New networks, new services and new ways of working

millenialsAt the Broadband World Forum, the telecoms operator event attended by Teldat last week, a recurring theme was the development of new networks and services that will allow network operators to continue providing differentiated value to companies. Network operators are at the risk of becoming mere utilities on which third parties provide value services (Over the Top model). This is a threat to both their competitive model and net profit since, in such a scenario, their services would become undifferentiated, implying much lower margins.

How can this situation be avoided?

The only way forward is to adapt their networks and services to meet the demands of new users, which in the environment we work in today are the companies and their workers.

Seventy-five percent of the labor force in 2020 will be made up of the so-called “Millennials”; those persons born between 1985 and 2000, approximately. Several socioeconomic characteristics differentiate this generation from others, but we are concerned with those relating to their use of technology and their conception of the company, ways of working and their demands as employees.

  1. They are technology. They cannot conceive life without a permanent connection giving them instant access to information and people. And even though smartphones weren’t even around in 1980, they are perfectly able to handle all kinds of devices and technology which they use to stay in touch with others, work online and even search for jobs. It is not a way of working or relating but rather a way of life based on immediacy.
  2. Being able to access information immediately has allowed them to develop a need to investigate and search for information, an undeniable asset with huge growth potential for the companies employing them. They have a higher critical sense and they are capable of forming their own opinions and sharing them with others.
  3. Their concept of the company and employment is different. On the one hand they are flexible and creative professionals, but they are also extremely impatient as they are used to getting everything immediately. They get frustrated when they do not achieve their goals or when denied something, thus making them highly demanding professionals. For this reason, companies wishing to retain these professionals, mainly highly educated university students, will have to change in order to accommodate their needs. Key strategies include creating a motivating environment, being more flexible and offering them projects likely to bring short-term results.

This clearly is one of the most educated generations with the most potential in history. So the question arises: what can telecoms do to respond to their demands, and so that all that potential gets turned into real productivity for the companies employing them?

For three days we have taken part in one of the telecommunications sector’s biggest events, which has discussed the future of such topics as network virtualization, the evolution of fixed access, broadband on mobile phones and network intelligence. All with one goal: to create better networks that meet the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s users. And this is an objective with which we strongly identify, since it is the same goal that has guided Teldat since its founding.

Lola Miravet: Telecommunications Engineer, is the Head of Teldat’s Corporate Marketing Department.

30 years of the Internet, which are 30 years of Teldat

30 aniversarioThe first commercial internet domain name was registered on the 16th March, 1985: Symbology.com. It belonged to a computer manufacturer created from a division of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT that specialized in making LISP machines. To put things into perspective, Microsoft registered its domain name in 1993 and America Online, the largest Internet service provider at the time, did so in 1995, the same year as Amazon.

Teldat, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, was founded on the 5th May, 1985, only a few weeks after the first domain name was registered. This is no coincidence, mind you, because the history of Teldat is tied to the Internet and the communications networks. Its purpose was to seek the most efficient way of ensuring network access to all of those who already understood this to be the way forward. That the future was to be found in the enormous opportunities opening up in terms of the sharing of information, knowledge and work.  That future that we have achieved 30 years later with a mixture of humility, hard work and perseverance.

These past few days we have celebrated an anniversary that, for us, is very important because our present situation predicts a promising future.   Over the past 30 years, we have become a powerful multinational group present in five continents, designing from our offices in Madrid and Nuremberg, for our customers: major companies, institutions and operators worldwide. We have learnt valuable lessons from all of our customers. And each of them have given us something to be thankful for. Their trust and support have helped us get to where we are today. These have been exciting years, with extremely rapid developments in which we’ve witnessed the disappearance of many of the companies that were with us from the outset, like the visionary Symbology, the first to register an Internet .com domain name.

Our task now is to make that impending future a reality once more, just as we did in 1985. We have always considered the technological design process to be an art form, so for us this is our art. And if cutting-edge art is expressed in the form of new materials, bold approaches and innovative ways of sharing beauty, for Teldat, cutting-edge technology starts with information sharing, since this is the engine that drives the knowledge-based society in which we live today. This is exactly Teldat’s goal: to create, for the knowledge-based society and its members, the most technologically advanced platforms allowing for more efficient communication between companies and their users.

Lola Miravet: Telecommunications Engineer, is the Head of Teldat’s Corporate Marketing Department.

