Many congratulations on Ciena’s 25th anniversary. Please comment on your journey over the years.
The company has been through an interesting transformation over the last 25 years. Having initially promoted transformational optical technology, we were one of the first companies globally to create WDM and rode the wave of the internet boom making it scalable. Over the years, we diversified into new areas like packet technology supported by distinctive software. We expanded beyond North America into other regions, and now we do very healthy business in India and the rest of APAC.
It has been a fabulous journey for the company and today we are at the point where we have two facilities in India alone, in Gurgaon and in Mumbai, with 1500 employees; and are growing rapidly in the region. It has certainly been an exciting 25 years for us!
Moving forward, adaptability holds the key to success. Please comment, with special reference to your presence in the Indian market.
We see the future very clearly. The mobile devices making their way so rapidly into our lives are not only consuming information from the network, but are also creating content with equal speed. For instance, as we watch a concert, we also stream the concert and create a massive amount of bandwidth, beyond just consuming it. We assume that the network will efficiently move, store, and transmit data. In India alone, one billion mobile broadband users are expected by 2020-21. The stress on the network is expected to be enormous.
Over the last 20 years, the network architecture has been designed as static with manual processes in place, which may not be able to support the billions and trillions of devices connected to it. The need will be for networks that are hugely intelligent so that they can talk to all the devices in the network; that is, they not only use artificial intelligence but also are adaptive. For instance, the thousands of people in a stadium need a network with enormous bandwidth that not only allows streaming, but also knows what is required of it and adapts to the changes.
And there is nobody better than Ciena who understands how to go about this. Adaptive networks are based on the three inherent principles of programmable infrastructure, automation, and analytics, which together create a unique environment for telecom operators.
In India, Ciena is deeply involved with six of the top seven operators. We have been growing very fast and play an important role in their operations.
Between the defense division, Reliance, Tata, Bharti, and Sify, to name a few, we have done a good job of partnering with them closely while they build their respective networks.
We have not restricted our relationship to a vendor–manufacturer one, but on the back of sound technology, given them confidence that we understand their challenges and assured our continued role in their expansion.
Our recently introduced new packet technology, the 8180 and 6500 RLS (reconfigurable line system) platforms, and the Blue Planet software with orchestration, automation, and control capabilities have an immense role to play in the Indian market as the operators build more adaptive infrastructures.
Ciena offers scale to start. Our basic strength, the optical portfolio, is very useful in the near term with its long-haul transport, metro, and optical transport offerings. In the longer term our software will be more important as we automate networks.
Our recent significant expansion of the development facility here is a testament to the fact that we are committed to our presence in the Indian market and believe in its growth.
We will continue to innovate our technology to keep up with the customized needs of the Indian mobile networks. The increase in the number of people we employ here gives credence to our faith in the incredible talent that India has. Our second largest R&D facility is located in India largely because of the tremendous relationship we share with the people here.
Anything else you may like to add?
We have recently introduced some solutions and software, which will be very useful as the Indian market evolves further.
WaveLogic Ai for the component market offers an intelligent chip that sits in our optical system. Its major differentiator is the 400 gigabit speed per second it offers. There will be new iterations which we will announce soon.
The Liquid Spectrum solutions allow our customers to adapt to changing network conditions. For instance, when more bandwidth is needed in one location and less in another, the capacity in that network can be mined, using Liquid Spectrum and moving capacity from one location to the other. This enables our customers to squeeze more out of the network, for instead of buying more, it allows more from the same network.
Having co-created some of the customer-centric networks in the world, with every major service provider, multiple-system operator, and global content-network provider, from greenfield to modernization, there is no system we cannot transform. Seeing our customers thrive and unleash the incredible possibilities every network holds is what excites us most.