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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.     

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.     

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.     

Improving Gender Diversity in the Telco Industry

On the Women in Telco miniseries on The Connectivity Matters Podcast we’re shining a spotlight on diversity. In the miniseries’ fifth episode we spoke to Alex Foster, the Managing Director of Division X at BT, about her experiences as a woman in the telco industry and how the sector could improve gender diversity. Read on for her insights. 

How do you think the attitudes towards diversity and inclusion have changed throughout your career so far in telco?

We’ve always spent a lot of time looking at diversity and inclusion. We’ve done an awful lot of work in terms of the barefoot computing initiatives. Our volunteers help to make sure that all children feel that they’ve got the ability to really enjoy the STEM world. That then moves up the chain in terms of what we do, both at senior school and university, where we run initiatives around coding for girls. The work that we do, particularly around cybersecurity, really helps make sure that people aren’t frightened about technology. It’s like riding a bike, it can seem frightening before you start. It’s the same thing with STEM; making it accessible means taking all of that fear out of it. And as a consequence of that, we’re seeing many more women coming into technology as well. We’ve got huge levels of representation for women, from apprentices and graduates and up through to our leadership roles within the organisation as well.

BT has a female CEO now. What impact do you think that will have?

It’s an important representation of women in leadership roles. I think that that will encourage more and more women into technology roles, because it just shows you how inclusive telecoms can be, and particularly how inclusive we as an organisation can be, and it shows that we are a very accessible workplace. Nobody should be worried about coming into a STEM role, because you can go from being an apprentice to being a CEO, and everything in between.

What challenges did you – or do you – face as a woman in the telco industry?

Some of the barriers have changed since I joined the industry. My children are on their way to university now, but if I think back to when I had maternity leave, coming back after only three months was quite challenging. Since then, huge amounts have changed. You can get a year’s maternity leave or alternative provisions in terms of how you return to work. At BT, we’re really proud that 87% of people who go on maternity leave come back into our organisation. 

The other challenges I had were things that are now mainstays like lactating rooms – those were definitely not common back when I started. 20 years on, the world has changed significantly. We’ve got great maternity policies, great return back to work policies and great facilities for people who want to carry on and bring their babies into the organisation and carry on feeding them at work. All of those provisions are there now. 

How do you think organisations can make the workplace more accessible to everyone?

Inclusivity is expansive. One topic close to my heart is dyslexia. I work with Kate Griggs and the Made By Dyslexia organisation. We have a chapter of the organisation here at BT, which helps us look at Dyslexia as a superpower, because dyslexic thinking can be very creative and join the dots in a different way. It’s absolutely about creating an inclusive place for all types of people to come and work with us. So for me, inclusion doesn’t just mean gender inclusivity, it’s all of those facets of identity. Having a space like the Made By Dyslexia chapter in a workplace can really empower people to share what makes them different and recognise their own strengths. We also use technology to solve some of their challenges too, such as using Word’s spell-check or speech to text ability. It all just helps us recognise what skills we can bring to the company. 

Do you have any specific recommendations for how companies can be more inclusive?

I think that it’s about making sure that when you’re starting to hire into the organisation, you’ve got diverse lists to start with. If your list isn’t diverse it’s going to be quite hard to create an inclusive environment. It definitely starts with having a look at how you hire and who you hire, and making sure that those that are hiring are starting to think about skills and inclusivity at the same time. Organisations that are on an inclusive journey can lean into external networks, such as Women in Technology, both from a learning and networking point of view, but also as a pipeline for talent. If you’re engaged with these groups, your organisation will start to show up as an organisation for whom inclusivity is important, and candidates will be drawn to you. You’ll then start to find a plethora of candidates who want to work at your organisation because you are seen to be inclusive, and you’re behaving in an inclusive manner.

To hear more from Alex, tune into Episode 17 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.     

Speaking Up About Impostor Syndrome

During the Women In Telco miniseries on The Connectivity Matters Podcast we’ve been putting a spotlight on diversity in the industry. That includes covering topics such as impostor syndrome, which we discussed with Richa Daga in the miniseries’ fourth episode. Richa is an Embedded Software Engineer at Cisco, and she is the winner of the 2022 WomenTech Global Conference Speaker of the Year Award. Here are her insights on the impostor syndrome and how to tackle it: 

Impostor syndrome is a topic that is being talked about because people do feel it. That is a reality that occurs. A programme that I took part in at Cisco had a cohort of female leaders from different teams. As we talked about it, we all realised that most of the time it’s only in our head. Imposter syndrome is like wondering “Do we really belong here?” Once you start speaking up and sharing what is going on in your mind, you’ll discover that several other people in the room might also be feeling the same way. We all question “Should I say that thing or not? Is it right or not?”, but we don’t realise that other people wonder the same thing. 

If you waste time contemplating whether or not something is the right thing to say, someone else will say it and be recognised for their idea. These things keep happening. You have to have the courage to say what’s in your mind. That can be a difficult process, and it’s hard to get out of that thought process because we fear disagreements and rejection. We don’t want to disagree with what is happening in the room. That is why we don’t want to be our natural selves, because we want to feel accepted. 

When we build inclusive and equitable environments, people can share their perspectives at all levels of the business. We need to stop comparing ourselves to people who have 5 times more experience than us and take the opportunities we have in front of us. We also need to focus less on output and more on input, and value what people are contributing. We should be empowering, motivating and encouraging people to speak up, shed their inhibitions and come out of their shells. Courage is what helps us get rid of impostor syndrome. They’re all small changes, but we should try to do our bit to get rid of impostor syndrome.” 

To hear more from Richa, tune into Episode 16 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.     

Elevating Women in the Telco Industry 

The telco industry is full of opportunity, but is it full of diversity? On Episode 3 of the Women In Telco miniseries on The Connectivity Matters Podcast we were joined by Maria Lema, one of the Co-Founders at Weaver Labs, to talk about her experiences of working and leading in the connectivity industry. Read on for her perspectives. 

What have you experienced as a woman in the telco industry?

I think the telco industry is male dominated, but it’s not sexist. I’ve never experienced the issues some women have with being a successful professional in this industry or getting my voice heard or people not taking me seriously. This industry values knowledge and skills. So, if you know your stuff, people are gonna listen to you, regardless of your gender, age or other characteristics. There are a lot of imbalances in terms of age in the telco industry, which is something I would like to highlight. I think that telecoms is an industry that is very eager to have more diversity and more women and more young people. 

I have met loads of inspirational women in this industry in leadership positions from early on. I’ve always seen myself growing into a leadership role in the industry, because I have always seen female leaders in the industry. I’ve also had extremely good male mentors who have put me in positions that allowed me to grow, develop and challenge myself, and I’m thankful for that because it’s taken me to the place where I am now. If you don’t have anyone that really challenges you and takes you out of your comfort zone, it’s impossible to grow. Nothing good happens in your comfort zone. 

Telco is still male-dominated. What needs to happen for that to change? 

There are a few things that need to change. The first is that telecoms needs to become attractive to the younger generations. For that to happen, we need to start doing things that are attractive. We’ll attract more young people with startups and innovation and actually breaking the status quo. That rebel approach was brought into the software industry 20 years ago, and we can certainly leverage some of those learnings. 

We also need to show that there is a diversity of skills needed in this industry. Why do we only talk about engineers? We can attract marketing professionals, designers, and all sorts of people from different disciplines into the telecoms industry. We don’t need to focus on the techies. The other element is to incentivise women to get into engineering, because it’s actually quite rewarding. That goes back to school and younger education. 

I think the telecoms industry is taking a great approach by putting more women in leadership. BT just announced that they’re going to have a female CEO, which I think is another great step in the right direction, because it’s bringing diversity into the leadership teams. That trickles down to everyone everywhere in your organisation. However, we need to stop tagging people as ‘female CEO’, ‘female founder’ – it’s a job, and they need to be treated exactly the same as any other person would be treated. 

The other thing that I think it’s quite important to tackle if we actually want to evolve as an industry, is the fact that female-founded startups only attract 2% of the funding in our industry. I was saying that the telecoms industry is male dominated but it’s not a sexist industry, but the finance industry is male dominated and it’s very sexist. If we want to incentivize women in leadership and innovation, we obviously need to fund them. Without money, there’s no nowhere we can go.

Do you think there are any tech advancements or trends that will empower women to get into the industry? 

Software is a catalyst of innovation for telecoms, and it is going to continue to impact this space, because it isolates complexity of the network. With AI there’s so much going on now. We can bring developers from the AI community to do something with all the data that we gather in our networks. They can help us organise our data and enable intelligence. 

DevOps professionals could come and help us organise better infrastructures too. Opening up to the developer community would bring more skills and diversity to the industry, and it would bring monetization opportunities. Every industry that has engaged with the developer community through API’s has created a business model out of it. So we could expand our innovation landscape through them. 

To learn more about women in the tech industry, tune into the Women In Tech miniseries on 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.     

Advice for Anyone Struggling With Diversity & Inclusion

During the Women In Telco miniseries on The Connectivity Matters Podcast we’ve been shining a light on a variety of diversity issues. On Episode 2 of the miniseries we were joined by Tinuade Oguntuyi, the Head of Networks and Solutions at ICSL, to talk about diversity in the sector. With a fantastic career behind her, Tinuade now spends her time mentoring women in the workplace, particularly those who are starting their careers in tech, and volunteering for social impact and enterprise groups, where she delivers practical programmes that help bridge classroom and workplace inequalities. Here’s her advice for anyone struggling with diversity and inclusion issues in the workplace: 

“As a woman in tech or stem, you need to do 10x better than your counterparts. Once somebody said that a woman needs to be 2x better than a man to even go as far. If you truly want to be outstanding, that means you need to do 10x the amount of work to be seen as competent. Beyond that, in my personal experience, don’t get distracted by other people’s noise, because you will do yourself a disservice. If you do that, then you’re not able to pursue your dream. It would be better to just go for it. 

