Competitive, collaborative, educational, tough, and thrilling, FIRST is a robotics program that draws hundreds of thousands of students from around the world to battle their bots.
What started with a single event in 1992 has grown so much that, this year, there are two championships: the first wrapped up a few days ago in Houston, Texas and the second begins tomorrow in St. Louis, Missouri and runs through the weekend. In total, nearly 1,400 teams from more than 39 countries will compete.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization that was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to foster interest in science and technology among young people. The nonprofit organization’s goal is to motivate the student community to pursue careers in STEM while providing them with valuable life lessons.
The cities in which many of us live, work, and socialize are changing. There are now 28 megacities with populations of 10 million or more, and an additional 13 cities are expected to evolve into megacity status by 2030.
As anyone that lives or works in a major city can attest, rapid population growth can place extraordinary pressure on transportation networks. Roads are more congested, buses and trains become more crowded, and journeys take longer. If cities are to keep growing, city leaders must ensure that their citizens are able to travel freely and easily.
They must also consider the impact transportation has on the environment and citizens’ health. According to the International Energy Agency, transport emissions have grown more than 50% since 1990. It’s no surprise, then, that city leaders have a growing sense of responsibility around the long-term effects of air pollution. And our national leaders have committed to reducing CO2 emissions through The Paris Agreement signed in 2015.
The ultimate goal is to create a city where millions of people can travel quickly, efficiently, and without doing harm to the environment or themselves — essentially, a zero-emissions transportation solution.
Electric vehicles, autonomous cars, zero emissions public transport, ride sharing, financial penalties, zero-emissions zones, and more are all being considered or actively promoted as part of the solution. However, whether there’s an ideal approach — and what that might be — remains unclear.
To better understand where we stand globally on the road to sustainable urban mobility, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. sponsored an Urban Mobility Index created by Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr). The Index tracks the progress of 35 major cities from around the world in their efforts to reduce emissions. Which city will be the first to eliminate all emissions from public and private transportation? Keep reading.
Here’s what we learned:
According to the Index, where 100% means a city is operating a completely zero emissions transportation network, the top and bottom five cities are:
Through my 20+ years at Qualcomm, I’ve participated in many of our celebratory events for International Women’s Day (IWD). In past years, I’ve always taken away a refreshed inspiration for my own development, and a reinforced commitment to continue empowering my female colleagues as well as enabling an inclusive work environment where everybody thrives and Qualcomm is the ultimate benefactor. However, this year was particularly special for me. As our new Chief Diversity Officer, I was no longer a participant, but instead I had the opportunity to influence and set the tone for our IWD events here at Qualcomm.
Inspired by this year’s theme Be Bold for Change, my team, our two employee networks focused on supporting and developing our female employees (Qualcomm Women in Science and Engineering-QWISE and Qualcomm Females Influencing Information Technology-QFINITY), and other employees around the world, worked together to organize a series of activities and events that left everybody energized and empowered to take the next steps toward creating a more inclusive and diverse company. Everybody was encouraged to wear something purple on the day to show support.
Today I am thrilled to announce the launch of the 2016 Qualcomm Sustainability Report, which details key accomplishments from the past year of our sustainability journey.
In particular, I am excited about our new 2020 sustainability goals – a set of milestones to keep Qualcomm on track to realize our 2030 sustainability vision. Specifically, by 2020, we aspire to accomplish the following objectives.
One of my favorite things about working at Qualcomm is that we aren’t just a company of inventors – we are also global citizens collaborating to make our world a better place. People across our company work tirelessly to inspire the next generation of innovators, demonstrate the impact mobile can have in communities around the world and make technologies like 5G a reality.
Innovating responsibly isn’t new to us. Year after year, we put our sustainability commitment into action. In 2016, some of our key accomplishments included the following:
Through our products and programs, across our value chain and in our communities, the opportunities to empower people, enhance quality of life and protect the planet for future generations are endless. I encourage you to download our report to learn more about our 2020 sustainability goals and our progress thus far in making our 2030 sustainability vision a reality.
“Allow some level of randomness or variability in your career.” — Ignacio Contreras
I remember, at 7 or 8 years old, I used to create circuits with this toy DC motor that you could buy at electronic stores. My grandfather, who I lived with, used to give me some money for arcades or comic books, but instead, sometimes I would go to the electronics shop to buy lights, copper cables, batteries, and motors to build a small circuit.
I was always trying to disassemble my toys and see what was inside, and my parents didn’t appreciate the fact that I wanted to tear apart the family TV. When I first got a computer, I probably spent more time coding and building my own programs than playing games.
From early on, I knew that I liked technology. When it came time to choose what I wanted to study in college, I made a list of all the different career paths I could take from different universities in Chile, my home country. I chose engineering right off the bat, and after a few years, I became an electrical engineer.
Now, I’m director of marketing at Qualcomm Technologies. I’m working on public and analyst relations, but of course, the tech background is there and has helped me in my career.
I work with the Qualcomm IoT and Automotive teams. I like both of them equally (picking a favorite would be like choosing between my kids). Whenever we have announcements or we need to communicate externally, I support the product teams in those areas.
The hardest part of my job, but perhaps the most rewarding, is finding the most effective ways to place the messages and stories you want to tell in the public domain — and, ultimately, in our audiences’ minds. I see my job like the movie “Inception,” where folks go deep into people’s minds while they’re dreaming to place an idea that will change their perception. Through our communication efforts, I have to go into the minds of people in the industry, understand their needs, and then position the ideas and concepts that will help drive attention to our products.
One very good piece of advice I received a few years ago is: Allow some level of randomness or variability in your career. That can lead to some positive outcomes, even though it wasn’t part of your original plan or natural career path.
In my case, four or five years ago, I was working on business development within Qualcomm Technologies. I received a call from a colleague, now my boss, asking if I was interested in exploring an opportunity in marketing, which was something I wasn’t doing at that time. I took a chance and jumped into the marketing world here — without knowing exactly how I’d benefit from such a move. It’s been very rewarding. It’s good to have a career plan, but along the journey, allow yourself to have some moments of randomness and to make a decision that’s unexpected, even if you don’t have an idea of the outcome.
As a kid, if you’re interested in technology or STEM overall, get into it and go deep. Spend as much time on it as you possibly can. As you grow and enter college or the workforce, you’ll probably have less disposable time to learn, do new things, explore, and pursue new passions. Get involved as much as possible, very early on. There’s probably no better time to do so.
Ignacio Contreras is director of marketing at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., where he leads the team responsible for media and analyst communications in support of automotive and Internet of Things (IoT) businesses. Prior to his current role, Contreras managed media communications strategy in support of R&D and corporate technology marketing units. He also led the team responsible for content in C-level executive communications. Contreras holds two patents relating to small cells and electric vehicle charging systems. He earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a Master of Engineering Sciences at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He also earned an MBA, with an emphasis in Technology Strategy and Marketing, from UC Berkeley.