count, we had 38 construction projects going on within Lake Nona across our holding. It's hundreds of millions of dollars at play. We didn't let COVID slow us down at all in terms of the construction. In fact, we just leaned in harder. And we know that there's going to be just an exciting world on the other side of this pandemic, and we wanted to be ready for it. So some of the new things. In fact, just it opened about 10 days ago, is the brand new HCA UCF partnership: the adult teaching hospital and it's called the Lake Nona Medical Center. In fact, the first babies were delivered in that hospital, in that Medical Center, just two Monday's ago and so now I think we're going put up billboards in Lake Nona that say from crayons to cryobiology. Just an exciting, exciting set up and it now completes the real triple play. I thought we were done with hospitals with that triple play. We have the Nemours Children's Hospital, we have the Veteran's Medical Center, which the Veteran's Administration says it's one of the most state of the art leading edge VA medical centers in the country. And now with the opening of the UCF adult hospital, I thought we were done. But we actually announced a fourth hospital just a few days ago. And it is the Brooks Rehab Hospital. They will be treating patients with some of the most complicated cases that you can think of from a rehab situation. So I think the ecosystem is going to get larger and larger. On top of that, under construction currently, and opening in just a few weeks is the Lake Nona Performance Club. It is a state of the art, medically integrated sports fitness and performance center. I think you're going to find that it will be a model for the country. You know, so many people think that they medically integrate. If you go to our LakeNonaPerformanceClub.com website, you'll get a picture of what it really means to medically integrate. And we have just some amazing personalities involved. Incredible experts on that front, including, as just an example Deepak Chopra, who is setting up the Chopra Mind Body Zone; it's going to be the most state-of-the-art in meditation, yoga, Pilates, Barre, Ayurvedic treatments, all those kinds of things. In addition to that, we also have the Wave Hotel. So the tallest building that you now see in Lake Nona is our 17 story Wave Hotel. It opens right after this summer, third quarter of this year. We're excited about that. It's going to bring a real entertainment and food element to Lake Nona that's just going to be an another additional dimension. We also will have a continued emphasis on arts and culture. Basically every few days, we're putting out a new art piece, someplace across the 17 square mile holding that Lake Nona is. And I think we don't have time to mention all 38 projects, but the last one I'll mention is the Verta Port. And the partnership that we announced with Lilium, the German company, which really means that in addition to the autonomous shuttles or the driverless cars, we now will have flying cars coming to Lake Nona.
Sheena Fowler 07:54
It never ends. Then as somebody who has been part of bringing projects to the Orlando region for over a decade, I always love when I get to show up at the Lake Nona area, because I know the second you step foot into this area, they're it. They know it, they see it, the environment, the people are authentic in the quality of life that they find here; the ability to get around easily and experience nature and well being. It's just really fantastic. And the innovation and technology. Thank you so much. Awesome. Okay, so Debika same question to you. What recent wins or exciting updates from your end of Verizon?
Debika Bhattacharya 08:34
Yeah, so first of all, personally, I have never visited Lake Nona, and I can't wait to go. Rasesh after listening to all the great things that have been happening there lately, I can't wait to get on a plane. And hopefully we can do that soon. It's been a really exciting time at Verizon. So if I just take a step back, if we think of Verizon, one of the largest companies in the US: we have an annual revenue of 130 billion, the largest mobile carrier in the US and as I mentioned previously, one of the largest global providers of communication services, security services, workplace collaboration across the globe. It's a lot of exciting things happening. We also own media properties like Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, etc. So there's a wide variety and a wide portfolio of services that we offer. And when it comes to 5G, this is a really exciting time for us because Sheena you mentioned mentioned 5G, ultra wideband, our flagship product. A lot of people think 5G is just faster 4G. It is, but there's so much more. It's so much richer and it's really a revolution, not even just an evolution of services because it's going to enable so many things, much of which we haven't imagined yet. So that's the exciting time. And Verizon, you know, we love being first. We have the first 5G home, first 5G mobility across the globe, you know, we have 5G in 67 markets, and just having 5G ultra wideband in Lake Nona is just, it's just amazing. Last week was a really big week for us. And I've been in Verizon a long time, but to see the wideband option results. And what that really means to all of you is we will be able to deploy 5G ultra wideband, and provide coverage much faster than we could before, because now we have access to beach front spectrum. It's technical terminology, but the reality is, we'll be able to bring the richness of 5G ultra wideband to many communities much more quickly now that we have this spectrum available to us. What's exciting about Lake Nona, and the more I learned about it is that, as you said, and Rasesh as you mentioned, this is the pilot, this is the first connected community in the US. And this is where we would see citizens actually engaging with technology. Like being a tech company, we all love technology, but that's not the end. It's how citizens adopt technology, how they consume technology, how they give us feedback on what's working, what's not. And that's what is exciting about this whole project from our perspective is it's a living lab: we get to see technology at work. And it's almost like a precursor to what's going to happen in the rest of the country. So I'm excited that from Verizon's perspective, we can bring the scale, the size, the power, the influence of Verizon along with our deep commitment to corporate social responsibility to Lake Nona, and the Florida area.
