Celebrating the invention of WaveLAN, the precursor to Wi-Fi
By Kristin Gecan
In 1987, ID assistant professor Tom MacTavish flew with his family to the Netherlands to begin a role as director of engineering at NCR’s Systems Engineering facility in Utrecht. Three years later, his team produced NCR Wavelan, a wireless local area network that was recognized on October 29, 2019 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as the precursor to Wi-Fi.
The event was held in Nieuwegein, the Netherlands and brought together key members of the original team that created the 802.11 standard and subsequent Wi-Fi products.
This was a formative experience that taught me the power of innovation, strategy, and persistence. I learned that it was imperative to conduct thorough design research, use design processes like rapid prototyping, and adapt to changing user needs and market conditions.”
Tom has used these principles throughout his career in industry research labs at NCR and Motorola. Today, they continue to inform his approach to teaching interaction design at ID.
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