Any woman, any girl, even if you’re transitioning, if you’re early in your career, just go for it. Don’t run the risk of not doing something because you were scared or put off. Go on platforms where you can connect or network with people. Find people that will give you some resources. You can learn, you can have it all – maybe not at the same time, but you can. 

Take things easy on yourself. You don’t beat yourself too much. You don’t second guess yourself. Just go out and do your best, and you’ll get there. You’ll make an indelible mark in the space of telecoms.”*

To hear more from Tinuade, tune into Episode 14 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast

*Quote has been edited for length and clarity 

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.     

Gender Discrimination in the Connectivity Industry

During a special miniseries on The Connectivity Matters Podcast we’re putting a spotlight on diversity and women in the industry. In the first episode of the Women In Telco miniseries we were joined by Kelly Lazuka, the CEO at FULLERTON. She started her career at SAC Wireless as a product manager, before quickly making her way into senior roles. She’s also a mum of five alongside her incredible work of supporting more women into leadership roles. She joined us to talk about the discrimination that women face in the connectivity industry, as well as advice for other women who are facing it now. Read on to learn from her insights. 

“I think a lot of people have experienced the same things I have, and one of those things was being very qualified for a promotion or a different role within the company, or even just wanting to learn that role, and being sidelined for various reasons, like ‘you’re not ready’, or ‘there’s somebody who’s more qualified’, when you know what you’ve been bringing to the table, so that probably is not true. That has happened to me a couple of times, and it’s unfortunate. 

Another thing that I’m sure a lot of your female listeners will attest to is that sometimes you’re in positions where you know other people’s salaries and see the discrepancy with your own. While we do keep that mostly confidential, it still plays with your mind. You still know what you do, what your title is, what you know, how hard you work, the contributions that you make, and somebody else makes substantially more than you, just because they’re of a different gender. I don’t think that gap ever goes away entirely. I think it’s getting better, but those are things that each one of us will come up against at some point in our lives. 

I’m no different. I’ve had some really great experiences in my career path, but there’s also been some challenges and roadblocks. What I try to tell my female leaders here at Fullerton is that we can sit around all day and list out the roadblocks that women face, or we can focus on how you can overcome them. How do you advocate for yourself? What’s a good argument? What are the skills that you really need? I encourage all women to figure out a way to be a good negotiator, whether that’s by taking a class or getting a mentor, but you need to be a good negotiator, not just for your work, but for yourself. Negotiating is an art, and if women who are committed to growing their career paths can master that art, they’re halfway there already.”

To hear more from Kelly, tune into Episode 13 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast

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.     

Automotive Connectivity

As smart technology advances, connecting devices while they’re on the move is becoming a priority within the Connectivity industry. On Episode 12 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we spoke to Rafet Lakhdar, the Vice President Quality & Operations at Rolling Wireless, about how they are solving connectivity issues in the automotive space. Here are his insights: 

What specific things do you have to do to ensure that a connectivity solution meets a car manufacturer’s quality standards?

The automotive industry is often said to be requesting military quality levels for a consumer price, which means that you are going in two opposite directions to hit those targets. This is where you need to differentiate yourself by making the big jump between low cost and extremely high quality – which is where the matter of quality becomes so critical. 

The first pillar of quality is reputation. These car manufacturers need to protect their reputation – they cannot afford to be in the newspaper for recalls or that they have poor quality and so on because the consumers are very sensitive to that. This applies to the whole ecosystem behind the connectable technology. This is where we are proud to say that we have reached what we call a 10 PPM level, which means that we can guarantee that out of 1 million units you will not see more than 10 of them having an issue, which is about what the automotive segment is looking for. You have to be reliable to sell to automotive companies. 

The second pillar is financials. If you have a good quality standard you are optimising your production and you don’t have yield loss, so you could become competitive. If that is not the case you will be beaten by the competition because they could provide a better price. You need to be sure that you have made a superb optimisation of your production so that you run it at the lowest possible cost. If you look at the financials, you could say that quality is part of sales, because when you go to the competition, you will be matching your competitor to a penny. What will differentiate you is the quality level that you can bring on the table when things are the same price. 

The last pillar is innovation and expertise. If you think about quality, that means making sure we follow the processes during fabrication to ensure that every product meets those standards. We have to set specifications, but if you limit yourself to this, you miss a big part of what you can do in this industry. However, we have transformed quality into expertise. We provide expertise to the designers and optimise our cost. We provide expertise on how to make our product more reliable, so that the carmaker could use our product for 5, 10, or 15 years without suffering issues, and not having issues with the long range. That is what is important when you think about quality – it lasts. We provide a quality service by providing expertise to the company for a long time, rather than just giving them one product and limiting ourselves in that way.

What does tomorrow’s connected car actually look like? 

I think the car of the future will be safer and more environmentally friendly, and the VTX will participate in that future. It will generate softer driving behaviour because cars will be able to anticipate things, therefore reducing brutal acceleration or massive brakes, because people pick up the information at the last minute. Also, it will become much safer. The VTX creates more alert systems which should also help reduce collisions and traffic jams. 

Some people say cars will become a computer on four wheels. I think it will become an entertaining mobility moment. We’re trying to reduce the hassle of driving that makes people tired of it, and allow them to enjoy a mobility ride with infotainment, watching a movie or listening to some nice music, but also with the ability to get information on your destination while you drive. The car can point out things that are happening on your trajectory or relieve that stress by going into autopilot while you focus on preparing for your arrival. It will make driving far more entertaining. 

To learn more about connectivity in the automotive industry, tune into 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.     

FYUZ 2023 Summary Blog

This year, Fyuz returned to Madrid for three days of talks and networking, with a focus on Open RAN technology. Here are the key takeaways, straight from the neuco team: 

Day 1:

FYUZ ‘23 kicked off with a bang when Ericsson’s EVP and Head of Networks, Fredrik Jejdling, entered the stage for the first big announcement. He announced that Ericsson has 1 million radios ready for deployment in Open RAN. While Fredrik was hesitant to commit to a timeline, it seems that late 2024 is the earliest we will see the upgrades deployed on the market. 

The next significant announcement came from Vodafone’s Andrea Dona. Andrea revealed that Vodafone currently has 16 live sites in the Southwest of the UK, providing connectivity through Open RAN. This is a truly cross-vendor platform that reaches over 100,000 people. They not only expect to increase the number of sites to 24 by the end of October, but also anticipate that these systems will outperform their legacy equipment in all key performance indicators (KPIs).

The big takeaway from Day 1 is that although progress in Open RAN has been slow, it’s no longer just a concept; it’s here. Although there is still a long way to go before Open RAN technology becomes the norm, it’s exciting to see it come to fruition.

Day 2:

The second day of the conference focused on the challenges of Open RAN and multi-vendor engagement. There was a significant discussion about how operators will need to oversee relationships with multiple vendors, and a big question mark hung over the accountability of the vendors in such a scenario.

AI was another central topic. Open RAN and automation are interconnected, but there isn’t a comprehensive understanding across the industry when it comes to automation. Therefore, a substantial effort is needed to attract talent from other areas to meet growing demands from the connectivity industry.

Day 3:

Day three placed a significant focus on the use cases of Open RAN and how it can help expand into other areas of connectivity, such as private wireless and indoor connectivity. The panel rightly pointed out that 80% of device usage occurs indoors or in a vehicle. This means that a substantial portion of the mobile connectivity market isn’t being reached.

While Wi-Fi effectively provides connectivity in these hard-to-reach places, and will therefore remain the dominant connectivity method, questions arose about Open RAN’s place in the connectivity ecosystem. The multi-vendor nature of Open RAN allows operators and vendors to take their equipment indoors. Coupled with the fact that neutral hosting is inherent in Open RAN, this could make the transition between indoor and outdoor connectivity seamless.

Summary:

Overall, this year was a bit slower than anticipated. Vendors are slowly getting on board with the process, and operators are even slower to invest. However, through industry bodies such as the Telecom Infra Project, the wheels are slowly but surely turning. We’ve seen a lot of positivity about the future of the industry, and we all hope it will start to pick up pace in the coming years.

The Application of IoT Technology

IoT has been around for over 30 years. Recently however, we have begun to see new applications for this technology, which we unpacked with Shaun Stewart, the VP of Product at Infogrid, on Episode 11 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast. He talked us through his decade of experience in the area and shared his insights on the future application of IoT technology. Here’s what he said on the topic:

What’s your take on the current state of the IoT industry? 

In IoT broadly, there’s a lot of exciting stuff happening. Every industry goes through the initial hype cycle, and then things get oversold and people get disappointed. When the technology starts maturing, that’s when you see the most promise. That’s where we are now. 10 years ago there was a lot of promise in this industry, but not a lot of delivery. There were a lot of great ideas that are only just now being realised as the technology stacks mature alongside industry standards. 

As someone who’s been in the industry for a long time, I’ve been through a whole process and evolution with IoT. Now the industry feels a lot more mature than it did when I first started to get into it. There are more agreed upon standards and more mature tech stacks. Everyone’s so much more mature in the industry, they can move faster and innovate quicker. People understand the use cases a lot more. Overall, I think where we’re at today is really exciting. And we’re finally starting to realise our goals in a scalable way. 

