All a CIO and CTO needs to know about 5G, from Latency to Network Slicing

Samuel Navarro
Director, Customer Strategic Solutions Division, ITC at the GSA
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In today’s episode we’ll cover:

  • What’s important to understand about 5G from Latency to Network Slicing
  • Why it matters for the U.S. to be a leader when it comes to 5G wireless technology
  • What CIOs and CTOs need to know now about 5G today
  • We talk about the Top 5 Enterprise Use Cases for 5G
  • Samuel's thoughts on the future of telemedicine in the context of 5G
  • Samuel talks about Las Vegas as a smart city, and the private 5G network the city is building out right now. Sam breaks down what “slice the network” and the possibilities are for 5G when it comes to the future of smart cities.


Samuel Navarro (00:00):

It's a great question, Joe. And I think CIO today not only stands for chief information officer, you're the chief innovation officer also. And I think as CIO's, they have to understand what are the use cases they're trying to enable and we'll get into Vegas in set case scenario in one end where their CIO out there might share what is a true visionary.

Joe Toste (00:24):

Welcome to TechTables, conversations with top technology leaders, taking a closer look at the world of IT and digital through the lens of agility and innovation. I'm your host, Joe Toste. I'm super excited today as we shift our focus to all things GSA, that's the General Services Administration of the United States and public sector with Samuel Navarro. Samuel is a director leading new 5G and telecom innovation in the public sector. Huge thank you to Samuel for taking time to come on the show. We're going to cover what's important to understand about 5G from latency to network slicing, why it matters for the US to be a leader when it comes to 5G wireless technology, what CIOs and CTOs need to understand about 5G today. We'll talk about the top five enterprise use cases for 5G, Samuel's thoughts on the future of telemedicine in the context of 5G and Samuel talks about Las Vegas as a smart city and the private 5G network the city's building out right now. He breaks down what slice the network and the possibilities are for 5G when it comes to the future of smart cities.

But that's quite enough for me. Without further ado, I'm thrilled to welcome Samuel Navarro, director of customer solutions divisions and IT at the GSA. Sam, thank you for coming on Tech Tables. I'm super excited that you are here this morning.

Samuel Navarro (01:33):

Hey, thanks for having me and thanks to your listeners for taking the time out to hear what we have to talk about today.

Joe Toste (01:39):

I know, I'm really excited about this episode. So let's kick off a little bit about you, your history with telecom and the US army, then the GSA, along with the exciting work in 5G. Let's kick it off there.

Samuel Navarro (01:51):

Sure. To be honest, I was one of the guys that was a non-techie to begin my career in technical, but the US military gave me an opportunity. I started off as an information technology specialist for the army enlisted, where we went to multiple areas where wireless was necessary to connect, right? If you're in the middle of the desert, best way to do it is satellite or line of sight. That kind of began my journey and my experience with wireless communications. And as my career progressed and evolved, I found myself here at GSA and working more on the business side of technology. I was the mobile program manager for a couple of years, and we're able to grow the business and something hit the market at a nowhere, right? This mysterious technology people now call 5G. It had a lot of promise and there were a lot of aspirations of this technology, government and private sector of things that it was going to do to revolutionize our world.

From there, now I've taken on a larger role to not only think about the wireless mobile aspect of technology here at GSA and supporting the government, but how does it incorporate into total customer strategic solution? Now, I'm the director of customer strategic solutions division here at GSA, the information technology category, and I'm super excited about the future. Just through this pandemic, we've seen a lot of great use cases of how it's helped the government do its work and also how we've been able to serve our citizens.

Joe Toste (03:26):

Yeah. We're going to dive in to those use cases in a little bit. I think the piece that I really liked about your history was, you're out in the field with the Army. You can't exactly take an ethernet cord and plug it in and so there's a real problem, right? You understand there's a real problem. And now you're applying it at the GSA, both from a technology and business standpoint, which I think is exactly where you need to be because there is a real problem and what we call 5G offers a real solution. For the uninitiated, can you describe what's important to understand about 5G from latency to network slicing and the market and the potential that 5G brings to the world today?