Sheena Fowler 12:13
Thank you so much. Well I love that you mentioned the capabilities of 5G and it's things we haven't even imagined yet. That's the perfect partnership for the Orlando region. It's like we like to say here, you don't know the half of it. So Rasesh, give us a little bit more color. Tell us a little bit more about what we don't know about the Verizon and Lake Nona partnership.
Rasesh Thakkar 12:36
Sure, happy to, and you know, when you talk about a partnership with other companies, you just don't know where that journey will take you. And I'll tell you, as I've gotten to know, so many of the people at Verizon, as an example, Debika, the talent that exists in that company. Debika by the way, Verizon is a what a Fortune... what company?
Debika Bhattacharya 13:06
Rasesh Thakkar 13:08
Fortune 15. Yeah. So I mean, look, one of the biggest companies in the world. The talent that resides within Fortune is incredible. And Debika, as an example, you have people that report to you in, you were just telling me how many countries again?
Debika Bhattacharya 13:32
In my organization itself, over 20 countries. What with our services available in over 150 countries.
Rasesh Thakkar 13:44
Right. So my point Sheena that I'm making here is that Verizon brings just such a wealth of knowledge, from an international perspective. It's what's happening in best in class models all over the world. So when we researched who we wanted to embark on this 5k journey with, when you learn everything that there is about Verizon, we just loved what Verizon stands for, and what they dream about. Who else has the finger on the pulse of the future more than Verizon? For us, it was impossible to find. So we're just so thrilled at the partnership, and Verizon is now the newest entrant in what we call is our Living Lab Environment. And the Living Lab Environment is just as it sounds. We have a whole ecosystem of participants. And what makes it work so well is that you have such a participative community, and people from all backgrounds and all education levels. All age levels, with the thousands of residents that we have here. Our living lab started several years ago in a partnership with Johnson and Johnson with what's called a Lake Nona Life Project. And it really was a health behaviors study. We had over 70% of the adult population in Lake Nona participate in the first phase of that study, which the scientists and researchers were just blown away with. If you now fast forward to today, our newest partnership with Verizon on the 5G Living Lab, you know, what we always wonder about, is how will 5G impact our lives, right? We never knew what 4G would do. And with 4G, you've got Uber as an example, Waze, a lot of things Amazon does wouldn't be possible without 4G. So we don't even know what we don't know right now. But with Verizon in this 5G Living Lab environment, I mentioned earlier, the whole healthcare continuum and ecosystem we have here: how is 5G going to impact healthcare? Well, with Verizon and all our healthcare partners, we can really find out, perfect the systems and then you know, take it from there to other places. It's how will 5G impact even the sports palette, human performance, all of those kinds of things, mobility, autonomous shuttles, you know, flying cars, the EV tolls? All manner and aspects of life that take place here is that we can really learn so many things from this living lab environment.
Sheena Fowler 16:48
Excellent. So Debika, you mentioned earlier the power of Verizon. Can you dig in a little bit on how Verizon is going to be able to help accelerate some of these issues we've talked about?
