My 1H 2014 at a glance.

“Cloud Computing” remains a trending topic and is making inroads in the telecommunications sector.  This first half of the year followed suit and my workload was, yet again, packed with a busy schedule featuring 10+ different technology events.  I’m now taking a breath and stepping back to review some of the projects I have worked on for the past 6 months.

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This first half of the year I kept busy with marketing projects ranging from conceiving new initiatives to planning and managing the subsequent effort and delivery.  This also means setting a creative direction, coming up with new concepts, and developing content and discussion tools accordingly.

I enjoy authoring materials that contribute and help visualize the thinking behind our technologies and solutions.  Moreover, I get to deliver these messages by conversing directly with customers, partners and analysts. This takes place when engaged in public speaking and conducting technology demonstrations at events, and in private sessions.

Last week I made it to Techweek here in Chicago.  I attended talks on topics such as cloud computing and digital marketing, and got the chance to meet with old friends and made new acquaintances.  Admittedly, being in there for the sole purpose of listening and learning from other people’s talks felt like an easy going undertaking for a change : )

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By the way, at Techweek I heard that Chicago’s tech ecosystem is thriving.  Built-in-Chicago reports in excess of $1B of local startup funding in 2013, this was about 170% higher than the year before.  The same study highlights $3B generated by exits and public offerings, which is good news too.  A couple of years ago, Equinix had already identified Chicagoland as one of the fastest growing and largest cloud hubs in the world.  The Windy City already carries a disproportionate share of the country’s IP traffic and three of the planet’s largest datacenters located here.  Forbes is listing Chicago as one of the top 10 American cities for entrepreneurs to get their businesses started.

So, here is a quick note to share that Naperville is home base for approximately 3,000 of us at Alcatel-Lucent, this being our company’s largest global campus in terms of both footprint and headcount, which doubles as a top tech employer in the Chicago area.


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This past June we delivered the first NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) Town Hall Meeting, which was hosted at Alcatel-Lucent’s Naperville Conference Center, a facility on campus.  We made 250 seats available and sold out in just 48 hours.

Spearheading this initiative to involve others, then gaining planning momentum and, eventually, overseeing all production aspects turned out to be a very fulfilling experience from beginning to end.

There is a need for crediting a remarkable group of insightful speakers such as Telefonica’s Diego Lopez, Intel’s Sandra Rivera, Red Hat’s Paul Lancaster and Alcatel-Lucent’s Dor Skuler, Cassidy Shield and Ted East who delivered:

  • highly engaging talks
  • informative leading edge presentations
  • a sophisticated and quite compelling live demo
  • a thought provoking panel session involving them all

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We ran a live webcast and also handled back channel discussions online.  There were video interviews conducted before and after the event, continued discussions at the speaker luncheon, and private sessions with more presentations and demonstrations at CIC, the Cloud Innovation Center, also on campus.

This event’s success reflects amazing behind-the-scenes-work by 30+ people from Alcatel-Lucent, Intel, TIA, Hewlett Packard and Twist & Shout.  I would like to thank Cary, Debbie,Ted, Leigh and Shyrlene for their tireless contributions.


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Also in June, Dave Nowoswiat and I discussed EPC (Evolved Packet Core) and IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) virtualization use cases at the Big Telecom Event’s “NFV Zone” in Chicago.

Light Reading, the organizers, reported 700+ registrations and Alcatel-Lucent was BTE’s top sponsor. Karyn Homer managed our presence and the agenda enlisted Basil Alwan’s keynote titled “Where Network Meets Cloud,” Dave Brown‘s introduction to the OIF (Optical Interworking Forum) Workshop and Marcus Weldon’s, Dor Skuler’s and Kevin Drury‘s respective panels panels on “The Network of the Future,” “NFV in Mobile Networks,” and “From 100 G to 400 G to…”

My take away is that there is interest in going beyond just understanding NFV’s orchestration and SDN’s (Software Defined Networking) service chaining capabilities.  No longer worlds apart, this means figuring out where they intersect and possibly collide and, similarly, how they complement each other.

Both SDN and NFV come together as part of modular end-to-end solutions.  As an example, CloudBand 2.0 is a carrier platform engineered for NFV which now deploys Nuage Networks’ SDN framework.  Moving toward a dynamic “service onboarding, provisioning and delivery” happens to be the driver for most of this kinds of conversations, OSS (Operations Support Systems) being the backdrop from this point on.

While at BTE I attended the panel on “NFV in Mobile Networks” where Dor Skuler played a prominent role. I also found Caroline Chappell’s session on “Network Management & Orchestration Challenges for SDN/NFV” worth following.  The telecommunications industry has switched gears from mostly debating these technologies’ disruptive merits to zeroing in what it will take to deploy and operationalize with confidence.