Samuel Navarro (04:12):

And what's important about it, right? Everybody wants to know the width and what's in it for me? and so there's definitely many different angles or multidimensions of this thing as you alluded to, Joe when it comes to beigy from an economic perspective, a social perspective and a technological perspective, which we'll dive in. And I tell you, at GSA we're looking at all corners, all facets, because the customers have... For example, the social security administration, those folks are our customers as well. The customers of our agencies are our customers. And looking at this thing from various angles, we want to make sure that we have the right solutions, the right products available so that we could deliver for the taxpayer. From an economic perspective, look, USA. We led 4G and we saw the impact. We saw the jobs. We saw the innovation, we saw all of the progress it's brought, right? Just in the last year to this year, our 4G networks are already super saturated.

If not for anything else, we're going to need the more, the broader bandwidth just to meet the demand. Everybody's going mobile. I know folks who don't even use landlines anymore. It's like Verizon folks are trying to still provide those offerings, but the world is moving in a different direction and that ties into the social aspect. We got another generation of folks who probably never seen a cord line phone. I've even seen some means with millennials with rotary phones, they don't know how to use them. That's because there's been a shift in the way we communicate. A lot of folks do everything through their smartphones and that's tied to the wireless network. And then last but not least, the technological edge. America's been known and what it means for us and the importance for us from a technological perspective as an innovation, right? Continuing to innovate, and also in getting access to the network, access to information out even to rural areas, right?

We're reaching a pace of technological innovation and digitization that communities that don't have access to the network are really going to be left behind. It's not having utilities, right? We think of it today as unthinkable to have a city or location or some farm town place in the middle of nowhere that doesn't have electricity or water. It's government's prerogative to make sure we have equal opportunity for all Americans. And so, we're looking at this from standards to security to what are the right policies? What are the use cases we want to enable as well? And then last but not least, the acquisition. How to best procure it? And in government's case, procure it to scale. We buy a lot of whatever we buy. So we want to make sure we buy it the right way.

Joe Toste (07:02):

Yeah. You said something earlier that was really great with the landlines. Cox Communication, they're the dominant wireless provider. I'm right now actually setting up a recording studio in my house and they're trying to give me a landline, but they'll give me a discount on my wireless. They want to give me this box. And I was trying to tell the guy, "I don't need a landline. I have a iPhone, it has 5G on it." And he's like, "It's going to save you every month. You're going to get 20 bucks off." I'm like, "Okay, just give me the phone. But I'm telling you, I'm not using this." It goes in the top closet and gets hidden away.

Samuel Navarro (07:47):

It's a dinosaur. You see it in these packages, "Hey, we'll give you the triple play and part of the triple play." And I know as a millennial, I'm seeking, "What are you going to give me? Are you going to be able to sell me the smartphone or are you going to give me a tethering capability on WiFi? What's in the deal?" And then they say, "Landline." and you're like, "That's as useful as a third elbow." Exactly. I think that generationally speaking, what's crazy is I was just reading an article that was saying, even the telephone number is going to eventually be a thing of the past. Because when you think about it now, folks can communicate through social media. I could literally look up Joe on Facebook and I can connect with you via voice or now even video through our mobile devices.

And quite frankly, the interface now to things like that is going to be even cooler. I thought I saw a product by Vodafone called, Nebula where now your glasses are going to be a smartphone, but on your head where literally you could say to your glasses one day, Joe, just, "Hey, call Sam." And literally I appear in front of you, we're in the same room, hanging out. Think about how awesome that would be for a quarantine, right?

Joe Toste (08:59):

Yeah. There's, I think not in the first-generation, but Apple's working on some Apple glasses right now. I think as they iterate on those, I would love to say, "Siri, call Sam." The only issue would be then the seven or eight Siris in my house would then all ask me to start. They would just start calling you, you get eight calls from eight different Siri devices, iPads, phones, my apple TV, all that funny stuff. 5G is touted as a game changer in the world of communication. Verizon CEO, he's on stage, he's promoting. Why does it matter for the US to be a leader when it comes to 5G wireless technology?

Samuel Navarro (09:39):

One aspect we just talked about, economic, another aspect isn't as sexy and appealing and folks don't want to talk about it, but it really boils down to the security. I think that one of the great things about the US is we enjoy civil liberties here and it's ingrained in our culture that nobody ever asks, is it a good thing to have free speech or the fourth amendment and things like that right here. I think, the freedoms that we enjoy in this country are tied to the way we create our technology, the way we create products, the way our companies are operated as well. And so, really security is in, Joe, understanding and having the assurance that when he's on the network, his data is protected. It's not being manipulated by third parties or use in the various ways.