Debika Bhattacharya 17:02
Yeah. In a number of different areas. And one thing I wanted to mention especially before I jumped into the specifics of Lake Nona, you know, just around the digital divide, that we talked about Verizon's very committed to rural broadband as well. And we're investing a billion dollars just to ensure that there's connectivity across the country. But coming back Sheena, to your question, we're doing a number of things, because as I mentioned earlier, we view Lake Nona as the testbed. It's almost like a peek into the future to understand how technology is going to be adopted and used. So we've invested in the 5G ultra wideband hub, which is a 15,000 square foot of collaboration space where we are inviting partners to ideate. Because as you said, there's a lot that we don't know, and just in working with clients across the globe, what's exciting to me personally, is not the ideas that Verizon brings to the table, but ideas that Verizon brings to the table along with ideas that our partners and our clients bring in. That's when magic happens, because there's a lot. We can connect the dots and there are solutions that we may never have imagined that are now possible. To this the hub that I mentioned, we're also rolling out commercial 5G with a number of small cells. So you have 5G connectivity across the area. We are partnering with Beep on the autonomous vehicles that are going to be present in Lake Nona. We have partnered on the Lake Nona Institute. And then we're also participating in Lake Nona impact forum. Actually, our CEO Hans Vestberg is going to be part of that. So we're all in. It's an exciting time, it's an exciting place for Verizon, to showcase the tremendous technology that we have, and that we're investing in. And then learning from the citizens, learning from all the participants, learning from our partners, on what we can do and how we can do more, and provide the technologies that people are going to be invested in.
Sheena Fowler 19:34
Fantastic. Rasesh, she just mentioned a lot. How does this relate back to the mission? I know you touched on that earlier. This is really accelerating everything that was planned out from the very beginning.
Rasesh Thakkar 19:50
We obsessed over our mission statement, which really was based on three principles, and it was to create the ideal place that inspires human potential, all through innovative collaboration. So, you know, it's all about place, which is 1000s of details that will incorporate the ethos and what you stand for. It's about inspiring human potential. I mean, this is what we live for every day, is making a difference in people's lives. And we've always thought that collaboration was the turbo boost to making it happen in our lifetimes. If you look at some of the great clusters in this country, whether it's, you know, the biotech corridor in San Diego, or Medical City in Houston, or Wall Street, or Silicon Valley, you know, they took two or three generations. We don't have that kind of time. It's collaboration that's going to get us there faster, you know, than ever, basically, in the history of this country. So that's what we aim for. Our mission statement is really our North Star, and we run every thing that we do through that filter. Is it the ideal place? Is it inspiring human beings? And, you know, is it innovative through innovative collaboration. So it's all about creating this lifestyle that enhances and enables people to thrive and believe that the future is here.
Sheena Fowler 21:19
Absolutely. So on that topic of "the future is here", let's transition a little bit to the art of the possible. In this section, we're going to investigate how Lake Nona evolved into a living lab, what value it provides to its citizens, enterprise and global communities as a whole. So we know that global platforms like Lake Nona are designed to support and develop strong and healthy inspired communities. I want to hear from both of you today on how you think the Lake Nona community is really doing that. Rasesh, let's start with you. What are some of the gaps? What are we solving for?
Rasesh Thakkar 22:01
The current gaps, I think, are those things that aren't necessarily obvious: things that don't seem real. I'd cited the flying cars, that's a perfect example. That's where we're looking, is those things that aren't obvious. The biggest growth potential, the next sector for us, is not thinking of Lake Nona as a flat piece of ground or a horizontal place, but including the airspace above. And when you think of it that way, you are really forming an aerotropolis. So that's what we view ourselves as. And we really are embarking on an initiative with the airport, which is right contiguous to Lake Nona. And with the airport's land and our land, you have 35 square miles between two owners that can really dream about: what is that ideal aerotropolis? And what does it mean? So we really look forward to exploring that more. We are already talking to multiple companies who would like to be in that playground. And so keep watching the wires, there's more to come on that front.
Sheena Fowler 23:22
Well, and as an Orlando resident, I think we take for granted sometimes that we watch the shuttles launch. Now all of the different elements that are being launched from the coast into space, you see them from right here in the Orlando region. And it's incredible, to keep us grounded, that this is a place where a lot of different launches are possible. Not only into space. Now Debika, let's turn to you: what did you see in having a presence in Lake Nona? And why did Verizon really accelerate this partnership?
