Revolutionising Talent Attraction in the Connectivity Sector

The biggest misconception in the telco sector is that it’s a dying, historic legacy industry. In reality, the integration of AI into telco is making a significant impact on society by enhancing efficiency, improving customer experience, and enabling new techniques and services. This transformation is attracting top talent who are eager to engage in innovative areas like satellite LEO and cloud AI orchestration.

Bridging Talent Gaps: Strategies for Attracting Cross-Industry Expertise

To draw skilled professionals from diverse sectors into telco, we must focus on the key areas of impact: network optimisation, data analysis, customer service, and energy efficiency. These domains are crucial for the evolution of the telco industry and offer exciting opportunities for tech enthusiasts looking to make a tangible impact.

One of the most groundbreaking shifts is happening with Open Networking, which is moving the industry away from monopolies historically dominated by big Original Equipment Manufacturers. This democratization of technology and innovation is creating a fertile ground for new ideas and attracting talent interested in making a mark in a more open and collaborative environment.

Innovative Alliances and the Rise of Private Wireless

Innovations through alliances like the TIP have been particularly exciting. These collaborations are fostering a spirit of innovation and breaking new ground in the industry. One of the most anticipated developments in the coming year is the advent of private wireless networks. Operators are re-evaluating their business models, and the enterprise sector is emerging as a significant revenue stream. Private wireless networks align perfectly with this shift, offering bespoke solutions that cater to the unique needs of businesses.

Advancing Diversity and Inclusion

While the telco sector has seen considerable improvements in diversity over the past 50 years, there is still much work to be done. A critical question often arises: How do we attract talent from other industries into telco? Investing in programs that bring graduates into the sector is vital. Ensuring a steady stream of new talent is crucial for the industry’s continued evolution and relevance.

Companies, both large and small, are placing a stronger emphasis on diversity and inclusion. They are implementing strategies that encourage change and make their workplaces more inclusive, allowing individuals to feel confident and valued. This cultural shift is essential for fostering innovation and attracting a diverse range of talents.

The telco industry is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by AI and other technological advancements. By focusing on network optimisation, data analysis, customer service, and energy efficiency, and by fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion, the industry can attract top talent from various sectors. The rise of private wireless and the collaborative efforts through initiatives like TIP are just the beginning of a new era in telecommunications. As we move forward, the connectivity sector will continue to evolve, driving societal impact and offering exciting opportunities for tech professionals worldwide.

Exploring the Applications of Edge Computing 

As cloud computing has grown across the connectivity industry, so has its counterpart, edge computing. On Episode 20 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast, we were joined by Ariel Efrati, the CEO of Telco Systems Edgility, to discuss the applications of this cutting-edge technology. Read on to find out more. 

“You’ve probably experienced being in a hotel when everybody wants time to go to breakfast in the morning. So what is the most scarce resource in a hotel? It’s the elevator. If you’re staying on a high floor, you don’t get an elevator. It’s not smart enough – but why is that? It’s very simple to count how many people you have on each floor and send them the right size elevator using basic logic. As long as you have a camera and a computer, it should be possible. That’s edge computing. 

When you talk about manufacturing cars, it’s done with robots. They are welding things while the entire line moves on a belt. When the belt is misaligned, you need to recalibrate everything because otherwise the robots will weld in the wrong places. But if you could communicate between those robots because they all have cameras and a gyroscope to identify their position in space, you wouldn’t need to shut the line down. Each robot could adjust as necessary. That’s another real-life example of how edge computing can be used. 

These are real examples that we are faced with. I think traffic management is a great thing. In each traffic light, you could integrate several traffic lights, a radar, and a camera to help the flow of people. This is edge computing by nature. Traffic light signalling hasn’t changed in 40 years – we’re still using a person to set the timers based on traffic as it was on the day they were there. That’s not where we should be. We have cameras that can count the cars you can integrate that data with traffic law to moderate the traffic. Again, that’s edge computing. 