Can we get to a point where we can trust the network? To a certain degree, we understand that any and everything that's connected, you can only mitigate risk. We're trying to lead the way to make sure that there's opportunity to create a network that is to a certain degree secure for the consumer. And then also, we want to make sure that also the US is leading to make sure that it's a game changer, not only for the people in, like we said, metropolitan areas, but as a game changer for the people in rural America. When you think about the social impacts, the city of Las Vegas has done incredible job with next generation wireless technology, where now people who are in the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder have access to internet free of charge. We're thinking about how we can leverage the efficiencies and the ubiquity, which means it's going to be everywhere in the network so we could give everyone connectivity.

That's a big deal. And then last but not least, we want to say in the standards of the network. 3GPP is the body right now that's putting all the standards and are doing the releases of what things mean in 5G. We want to make sure that the US plays a role in making sure that those standards are fair for everyone and that it's an even playing field, as far as the industry participation is concerned. There's a lot at stake, right? The future network that we're all going to rely on is going to literally have more things on it than ever before. Smart cities to education to telehealth and telemedicine, all these things are going to ride on this network. We need to make sure that as a country, we stay on top of it so that that network eventually serves the consumer and the American people at the end.

Joe Toste (12:29):

Yeah, no, that's really great. And I think what speaks is education, right? There's a lot of kids now. They're not in school. If they're fortunate enough, I know some kids, they have iPads or Chromebooks or whatever they're using, but you need to hook up to a network. And on Zoom, I think what's important too is we have WiFi at our house, but I didn't know we got capped at 1.25 terabytes. But you go, "How do you cap out at over a terabyte a month?" And you learn, as my wife is a professor, and the school requires them to be on Zoom for nine hours a day. Just imagine that. I'm hopping on the Verizon network when I'm home to stream when I'm on Zoom calls cause we're out of WiFi. The infrastructure is going to be really important.

Samuel Navarro (13:20):

Right. And I think we can tell our age a little bit here with, think about field trips back in the day. That flip phones to your mom and dad, they had a sign, pay the 35 bucks for the lunch, and think about that will eventually potentially even be a thing of the past with things like augmented reality enabled by 5G. And we know the Smithsonian, which is a great place to go and visit and learn about science, history, et cetera, and it's free for the American people, but it's not accessible for everyone. Not everyone can afford to take a trip across country and actually go see the Smithsonian. Imagine having a virtual experience where you go see the Smithsonian, but all from the comfort of your home. And students have the ability to go see Rome and the Coliseum, and with augmented and virtual reality, it's as if you're there, except it's reconstructed and you're seeing a gladiator fight. Or you can go see Gettysburg and augmented reality can enable you to see the fight at Little Big Horn, for example, in general meet and is true to defending the perimeter.

It enables so many other things and it enhances the experience like never before and takes a lot of the barriers from doing those things. Back in our day, we had to get on the big yellow bus and go and actually see these places. Now, it's not only a 2D experience. 5G can enable that 3D, 4D experience where you actually feel like you're there. You actually feel like you've actually had the experience without all the hassle of the travel and the expense and the peanut butter and jelly sandwich smashed in your backpack before.

Joe Toste (15:04):

Oh yeah. I love that.

Joe Toste (15:05):

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Yeah. I love that. So, I'm curious, what do CIOs and CTOs and other technology C-suite executives need to know about 5G today?

Samuel Navarro (15:19):

It's a great question, Joe. And I think CIO today not only stands for Chief Information Officer, you're the Chief Innovation Officer also, right? I think as CIOs, they have to understand what are the use cases they're trying to enable. We'll get into Vegas in set case scenario in one end where their CIO out there, Mike Sherwood is a true visionary, and he's enabled certain use cases that are provided tremendous value for his city. But what about the CIOs for JP Morgan? What about the CIOs for an academic institution as we just discussed? What are the use cases that they're trying to enable? And I think this is a great opportunity to think outside of the box. And then secondly, I think for those of us who are a little bit hesitant, and I get it, wireline and having the legacy network in place, there were certain control, right?

It was my network. But we have to understand, 5G, it's common. It's a real thing. It's proliferating around our world and you have to get on the bandwagon now, and here's why. I think there's two things that CIOs definitely need to take into consideration. One, what's your threat posture? If you're selling hamburgers, maybe it's not a bad thing if someone gets a hold of your secret recipe for your hamburger patties. But if you're dealing with financial information, there's legislation that protects them. If you're dealing with people's health information or banking information, then you're in a different realm where you're liable and there's risk if the information is vulnerable to attack. I think right now, while this is getting ramped up as a great time as a CIO or CTO to figure out what your threat posture is. And then what's your organization's tolerance for risk, right?

