On Sept. 30, Virginia Tech welcomed Alexandria community members back to the Port City Brewing Company for the first in-person edition of Tech on Tap in more than a year. The event featured Luiz DaSilva, executive director of the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative, as he addressed “Shaping the NextG Evolution.”

DaSilva opened the discussion by noting that the need for new talent in the cybersecurity area is greater than ever.  

“In Virginia there are about 50,000 open positions in cybersecurity, and part of our mission is to provide the skills necessary to fill those positions,” he said. “The more networked that we are the more security becomes an issue.”

In this talk, DaSilva addressed how cybersecurity is an essential element of today’s intelligent network and how Virginia — already a leader in wireless communication and cybersecurity research — stands to help shape the NextG evolution. He highlighted how the NextG test bed located at Virginia Tech in Arlington allows university researchers to experiment and test new technologies before they mature.

DaSilva is internationally recognized for leadership and innovation in wireless communications and networks research. He is also the Bradley Professor of Cybersecurity in Virginia Tech’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He answered questions from the audience of students, Alexandria community members, and representatives from Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia initiatives, including about what we should expect from wireless communications over the next 10-15 years and beyond.

“We need to start thinking about what is going to replace the smartphone,” DaSilva said. “Your grandkids probably aren’t going to carry a rectangle in their pockets, but will interact with the world and communication networks differently.” 

Tech on Tap is a regular community speaker series that informs, educates, and raises questions about the impact of new technologies on society, equity, and policy. Topics in the series include the types of current issues and problems Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus, opening in 2024 in Potomac Yard, will explore.

The next Tech on Tap event will take place on Oct. 20. This event will be a special partnership with George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, and will focus on a history of agricultural innovation along the Potomac, from George Washington to the Innovation Campus, and Virginia Tech’s SmartFarm Innovation Network. Register today.

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