Debika Bhattacharya 23:55
Yeah, for a number of reasons. Lake Nona is where 5G comes alive. And a large part of our credo is focused on: how do we transform lives? So we think 5G is going to transform how we live, work, learn and play. We talked about a socio economic divide; there's a huge focus within Verizon on ensuring that we have much greater digital equity across the country and across internationally, but in Lake Nona specifically, Rasesh talked about healthcare. It's fascinating to think about the areas that maybe we hadn't envisioned today. How would health care... and then when I talk about health care, it's not just clinical but the 360 view of health care that includes wellness, all of that, remote patient monitoring, being able to do robotic assisted surgery, being able to do surgical pre-planning, all of this facilitated by 5G ultra wideband because when you think about that... let me take a step back. When we think about 5G, what is so magical about it? It's a number of areas. You think about tremendous amounts of bandwidth, throughput, devices, data that can now be transported, and then processed in real time? Now you're opening up applications, you're opening up opportunities that didn't exist before. So when you think about advanced visualization, in healthcare, we're now able to project onto a patient the images that you couldn't before. We think about immersive learning, whether it's in healthcare, you know, or any other venue, right? Instead of reading from a book, or, you know, being in a 2d environment, you can use 5G to create a 3d immersive experience that totally changes the way people learn, and people practice. In Lake Nona with the venues, the entertainment areas... a totally different experience. If you think about going to any kind of sporting event or an entertainment event. Right now we are sort of restricted to the view we get from the seat that you're at, you know, whether it's a nosebleed or down courtside. But a completely different experience that 5G is going to be able to bring in: in musical events, you can now go backstage without actually being able to go backstage. So, really limited by our imagination is the way I look at it. It's going to open up so many different areas. And once again, it's the combination of the tremendous amount of bandwidth, which is secure. So along with the ability to be able to process data, in real time, that is going to be the game changer. And I can't wait to see it in action at Lake Nona.
Sheena Fowler 27:22
I love that you mentioned it's going to transform the way we learn, because that's not just for the youth, right? That's for all of us that continue to absorb new information, new ways of interacting with the world. And I think this is a perfect opportunity to see that come to life. So speaking of seeing this come to life, Rasesh, let's turn back to you. What do we need to see unlock with this, to build more living labs, to build more opportunities, like what we have here in Lake Nona?
Rasesh Thakkar 27:57
First, I think it's all about community. And I think it's looking at the fundamentals of a community that allow living labs that are successful, to exist, and hopefully, they can become blueprints for other cities, or other areas or regions. I mean, the whole premise of having a lab is to get solutions. Beyond that, is not to keep those solutions to yourself. What we really dream about in terms of making a difference in people's lives, is not just making a difference in the people at Lake Nona's lives. But how can we take those learnings and teachings and solutions and scale them? How do we take that to the rest of Orlando, the rest of Central Florida, the rest of the state of Florida, the rest of the nation and even internationally? So this is why a giant company like Verizon is involved in this living lab is, for them, scalability is everything. And so it just brings such incredible energy, depth and resource to this. You know, when you listen to Debika talk, and you know, when you meet also a lot of her colleagues at Verizon, I mean, I call them the brainiacs. It is just such a stimulating environment. But the whole purpose of it is that it's scalable, and we can help as many people as possible.
Sheena Fowler 29:29
Oh, that's fantastic. So I love that you started to go into the blueprint for other cities. I think that's something to explore a little bit more. Let's talk about empowering future ecosystems, and what the future of these connected ecosystems can bring not only to the Lake Nona community, but to the rest of the world. So when we started to talk about 5G unlocking some of these connected living lab opportunities, help us understand a little bit more. We touched on healthcare, we touched on education. What are some of the things you're most excited about? In that we're going to start to experiment here in the Lincoln Bay Area? And let's start with you, Debika.