Every organization has to deal with that. There's a cost to increasing security capabilities, not only from a dollar's perspective, but from an availability perspective also. And then also understanding what are the security controls that I need to put in place to start speak... And depending on what flavor of 5G, which we'll talk about private LT capabilities or private 5G capabilities with Las Vegas. There's different security controls for that than if you're waiting for Verizon or AT&T or your local carrier to bring the network to you, bring millimeter wave to you. That's another kind of a ball of wax there that I think at this time is a great time to sit down with your team if you're a CIO or CTO, and really look into it.

Just two more things. I think NIST has put some great guidance out there through their special publications. ASESA, which is a cybersecurity infrastructure security agency for the government. They're a great, I think, advisor for American companies and academia and the private sector where they're not trying to control necessarily what you're doing, but they have put out some great guidance, some great studies on the technology that can be a great foundation for where you guys want to go as an organization.

Joe Toste (18:39):

Sam, I was reading an article titled, Mapping Demand, the enterprise 5G opportunity on Nokia's website where they interviewed over a thousand IT professionals. The top five enterprise use cases they listed included video monitoring and detection, connected machinery, fixed wireless access, connected vehicles, immersive experiences. I'm curious, what are some of your favorite 5G use cases today?

Samuel Navarro (19:04):

Yeah, and I would have to agree. Some of the use cases that massive IOTs enabling are incredible and some that you listed on that list are near and dear to me, but I got to agree, what's going on in the world of medicine and what 5G is going to be able to enable moving forward is going to be incredible. Think about this, Joe. Every time we go to the doctor's office, it's just a snapshot of your meds, your blood pressure and your blood work. It's a snapshot in time based off of what the machines calculate or what your doctor calculates in that time. Think about how now telemedicine can literally have a continuous diagnostic monitoring capability for Joe. "Hey, Joe ate too much chocolate cake this week. That's probably not a good thing." Especially if you have a history in your family of diabetes and that's something that can be talked about in your next doctor's office.

Or as you're brushing your teeth, your toothbrush now can become a capability that now takes a saliva sample and analyzes it and then stores that data as well to give you a continuous diagnostic of how you're doing health wise and even probably detect diseases before they become more severe. And then last but not least, I think what it's enabling within hospitals, we talked about Palo Alto and the VA Hospital out there enabling and bringing in private 5G LT to the hospital. Now, literally you can have the best surgeons, either operate on you from the other side of the planet and or provide that surgeon who's doing the procedure on you guidance on what he's seeing, what he's looking at in real time, lowly [inaudible 00:20:54] provides us the ability to do that. I'm huge on, a big fan on telehealth telemedicine and then smart cities.

I think us working with Las Vegas, it's been incredible. In GSA, we're an enabler to give people access to that kind of technology, so if their CIOs from cities and municipalities that are chiming in, "Please reach out to us." We've seen incredible innovation in the city of Las Vegas, and it's all been enabled by 5G compatible technology. Think about the uses in first responders now, being able to look at and diagnose problems that are going on in the city at real time and get people to react quickly. And the efficiencies in that right now, it decreases your patrols, which decreases the consumption of gas for vehicles and things of that nature. Also, with sanitation. And there's two things with sanitation. I think we all think about how to take out the trash, which I think smart city IOT capability is going to enable the city to be smarter on how we do that and go about getting rid of trash.

But I think about sensory technology being used in things such as our water systems. When you look at scenarios like Flint, Michigan, I think the outrage wasn't necessarily that the water was at a level that was below pottable consumable levels, but it was the time it took for the local municipality to actually respond. I think the outrage was, folks had to actually get sick for eventually someone to do something about the scenario. And when you think about 5G and IOT in the future, what advantage it would be to have sensors in the system where it would say, "Hey, today, maybe something has infected the water or water HP levels are going too high." And then having sensors tied to school water fountains to let folks know whether the water is safe or not in real time, and being able to then have municipality correct that relatively quickly. It's really been enabling a lot of use cases within the smart city perspective that I think has the ability to save lives, avoid risk with certain utilities that our cities are responsible for and really bring value to the citizen.