We’re on the cusp of IoT crossing over into other industries and niches within the industry, such as process engineering, major asset protection and management etc. There’s a huge range of applications that we’re just on the cusp of, with IoT now becoming much more widespread.

Where would you say the biggest use cases for IoT are?

IoT can be applied to any interaction between the physical and digital world. Think smart cities, smart buildings, smart infrastructure… Here in New York City there’s been a lot of incremental gains over the years in our transportation infrastructure. Bringing IoT into our transportation infrastructure and making that data available will make it easier to see where a bus is, where a train is, where the metro is. IoT will improve accuracy within those systems. We’re going to see an improvement in infrastructure that’s not necessarily connected but it is smart. That’s an area where – particularly in the urban landscape – you’re going to continue to see new applications for IoT in terms of making devices smart, and then creating an urban mesh network of all these devices. 

To learn more about the applications of IoT technology, tune into Episode 11 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast

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.     

Attracting Talent in the Connectivity Industry

At neuco we’re at the forefront of recruitment for the connectivity industry. On Episode 10 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we spoke to Virtyt Koshi, the SVP and General Manager for EMEA at Mavenir, about the struggles of attracting talent to the telecom industry. Read on to hear his insights on talent attraction in the sector.

Why do you think talent isn’t being attracted to the industry at the moment?

We really have to look at what’s motivating them and what they are excited about. What new areas are 18-25 years olds excited to join? We have not seen much happen in the telco industry for the last 10 years. However, there is an opportunity to establish something new. There is still capital around, there is still innovation happening and we’re seeing young people establishing their own businesses as a result. That’s very encouraging, because you see a lot of entrepreneurial skills and ideas coming from that. 

The telco sector itself is really guilty of not approaching top students in the market or driving the conversation and it becomes a vicious circle. If you don’t drive attraction top down then the results would be mediocre. I’m a strong believer that top down will always bring good results. There’s also a bit of a stigma with a legacy perception in the industry. 

What can be done to attract more talent to the telco industry?

Create a talent development function in the business. That function is absolutely critical for any success going forward. The HR function has had a stigma against it for years, but it is a critical role in any organisation, especially when it comes to the talent development and talent acquisition process. Having HR colleagues who really understand the vision we’re trying to achieve can help us understand how to go about it. If your people function is well organised and highly performing, everything else becomes easier. Talent Acquisition and talent development are absolutely critical for the performance and sustainability of the businesses going forward.

How important is retention to talent attraction? 

Talent has to enjoy what they’re doing and be compensated adequately for the difference that they are making to the team. In the same way, people are ambitious, and that ambition drives the team’s performance as well. They need to know what’s next, whether that’s within the company or outside the company. The company needs to foster happiness amongst their employees and make space for personal development. Your talent should know that by staying with the organisation they’ll have an opportunity to develop and reach the next level, otherwise they’ll look elsewhere. Happy people will stay in your company and make room for more junior hires, increasing positive attraction. 

To learn more about talent strategies in the connectivity industry, tune into Episode 10 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast

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 Autonomous Robotics

Autonomous robotics has become a popular topic in the industry. On episode 9 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we were joined by Nicholas Zylberglajt, Co-Founder and CEO of Unmanned Life to talk about the advances the company is making in the autonomous robotics space. Nicholas is a leader with more than 15 years of international experience, and with a focus on the technology and entrepreneurship space, he has been shortlisted as one of the 12 Most Impressive CEOs in the autonomous vehicle space, while Unmanned Life has been shortlisted as a top company in the same category. 

What’s your take on the current state of autonomous robotics?

The autonomous robotics industry is booming. Where we are today, post COVID, social acceptance has totally changed the narrative around autonomous robots. People were saying ‘robots are going to take my job’, but now the narrative is that robots are helping us solve certain problems, making work safer in areas that we cannot reach etc, etc. Combined with the economy needing to become more efficient, and robots becoming more cost efficient, the robotics market is booming. For a company like us, now is a perfect moment for the rollout of autonomous robotics. So social acceptance, pricing of autonomous robots going down and improvements of the overall infrastructure has allowed a massive deployment of robotics. Even with the tech downturn that we saw last year, the valuations for robotics companies did not go down, they went up. All these trends are happening at once, so the robotics market really is booming.

What’s more important for the growth of the sector, social acceptance or proven technology? 

Social acceptance always needs to be there. Let’s take the example of drones. We have very interesting data coming from regulators, saying that they want drone delivery to be used more widely, but they want this to be done safely. If we are deploying drones, we are always abiding by the rules and regulations. Although they are cumbersome, these will allow us to become much more socially accepted. For me, social acceptance always needs to come first. The trend in terms of the market being ready and the deployment infrastructure, that’s something that we cannot force. It has to happen as the wider world is ready for it. 

Which autonomous robotics use case are you most excited about for the future?

I would say that the security of premises, search and rescue for first responders, and anything else that is making jobs safer, more efficient, or enhancing human work is what excites me the most. For example, with first responders, you have the concept of the golden hour with wildfires. The concept is that if you intervene in the first hour, you can save lives. If you can deploy robots, or drones in this case, quickly enough that firefighters can have situational awareness, you can save lives, and you can save costs. 

We are working with the telecom operators and partners to deploy networks of autonomous drones over 5G that will cover wildfire hotspots and that will allow the first responders to intervene within their golden hour. These are tangible use cases that we can work on. Finally on sustainability, you can also use robotics to deploy reforestation, emissions capture, carbon capture and mapping, so you can trace how the progress has happened and monitor the progress of that reforestation. These are all use cases that we are working on with our partners, and our technologies enable.

What will ‘autonomous everything’ look like in the next few decades?

The way that I present our vision is that society will have achieved progress, thanks to autonomous robotics. We need to have the right checks and balances on technology, because where you will have AI and robotics in every single aspect of the economy and society, and it will be safer, more efficient, and faster. But, we need to make sure that’s being monitored. Basically, in all of the use cases I was describing, you can apply that technology in other sectors of the economy by orchestrating different types of robots. Imagine that an intelligent CT was functioning with robotics and intelligent AI – the autonomous everything is when all of these are functioning harmoniously without impacting the progress and cohesion of society.

To learn more about autonomous robotics and the work that Unmanned Life are doing in the space, tune into 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.     

Preparing for the Mobile World Conference

The Mobile World Conference is fast approaching, and is one of the highlights of the connectivity calendar. On Episode 8 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we were joined by Kaitki Agarwal from A5G Networks, where she is the Fo-Founder, President and CTO, to talk about the upcoming event. Kaitki has created a culture of innovation and has over 50 patents pending and granted, making her the perfect person to talk us through the innovations we’ll see at the upcoming conference.

What are you expecting from the Mobile World Conference show?

There are a lot of evolutions happening in the mobile industry and in our network. Technologies are coming together. I’m excited to see how these technologies are impacting our day to day life, what are the new use cases, and so on. The real use cases will appear when we start using these technologies in our network, and when we have connectivity based on 5G. An example would be in healthcare for remote patient monitoring. Eventually, as we start using the technology, new use cases will start coming in as well. We’ll start using technology as a tool. As we start exploring new ways of doing things and new solutions, there’s going to be an evolution again. It’s going to be a journey.

I view MWC as an event where everyone comes together to share thoughts and innovations. It will be a great event to see how everything is coming together and how people are approaching problems. It shows us what we’re working on as an industry, and how our innovations are being realised as solutions. At A5G, we will be demonstrating some of the innovations behind realising the autonomous network in our vision. It’s a huge undertaking to enable autonomous networks in every part of the network, and A5G is doing its part. We’re focusing on autonomous packet core for 4G, 5G and Wi-Fi converged packet core for enabling self-optimising, self-configuring and self-healing networks. That’s what our charter is, but it will be good to see what other areas the audience are interested in developing during our demonstration. MWC allows us to bring all these things together, learn and share our knowledge.

You mentioned autonomous networks; other than that and 5G networks, is there any other tech that will be featured that we should look out for?

MWC covers almost all the aspects of the network. It starts from the radio network, all the way to different silicon and software innovations, use cases, verticals etc. I think we’re going to see a lot of conversations about why we need certain services, how telecom is going to evolve, whether to use private cloud or public cloud or hybrid and how the telco cloud infrastructure is going to evolve, what is the better approach? All these things are going to come together when we can hear from different thought leaders. There’s a lot to learn and discuss. I’m looking forward to learning from my peers at MWC.

Are there any verticals in particular that you think the show will have a big impact on this year?

I don’t think there’s any particular vertical I would single out at this point, because it’ssuch an evolving industry. There are a lot of different things happening. For example, everyone is talking about IoT convergence and bringing sensors into their network. There are several use cases based on our discussion with the customers and the problems they are trying to solve. They are evaluating if 5G is the right technology for them to use to solve those problems, mostly because they need either low latency or mobility, which cannot be solved with the current technologies and infrastructures. What we will see is how innovations in a particular area are being monetized and creating impact. I don’t expect to see a big announcement that we’ve proven that 5G is the best thing out there. We’ll see progress and evolution.

What would your top three tips be for somebody attending MWC that’s coming up?

Get good shoes; you will be walking a lot.

Look for different areas of technology. There are a lot of different things being covered at MWC. It’s not technically possible to see everything or listen to every panel, so be prepared to identify beforehand what your priorities are and create a map of those things. I always figure out, ‘What sessions are important to me? What technologies do I want to understand better? Where do I want to build connections from a 5G point of view?’ Machine learning is one area that is big this year, and AI is becoming our new normal. I would recommend getting involved in that and finding the touch points that connect with what you’re doing.

