Indian American HDTV tech pioneer Arun Netravali wins Marconi Prize

Netravali is an IIT Bombay alumnus.

Dr. Arun Netravali

The Marconi Society on Thursday announced Indian American Dr Arun N Netravali as the winner of this year’s Marconi Prize.

Netravali is a HDTV tech pioneer and the former President of Bell Labs.

The Marconi Prize is awarded to recognize scientists who pursue advances in communication and information technology for the social, economic, and cultural development of all humanity.

“Few things have had a greater impact on communications in recent years than the digital video revolution led by Arun,” Dr Vint Cerf, chairman of the Marconi Society and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, said in a press release.

“Everywhere you look, video is transforming the way we communicate on mobile devices and how we consume entertainment and news. Movies, YouTube, like streaming – it is literally transforming how people interact. The next generation of video based on this technology, including virtual reality, promises to revolutionize video consumption, delivery and business models once again,” he added.

Netravali, who is from Mumbai, is an IIT Bombay alumnus. He arrived in the US in 1967 to attend Rice University as a graduate student. He conducted seminal research in digital compression, signal processing and other fields.

Netravali was the ninth President of Bell Laboratories (now Nokia Bell Labs) and has served as Lucent’s Chief Technology Officer and Chief Network Architect. He led Bell Labs research and development of high definition television (HDTV).

After retiring from Bell Labs, Netravali became a founder and managing partner of OmniCapital, a private equity firm based in Massachusetts and New Jersey.  He is a frequent keynote speaker at major industry forums and also won many awards including the Padma Bhushan from the President of India, Emmy for the HDTV Grand Alliance and the National Medal of Technology from President Bush.

“Arun possesses extraordinary leadership and brilliant conceptual and research capabilities,” Cerf said. “We’re honored to be presenting him with this well-deserved recognition.

The Marconi Society was established by Gioia Marconi Braga, daughter of Nobel Laureate Guglielmo Marconi who invented radio, in 1974. It strongly promotes awareness of key technology and policy issues in telecommunications and the internet, and recognizes significant individual achievements through the Marconi Prize and Young Scholar Awards. Past winners of the $100000 Marconi Prize have included a host of Internet pioneers including Dr. Robert Kahn, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Dr. Robert Metcalfe as well as many other tech giants.

The awards ceremony will take place in Summit, New Jersey on October 3, preceded by a symposium at Nokia Bell Labs in Murray Hill- on digital video and societal impact. The Marconi Society’s 2017 Paul Baran Young Scholar Awards and Life Time Achievement Award will also be presented that evening.

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