Joe Toste (23:24):

I love that. I want to back up, you were talking about telehealth being important and near and dear to your heart. Actually, my brother-in-law is a doctor, he's a spinal surgeon, just published yesterday in the Harvard Business Review, re-imagining medical conferences for a virtual setting. They don't talk about 5G, but obviously you can apply the 5G concepts, not only to conferences, but even to medical equipment and things like that when he's in the hospital operating. I think the future, the type of virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D, the procedural simulation, this is all stuff that I'm sure the Palo Alto Medical Center is doing.

I think this is going to be a game changer, especially in the telehealth side. I think what's popular is Teladoc, the app on the consumer side. But I think on actually really helping doctors, 5G is going to really enable more and more physicians and doctors to be able to perform surgeries, access to physical equipment that they have that they will actually be able to use when they operate on. I love that's near and dear to your heart. I'm actually trying to get him on for the podcast because I want to hear... I'm not too familiar. I sit down with him sometimes, but I really want to interview him from his procedure and the type of equipment he uses. I really want to dive into the detail, so I'm looking forward to that.

Samuel Navarro (24:53):

Yeah. And I see it'd be a very interesting podcast I think, Joe, to tune into, because I think he would admit also that kind of a factor of medicines need human component. It isn't every occupation and there's always human error. And what we've seen on the 5G end is how it's enabled kind of the mitigation, I guess you could say, a fewer error, human risks throughout surgery and identifying disease. One of the interesting case studies that came out of the Mayo Clinic was how quickly medical experts now were able to identify cancer, like lung cancer than they were before by taking a snapshot or radio x-ray of someone's lung and then running it through an AGI capability, which is enabled to move faster speeds on the network and then getting results based on over a hundred snapshots of lung cancer that have been uploaded to an algorithm. Think about that.

And they were writing about how many lives now that could say, because now, without one or two stage ones, that wouldn't be able to be captured by your normal physician, now are being captured by an algorithm that has over a hundred different x-rays that have been already taken and have been positive and can stare and compare that now to your results to make sure that it captures whatever you may have sooner than later. I'd be really interested in hearing how potentially that it's mitigated the risks of the human error, because doctors are human like we all are in surgeries, but identifying diseases as well. How it could be life-saving, I think is a great conversation to have for the public.

Joe Toste (26:43):

Shout out to my brother-in-law, [Vanu 00:26:45]. I will be asking him that question when I get... I texted him yesterday. I said, "You need to come on my podcast." He said he's in.

Samuel Navarro (26:51):

Just convinced a bit, right?

Joe Toste (26:52):

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Let's actually talk about, you mentioned the Las Vegas as a smart city and the private 5G network the city's building out right now. Let's break down what it means to slice the network and what are the possibilities for 5G when it comes to the future of smart cities?

Samuel Navarro (27:11):

And we got a hold of the folks out in Las Vegas went through combined relationships, we have the same vendors that other municipalities and states leverage on our vehicles and then they've engaged as well. It was very interesting when they were first building it out. Because as I said before, I think Mike Sherwood, who's their CIO, started out first with the vision. And he first started out with a couple of very simple use cases. And from there rolled out to the opportunities to do network slicing and leverage other options to the technology. I can tell you that this is really where there's a fork in the road, Joe, because I think some folks may be more in a holding pattern until Verizon or their local carrier can get millimeter wave to their location where others are taking advantage of private 5G capabilities like they are and they're leveraging.

And some people may say there's challenges with the spectrum, right? Well, Las Vegas is a case in point where they're leveraging what we call, Citizens Broadband Radio Services spectrum to deploy the technology and for it to contribute to their city immediately. But what we see is, as you said, whether you go private or whether you wait for your local carrier to bring it to you, slicing has been very interesting and in particular, in the world of dual use concepts, right? And when government talks about dual use concepts is, how can we use the network, not only for private sector uses, but for the government as well? And so, how do we make sure that first responders though, their traffic doesn't interfere with Joe? And what Joe is doing, watching Netflix or whatever, his traffic doesn't interfere with first responders? Network slicing is the way we're doing that.

What that enables is the different QoS or quality of service capabilities that we put on Netflix and YouTube and all the traffic that folks are doing in their own time. We put different quality of service restrictions on those and we would on first responder activity, then we would on industry activity. And as other use cases come online and other industries come online on the network, it's going to be even better because think about if Elon Musk builds the next Tesla factory next door right now for him to come online and to operate all his robotics and the mechanics in that factory, he doesn't have to spend a lot of money now on this big network and run a lot of wire and a lot of infrastructure. It's as easy as turning it on, giving him his own slice, and then that traffic doesn't interfere with my Netflix. I don't want anything to interfere with my Netflix.