Try to learn as much as you can, and keep an open mind. There are a lot of new things that you may not see the relevance of immediately. It’s always good to keep an open mind and learn things that may not be there that may not seem relevant immediately, but from more of a long term thing that may become irrelevant. So that’s what I would say.

To hear more about Kaitki’s work in the 5G space, tune into 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 New Solutions in the Broadband Space 

On Episode 7 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we spoke to Peter Vandenengel, the VP Broadband Solutions in North America for SAGEMCOM. He shared his insights on the way tech is developing in the broadband space, including the way companies like SAGEMCOM are developing new solutions to meet a variety of rising needs. Read on to hear what he had to say. 

What do you see as the big technology evolutions within the broadband space?

If you’re looking at it from a home network perspective, there’s obviously WiFi seven just around the corner, which brings great advancements in speed and brings 320 megahertz channels. It also brings multilink operations, which allows you to use all the radios in a given gateway to provide throughput in the home. A lot of the operators are skipping over WiFi six E because it was sort of in between six and seven, so they’re getting ready for Wi-Fi seven instead. That’s the next big thing that we’re going to start seeing in 2024. 

A lot of the operators, whether they’re a cableco or a telco, are looking for speeds above 10 gig. On fibre today you can get up to 10 gig for telco, but now we’re looking at some operators who are developing at 25 gig, and most of them are looking towards 2026-2027 for 50 gig services. The way cycles work means that we have to start planning for that now. That’s what’s coming next from a technology point of view; more speed to the home, and then better ways to use that speed with WiFi seven in the home. 

We’re still feeling challenges throughout the market to deliver current products. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the market with the economy slowing down and a recession looming. I think next year we’ll be hunkered down, then in 2024 we’re going to see the adoption of these new technologies in a big way.

When you’re developing a new solution, what’s your general approach to doing that? 

You have to be open-minded and you have to be a bit of a hunter. I try to go in looking for what the customer wants, even if that means asking them dumb questions. You’re just continually probing and understanding the way the market is thinking. The way the industry typically works for CPE is by coming up with a generic product, then you work with your telecom providers to create a generic platform that doesn’t necessarily meet any one person’s or one company’s needs. From there you can build and customise and adjust as required. Customers will come up with their list of requirements, but you have to make a bit of a bet on what that generic product is at the beginning, so that you have the flexibility to move forward. 

My advice is to make sure you’re networking a lot and asking a lot of questions. I mentioned the word ‘hunter’, and that’s really what you’ve got to do. You have to go out there, sniffing around, to really figure out what people are thinking. In that initial meeting they’ll tell you what they’re thinking, but it might take a couple more meetings to really understand their business and the problems they are trying to solve. It requires a constant curiosity and willingness to get things wrong early, so that you can figure out the right path quickly.  

How would you go about tailoring those solutions for different clients?

That goes back to the goal of doing things efficiently. In the networking space, the margin for hardware isn’t huge, so you have to be very efficient in the way you develop your generic products and maintain your flexibility to adapt it to customers. Obviously we don’t want to shortchange a customer, so if our platform or our reference platform doesn’t meet their needs, we want to make sure that we can adapt it. That means working with a great team of engineers, coming up with designs that could be flexible on the fly, with some modifications that can be changed at the factory. It’s really just about being as open as possible with the team doing the actual development. 

When I take on those customer requirements, I’m digesting it, feeding it to the r&d folks, listening to them on what’s going to work and what’s not going to work and then being the bridge between the development team and the customer. That is never easy, because if a developer is not face to face with a customer, they can say no or just brush you off, because they don’t have to face the wrath of the customer. But for a product manager like me, I’m developing relationships with both sides. I can ask the questions that get engineers thinking in different ways, which could help them find flexible solutions that meet the customer’s needs. 

To learn more about developing new broadband solutions, tune into Episode 7 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.     

Prioritising Customer Experience in the Connectivity Industry

On Episode 6 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we sat down with Richard Hart, the Global Connectivity Director at Quectel. Richard’s career has spanned over 15 years, working with connectivity giant Vodafone before moving to Quectel in 2021 to lead their global connectivity proposition. We spoke to him about how focussing on customer experiences can bring the industry forwards. 

How do you approach customer experience as you scale up a quick sales connectivity business?

Customer experience has been our focus now for a long time. The customer is genuinely at the heart of every decision we make. Patrick, our co-founder and CEO, is always out talking to customers, and that feedback comes right back into the organisation. We value seeing the world through the customer’s eyes, understanding how what we do impacts the customer and how the customer subsequently behaves. Understanding those behaviours helps us shape their experience. You also need to accept that things go wrong, mistakes happen and technology crashes. Being honest about that and learning from it will make your customer’s experience better. They’ll trust you to fix it even when things do go wrong, because they know you won’t repeat the same mistakes. 

How would you ensure consistent customer experience when looking at a number of product lines which can be sold separately?

You have to take a step back and look at things holistically and understand the impact of the individual components. It’s important to understand that if you do something on one product, that will impact everything else as well. Whilst we put the customer at heart of everything, we still have a job to do. We still have a business to run. What we do is focus on collaborative working between departments and developing healthy behaviours. If you are going to deliver a superior customer experience than your competitors, you need a continual evolution of processes and services that meet your customer’s needs. Whenever you change things, think about how that impacts the customer, and communicate the changes clearly. 

What can be learned from having different interactions with a particular customer for different products?

Customers have three or four contact points with an organisation. Those contacts have to talk to each other, because the customer expects you to know what your colleague is doing and if it’s going to impact them. Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing? It should! From a competitive point of view, providing that information will keep you ahead, because again, it’s about good customer experience. That’s why internal communication is so important, because it allows you to feed back all the different points of view and build your team as a whole. 

What does a good customer experience actually look like?

We all have companies and brands that we think of as good and bad, so I try to get my team to think about that when they’re creating customer interactions. We all know what it feels like to have a positive experience with a company. Good customer experience is just the basics. It is about communication. It’s also admitting when you’ve got a problem. It’s being transparent in terms of ‘this is what we’ve done to ensure it doesn’t happen again’, or ‘we’re investigating a new follow up’. That’s all it is; doing right by people. 

There’s a standard that customers expect when they interact with you. Whether they use a phone or a self service platform, there are basic products and solutions that underpin your customer experience. Some things are really important to customers and if you understand what you’re supplying, you need to put service levels around that. Accommodating the customer experience is based on what vertical and solution it’s supporting. You need to get that infrastructure in place. 

To hear more about putting customers at the heart of your connectivity company, tune into the full episode 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.     

The Future of In-Home Connectivity

The Connectivity industry has been leaning towards the in-home market for some time. Improving networks and the development of Smart Home technology has seen consumer expectations rise, putting strain on service providers. On Episode 5 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we spoke to Shane Paola, the VP of sales at Plume Design, about how in-home technology is shaping the industry. Plume Design is creating a new category of Smart Home experiences, leveraging cloud and AI, which Shane unpacked with us. 

Read on to find out what challenges are currently facing in-home connectivity providers.

What’s the current state of the Connectivity industry?

It’s about the in-home experience right now. We’ve built these phenomenal networks, so customer expectations are extremely high, they want to add more devices into their homes than ever before. The rise of connected homes and devices within our clouds isn’t slowing down. People are embracing Smart Home technologies, so connectivity inside of the home is becoming increasingly important. Companies are trying to support the needs of customers on their Smart Home journey, while also delivering the experiences that people expect from the bandwidth they’re subscribing to. 

What are you most excited for about the future of the Connectivity industry?

It’s all heading for personalization and the in-home experience. One service provider has basically gone from managing five or six tariffs and cut it down to two. They’ve said, ‘Here’s our basic package, it’s £29.90 a month and you get this minimum level of service. Or there’s our max bundle.’ They’re not advertising speeds and feeds, they’re just saying, ‘We’re gonna give you the greatest in-home experience with the best WiFi mesh environment, covering your house with connectivity. You’ll always get the maximum available bandwidth when it’s provisioned in your area and you never have to worry about it.’ That’s a phenomenally bold and disruptive move, which I think the rest of the industry should look at. Customer dissatisfaction and negative experiences create a churn from one provider to another, which is a nightmare. Providers have to manage sunsetting tariffs and trying to move their customers onto new platforms as well as trying to retain their customers. It’s a great sign that companies are starting to move their focus on customer experience rather than the speeds and feeds.

Which use case would you find most useful in your home that you don’t currently have?

I want to see a Smart Home environment. Different vendors are building things that don’t necessarily interoperate with each other, so it’s hard to create an integrated system. There’s a fair bit of buzz around the new Matter system and its potential. IOT bodies are building towards the Matter framework, which will hopefully standardise things in terms of internet connectivity in Smart Home environments. What we’re missing is simplicity. Big companies typically compete at a device level or an application level, but they need to realise that for the best customer experience they need to collaborate. That’s what I want to see happen in my home.

To hear about the work Shane and Plume Design are doing to advance the industry, tune into the whole episode 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.     

How does working for a business with one vertical strength impact its diversification into other verticals?

On Episode 4 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we spoke with Erik Carlson, the SVP of sales for Maritime, Energy and Government at Anuvu. With over 20 years of executive leadership experience, growing and driving revenue across the likes of Panasonic Avionics, ConvergeOne and Hitachi, Erik deeply understands the industry and has plenty of enthusiasm for revenue generation. 

We spoke about his experience across a variety of industries and how important it is to focus on the customer at all levels of the business. 

