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The Innovation Journey of Wi-Fi – The Road to Global Success

Dr. Ir. Wolter Lemstra – TUDelft /Aalborg University - IBEI - UPF
Thursday, February 11, 2016 - 19:00
moved to FIB B6 building Sala d’Actes.


Wi-Fi has become the preferred means for connecting to the internet - at home, in the office, universities, hotels and at airports. Increasingly, Wi-Fi also provides internet access for remote communities where it is deployed by volunteers in community-based networks, by operators in 'hotspots' and by municipalities in 'hotzones'. This presentation traces the global success of Wi-Fi to the landmark change in radio spectrum policy by the US FCC in 1985, the initiative by NCR Corporation to start development of Wireless-LANs and the drive for an open standard IEEE 802.11, released in 1997. It also singles out and explains the significance of the initiative by Steve Jobs at Apple to include Wireless-LAN in the iBook, which moved the product from the early adopters to the mass market. The presentation draws on the co-edited and co-authored book published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. It provides first-hand accounts by industry practitioners and concludes with reflections and implications for government policy and firm strategy.
  • First-hand industry perspectives link the practice of innovation to the theory of innovation
  • Shows how successful firm strategy relies on linking innovation to product introduction
  • Provides important advice for practitioners and policymakers about designing and applying successful standardisation strategies

About Wolter Lemstra

Dr. Ir. Wolter Lemstra is the 2016 Research Fellow at Catédra Telefónica, IBEI. He is also a Senior Research Fellow of the Section Economics of Infrastructures at the Department Technology, Policy & Management of the Delft University of Technology (TUDelft), The Netherlands, and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Aalborg University – Copenhagen Center for Communication, Media and Information Technologies, Denmark. He thereby links his academic interests to 25 years of experience in the telecom sector. Most recently he was Vice-President at Lucent Technologies, responsible for marketing and business development in the EMEA region. In 1978 Wolter received his ‘Ingenieurs’-degree Cum Laude at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the TUDelft, with telecommunications as specialization. In 2006 he successfully defended his PhD dissertation exploring and explaining the impact of the Telecom/Internet bubble on the development path of the telecommunication sector. His current research is focussed on telecommunication sector governance, industry structure developments, firm strategic behaviour and innovation trajectories.