Joe Toste (30:00):

And that's what Texas is hoping for right now, right?

Samuel Navarro (30:04):

Pretty much.

Joe Toste (30:04):


Samuel Navarro (30:05):

It's in the works. I hear it's official, right?

Joe Toste (30:08):

Yeah. Yeah. It's official. And he moved out to California. He's gone. He's out. I like this concept of network slicing. I actually just did a podcast interview with an executive at Verizon. We literally had the same... He works on the public sector side on their first responder Verizon app, and this is the same thing, right? You don't want your Netflix being interrupted. You're watching Stranger Things. You're watching Tiger King. I don't know, some people do, they're into Tiger King. And then you want to be able to help the first responders because every second counts. And so that's really that mission critical piece of the network that you want to have available, that isn't interfering with other consumer type things weighing on it.

Samuel Navarro (30:52):

And think about from a government perspective, the way we get funded is through taxes. It's a lot cheaper now for us to deploy the things we need to deploy in case of a hurricane or in case we need to provide other citizen services. Now, we're using the same network you're using just we're on a different slice, right? We need less taxes to do the same thing. Taxpayer's happy, government's happy cause we can make sure we meet our obligations to the citizens and it creates more efficiencies all around. It's really a good deal.

Joe Toste (31:27):

Yeah. I love it. We pay a lot of taxes in California.

Samuel Navarro (31:30):


Joe Toste (31:31):

I got two wrap-up questions. The first one, I didn't give to you beforehand, I gave you one of them, but what's your number one leadership lesson that the audience can take away?

Samuel Navarro (31:44):

Great question. I think my number one leadership question, and in particularly when it comes to technology is meeting the customer or meeting the people where they're at. It was a great experience to work with Las Vegas. They have a lot of engineers and they have a lot of great people in their staff, but working with other municipalities, they're sometimes at a disadvantage, right? Especially in our rural areas, let's be honest, resource to a lot of the subject matter expertise, et cetera. It is not necessarily there. And so from a GSA perspective and us leading the charge on modernization across the government state, local, and we're interested in helping federal agencies as well is making sure, are there managed services that they can use? Where folks with the right subject matter expertise can come in and talk to them and break it down in a manner that works for them.

And I think leadership is about having that emotional intelligence in the end and having that empathy. Having that empathy on, "How can I help Joe as a taxpayer see the dividends in the taxes that we're collecting on his behalf for national defense, for health, to keep his food safe, the folks in FDA and not only foods and drugs safe, to keep the skies and the planes flying on time and things of that nature?" It's really coming to the table with that level of empathy. And at the end of the day, that's what our systems build. We have the privilege and advantage in this country of having a free market and free markets all about entrepreneurs getting out there, figuring out how their products could solve a problem or a need for someone else. We're in the business of, from a leadership perspective, bringing empathy, bringing awareness of challenges and trying to meet those challenges for citizens.

Joe Toste (33:38):

Love it. Okay. What's the nicest thing someone has done for you?

Samuel Navarro (33:43):

All right.'Tis the season, right?

Joe Toste (33:46):

'Tis the season. That's right.

Samuel Navarro (33:48):

Professionally or personally? Because I have actually a lot of... I'll be honest. I'm a blessed guy. A lot of people- [crosstalk 00:33:55]

Joe Toste (33:54):

I love it. You could do both. You could do one. I'll leave it up to you.

Samuel Navarro (33:58):

Okay. All right. I'll have to say personally, I'll have to say something that just happened recent. It was my job to get the turkey ready for Thanksgiving this year, which my wife has found out... And this was the only year. We'd been married now for seven years. This was the only year it was my job for some odd reason to make sure that turkey was thawed. I didn't know you had to leave it out for three days. Lesson learned. That's something 5G can do for you guys. Okay? You can't get turkeys ready for it.

Joe Toste (34:28):


Samuel Navarro (34:29):

Maybe it can, Joe. But my neighbor went out, bought me a thawed turkey. Not only bought it for me, cooked it for me and had it for me ready by Thanksgiving day, free of charge.

Joe Toste (34:40):

Who's your neighbor? What?