Debika Bhattacharya 30:17
Yeah, so a number of different areas. We talked about health care and entertainment, almost every vertical that we that we work with is very interested in 5G. Whether it's what we call Industrial 4.0, which is smart manufacturing, I can see the whole manufacturing environment changing completely. We talked about health care, the media industry, and we talked about immersive experiences: one of our clients, you know, they're working with us on how do we consume the news differently? Once again, you know, not reading the news, not seeing it on your iPad, not not watching it on TV, but actually, like stepping into, you know, an event. That is, you know, that's just completely fascinating, right. Other verticals: so some of it is, you know, will help the operations of, whether it's utilities, because said, manufacturing, you know, that might be behind the scenes, from a consumer point of view, but it's going to transform the operational side of the business. And then on the front end dealing with consumers: from how we interact with each other, how we connect with each other, as consumers, how we, use our phones: we already use it for so much today. But if you think about the ability to be able to have immersive experiences using your phones and other 5G enabled devices, it's going to shorten the distance between humans. Right, and especially now, but you know, as we've experienced with COVID, is that the isolation and the loneliness has been difficult for many communities, right? How do we bring communities together? How do we bring families together? And it's not just in the nation, it's internationally, my family itself is very dispersed across the globe, right? How do we bring different aspects of our life together and be able to communicate, interact, collaborate, ideate together in ways that we had never imagined before. So it's just a very exciting time for us. And I think Rasesh, as you mentioned, there's a lot that we haven't developed yet. And that's where the partnership of the ecosystem comes in. There's a partnership of all the great ideas that surround us and which serves as a springboard and a platform for great ideas that come from all around us.
Sheena Fowler 33:03
Well, and as we communicate more closely and easily around the world, I know our international airport here, right next to the Lake Nona community will help get folks here quickly and easily. So Rasesh, what's next, as people start to experience and build out that ecosystem in the Lake Nona community powered by this 5G? What are we going to see next?
Rasesh Thakkar 33:30
So, you know, I just wanted to before I get to the answer to that question. You mentioned this space program: we are 32 minutes door to door from Lake Nona to the launch. And so you know what that can even bring in terms of what you learn and what society dreams about. And where it goes to next I think is pretty amazing. You know, Debika and I were chatting; one of the things that I think we're going to try at our next impact forum (and the impact forum brings together some of the country's, if not the world's best thinkers on whatever the topic that's chosen is) we have focused on health innovation quite a bit. I think technology is playing a bigger and bigger role, not just in health innovation, but in our daily lives. And so one of the things we're going to test out at the next impact forum is this hologram setting. So there will be a panel that will be on the stage, but you'll have to guess which one of them is actually a hologram because they're sitting near across the country. And he or she is speaking to you and it's as good as basically being there. You know, so these are the kinds of things that 5G allows and these types of technologies allow. So you asked me what's next really at Lake Nona. For us, you know, if we continue with the theme of creating the future, I always sort of think about: wouldn't we love to have the expressway sign, you know those green signs, and it says the future, and the arrow, and lead you to the exit at Lake Nona? So what does that mean? What is that future? It's really about several different initiatives that we have. One of them is creating one of America's healthiest communities. The reason why I say one of America's healthiest communities is what we hope to do is whatever we learn, is to take it to a number of other communities and, and have that mission of health and well-being spread throughout. Another aspect that we're focused on is: we really would love to have the richest programming calendar of any community in the country. We already have hundreds of events, that needs...
Sheena Fowler 35:56
I was going to say, you're well on your way.
Rasesh Thakkar 36:00
Thank you, thank you, that needs to get to 1000s of events. And it really means signature events, like our impact forum, the Tour to Cure event, the Run Nona. And we're working on two or three other signature events, but it's 1000s of events. Another particular aspect of what could be next, and what is next, (and it's actually real) and is flourishing at the moment... but we need to have it be on steroids: is this incubator and accelerator ecosystem. So today, we now have three different incubators and accelerators within Lake Nona... actually four! So you've got the life sciences incubator that UCF actually powers and runs. Amazing companies coming through there that are start-ups. You've got the GuideWell Innovation Center, and what GuideWell in Florida Blue are doing, you know, Sheena, we've had several meetings in that facility with you. When you want to let people know what exists within the ecosystem of Orlando, what they're doing is pretty stunning. Then you've got the newest aspects, which is the Verizon tech incubator accelerator, and then the lead accelerator setup, which really stands for the legend of Adi Dassler, the Adi Dassler family who founded Adidas are involved. In fact, you're sitting in that accelerator today as we speak, which the audience can see. So what we really dream about there is to have a community where people... it's in their DNA to have whatever ideas they may have come to life in a commercial way, in a company setting. There's a whole system of mentors, access to capital, and all of those kinds of things. And you know, we've already had six companies move into the accelerator set up right behind you there. And it's only going to get bigger and better. But those are some of the initiatives that we really are truly maniacal about, it's what makes us.
