Photo of Arun Netravali

Arun Netravali

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Communications

For his leadership in the field of communication systems; for pioneering contributions that transformed TV from analog to digital, enabling numerous integrated circuits, systems and services in broadcast TV, CATV, DBS, HDTV, and multimedia over the Internet; and for technical expertise and leadership, which have kept Bell Labs at the forefront in communications technology.

Arun Netravali on having big dreams

If you’ve ever watched a movie in high-definition, or tuned into your local cable news station, you’ve engaged with the work of digital communications pioneer Arun Netravali.

Netravali, an electrical and computer engineer, academic and businessman, developed algorithms for the representation, synthesis, processing and compression of images and image sequences that transformed television from analog to digital in

Broadcast, cable, direct-broadcast satellite and high-definition television, and as a result, spurred a digital, multimedia revolution.

Netravali is also widely known for his role as the former president of Bell Laboratories, where he led the largest communications research and development organization in the world. Under his guidance, he managed more than 25,000 employees in 20 countries who invented new communication systems and consumer products that changed communication for the better in the 1990s. During his tenure, productivity improved by 40 percent, the patent rate climbed to four per day, 35 ventures were launched and numerous products were introduced in wireless, optical and data communication at record speeds.

Netravali is now the founder and managing general partner of OmniCapital, a venture capital firm that helps entrepreneurs build next-generation technology. He has authored more than 180 technical papers and co-authored three books, and he holds more than 70 patents in the areas of computer networks, human interfaces to machines, picture processing and digital television.

By Sydni Dunn