It’s endless when you think about it, and all it requires is an operating system, device and whatever function you want. It could be an AI function, it could be a visual inspection, counting, cropping, controlling – whatever you want. It could also exist in retail today. If you put enough cameras in a large retail store, you could take something from the shelf and be automatically charged for it. There’s no cashier, the system just automatically recognises what you do and charges it to your account. 

It could also apply to digital signage. These systems could identify you and show you more relevant ads as you walk into a store. That’s personalization. All of these examples are edge computing with integrated cameras and devices working on a local network to process huge amounts of data without having to transmit it to a data centre, which also creates more latency. With applications like traffic management, it has to be precise because otherwise it will cause traffic accidents. This is what edge computing is, and we’re going to see a reversal in how our data is processed, going towards edge computing.”

To find out more about the real-world applications of edge computing, tune into Episode 20 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Developing Niche Satellite Applications 

As the satellite industry develops, there are increasing numbers of potential applications for the technology. On The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were joined by Kevin Fielder, who is the VP of Sales for the global cruise and ferries market at Anuvu. Kevin shared the work that Anuvu are doing to bring satellite connectivity to the luxury travel market. Here are his insights: 

You work in a very interesting niche in the SATCOM world with a focus on the cruise and ferry market. What seems to be the most interesting aspect of the market right now?

The pandemic – which really disrupted the industry from a force majeure perspective, and squeezed disposable income so that people were not able to travel as much – obviously had a detrimental impact on any kind of disposable spending market. It really hamstrung the industry. Coming out of it, however, there was a new technology from our friends at SpaceX that completely disrupted the market. When I say disrupted, it’s not a bad connotation, I just mean that it has changed the market. 

As people came out of their homes after COVID they were attached to a very fast, high speed internet connection with low latency. Coming back aboard cruise lines, the expectation was that they would have the same experience. It just so happened that at the same point in time we gained the technology that gave them the ability to do that. That situation meant that something that might have had a slow adoption process got ramped up really fast, based upon people’s appetite for that type of technology. This is the experience that people have wanted to have in the cruise environment for years, and now we’ve given them the best of the best available connectivity out on open water. 

Those two things – one being a bad experience for everybody from a health perspective, and the other being a transformative technology that came into play quickly at the same time – have really changed the cruise market for the better. 

What are you most excited or concerned about in relation to this industry?

The markets have been clamouring for LEO (low earth orbit) connectivity options. Starlink jumped to the forefront of delivery on that, and OneWeb is out in the market as well. Amazon is doing their groundwork to get their first satellites up at the moment too. There are plenty of smaller companies who aren’t publicising the fact that they’re launching LEO satellite capabilities for things like IOT and cell service, but they’re in the market too. I think you’re going to see more and more of that in the very near future, because it can reach so many more people than the traditional model. 

There’s a tendency to think that once LEO comes about, the geostationary satellite service will go away, but there’s still a need for it, and maybe a different way of consuming it. That may mean configuring it as a failsafe, because it has much higher latency, but it’s still a good quality product available just about anywhere globally. In addition, there are some models that are consumption based. If you don’t want to consume as much data, you may put some non latency tolerant traffic over those. If you’re going to be paying for it anyway, you might as well utilise it. If I sent you an email, you really don’t care if it arrives now or 30 seconds from now, so why would I use a low latency service at a higher price? Save that capability for a passenger who needs it for streaming.

To learn more about using satellite infrastructure for innovative solutions, tune into episode 28 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here. 

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Integrating AI with Telco Connectivity 

As AI becomes more and more integrated into the modern world, all areas of business are finding ways to adopt and adapt. On Episode 19 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we were joined by Stephen Spellicy, the Vice President of Marketing, Enablement & Business Development at VMware, to talk about how the connectivity industry is moving towards AI adoption. Read on for his insights. 

Is there a genuine motivation for operators to bring in AI?

Well, this is a conundrum that many have. They’re building the new network and expecting new incremental revenue, then the next step is figuring out ‘how do I reap the benefits of that?’ Part of the business strategy should be growing your footprint and retaining it so that you can drive higher levels of ARPU out of your consumer subscribers and enterprise customers. The companies that are looking at being data-driven in the way they build their business and how they execute in the market are the ones who are likely going to survive. 