Sheena Fowler 38:09
Absolutely, and we launched the Orlando Tech Council earlier last year in an effort to really align a lot of these different initiatives that are taking place across the Orlando region. Thank you for your partnership in that because it's exactly what we need, the more that we can align all of these great efforts, the faster that we're going to accelerate our region as a future producing entity based on innovation. So before we jump into Q&A from the audience, and I've already seen we've got some great questions, Debika any final thoughts, things that you're excited about next?
Debika Bhattacharya 38:44
Yeah, I was gonna add when Rasesh talked about the holographic human and, you know, try to guess which one is which: one of the interesting things we're working on with many of our clients is redesign of office space. If you think about it with people working from home and working remote: you don't need to come into the office, just to sit at your desk and work on your computer. You can do that anywhere. Right? So you come into an office to collaborate, you come into an office for a different experience, not just to do work by yourself. So how do you make that happen? And that is with 5G radio, you can now create a completely different work experience which is far richer, and your meeting spaces will be different. How you brainstorm together with people across the globe would be different, right? That is what the future holds for us. Even going into the office is going to be different than it was before and how we interact with each other is also going to change lots of exciting stuff ahead of us. I can't wait to see it in action.
Sheena Fowler 40:08
Well, I can't wait. And for those of you that can't see the full space, this is ready for the future of workforce. And we're ready to see what Verizon brings to the table so we can collaborate in new ways. Okay, so thank you all for joining us in the conversation, you've put some great questions into the chat box. So let's see. Rasesh let's start with you. I've got a question for you here. How do you maintain the charm of Lake Nona and the Orlando region as a whole when trying to become a tech hub?
Rasesh Thakkar 40:43
I think it's a great question. I think the charm of Lake Nona doesn't go if you are a tech hub. That's what I think the question is getting towards. In fact, in my opinion, it only gets enhanced. Because everything that you can bring into a community that is based on let's say, the culture, or the heart and soul of that community, can only get better when you have the types of technology applications that are involved. We don't have time right now. But every one of those stories that are happening right behind you, and that's been in that accelerator hub... each one of those company founders, I actually think that they truly add to the charm of Lake Nona. It makes it feel like it's a pioneering place. And when you have people who are the doers in this world, and you know, as residents often like to be called citize42:0n scientists, these are very demanding people too, in a good way. And you have to deliver. They want their life to be more meaningful. They want to have access to things that may not exist in other places. There are reasons why they're in Lake Nona. So I actually think the charm will only continue to be magnified.
Sheena Fowler 42:07
Absolutely. And I think one of the things that attracted me to the Orlando region and continues to keep me here, is that interesting intersection of people that come here and are so willing to lend their culture and creativity to make this region a better place. Okay, I've got another question for you Rasesh. How do young couples or young families fit into the Lake Nona story?
Rasesh Thakkar 42:38
So I think people are often surprised by the fact that the average age in the polls that we've taken of hundreds of families is 37 years old in Lake Nona.
Sheena Fowler 42:53
That matches the Orlando region. It's one of the youngest in the state.
Rasesh Thakkar 42:58
Well, there you go. So it really is about young families. What appeals to families but at the same time, even if the question was young couples. I think that with the whole network and ecosystems that we have in place, we call ourselves education obsessed. Every single one of the schools in Lake Nona are A rated, we have pre COVID. This was 16,000 students who go to school on our holding all the way from pre K to getting your MD PhD. Think of what that does to an environment and who you run into, you know at the store, or even filling up gas or having lunch in Chroma or Park Pizza or Canvas or Bosphorus or any one of those places. So I think that we really, and by the way, if you come on a weekend night, Friday, Saturday, even Thursdays etc. You come to Boxi Park, I mean people love it. It's 1000s of people that are milling about and this whole experiential entertainment theme that has started in Lake Nona, is only going to get better and better as time wears on.