What advantages do you have coming from a different industry into connectivity?

The pace at which I work and we run our teams is much higher than a lot of the people who’ve come out of the satellite community. A lot of them have old government roots, which means they tend to move a little slower. My background is much more Silicon Valley. Think about it in context. How are they operating? How are they thinking? How are they iterating on technology? That’s my world. There’s a professional ruthlessness that needs to be respected, and I try to operate in a very similar fashion. The fact that I came from different industries gives me different perspectives on learning customer markets incredibly quickly. While everything I do is about global connectivity below the clouds, we also have an aviation and aviation entertainment business. Below the clouds, those are all different customers, who have different end user requirements. My advantage is my ability to learn that voice of the customer, and to really care about that customer, that’s allowed for the speed at which these successes have been happening for us.

How have you gone about learning the voice of the customer?

I always work from the customer backwards, I do everything in reverse. Look to identify how something is getting to the customer. It’s not the guy who buys connectivity, it’s who his customers are. We need to map not just where our clients are operating, but also what their itineraries and routes are, and who else is in the area. If you look at oil leases, they are basically divided up plots of land out in the ocean, and you can see other rigs from yours. Similarly, each satellite is able to pump down a certain amount of capacity on Earth in a single place. Starlink is doing some brilliant things to amplify that, but if there’s only one legal provider on the planet, and everyone wants that service, you’re going to have a pinch point there. It’s great for me to talk about my customers, but if I’m not taking care of their entire ecosystem, I’m not a partner. There’s a lot of dynamics there, which are going to come into play. If you start with your customer, you’ll have a guiding light upon which to lead the business.

How do you find working for a business with a track record and visibility in one vertical, and how does that impact the verticals that you’re in charge of?

The biggest thing I look at is the leadership team. It’s all about understanding the leadership team’s exit strategy timeline and their worldview. Anuvu brought me on their mission, and their passion was to commit to this business, and that’s what I was looking for. The other thing happening there is that results drive decisions. What we’ve seen is that the business below the clouds is growing phenomenally, and there is an incredible harmony of above the clouds and below the clouds connectivity. Everyone looks at their customers uniquely, but there’s so much in common there and the leadership team here at Anuvu has been really clear about how we think about ourselves. 

Externally and historically, Anuvu has always been seen as ABA question, but what we are seeing is a lot of those customers who tried greener pastures elsewhere are realising that it wasn’t actually greener and they’re coming back to us. Another advantage in my role is that we are seeing customers that have explored other venues and had 2, 3 or 4 years and aren’t seeing the results, customer service or the care that they wanted. The Anuvu rebranding has been really important to help continue and maintain that below the cloud business. 

To hear more about the work that Erik and Anuvu are doing in the Connectivity industry, listen to the whole episode of The Connectivity Matters Podcast

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.     

How the Edge Air Solution is Affecting the Connectivity Market

Recently on The Connectivity Matters Podcast, we spoke to Raz Kivelevich-Carmi, the Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer at Cellium Technologies. With over 20 years experience from within the chipset ecosystem, Raz has invaluable insights into the tech that’s currently revolutionising the industry. We talked about the innovations happening at Cellium and how they’ll impact consumers. Read on to find out what’s coming next!

Tell us about Cellium’s Edge Air solution and how it differs from small cell solutions?

There are multiple technologies or topologies out there, ranging from full genome to small cell and all the way up to the oran types of solution, which is a very big hype these days. The databases have been around for some time, whereas the psyllium solution is, in essence, a desk-like solution. However, opposed to what standard desk does, we do it much better performance-wise as well as at a much lower cost than those existing solutions. The reason that the technology is based on an analogue-only type of deployment is that we do not do any analogue to digital conversions of any sort. We don’t utilise special cabling, most other deployments are going to be fibre which is an expensive means to transfer data from one end to the other, but we use standard copper cables which you have in your walls. If you don’t have them in your walls, we can put them into the walls at a much lower cost both for the equipment and the deployment cost itself. It’s very easy to put up copper wire, it’s much harder to put up a fibre wire. 

When you take all of this together, you’re getting an active DAS that works over copper wire in an analogue domain, with no need to do those conversions. The cherry on top of the cake is that we do it based on the SOC chipset that we have developed in house. The companies that do active DAS do all of those conversions. They take the RF signal, either they push it over coax cable, which is again very expensive, or they take it and they transfer it from analogue domain into the digital domain. In many cases, they then take the digital signal and then they push it to fibre and then they push it from one point of the building to another point of the building, then they do it again fibre to digital, digital to analogue and then they retransmit. The way that we do it is we take the RF signals and we drop them to a frequency which is referred to as an intermediate frequency, which is usually in the low hundreds of megahertz, and that can be pushed over a copper cable easily. I’m simplifying things that are chipped and are actually doing a lot in order to make it happen, but it’s much easier to keep the single analogue and push it across the wire. I make sure that I push it in such a way that I don’t degrade the performance. I do not add latency which all those digital technologies do. They modify the signal in order to have it passed from one point to the other in a robust way, which is very time consuming and expensive. That’s what we do, but we do it using our own chips. 

Some companies have chosen to take this path of analogue conversion only. However they do it with discrete components which isn’t very cost effective. This is why Cellium took the approach about two and a half or three years ago to, to take a system and to develop a chip that replaces those discrete components into a single chip. When they did it with discrete component, it was very expensive, which is the reason that they went for an SOC. We are the only company in the world today that has an SOC that does this RF live conversion. Again, this further reduces the overall cost of the system. When I compare it to the good performance active DAS, it’s where I have the merits of providing an active DAS at a very low cost. That’s the huge merit against those active DAS types of solutions.

So is the Edge Air solution suitable for all indoor vertical markets?

When we look at the market today, what we see is two segments. There is the private network segment, and then there is the bigger one, which is the eminent or the or the public domain. If you look at analysts, they would probably say that the public sector is going to account for about 70% of the entire 5G market, whereas 30%, will go into private networks. Now, there is a big difference between private networks and public networks from the deployment perspective, so I’ll touch each one of those and explain how the Edge Air solution does it. 

Let’s start with the public, which is the bigger segment, and probably the one that’s going to happen earlier in the game. One of the things that all the all the cell vendors and DAS vendors have seen is the fact that the majority of the MNO market today is what is called NSA or non-stand-alone, which means that legacy 4G is working alongside the 5G. Only about 10 to 20% of the seminars these days are using 5G standalone. That doesn’t mean that companies will immediately migrate from NSA into SA, but they will start to, and for the next three to five years they will continue using their legacy 4G cores and add 5G capabilities on top of it and have the cells work together. Now, this makes it harder for operators who now need to bring a box into the building that does NSA. They can do one of two things: they can rely on the 4G macro to penetrate in and to be synchronised with the 5G devices in the building, or they could bring 4G data into the building. In some countries it’s very common to have 4G data in the building, but in the majority of the countries that we’ve seen, what you see is the need to go into a building and put in a 4G and 5G transmitting and receiving element in. Now, that is a problem for many of the small sales companies because if you look at most of the small cells today, they are built around the Qualcomm chipset, there is a 4G Qualcomm chipset and there is a 5G Qualcomm chipset and you need to put both of them into the box and to have some collaboration between the two of them. In many cases, the 4G is coming from a different vendor altogether like Ericsson and Nokia, who are very common to be used as the macro vendor. But, going back to the box, you need to have 4G and 5G in the box in a single location and to get better coverage for both of them working together. 

Most of our customers would like to have a single box that has the capability to work on both systems. Now, this is where Cellium excels. Why am I saying that? Because the way that our system is built, it has two major components. One is called the CPU, which is the Cellium base unit, and one is called the CRU, which is the same remote unit or the radio unit. Our base unit interacts with third party equipment, we don’t compete with Ericsson, we’re not here to compete with Airspan. As I’ve stated before, we look at them as a signal source. What we do is distribute their signal across the building. We build our boxes in a way that interfaces with more than one vendor, so we can put in an Ericsson 5G and a Nokia or Huawei or a Samsung 4G and both of them will connect to our box. That CPU will then spread it to units across the building, and each one of those units will transmit both the 4G and 5G together from a single location. This is a great value to the customers because they need the 4G and 5G because they’re doing NSA. However, in the future, when they migrate away from NSA and reform their frequencies, they might be able to take out the 4G source signal source and put in another 5G signal source. Now it’s 5G, the cost of replacement or reforming for indoor types of deployment this way will be dramatically lower than replacing multiple small cells around the building. This is a future proof solution that allows the operators to build a system now and then move on to SA at a later stage with a very low cost of replacement. We wouldn’t make any money out of it at that stage, but customers will save a lot of money then. 

Let me just touch on the private network for a while. The private network is a very complex market these days, and there is a huge competition between 5G and WiFi. These two technologies want to play in the game of private networks. In the last two years or so everybody was saying private networks are 5G. This is because the 5G industry has been pushing this. In the recent year or so I’ve started to see more and more of the Wi Fi coming back and saying ‘No guys, we can do private networks’. You’re talking about quality of service, we know how to do quality of service, you’re talking about latency, we know how to do proper latency, you’re talking about security, we know how to do proper security. In my opinion, they will complement each other, in some cases it will be just WiFi, in some cases it’s just going to be 5G. In many cases, it’s going to be a mutual solution that serves the facility that it’s in. 