Few would say that Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire

teldat logoAnd although only a few would say so, it is. The facts says that Oxford University was founded in the early XII century, and the Mexicans founded Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire in the early XIV century.

The perception of time is one of the most subjective sensations in the world. Only when significant events that have taken place over a period of time are reviewed and recognized, one becomes aware of how far it has advanced and the accomplishments that have been achieved.

Very recently, 3 years have been fulfilled since the merger of Teldat SA and Funkwerk Enterprise Communications GmbH, which gave birth to the European leader in communication equipment. A global company present in four continents, with more than 5.000 distributors and a worldwide client base that includes the most important carriers and companies from all market segments. Three years that have gone past very quickly, but in which changes within both parts of the company have been very deep, changing what was an ambitious project into a successful reality.

As in every integration process, the way forward during the past three years has not been easy and it has been necessary to combine different cultures, different business models, different ways of doing things and different structures. And three years later (already!) after overcoming some difficult situations and after much dedication and much hard work from both the German and Spanish teams, increasingly more and more projects are addressed successfully with the undifferentiated participation of both parts of the company. Moreover, it is assumed that this is just the beginning, because Teldat’s competitive advantage lies in its members’ diversity and their unity’s strength. This is exactly what makes Teldat the European leader within its market sector.

Many may think that this is not an adequate post for a technological company and they would be right. However, one thing that makes Teldat a different company to the rest, is that we believe it is necessary to go beyond pure business itself (in our case that is technology) and show certain issues that give us personality as a company. This weekend, the world has commemorated the 25th anniversary of the  Berlin Wall’s fall, something relevant and of special interest to at least half of those who make up our organization. This post’s origin, over time and the integration, finds itself in the commemorative ceremony that has taken place in Madrid and that finalized, via a spectacular event with the transformation of Madrid’s Alcala gate into the Brandenburg gate. There are few graphical images that resemble our company’s transformation into what is today’s great European company. Only three years after.

Lola Miravet: Telecommunications Engineer, is the Head of Teldat’s Corporate Marketing Department.

In the eye of the storm

Photo_Teldat_colibriservice_webMany of you will probably have heard of a new film that is currently being shown now called “The eye of the storm”, which relates the story of a small town hit by enormous storms one after another including tornadoes and hurricanes.  For those of us that may think that there´s a mistake in the post, yes; this is still about technology. But seeing the film the other day, I noticed some facts that somehow reminded me of the routing business we are in.

The film has nothing new to offer.  Especially for those of us who may have watched a similar one called Twister in the 80s (and still remember the flying cow!).  The interesting thing is that I watched the film in experience mode.  This means the theater had set up huge fans and water sprinklers that were coordinated with the different scenes.  Thus, when the hurricane hit the people on the screen, the system turned on the fans and a strong wind with tiny water drops would hit your face and body – practically all through the film.  So, by the end, and since the film is all about hurricane scenes, when lights turn on you are chilled and wet.  I cannot think who thought this would be a good idea! Let´s see:

First of all it doesn´t help a bit to get into the film.  You keep wondering when the fans are going to turn on, the strength of the air, and other things that have nothing to do with the story.  And by the end you only want to run off to get a towel and a warm drink.  Secondly, I am sure that the theater made a great investment in a system that the customers might not like, or is not a real improvement in the experience of just watching the film.  And the third point, it´s more expensive to go and see.  So many customers would just prefer to save their money.

And here is where this links with the Routing Business (yes, I mentioned this was about Technology).  To begin with, we all know that Network Technology right now is exactly in the very eye of the storm. NFV, SND, Security, Mobility needs and such are expected to bring important changes in the way that service providers consider the current network business.  But apart from the obvious word games, let´s see why I saw similarities between a vendor manufacturer, the film and the theater experience:

  • Efficiency:  The necessities of customers when it comes to network equipment are well known.  However, many vendors pack their equipment with lots of features that,  a) the clients do not need and b) end up draining resources thus lowering the performance of their routers in key features that the customers pay for.  In the same way as the film, where the story starts to lose all interest due to the endless storms.
  • Investment:  When a vendor designs a product roadmap, the return of investment is one of the key factors.  So, they invest in features that suit the needs of the majority of their customers or in special features that are demanded from a niche market or special customers. Contrariwise, the investment is useless.  Throughout the film, I kept thinking. “Apart from a hurricane film, what is all this investment in this infrastructure valid for?”  Because it cannot possibly be reused for any other films (or only for a very small number of them).
  • Price:  Is the customer ready to pay extra for what you are offering?  We live in a world where budgets are tighter each year.  And customers try to save as much money as possible in things that are not really necessary.  So is it reasonable to charge extra (and risk rising above the market price) for features that the customer may not need, want or even appreciate?