Sheena Fowler 44:18
Well and I can speak from experience as a young family with two little kids myself. Boxi Park is a gem, thank you for creating it. It is exactly where I want to take my kids. Dave entertaining them, and for us as parents, and I even brought my dog too. So I love that it's pet friendly because we're inclusive for everybody here.
Rasesh Thakkar 44:41
And you know, and Sheena you think about this, you just mentioned it. We have people come to Boxi Park from all over the Central Florida region, all over Orlando. Now imagine if you just live in Lake Nona, hop on the autonomous shuttle. You can get on your mobile phone and find out where 10 different things or umpteen different things are happening, and head to whatever it is that turns you on. Those are the kinds of things in the type of community that we have.
Sheena Fowler 45:12
Awesome. So I know we started to touch on this, but Rasesh, can you envision and share a little bit of color behind how you can envision more Lake Nona's across the United States or even the globe? This is a blueprint, right?
Rasesh Thakkar 45:29
Yeah. You know, I think that the way there can be more places like Lake Nona is when those places or cities will enhance certain fundamentals or magnify them. I'll name three of the fundamentals that we pay a tremendous amount of attention to. Education I just mentioned, we say we're education obsessed, right? Our ecosystem there, we now have three universities, a college with Valencia Community College, which has over 6000 students at their Lake Nona campus. I think you have to provide environments where people can learn and are learning all the time. And it has to be easy for them. I think another aspect of fundamental that you really have to cater to, if you're a city that really aspires to be a smart city, is technology. And I mean, they can give us many examples of how to get there. We actually had it in our minds from the very beginning and years ago, we laid down all the fiber and conduit underground. We've laid over 20,000 miles of it across Lake Nona. But we want it to be from the day that it was running: one gig bandwidth. But the pipe that we've run is big enough where we can be multiples of that. So we're going to grow with the future. But technology is really important. And then I'll mention the third fundamental is health and wellbeing. None of this matters, none of the physical things, the ideal place that you have around you matters if you don't have great health or good health and well being. And so we are thinking all the time about how to enhance that. And I think any other place that aspires to be a smart city has to pay attention to those things. And all of it done, as I said, in a collaborative environment, which is the turbo boost to getting speedier results.
Sheena Fowler 47:45
Absolutely. I've got another great question Debika. Are you there? Can we hear you? Oh, there you go.
Debika Bhattacharya 47:54
Yeah. Yes. I was gonna say I was gonna jump in, like, just to add to what Rasesh said about the last question. So in terms of the different technologies and where they're available, Lake Nona is a connected community. But today, Verizon already provides 5G ultra wideband in 67 markets. We've lit up stadiums, you know, airports. So many of those experiences can be enjoyed by consumers today, right? For example, you go to the Superbowl, NFL games, a lot of the sports arenas: we're trying to look at facial recognition for entry. So you don't have long lines. Wayfinding: to find the way to the shortest hotdog stand, being able to do touchless payments, all of that is trying to be available, not just in Lake Nona, but across the nation. So I think what's really fascinating is we're going to start seeing a greater adoption. It's going to be a lot of fun as people try them out and give us feedback. And then Rasesh, you talk about technology. I think technology is successful when it's easy to use. And in many cases, consumers don't even feel like they're using technology. It just becomes part of the way we live and work. So that's the goal: that we'd like to ensure that technology happens, but it's happening without you being consciously aware of it or doing something. It just becomes part of our lifestyle.
Sheena Fowler 49:51
Debika we have over half a million students and 100 mile radius from the Orlando region and some incredible executives that have found their way here. And that collision creates a lot of start-ups; start-ups with legs. Help us understand how Verizon can prepare start-ups to really accelerate the work that they're doing.