Now, the solution for private networks is going to look a bit different from the MNO that I’ve just described. Nobody cares about the NSA because these are private networks, so it’s going to be easy. From the 5G perspective, however, we need to facilitate the Wi Fi to go through the same infrastructure because at the end of the day, you don’t want to have one or two boxes that are in a single location and transmit WiFi and 5G over the same corporate wires. This is exactly what we’re doing in the private network. We’re building boxes that are doing 5G only. Our first products are 5G with what we call cascading capabilities. If there is a Cisco, Juniper or HP Aruba that is already in the facility, I don’t want to disturb that unit. The IT manager already bought that unit, he doesn’t want to take it off and replace it with a new one, but he does want to add 5G into the facility. So what we’re bringing in is our CRU remote units that are capable of 5G only. I facilitate the same infrastructure to work for 5G and WiFi. So, instead of having 4G coming in and 5G coming in, as I was explaining before, now only 5G will come in alongside the Wi Fi or Ethernet. I will facilitate both of them to go through the corporate wires into my box, and then I will spread the 5G and let the expert on WiFi spread the WiFi. 

To hear more of Raz’s insights into the industry and find out what advice he’d offer someone joining the sector, tune into the full episode of The Connectivity Matters Podcast

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.     

Virtualisation in the Connectivity Industry

On The Connectivity Matters Podcast we were joined by James Morgan, SVP of sales at DriveNets. James is currently responsible for DriveNets’ growth strategy and leading the company’s European activity. Previously working at Juniper Networks as Head of Global MSP and NAS sales, as well as founding several successful startups, James has over 25 years experience across connectivity. He spoke to us about his perspectives on developments in communication technology.

So what’s your take on the current state of telecommunications?

Well, it’s interesting and dynamic. If you look at telcos and service providers, and where they make their money, there’s a huge ecosystem that’s eating into their profitability. Bandwidth is increasing dramatically, price per bit is decreasing dramatically, and the telcos and the service providers are in the middle of all that. There’s an opportunity for any business today to take advantage of cloud and the almost infinite bandwidth that’s available to really expand their businesses as enterprises. There are definitely challenges that a lot of CEOs and CTOs have, such as hyper scalers moving into their territory. They have to have a frenemy type relationship there, because cloud is the biggest macro trend that we’ve seen in my career. They’ve got over the top players coming in making serious amounts of money using their infrastructure. Whether it’s a consumer or business, if there’s something wrong with the network, it’s seen as the service providers fault, rather than anything else from the myriad of things that affect it. It’s increasingly complex.

The growth rates are not anything like some of those other players that I’ve just touched on. Companies like Juniper and Cisco and Fortinet, who are providing services through service providers in some instances are also partnering with the cloud players and, and so on. It’s all pushing the value of the service provider or telco down. We’re trying to help push back against those forces that are against them. Telcos need to solve these big strategic challenges as they try to digitally transform. Companies that have been around for a long time seem antiquated, even mediaeval in some instances. They’re hanging on to systems, processes and infrastructure that they really need to change and transform.

Moving into the future, are there any particular technologies that you are particularly excited about that are on the horizon?

Yeah, there’s a lot of artificial intelligence, which is a big word. And there’s a lot of artificial intelligence washing that goes on in everything. Everybody’s got an artificial intelligence capability all of a sudden, but I think that when that’s harnessed in collaboration with human beings it has the potential to really transform a lot of areas and do a lot of good. Whether that’s in healthcare, medicine, research or education, there’s some real positives from that perspective. Everything is hyper-connected nowadays. We have infinite access to compute and store and network that creates a combination of all of those aspects, realistically. I still get buzzed off that I can set my alarm on my phone, or my alarm system, or I can see someone ringing the doorbell when I’m down the shops. I think everything’s got a little role to play, but fundamentally the interconnectedness of everything is what excites me. As long as it’s used for the right things, in the right manner.

What impact would you say virtualisation and cloud native software has had in the telecommunications industry?

When you look at telcos and service providers, they’ve got different domains of the network and different areas that I think there’s a lot of benefit to be had from virtualization. I mean, one of the things that I did when I left Intact was actually set up a small startup that was focused on virtualization and using IT infrastructure to pool resources. Fundamentally what that brings, if you look at what’s happened in data centres, the same thing starts to happen in networking and security. Virtualization brings an awful lot of flexibility and an awful lot of power. What we’re seeing is that desire to have a hyperscaling operational model. That’s part of the transition that needs to be happening in the search provider world, if they’re going to compete with hyper scalars, we’ve got to be agile and flexible and have speed when it comes to delivering services and what your customers want. Fundamentally it’s all about business outcomes, and what technology can bring to an organisation with the right vision and desire. It really revolutionises and transforms the way that they can operate.

But again, it’s a journey, right? It’s an evolution rather than a revolution. We’re certainly seeing a lot of virtualization in the open RAM space. There’s definitely virtualization in cloud hyper scalers with regards to value added services, whether that be security services or other types of applications. And again, the telcos are kind of caught in the middle a little bit and need to really harness and define their roles as to exactly what it is that they’re gonna be providing and offering to businesses. Because it’s a hyper connected world, but it’s also hyper competitive.

How do you think that virtualization will affect how we’re building and designing these networks?

I’m right in the heart of it with DriveNets. What virtualization brings operationally is it’s just a completely different transformation from a kind of a very fixed, modular legacy, monolithic type approach. It’s very much a chassis where you’re always limited by the capacity of that particular box. You can knit them together and you can get more scalable, etc. but you’re still dealing with everything box-by-box. What we see with virtualization and the advent of white boxes that are carrier class is the ability to really disaggregate and virtualize the entire network. The entire network effectively acts and as if it’s one router, for example, or one switch will be at a scale of distributed different countries, it doesn’t matter.

There’s a whole raft of operational benefits in terms of the way you manage that; everything down to the logistics runs on one or two different bits of white box software as opposed to five or six different routing boxes to do different functions. When you combine functions to offer a multi service approach the network becomes like a cloud, and that’s the bit that virtualization really brings. Then you can just drop containers into those networks, whether it’s a third party firewall, an edge router, a core router… It’s all interoperable, and it’s truly scalable. You just add more white boxes as you want more scale. The huge demand for capacity, has been driven by the ability of the technology to enable that.

To find out more about James Morgan’s insights on connectivity media, listen to the full episode of The Connectivity Matters Podcast.

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.     

What technology has had the biggest impact on the connectivity industry?

On the first episode of our newly rebranded The Connectivity Matters Podcast, we were joined by Chris Lennartz, the Vice President of Product Management for mobile services iBASIS. He’s had an incredibly successful career within the telecommunications industry, spanning over the last 20 years with a focus on strategic planning, business development and product management. Chris has also recently been voted number 18 in the top 100 most influential figures in the telco industry. We asked him for his insights on technology in the industry. 

What technologies do you think have had the biggest impact on the industry?

That’s a very simple one, it’s IP, because when I started, nothing was IP. Everything was TDM, everything was circuit switched. When IP came it completely revolutionised not only the cost of the network but the nature of the network and the way that the telecoms network interacted with a lot of different players, because suddenly the internet and telecommunications became one and a lot of new players came in. All the cloud stuff that we’re discussing right now started back in the 90s when the internet was opened up, and that completely revolutionised the telecoms industry. I know it’s been a long time since then, but if you ask me, that has been the biggest disruption and the biggest impact to the industry.

What impact do you think 5G has had and where do you see that progressing?

That’s a comparably disruptive impact. 5G is not only taking IP to a whole new level, it’s an evolution and revolution at the same time. If you look at evolution it’s more bandwidth. 4G already has more bandwidth than 3G, and 5G has more bandwidth than 4G, and that keeps going on and on. The most important thing about 5G in particular is that it revolutionises the way we look at networks. 4G was still a point network, then the whole virtualization thing came around. Now with 5G, you can make virtual networks from end to end spanning multiple networks. Network slicing will become very interesting if you look at specific IoT service providers or enterprises that need specific end-to-end connectivity with the specific quality of service or other parameters that you would normally do with a dedicated network. Now we can do it over the 5G network and just reserve a specific price for that, which makes it very interesting to have really one network that does it all. That will change the way we use the telecoms networks. 

The fourth industrial wave is really building on what 5G can give us. With the advent of private 5G networks, if you look at the predictions for them, it could be hundreds and even thousands of private networks that are being built. For example, it’s logical for airports to have their own network, given the fact that you have so many tourists or travellers in general to transport, all their suitcases to transport, on top of all the logistics and fleet management stuff that you need to do. How great would it be to have a network for yourself to do that? This proliferation of private 5G networks could really give a new boost to the way we automate the industry. 

Is there any tech on the horizons of either 5G or moving even further into the next generations that you’re most excited about in particular?

From a roaming perspective, it’s very exciting. It’s also challenging because on one hand, there will be even more bandwidth, but on the other hand there’s yet another new technology which is coming in. What we did right when LTE came along was go from SS7 signalling to diameter signalling. It was really good for us because at that time, we didn’t have market share, and disruption is always good for the challenger and not good for the leader. At that time, we were challenging the way things were so we took the opportunity to disrupt IP committee signalling, and we made a name for ourselves, and we built a solution earlier than anybody else. That’s why we became number three. 

Now, with 5G, this has happened again. This time we are leaders, which means that it can be a threat and opportunity at the same time. We’re going from diameter signalling to something that is called HTTP to signal, so yet another disruption. There will be a lot of companies that will think ‘hey, wait a minute, what I basically did 10 years ago, we can do now. So let’s do to them what they did to others.’ That’s challenging, but we need to challenge ourselves, it’s also an opportunity for ourselves, right? Because we are still number one, we can still get a lot of market share by doing this game right again, but there’s a lot more disruption this time to 5G than just the signalling changing its name. 