Samuel Navarro (34:43):

I'll send you an email just... And we have a house that's for sale nearby, so just in case you're thinking about changing locale. We're just talking about empathy, right? That's something that the technology in and of itself can't do. And thinking about this time of the season, how can we leverage technology whether it's on social media or other places in our lives to bless other people, to do something nice for someone else? And then I think for professionally, the nicest thing someone has ever done for me was when I first joined the military. I'll be honest with you, Joe. I had no aspirations of going to college at first. I came from a blue collar family where you clock in, you clock out, you bring a lunch pale to work and you hit things hard and then you go home.

And the nicest thing my immediate supervisor did for me, Sergeant Hughes, which is now retired and we actually lived here in Virginia together and we stay in contact. But he was the first person that told me, "Look, you got to go to college. You gotta go. You just got to do it." He incentivized me and he found ways to, as a leader, ensure that I was staying in the books and I was getting the grades. I owe not only a bachelor's, but he instilled that in me to where I continued and got my master's afterwards. Thanks to him and his leadership. He was right. Once I went out to the workforce, I was like, "Wow. Thank you, Sergeant Hughes." It's paid dividends tremendously. Professionally and personally, and those are just one out of many, but it does keep in mind, Joe, we got to pay it forward. We got to find the next knucklehead who doesn't want to go to college and force them to get some classes. We got to find the next knucklehead who doesn't thaw turkey even beforehand.

Joe Toste (36:36):

Yeah, no, I love those stories. I was a knucklehead in high school. I was messing around left and right. All I thought about was playing basketball is the only thing. Now, I actually volunteer at the same high school I went to coaching basketball on the JV team, which is really fun. Before COVID, when we'd have the bus rides and that was a real thing, you get to have a conversation with the kids. You're like, "Dude, you're going to go to college in the next two years." And they're like, "What?" And it's just so funny. That's the opportunity. And I have the same answer too, "You're a junior. You're thinking about college?" You're like, "What?" Yeah. It's good. It's good. You need to pay it forward. Yeah, I definitely love working with the high school guys. Where can people find you? Do you hang out on LinkedIn, Twitter? Where's your spot, Sam?

Samuel Navarro (37:22):

I've definitely got to promote GSA for Twitter.

Joe Toste (37:26):

Yeah, promote them.

Samuel Navarro (37:27):

We're at GSA@USA, I think is our Twitter handle for Twitter. I'll verify with you. I'll send you that. But yeah, I'm on LinkedIn as well, Samuel Navarro. Feel free to send me a connection. Sure, that's really... Well, I'm on the Gram also as Samwise from Lord of the Rings. But yeah, I try to limit my social media these days. You got to see which ones add the most value. I love pictures and I love work.

Joe Toste (38:02):

Love it.

Samuel Navarro (38:02):

Those are the two ones that I keep.

Joe Toste (38:04):

I love it. Yeah. USGSA on Twitter, just followed live, took my phone out. I actually always keep my phone away from me when I record podcasts, but I was able to reach it. I just followed the GSA on Twitter right now. I'm going to tag the GSA once this episode gets released. We'll have to connect on the Gram. Yeah, this is awesome, so super fun. Thank you for coming on TechTable, Sam.

Samuel Navarro (38:28):

Yeah, for sure. And just a quick shout out, so folks could get on that Twitter handle. 180 different federal initiatives are going on with 5G. GSA is plugged into all of them, so I think it's a great source. I think our comms team does an incredible job in keeping it up to speed with a lot of our contents. Thank you for having me again, Joe. Hopefully, everyone has found a value in what we've discussed and looking forward to everyone reaching out. Thank you everyone.

VoiceOver (38:55):

If you're interested in seeing what Nagarro, a digital product engineering company that excels at solving complex business challenges through agility and innovation can do for your company, you can email Joe at joe.toste, that's T-O-S-T-E, @nagaro.com or message Joe on LinkedIn. For all information on Nagarro, checkout nagaro.com. That's N-A-G-A-R-R-O.com. You've been listening to the Tech Tables podcast. To make sure you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you have an iPhone we'd love for you to open the Apple podcast app and leave a quick rating for the show, just tap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves. To catch more Tech Tables episodes, you can go to techtablespodcast.com. And to learn more about our sponsor, please visit nagaro.com. That's N-A-G-A-R-R-O.com. And of course, you can find Joe Toste, your podcast host on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Joe's last name is T-O-S-T-E. Thanks for listening.

Joe Toste
Joe Toste
Host of TechTables Podcast

Host of TechTables 🎙- Conversations with Top Technology Leaders