We’ve seen consolidation across the board in the wider industry (not only in telecom and technology) where the larger players gobbling up smaller companies. Where you see more of this consolidation and the shedding of non-productive assets, markets are becoming more focused on the outcomes of their business strategy. It starts with data and the injection of an advanced labour force that is more keen to understand the trends of our technology sphere. Data science is an area where telecoms probably lack skilled labour. Maybe in the next five years, we’ll see more availability of these resources. But today, telecom should take that first mover advantage to pull those folks into their organisation and start injecting data into everything they do. 

A common perception is that telco is not as exciting as other applications for AI or data science, so how could they attract more talent as an industry?

If you’ve already built a new network and you’re trying to drive higher revenue, you’ll need the right talent. This talent isn’t cheap, but it’s an investment in the future. Vigorous recruiting, both in the field and outside of the field, is necessary. What I mean by that is that telecom traditionally looks for people with a vast understanding of wireless cellular technology, traditional fixed line type technologies and networking backgrounds, but they may need to look into adjacencies. Where are the problem solvers who understand data models and data science, who can be applied to solving telco challenges? Looking across various adjacencies and verticals to find the right kind of talent is going to be effectively an empowering element as companies move forward. 

Training, enabling and investing in your labour force is also really important. Adopting some of these methodologies creates more opportunities for the people already in your company. In other words, utilising the resources you have to drive the highest level of productivity will enable your team to be creative in problem-solving. One of the best ways to create a happy and productive workforce is to give them really hard problems to solve and let them find creative ways to solve those problems. It creates a level of engagement and interest in their job, and it creates more loyalty to the company because it shows that this is a company that challenges them, rewards them when they succeed and invests in them – which are all essential ingredient ingredients that telco needs to consider as they develop their labour force moving forward.

How much responsibility does the telco industry have for ensuring the correct use of AI alongside this new talent?

The first piece of any journey with AI, particularly when we’re talking about data or using information in order to dictate outcomes, is effectively finding a programmatic way to treat data in a sensitive way. With customer-related user-related data, personal identifiable information, etc, you have to make sure that the data that you collect is protected to ensure the privacy and security of your customers. Just from a broad industry perspective across not only telco but any enterprise verticals, this is a common practice that starts with protecting the information that you’re collecting and utilising it as a part of the build of your models. 

The other piece on the ethical side would be to do no harm. You have to use technology to improve operations, the quality of service for your customers and the lives of your employees. Effectively, when you look at your labour force, how do you get the very best out of the team that’s in place? We’re not trying to use automation and AI to make jobs obsolete, we’re trying to use automation and AI to make those jobs easier for those people to get done. Looking at it that way, you’ll never have enough people to do the jobs. These skilled workers don’t have enough time in the day, and you don’t have enough heads in front of computer screens to get the job done, especially as we build out the 5G network and beyond to 6G. The enormity of that challenge is too large for the workforce we have today, so you need technology to augment those people. 

To learn more about integrating AI into your telco workforce, tune into Episode 19 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Inside a CTO Role

The role of a Chief Technology Officer develops as rapidly as the technology that they work with. On Episode 27 of The Cyber Security Matters Podcast, we were joined by Nurettin Erginoz, the CTO at Radiflow, to explore his experiences in the role. Here’s what he said:

Can you tell us about your journey to becoming Radiflow’s CTO? 

I had just started as a teaching assistant at the University when DDoS attacks became much more popular in some hacking groups. They were targeting some government places and agencies. I got an invitation from one of the companies that is famous for innovative application firewalls and DDoS mitigation and protection services. I joined them as an information security management and technical director. 

Then IBM has a role there too. I was initially responsible for Central and East Europe there, but they upgraded my position to the whole of Europe. That gave me the chance to meet different cultures and see different attacks in different geographies and sectors. 