There’s also a lot more interesting use cases in roaming that will make you rethink the way we think about roaming. Today roaming basically means the traffic goes home from the visitor network, and is being handled there by the home operator. That takes 100 milliseconds in some cases, if you have to go from Singapore to Amsterdam, for example. However, if you have a self-driving car, that is simply not acceptable – the traffic can’t go halfway around the globe and then come back because that 100 millisecond is far too long. The latency of 5G for some specific use cases that all have to do with machine to machine or IoT should go down to less than 10 milliseconds. That means that traffic will need to stay in that specific region or in some cases, very close to the base station. That means that you have to start working with MEC on local breakout and applications being run, and very close to the base station. That means a reevaluation of the way we think about roaming. It’s going to be very interesting to see how all of these varieties of uses will need a variety of solutions. The way roaming works will be very different than 10 years ago when there were no devices, but just people going in on a day and using their phone.

To hear more about Chris Lennox’s insights into developments in the connectivity industry, listen to the full Connectivity Matters Podcast episode 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.     

The future for Rivada Networks and RF Technology

In episode #72 of The Tech That Connects Us, we sat down with Declan Ganley, Founder of Rivada Networks

Declan is a well-known English-born Irish entrepreneur and businessman, and it was great to sit down and pick his brains in this conversation! We unpack everything from his plans for Rivada Networks, through to D&I and attracting talent.  

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did recording it. 

What does the future hold for Rivada Networks? 

We’ve done an RFP to procure our satellites. So, we’re going to have contractors build out the satellites, they get to our requirements, design, etc. And we’ll be able to talk more about that soon. But, the RFP is out there, and we’ve got great responses to it.  

We’re very excited that we will be moving to do an RFP to procure launch service at the end of this year. And, we’re adding to the team. So, we’re in Germany this week at an industry show: presenting, recruiting – we are looking to find the very best people in this industry, the best brains, the best talent in this industry, and asking them to come and join us. It’s a phenomenal project.  

You’re not just a cog in the system, you know, we want real entrepreneurs! 

What are your thoughts on RF technologies?  

RF technologies from the ground to space piece – The thing is, you want to use RF to get to your first cell site in space; and then you want to backhaul everything through space, landing it back down again onto the planet, and then backhauling it through subsea cables, terrestrial networks, etc with all the problems that they have, from a security standpoint, from a latency standpoint, etc.  

When it goes to space, we want to keep it in space until we have to land it at its endpoint destination, wherever possible. But RF is not going away. Our RF will be technology, the capabilities around it will improve. And, I think that that yes, certainly that there will be a role for optical links to space itself, I think that will happen.  

Radio’s really good. It’s got much more potential than we’ve extracted from it. Our whole philosophy is that we’ve just scratched the surface in terms of the potential of radio. The reason we haven’t got much more out of it is not that the technology can’t do more. It’s because of regulatory requirements. 

Diversity and Inclusion – how are you going to attract great people? 

I want people that work hard, and who have got a phenomenal work ethic. So, if you haven’t got a good work ethic, don’t call us! If you’re willing to work hard, and you’ve got the talent, we want to hear from you – end of story. We are already a very diverse organisation. But, to be very honest with you, it’s not that we set out to be diverse! We have just searched for people with the right skill sets and attitude.  

A big bias that doesn’t get talked about as much is age, that someone is “very old” – however, we want people on our board who have that experience, otherwise what’s the point? If they haven’t been through the “wars” then we will have to relearn everything.  

So wisdom, experience, all of those things really, really count. And yes, diversity is absolutely essential.  

If you’ve got the work ethic, you’ve got the talent, and you’re willing to stick your neck out and take some risks, we want to hear from you. My dad taught me about empathy about putting your putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes. How would you want to be treated? How would you want a member of your family to be treated in those same circumstances? That’s something that a lot of the world has forgotten. You know, being polite, being open-minded in that regard, and treating people decently is important.  

Listen to the full episode here.

Every Wednesday we sit down 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.     

The Current State of The Connectivity Market  

In another insightful episode of The Tech That Connects Us podcast, we were joined by Jillian Kaplan, Head of Global Telecom Thought Leadership at Dell Technologies, who shared her impressive career progression as a working mother and perspective on the current state of the connectivity market. 

We’ve highlighted some of the key points below and you can listen to the full episode here. 

How do you see the current state of the market? 

The focus is very much on 5G at the moment. And as we look at 5G, we need to make sure we’re looking closely at the technologies that build 5G. So, the core, the brand, the foundation, the edge. For Dell Technologies, we have hardware that’s very focused on edge use cases and telecommunications use cases, which is extremely important. 

In terms of the state of the market, the focus is on making sure that the investments that are being made can be monetized and on helping CSPs understand how this can be done. So, to his end, building truly open networks is something that’s extremely important and something we’re focused on at Dell. We partner with communication service providers instead of just selling to them, for example. All the while, recognising that going to an enterprise market is different than going to a consumer market. So, that’s the biggest shift I see; this trend towards openness and ensuring things are happening in partnerships. 

What opportunities do you see in creating open networks? 

When we look at vertical use cases, manufacturing is going to be huge. There are opportunities in healthcare as well, and retail. If you think about it, when you think about the jump from 4G to 5G, a lot of people thought 5G was overhyped, because the existing apps didn’t actually need 5G to run on your phone today. But there will be 5G apps built, I don’t think it is overhyped. I think it’s important for consumers to get on the 5G network so that they’re ready for when 5G apps are built. 

For example, autonomous vehicles is a hot topic, even though it’s not happening tomorrow. And it’s important, as consumers, to start building an understanding about the different aspects involved, automation, for example, and question how we can learn about these developments before they roll out. 

How do you think the industry will change in the coming years? 

I’m confident the industry will become more diverse as things progress. One thing I’ve learned form being in the industry for so long, is that, especially in telecommunications companies, people tended to start their careers there and retire there, which isn’t the norm anymore. Although in telecommunications, it’s still not abnormal. 

As these people retire, it’s going to bring a new wave of talent and we’ll start to see more certificate programmes. I’d love to see more communications and 5G and 6G and WiFi 6 certifications out there, bringing a younger generation of people into the industry. I don’t think it has the same coolness factor as cloud technologies amongst young people, but I consider it to be just as cool; we need to help people understand how awesome a career in this industry can be. 

What are some of the factors that can help boost the diversity in the industry? 

Certificate programmes would be amazing because people wouldn’t need to necessarily major in telecommunications. There are a lot of people who have majored in something else but are curious to now learn about the telecommunications industry. 

I’m leading the Grow Talent Stream within the Diversity Council, working on getting more diverse talent interested. And one thing we did at Dell recently was, we hosted a webinar to showcase women who are working within the company who don’t have technical backgrounds, to show that you don’t need to know how to code to work in communications or even high tech. I think it’s really important for everyone to understand that you don’t need to be an engineer to work in tech and telecommunications. 

Click here to listen to the full episode. 

Every Wednesday we sit down 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.     

Connectivity Unleashed – Dan Jeffery at MWC Barcelona

MWC Barcelona had a Connectivity Unleashed theme and provided over 61,000 people to meet face to face for potentially the first time in 3 years. The event saw over 1,900 exhibitors with over 49% of attendees at Director level and above from 124 countries.

Personally, it was my first MWC and I thoroughly enjoyed it even with a face mask. Despite the show’s capacity being around 60% to pre-covid times, it was a positive environment to be in. Also, with less people in attendance it was slightly easier to get from Hall 1 to 5 to 7 for those ill-planned back-to-back meetings!

The technology and information at booths only improved my knowledge and understanding of the market. I’m not a technical expert by any means but it really helped to join the dots of the last 2.5 years I’ve worked at neuco. Whilst I was impressed by the robot making drinks, I found the robot dogs somewhat scary and don’t even get me started on a robotic cat!

The AI telling me I was ‘hairless’ caused some laughs amongst my colleagues and aside from that, it was a pleasure to be in Barcelona with Laurie and Alistair.

Of the 6 key themes, here at neuco we took particular interest in 5G Connect. After over 100 meetings in 3 days between the 3 of us and around 25,000 steps per day each, the weekend was certainly needed to recover!

5G Connect was dominated by the talk on Open RAN with lots happening in the ecosystem. Whether it was existing partnerships being showcased or the opportunity to discuss new ones, collaboration seemed to be key. Several companies were providing demonstrations as an end-to-end solution or showing how powerful collaboration can be with the 5G Open Lab as one example. Rakuten Symphony acquiring Robin.io was major news for the Symphony sales effort as well as their new agreement with AT&T.

For all the positivity around Open RAN, John Baker, SVP of Business Development at Mavenir, was highly critical of Ericsson and Nokia for creating confusion. Clearly, the likes of Mavenir & Parallel Wireless are disruptors to the market but how much longer can Ericsson or Nokia protect their legacy and delay for?

As we move closer to deployments of more 5G networks, the market only looks to grow for those with 5G use cases or equipment providers on the networks. We’ve seen record sales years for some and whilst there are of course supply chain difficulties, hopefully the next 12-24 months will see further growth.

From a recruitment perspective, the conversations were very positive with ambitious hiring plans across different functions. Whether it was new commercial roles through internal growth or expansion into new verticals/regions, the market seems very buoyant. Of course, I can’t mention recruitment without asking if there’s a software-based company who doesn’t have a need for Software Engineers?

Also, it’s an exciting time for product and presales functions as new services or solutions are being developed and need either taking to market or sold. The demand for the fine balance between a technical understanding but being confident enough to have an external conversation, is only going to increase.