As you can appreciate, I didn´t find the film very interesting (with or without fans), but I reached the conclusion that it makes sense to avoid some extraordinary, even appealing and marketable features, that only raise the cost and do not help to more effectively solve the customer requirements (in this case, the obvious need was watching a good film).

This is what we have in mind in Teldat when we design our routers.  How to solve the customer needs as efficiently as possible, at a lower cost.  Consequently the first thing we do is to find out what these needs are and stick to them, without adding a lot of features and functionalities that we charge our customers for, but do not necessarily add a significant value.  For us in Teldat, this is what competitiveness is all about.

Lola Miravet: Telecommunications Engineer, is the Head of Teldat’s Corporate Marketing Department.

There’s no reason for the alphabet to be in its current order

Or, is there?  Had you ever thought about it?  Is it important? Maybe not, but I bet you that a vast majority of us have at least lived a moment in which we have strongly wished the alphabetical list by which we were being called was in a different order.  Or that our surname began with a different letter, which is more or less the same.

As in this example, there are a lot of things in our everyday life which we do for unknown reasons, or even worse for reasons which might not be the most adequate. In the first case, it is clear that humans are routine animals which tend to standardize a behaviour, with which they feel comfortable, and then they stick to it. After all, this seems to be the most efficient model and due to our lack of time and multiple occupations, it might make sense (or at least, we convince ourselves that it does).

The second case is more complicated, because sometimes thinking outside the box, or defending a different position, requires even extra effort, time and sometimes personal engagement. Thus, sometimes we forget the reasons behind the true objective in favor of others, equally valid but with less impact in what we should be achieving.

This happens every day and to every one of us. Why we all keep checking emails at off-hours, when nothing (besides spam) is expected? Because it is our normal routine behaviour.  Even though we have a strong commitment to “this time we definitely get in shape”, why do we remain sitting on our sofas instead of rushing to the Gym? Because we are able to find millions of “valid” reasons that prevent us from reaching our objective in the best ever possible way. Instead, we would rather end in a more comfortable and less effortless position.

The consequences of making thoughtless decisions in ICT environments

These, are examples taken from our real life, and have no greater impact on other people or organizations other than ourselves. But the real problem comes when we take the same behaviour model to our professional life. Here, and specially in the ICT area, which is the platform upon which company processes are built, every decision has a direct impact on people’s performance, on organization effectiveness and on the business bottom line.

Honestly, think for a minute: How many ICT purchase projects are influenced by some behaviours that might lead to a second-best solution for our project?  Of course, time and resources are a big issue here, so sometimes we (all) tend to go for the most recognized manufacturers, or to the sales guy which is constantly pressing to get a deal, or to the solution that makes us safer (because that is what everybody does and so, I will not be blamed if it fails), or simply to the one that we are most comfortable with.

Maybe in this way we are losing opportunities to change, to innovate, to improve and to find solutions that better solve the organizations. There are lots of not-so-big companies with excellent technology and superb customer support that due to their size and flexibility can provide specific solutions that address the explicit needs of different sectors. In most cases general purpose vendors with a one-size-fits-all business model, can´t afford to deliver too small functional details and so, the organization ends up lacking a solution that saves them worries, time and money, with the due impact on the business bottom line.

Specific solutions adjusted to specific routing needs

Of course all this effort, is not for free. This requires tests, time, dedication, and also assuming a bit of risk. But if it works, the results are excellent and a huge value is delivered to the companies. We know every step of it because we have seen it happen in almost every customer that we have around the world. From the disbelief, to the skepticism, to the surprise, to the utmost loyalty for years.

So we know how to help any organization to eventually get the (really) best solutions for their routing needs.

Coming back to our alphabet title. Has somebody figured out how to avoid the problem of those whose surname began with letter A B or C, always being the first in the line. The solution was so simple, as to draw out which would be the first letter to begin with. This proves that it is possible, and easier than one might think to change the established order.  We have been doing it for a long time, and we can help you decide if for your routing needs, maybe T would be the first to consider, rather than A. Or B. Or, as usually happens, C.

 

Lola Miravet: Telecommunications Engineer, is the Head of Teldat’s Corporate Marketing Department.