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5 can't-miss events at Houston Tech Rodeo 2022

Houston Tech Rodeo returns with in-person events — here are the must-attend panels, networking opportunities, and more. Photo by Nijalon Dunn

Saddle up, Space City. Houston Exponential's Houston Tech Rodeo is back for its third year — and the innovation-focused programing returns with in-person events scattered in downtown and beyond.

The week-long event is organized by themes and hubs. For example, WeWork Downtown will host conversations on consumer packaged goods and food tech on Monday, while health tech programing will take place Thursday at Texas A&M's EnMed building. The full schedule is available online and registration is completely free, but if you'd like to attend some can't miss panels and events, look no further than this guide below.

Feb. 28 — Lasso The Moon

What do civil, commercial, and military players need from Houston’s innovation and academic communities to solve our most far-reaching challenges? Join the Space Force Association and TexSpace for a multi-disciplinary presentation and roundtable discussion with networking and tabletop exhibits that aim high. The event features SpaceForce, Limitless Space Institute, Axiom Space, Intuitive Machines, and more.

The event takes place on Monday, Feb. 28, from 1 to 5 pm at The Ion Houston (4201 Main St.)

March 1 — Investing in ClimateTech

This discussion will bring together local VCs to discuss sourcing, diligencing, and investing in climatetech solutions, as well as how Houston is perfectly positioned to benefit from this momentum.

Speakers:

  • Ernst Sack, Blue Bear Capital
  • Eric Rubenstein, Managing Partner, New Climate Ventures
  • Amy Henry, CEO/Co-Founder, Eunike Ventures
  • Moderated by Juliana Garaizar, VIP of Innovation and Head of Houston Incubator, Greentown Labs

The event takes place on Tuesday, March 1, from 1:30 to 2:30 pm at Greentown Houston (4200 San Jacinto St.)

March 2 — The Founder Institute Texas Showcase

It's Tech Rodeo time which means we've rounded up several strong local founders to pitch as well as recognized experts to judge and AMA panel. This year we'll be available in-person at Houston's Downtown Launchpad as well as live-streaming & replaying the pitches and an impactful AMA. Join for best-in-class startup networking afterwards.

The event takes place on Wednesday, March 2, from 12:30 to 3 pm at Downtown Launchpad (10th floor, 1801 Main St.)

March 3 — Four Fierce Females - Innovator, Igniter, Inventor, Investor

Talk about girl power. Four female panelists engage in a health tech conversation from their four points of view as an innovator, igniter, inventor, and investor. Houston Methodist is hosting the entire morning's conversations from 8:30 am to noon.

  • Michelle Stansbury – Houston Methodist
  • Ayse McCracken – Ignite Healthcare Network
  • Emma Fauss - Medical Informatics
  • Samantha Lewis - Mercury Fund

The event takes place on Thursday, March 3, from 9:30 to 10:15 am at Texas A&M EnMed building (1020 Holcombe Blvd.)

March 4 — Tech Rodeo Career Fair

HTX Talent and the University of Houston Downtown Career Centers (Main Career Center and the Marilyn Davies Career Center) has introduced the first Tech Rodeo Career Fair. Top tech companies will connect with talented job seekers from all over the Houston community and surrounding areas. Learn what type of positions employers are looking for, meet recruiters and companies that fit your job profile, and grow your network.

Register to attend here: https://bit.ly/3GtcKaR

Employer registration here: https://bit.ly/3Amo7zB

The event takes place on Friday, March 4, from 1 to 4 pm at The University of Houston - Downtown.

Bonus: Where to network at HTR

A huge portion of HTR is getting the community out and about to meet, network, and share ideas and energy. There are plenty of opportunities to do so, including the following events:

  • Swag pickup (Sunday, Feb. 27, from 1 to 4 pm.) at McIntyre's Downtown (901 Commerce St.)
  • Cup of Joey (Daily, from 7 to 8:45 am) at Finn Hall (712 Main St.). Note: Coffee networking takes place at Texas A&M's EnMed building on Thursday, March 3.
  • Happy Hour and Mini-Showcase at Greentown Labs (Tuesday, March 1, from 5 to 7 pm) at Greentown Labs (4200 San Jacinto St.)
  • Techqueria at the Tech Rodeo (Wednesday, March 4, from 3:30 to 8:30 pm) at West Houston Cannon Location (1334 Brittmoore Rd.)
  • What's Your Anthem? A Happy Hour hosted by Accenture & Hines (Wednesday, March 4, from 5 to 7 pm) at The Square by Hines (717 Texas St, Floor 12)
  • Inclusive Innovation Community Happy Hour (Thursday, March 3, from 5 to 7 pm) at Weights + Measures (2808 Caroline St.)
  • Tech Rodeo Block Party (Friday, March 4, from 7 to 9 pm) at Main Street 300 block (between Congress and Preston)

All of these events have more details on the HTR website, which can be accessed here once you are registered.