A big milestone for me is going to big educational places or different sectors like government, military, etc. to see exactly what is happening there. I built a team as a Deputy General Manager from scratch – I created the whole cybersecurity team and SOC and forensics labs as well. Afterwards, I jumped into a startup, which we took to exit in three years. I got hands-on experience with mergers and acquisitions, then transitioned directly into this CTO position, concentrated on the strategic part, because security is a live sector. 

Even day-to-day, everything is changing in our sector, so strategy is very important here. From a product perspective, the attack surface and technical elements, together with the strategic selling points, mean that there is a lot to stay on top of—even before reaching regulatory milestones.

What are the main challenges that are that are faced by any CTO?

For any CTO, it is a challenging role. Previously, it would have consisted of managing the research and development team and focusing on coding, but now everything is changing. We have DevOps teams and SEC ops teams, and everything is connected. The threat landscape is changing too, so CTOs have to understand whether they’re coming from cyber or not. All CTOs have to understand the threat landscape, because of the concerns around security and balancing it with business goals. The product should be running without security blocking its process or development. 

Compliance and regulations are another challenge for CTOs. The number of regulations is increasing day by day, so CTOs are having to get familiar with the area that their product or company is in. When their management adds another topic connected to the supply chain, that adds more security as well that we have to understand. It’s a CTO’s responsibility to manage the vendors and understand performance and risk levels as well. 

There are so many challenges to juggle, like incident response, cloud security, IoT mobility, and the board and executive committees’ coordination. Communication is another big topic that all CTOs must concentrate on because we are always talking with stakeholders. 

To find out more about life in a CTO role, tune into Episode 27 of The Cyber Security Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Improving EDI in Telco

The telco industry is making progress towards positive diversity and inclusion, particularly in improving gender equality. On Episode 18 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we spoke with Anna Deppi, the Senior Manager and Co-Chair of the Italian Women’s Leadership Community at Red Hat, about her experiences as a woman in the field. She also shared her advice for companies and other women who are navigating the changing landscape of EDI in the industry. 

Have there been any challenges that you’ve encountered as a woman in telco, and how did you overcome them? 

I have found myself being the only female at the table or in the room at times. Sometimes you have to decide which battles to pick because you can’t win everything. You need to have your strategies in place. There were situations where I had to speak up, but you can do it in a gentle way. Understanding why things are said that way or what makes you uncomfortable is important. I’d advise everyone to ask ‘why?’. Sometimes you hear it wrong because we live in a very globalised world and we all use English in different ways, so sometimes things are not clear. Step up and speak up as well. 

Also, educate yourself. I noticed that by educating myself and listening to other points of view that I didn’t agree with, I opened up my world. I also think the person on the other side is often feeling the same way. Be yourself. I talk a lot about authenticity because you need to learn how you want to do things. Picking some of those strategies and battles was a bit of a shift, but it made me feel at ease around these tables most of the time. 

Have you got any advice for how organisations can make their company cultures more inclusive to improve retention? 

What I’ve seen around me is that mentoring and sponsorship are very important. You might have a tendency to keep your thoughts to yourself, but you need to talk to others from time to time, particularly with someone who’s been there before. Mentoring also helped me see things and do things in a different way. I do suggest building a very strong mentorship programme because it’s such a good support for people who are very shy and who don’t know how to approach people. Having a schedule and regular meetings does help build a rapport, and people get more out of it. 

You also really need to start talking about equal pay. In some countries it’s mandatory, but you have to have this conversation because it’s very important to maintain people’s motivation and work-life balance, because the problem the telco industry already has is a lack of skills, so we can’t afford to lose talented people. Sometimes people need to step away to recharge their batteries and be more creative. Creativity is super important in everything that we do, and breaking out of your routine can really help with that. 

What one piece of advice would you give to someone who’s entered the industry and is struggling with diversity and inclusion?

Go and talk to schools because there’s so much that this industry can give to young people and vice versa. Like I said, education is so important because it helps you understand yourself and other people better while raising awareness of why things are happening. That’s very important in an industry that is changing so fast because we need to change fast as well to be part of that change. 

To hear more from Anna, tune into Episode 18 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.