Debika Bhattacharya 50:13
Yes. So this is where our innovation hubs, what we have in Lake Nona, as well as a number of them across the country is: we are really focused on powering start-ups. Because that's where a lot of great ideas come from: re-create the environment and the incubation of space for them to be able to work with new technologies. We connect them to others. We have the Alley program where we connect similar or related start-ups to each other. We help them test the technologies on our network. We bring together consumers, clients, different groups that you need to create critical mass. So a number of different areas to help make ideas real. Our focus is to have 5G not just be a network technology, but really a platform for innovation. It is a platform that we would like everybody to innovate on. And we are working really hard to bring together developers, the different communities, developer communities, media communities: bring them all together, because that's when magic happens. When you have different parts of the economy come together to work on what's going to be the next big thing.
Sheena Fowler 51:49
Absolutely. And as we wrap up here, Rasesh, what do you want start-ups to know about what they gain by being part of the Lake Nona community?
Rasesh Thakkar 51:59
It's the support that they're going to get. It's the collaboration that they're going to get. It's not that someone is going to lease you space, and then forget about you. It's, as an example, when we were first thinking about how do we make collaboration, just being existent in our very DNA? Everyone says that they like to collaborate. How many people really do it? I mean, it's like saying you don't love your mother if you say you don't like to collaborate, right? But who actually does it? Well, the way we really achieve it, is through these leadership councils. And as an example, once a quarter, we get all the anchors, CEO, the CEOs of all our anchors together in a meeting, no agenda item, other than how can we help each other? Well, there's those kinds of councils at every single juncture that we can really help provide some energy to focus for. So from a start-up perspective, if you want a truly pioneering environment, the reason it's called an accelerator, is because it should accelerate your success. And that's what you will get. You will get people like Debika's brain and all of her colleagues at Verizon involved. We have a number of other giant companies involved with us. And companies big and small. So you won't be alone, if you come to Lake Nona as a start-up company. And you're going to have a lot of people who will relish your success.
Sheena Fowler 53:39
Absolutely. So final question that I see here. What are some ways to get involved with Verizon's 5G and Lake Nona if you're not in the Orlando area? Rasesh, Debika?
Debika Bhattacharya 53:58
From Verizon's standpoint, (I can't speak for Lake Nona specifically) I'll come to that. Let me start with just Verizon overall. We're rolling out 5G, we have innovation hubs, multiple of them throughout the country. So reach out to Verizon, whether through our website or if you're an enterprise or business customer, reach out to your sales rep we'll find ways for you to be able to leverage 5G and all it can do. Lake Nona, Rasesh, I'll turn it over to you. But then we are closely involved with Rasesh and Tavistock in the innovation work that we're doing there as partners, creating an environment that will bring in the brightest minds to co-create together. But from Verizon's point of view, Lake Nona is really special to us, but then we also have opportunity throughout the country, to be able to partner and co-create with.
Sheena Fowler 54:49
Rasesh Thakkar 54:58
Then what I would add to that is there are several different ways to participate. As an example, I mentioned our whole educational ecosystem. All 16,000 of those students who go to school that are holding, they don't all live in Lake Nona, yet they're participating in the ecosystem. The start-up companies are coming from different parts of the region. We really wanted to find the absolute best. We had a record number of companies apply to join the program, and we selected the six best. Being from Lake Nona had nothing to do with it. Now, once they're here, what they decide to participate in is up to them. But I would encourage anybody who wants go to the LakeNona.com website, hit the Contact Us button, and we will respond if you would like to be involved. I think there's a way that we can make it happen.
Sheena Fowler 56:09
Fantastic. Thank you so much. Debika, Rasesh, this has been fascinating. Really enlightening to understand how we're working at lightning speed in the Lake Nona region in Orlando, powered by Verizon. I'm really proud to see that this conversation has taken place and this acceleration is really going to move quickly in our community. I want to thank our audience for joining us. Thank you. In this virtual environment, a conversation has been recorded. And it's going to be available for you next week, if you want to share it with other people. Share it around the communities. We're going to be back here again in April, where we'll be jumping into a conversation around public safety. So stay tuned for further details about that. And if you'd like more information about the living lab, please visit 5GinnovationLakeNona.com. Thank you so much, and have a wonderful rest of your day. Thanks, friends for joining us.