Los Angeles’ Tech History and Future Innovations

Drew Woods
March 10, 2020

Regularly referred to as the Entertainment Capital of the World, La-la-land, and Tinseltown, Los Angeles, California is so much more than bright lights and movie stars. Often overlooked is the town’s rich history of technological innovations. While outsiders may just see pretty beaches and an insane amount of traffic, the city has harbored some of the greatest inventions in modern history, including the internet, fast food, gangster rap, and more! In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the technologies that have shaped the city’s past and discuss new innovations shaping the city’s future.

Some of Los Angeles’ favorite pastimes include sports, movies, music, traffic, and, of course, high-speed chases. The most notable chase to happen in LA was the O.J. Simpson white bronco event that gripped the nation in 1993. Viewership of such events would not be possible without the advent of the “telecopter,” which was invented in 1958. Built in North Hollywood by KTLA engineer John D. Silva, the telecopter was able to capture aerial shots of wildfires, parades, and car chases, forever changing the way news was reported. Over 50 years later, the telecopter is still a staple in broadcast news coverage.

Just a little over ten years later, a government-funded research project called ARPANET was launched at UCLA. In response to a need for a network that would allow computers to communicate and share resources, ARPANET was created as a series of high-speed lines connected to computer ‘nodes.’ This network laid the groundwork for what became known as the world wide web.

Jumping back 30 years before ARPANET, the 1930s saw the creation of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. A crew of amateur rocketeers founded the laboratory that is credited with building ‘Explorer I,’ the first American satellite, which is credited with paving the way for the Apollo missions and other space explorations.

While the history of Los Angeles’ technological explorations is vast, today the city continues to experience a number of modern innovations alongside the migration of many startups from Silicon Valley. Ironically enough, Los Angeles (and parts of Orange County) is known as “Silicon Beach” and houses more than 500 companies. In 2016, Los Angeles startups raised $4.2 billion with big name companies such as Snap Inc., The Trade Desk, and Hulu calling the city home in addition to new office locations for Google and YouTube.

Furthermore, Los Angeles is in involved in numerous city-wide innovations to help create a better future for its citizens. First and foremost, the city is in the beginning stages of rolling out 5G cellular networks with upgraded cover speed and cell sites with a fiber connection. Secondly, Los Angeles is battling the homeless issue by using 3D printers to build out portions of homes as part of a Blokable modular homes campaign. Lastly, Los Angeles is one of the major cities partaking in the ideation around ‘smart cities’ to help make commuting, traffic control, parking lots, structure infrastructure, and the like easier to handle for the population. For example, we’ve seen growing investments in solar planning to help meet the demand of electric vehicles and parking structures in Irvine, which is right outside of Los Angeles.

As a longtime resident of LA and the surrounding Orange County area, KeyInfo has seen how technology has changed the city, especially within the IT environment. As a company, we’ve personally made the change from VAR to cloud provider to finally landing under the all-encompassing umbrella of the Converge family of solutions. Looking specifically at our clients in the Los Angeles area, we are watching them trend towards cloud-first options and building new cloud-native applications. Additionally, networking and storage continue to expand. Storage for large amounts of video data, such as the kind gathered from policy body cams, requires a lot of investment in both security and hardware, while networking has shifted to make virtualization, and the isolation of traffic, easier and easier.

Being the third most populous city in North America, it is no small task to speculate exactly what the next big thing will be in technology and IT in Los Angeles. Thankfully, as part of the Converge family, KeyInfo has the technical resources, thought leaders, and experience to tackle whatever comes next.

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