Bristol professor in Top 10 Innovators list
Press release issued: 18 November 2004
Bristol University's Professor Joe McGeehan, the man credited with pioneering many of the major developments in mobile communications, has been placed sixth in a list of global technology trend-setters.
The Professor of Communications Engineering and Director of the Centre for Communications Research in the University's Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering came sixth in the list which featured Microsoft boss Bill Gates at number two.
The list of top 10 technologists was compiled for the leading online IT magazine silicon.com - known as the voice of California's Silicon Valley.
In the same poll, Professor McGeehan also came 25th in the top 50 hi-tech agenda setters from the worlds of technology, business, entrepreneurship and politics.
An academic who is often thought of as the brains behind the revolution in wireless communication, Professor McGeehan said he was genuinely shocked to have achieved such an honour.
He said: "I was sitting at my desk when I received an email from a colleague saying 'I didn't know you kept such distinguished company' and I thought 'What's he on about?'
"I rang him back and he told me I was in this poll for silicon.com with Bill Gates and all these leading lights in the world of technology and innovation.
"I was surprised because I just do my job. Obviously, I have been involved in several key projects over the years but I didn't think they were that important."
Professor McGeehan was approached in 1980 as a young academic in the field of wireless communication to design a new portable mobile radio for the parcel delivery firm Securicor.
His design was subsequently manufactured for Securicor by the Finnish firm Mobira-Oy (now Nokia). This radio became the basis of the Company's first civil mobile phone.
Professor McGeehan said: "The then Head of Securicor wanted a state-of-the-art radio system for his delivery fleet drivers because they had many problems maintaining reliable communications with the technology they were using at the time. Furthermore, the radio produced had to be very competitive with other products available in the market-place."
Up to that point in time, Mobira-Oy manufactured communications equipment for Russia but this was the first time that they had produced a mobile radio product for the wider civil market.
Since then Professor McGeehan has pioneered many of the technologies adopted by industry for the next generation of mobile phones as well as other areas of wireless communication.
He straddles the public and private sectors with his work as Managing Director for Toshiba Research Europe Ltd.: Telecommunications Laboratory in Bristol as well as being Director of the Centre for Communications Research at the University. His most recent honour was for services to the communications industry in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List.