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Who let the robotic dogs out? AT&T — and a Houston expert explains why in a guest column. Photo via Getty Images

What has 4 legs, can recognize your face, and precisely obey commands on cue? If you guessed a dog, you’re half right.

I’m referring to robotic dogs, a modern marvel of innovative engineering. AT&T recently expanded our solution offers to include network-connected robotic dogs for public safety, defense, federal and state agencies, local police and fire departments, and commercial customers. We do this in collaboration with a leading provider of robotic dogs, Ghost Robotics.

Robotic dogs are just one way we are proving the innovation and transformational possibilities of 5G and IoT. Network-connected robotic dogs can deliver a broad range of IoT use cases, including many that have previously required putting personnel in dangerous situations. Here’s a quick look at some of the fantastic capabilities network-connected robotic dogs deliver.

  • Our robotic dogs can support public safety agencies and organizations on FirstNet – the nation’s only network built with and for America’s first responders. FirstNet delivers always-on prioritized network connectivity for these “first responder” robotic dogs, helping them stay connected during disaster response and recovery, facilities surveillance, and security operations. They can support search and rescue, venture into areas that could imperil human lives, and support the ability to reestablish local communications services following major infrastructure damage.
  • We can integrate Geocast into the robotic dogs to provide Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) operational command and control so that operators of the dogs can be located virtually anywhere in the world and remotely operate them. Geocast is an AT&T innovation covered by 37 patents.
  • The robotic dogs can be equipped with sensors that allow them to operate autonomously without human intervention. They can be outfitted with drones that can launch and return to their backs while in motion, allowing the drones and dogs to perform missions as an integrated team.
  • Rugged terrain? Water? Not a problem. These robotic dogs can move across natural terrain, including sand, rocks, hills, rubble, and human-built environments, like stairs. They can operate fully submerged in water and, like living dogs, can swim.
  • An early use case adopted by the military involves equipping our robotic dogs with wireless network-connected cameras and deploying them to patrol military bases. Robotic dogs we provided to the Air Force at Tyndall Air Force Base in the Florida panhandle are doing just that. Our robotic dogs patrol the flight line and base perimeter at Tyndall, feeding video data in real-time to base personnel who can safely track activity 24/7/365 and support the safety of base operations. They can perform the same task for commercial users, indoors or outdoors. For example, they can patrol the perimeters of large warehouses or outdoor fence lines.
  • They can also support hazmat efforts, inspect mines and high-voltage equipment, and detect explosive devices including improvised explosive devices (IEDs): all while keeping people out of harm’s way.
  • Another interesting use case involves equipping robotic dogs with Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs). LRADs are sound cannons that produce noise at high decibels and varying frequencies. We have discussed with the Navy the possibility of outfitting our robotic dogs with sound cannons to warn off wild boars and feral dog packs that have impeded operating crews working on telecommunications infrastructure located in remote areas of one of its bases.

Commercial applications for network-connected robotic dogs are proliferating. Utility companies, for example, are using robotic dogs equipped with video cameras to perform routine equipment inspections in substations. Human inspection requires operators to shut down the facilities during inspections; the robotic dogs eliminate the need to take this precaution. Allied Market Research projects a $13.4 billion global market for the particular use case of robotic dogs performing such inspections.

Our robotic dogs can also be equipped with technology that extends network connectivity into difficult-to-reach areas or mechanical arms that can grip and carry materials such as tools. Their use cases include Pick and Pack capabilities for warehouse operations to improve order fulfillment efficiency.

And this is just the beginning. We’ve said from the outset that the 5G journey of innovation and solution development would evolve to deliver new ways to conquer many challenges.

Now, we’ve let the dogs out.

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Lance Spencer is the Houston-based client executive vice president of defense at AT&T Public Sector.

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