Most importantly from the event, I feel that a barrier was taken down by having face to face conversations and really appreciate the time from everybody I met. Dare I say it, I’m already looking forward to 27 February 2023 for the MWC23!

Connectivity Key Trends. neuco’s annual 2022 key trends report.

What’s in store for the Connectivity industry?

2022, where’s it going to go, what does it have in store?

We’ve collated key trends from some of the influential figures across the 4 sectors we recruit into – Cyber Security, Connectivity, Content & Media and Satellite & NewSpace.

We’ve spoken to experts from companies such as Sky, Orbit Fab, Casa Systems, and A5G Networks.

If you want to find out what we think will be the key trends for cyber security this year, then just click the link below to download now!

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The current state of the connectivity industry

In episode #56 of The Tech That Connects Us, we had the opportunity to sit down with Ollie Anderson, SVP, Americas at Benetel

We had an in-depth conversation about everything connectivity related, from how he got into the industry (after a stint in the military) through to the more intricate details of his role and the current state of the market. 

We hope you enjoy it as much as we did recording it!

Which specific technology do you think has had the biggest impact on our industry?

“In my view, wireless broadband. It’s one of the biggest things and has enabled a lot of the content industry, a lot of the social media, mobile, you know, video distribution to do to handsets, etc. 

So, I think that has been the biggest thing. And now, going into the future, I think we are going to see more of augmented reality, virtual reality applications coming towards the consumers and being used at the industrial enterprise side, all enabled within wireless connectivity.”

How has the pandemic impacted the connectivity from your perspective and the industry?

“The need for connectivity has grown. And people have been realising that we need reliable connectivity. And now, when, when most of the world is working from home, we are using conferencing tools, just like we are today. So, I think the need for connectivity has grown immensely.”

Which region do you see as having the largest growth area between APAC and the Americas?

“So we see a lot of growth in Europe and in Americas at the moment. Both regions are extremely active and roll out 5G and so on. So, America, as far as Europe is a very active place for us.”

What do you anticipate being the big hot topics in the connectivity industry over the next 12 months?

“I think we are going to see a lot of private 5G solutions and deployments being done specifically for private networks, enterprises, industrial networks, and those alike. 

I think that will be clearly a trend. You see a lot of the cloud providers, for example, lining up their 5G solution offerings and bringing that functionality closer to the enterprise.”

If you’d like to listen to the full episode, click here to access it!

Every Wednesday we sit down 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.     

The 2022 Key Trend for the connectivity industry.

For episode 54 of The Tech That Connects Us we were joined by François Duchêne – VP Wireless Solutions EMEA at Casa Systems.  

Tom Wilding and Alistair Wilson spoke with Francois about OpenRAN, Private networks and 5G, as well as what the future hold for Casa Systems. 

One question they asked Francois was what will be a ‘key trend’ for 2022 in the connectivity industry. 

Here’s what Francois had to say… 

“I will say even more acceleration, not only in terms of the 5G but in terms of the connectivity you get for global IoT. 

The industry is changing in multiple areas. With 5G we are moving to 5G as a standalone to allow the slicing capabilities on everything in their network providing public edge computing. 

We’ll see more private manufacturing in these areas and the global IoT connectivity as we’re seeing more and more connectivity of multiple devices including cars, phones, watches etc. So we’ll see a rise of smart cities allowing all devices to have narrowband IoT connectivity. 

This connectivity needs to be international as well. Because we’re living in a world where everything is moving and these vehicles are travelling all over the world and will need to be connected.” 

Every Wednesday we sit down 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.     

What does the future hold for the connectivity industry?

Joining John Clifton and Tim Meredith on episode 52 of The Tech That Connects Us was Luis Beute VP Global Sales for Content Providers at Qwilt.

Luis takes us through how he made the jump from telecommunications to CDN and moved halfway around the world to do it too. Focusing on how he has taken as many lessons from colleagues and partners as from managers and mentors, this was a really great insight into Luis and his approach to balancing work and life.

One question we put to Luis was ‘what does the future hold for the connectivity industry?’, read on to find out his answer.

“I haven’t been a good visionary ever, but I’ll do my best. I believe as part of the habits we’re adopting because of COVID now there are many things we want to do from home that we used to do in person that virtual reality can really help with.  

In certain sectors it is already happening, take the real estate, for example, there are companies where you don’t need to visit the premises you are thinking of purchasing, it can all be done via VR. It’s also being adopted in the retail sector to some degree too. 

So VR has some future, but it’s also going to require some infrastructure characteristics that are yet to be widely adopted and that might take some years. 

5G, has already opened some doors but will continue to open more. If you think about it, what did you lack when we were only working with 3G? I’d say you weren’t missing many things. But then when 4G came along you can now watch very good quality videos on mobile for example. I think 5G will do the same, but more from an automation side including low latency.  

One of the applications for 5G I’ve been discussing is connected cars. This will take many years, as there needs to be the technology and the regulation for this. I’ll liken the advance of this technology to when e-commerce first launched, there was a lot of resistance from people to put your credit card number on the internet, so can you imagine sitting in a car without driving it or having somebody you know driving it? 

So a lot of the future advances will come down to the regulations and infrastructure around the applications of these technologies. I believe that this way has no return, I can’t say how long it will take but that’s the way we’re heading as an industry.”

Every Wednesday we sit down 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.     

What can the connectivity industry and everything associated with being connected learn from its past?

Episode 44 of The Tech That Connects us saw Omae Qaise the Founder and CEO of OQ Technology join Laurie Scott and Tom Wilding to cover 5G, IoT, the evolution of M2M, Albert Einstein & Elon Musk. 

In a moment of reflection, Omar was asked what can the connectivity industry and everything associated with being connected learn from its past? Here’s what he had to say. 

 “One of the biggest lessons learnt is that the model of developing your technology, your hardware and your own ecosystem from scratch which has often been the way with traditional satellite and communication business isn’t the right approach. 

 The problem is, there are still many new space companies and startups going in the same direction. This is a major difference when you look at the mobile telecommunication industry, they’ve been through that phase and nowadays there are standards, you have GSM, LTE or 5G and there are multiple operators, chip vendors, and hardware manufacturers who all follow a standard. You can connect sensors to phones, and phones to operators just by changing a sim card. Could you imagine if all operators used different sized and shaped sim cards? 

 That’s why the satellite industry is expensive. Connectivity specifically is down to the hardware. If we want to change this then we need to tap into the existing ecosystem that everyone understands and uses from North pole to South, from Australia to America to India. That is the mobile technology that our satellites can be used for as cell towers in the sky. Users can connect seamlessly, and they won’t know if they’re connected to a terrestrial network or a facility network. This is a first in the world because mobile chips they’re very cheap, and the connectivity is cheap and that’s because millions of engineering hours have been put into scaling that technology. There is already an ecosystem, with lots of participants and players. 

 If you compare a 4 or 5 dollar cellular chip with a satellite alternative, firstly each satellite operator have their own chips, which start at a few 100 dollars, not including a device! Now imagine if the 5 dollar cellular chip could do the same job as the satellite chip and the terrestrial chip, it’s not something that’s unheard of but it’s yet to be scaled. 

 This is really going to open up a lot of opportunities, allowing access for a lot of users and enable mobility between terrestrial and satellite technologies. That will then funnel into big data of massive machine communication, which is one of the biggest aspects of the 5G revolution.” 

Every Wednesday we sit down 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.     

The Disruptiveness of Kubernetes.

On Episode 41 of The Tech That Connects Us John Clifton and Dan Jeffery were joined by Subha Shrinivasan Senior Director, Customer Success at Robin.io.

Subha has over 20 years of experience across virtualization, datacenter, and cloud-native technologies. It was a great chance for us to talk about all things Kubernetes and more specifically the future of Kubernetes. 

Here’s what Subha had to say when it comes to Kubernetes. 

“Kubernetes is a very disruptive technology, and it’s going to disrupt two or three major trends we are seeing in the market. The first one is that it’s going to completely disrupt AI and machine learning. AI and machine learning are going to be the heart of every business in a few years from now, there won’t be a business that doesn’t use an AI or machine learning stack.

So, there is not going to be an AI or machine learning stack that is not deployed on Kubernetes, in the future at least 90% of the workloads that are built on EMR will be hosted on Kubernetes. 

Here’s why. See unlike other technology stacks such as AI and machine learning, which are actual services with technology that are constantly changing, it’s not just one application it’s a combination of multiple applications or what we call an application pipeline, that is stitched together to deliver AI or machine learning as a service. You don’t want to be locked into one technology stack, you want to be able to have the flexibility of being able to combine different stacks and adapt them for the use case.

Secondly, the integration with DevOps is going to be extremely critical as there is continuous innovation, development and improvisation going on. Machine learning is like a feedback loop, you derive certain analytics, you pass it back. So, it’s a process of continuous development. If you get locked into one technology stack or one infrastructure that is like this giant gorilla which is difficult to move, then you’re not going to be able to use machine learning efficiently and your results won’t be accurate. Then your predictive analytics will fail.

Kubernetes plays a major role in this because the way it is designed is that it’s very flexible to changes in your deployments. It’s logged into the infrastructure and then nothing is logged and sealed into the infrastructure, so you’re able to continuously move around the pods, you’re able to continuously move around the infrastructure and you’re able to use the same infrastructure and build any application or integrate with the DevOps stack and be able to move in a matter of a few hours or minutes rather than taking days and disrupting existing infrastructure.

My prediction is that there’s not going to be any Amazon stack in the future without coordinators on the platform.”

Every Wednesday we sit down 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.