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In May I traveled to Tucson to participate in IEEE’s CQR (Communications Technologies Quality & Reliability).  CQR’s main concerns are network performance, RAS (Reliability, Availability, Serviceability) and security. This time around cloud computing dominated the event’s four day agenda and the pre-conference workshop.

AT&T’s David Lu was the keynote speaker and there were two of us representing Alcatel-Lucent this year.  CloudBand’s Roy Amir is featured in the middle of the bottom right picture.  His panel addressed cloud operations as far as NFV is concerned. 

This was my third consecutive year speaking at this conference.  This time around I was back on stage not just once, but for the following three sessions: 

  • Cloud/SDN/NFV/Domain 2.0 Services (upper right picture) chaired by Allot’s Scott Poretsky.
  • Distinguished Expert Panel: Architectures, Technologies, Services and Apps that will shape Tomorrow (left picture) – chaired by IIT’s Carol Davids.
  • Beyond Macro – chaired by Verizon’s Fran Walton.

Regarding the above first two items: I unveiled new content that I had been working in the preceding months, my presentation’s title was “NFV’s Path Forward;” then, the day after, my contribution to the Distinguished Expert Panel dealt with a variety of thought provoking insights, mostly drawing from first hand experiences on innovation management.  Last but not least, in the Beyond Macro session I shared a portfolio solutions for “Small Cells for Stadiums” with a presentation prepared by Chris Kapucisnki, who I would like to thank for all of his help leading to this event.


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My highlight for April is Edward Tufte’s Chicago workshop on “Presenting Data and Information” which I found refreshing and inspiring.

His teaching synthesizes what happens at the intersection of “image, word, number and art” as he puts it in one of his books.

He outlined a set of principles guiding information design which spell out how to best envision information to reason and help communicate, key benchmarks for anyone working on marketing in the high tech sector.


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Here is Nuage Networks’ Houman Modarres in action at Network World in Chicago back in March.   Houman’s keynote presentation was well received and clearly conveyed our thought leadership and innovativness in the SDN space.

Nuage is an Alcatel-Lucent venture.  The team had approached me to support this event, though they had taken care of everything by the time I arrived.  That freed up time for ad-hoc meetings, joining a luncheon with customers and attending AT&T’s and Comcast’s presentations on cloud computing.  

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Alcatel-Lucent was present at the Chicago Science Fair where five of us joined a small army of judges.  This was my fifth year as a judge having reviewed computer and behavioral science projects so far.  This is one of the many opportunities that we get to contribute to the community. 

Winston Churchill was quoted saying: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.  By giving just a little bit of our time, our skills or our experience, we can make a huge difference.”


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In February we delivered another successful Mobile World Congress for Alcatel-Lucent. This is the largest and arguably the most impactful industry event in the telecommunications sector.  I have worked on Barcelona’s MWC projects for six years in a row, mostly creating and presenting live cloud computing demonstrations.

Alcatel-Lucent grabbed headlines when:

  • announcing our strategic partnership with Intel, which addresses “data plane acceleration”
  • issuing press releases on ongoing NFV work with leading global network operators such as China Mobile and Telefonica
  • hosting CloudBand’s Ecosystem Mixer
  • showcasing two live and high impact NFV demonstrations focusing on ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) NFV’s Use Case for the Virtualization of EPC (Evolved Packet Core) and IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) in the context of “Mobile Meets Cloud.”

We geared up for MWC months in advance with PoC (Proof of Concept) development work.  I had the pleasure to work with Dan Johnson and the R&D teams at IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) and CIC organizations.

Barcelona’s hectic schedule also included Light Reading’s MWC Cocktail Reception, TechCrunch & BoB event, Mobile Sunday, SCTC’s (Society of Communication Technologies Consultants) International Conference and, coincidentally, Pare Manyanet’s 50th Anniversary meet up (my high school) also attended by Irene Rigau, Minister of Education with the Government of Catalonia and Jordi Jané, Vice President, Parliament of Spain.


image2014 got stated on the right track with a celebration as another new patent under my name had been granted, this time by the Korea Patent Office (No. 101353103).  This technology has to do with multicasting high definition video over communication networks.

The twist when compared to conventional multicasting is an end-to-end systems approach factoring analytics and widely available storage devices that happen to be embedded in consumer appliances, a research project that we completed just a few years ago.

Most importantly, instead of taxing the network with ever growing video traffic and fostering a bigger problem in the process, we looked into how to best offset capacity impact while significantly improving the end user’s quality of experience, an otherwise elusive equilibrium point.

Going back to my current cloud marketing responsibilities, later in January I did a webinar hosted by SCTC for this organization’s members only. I presented “NFV: Moving from Vision to Reality” and I would like to thank IP Network Consulting’s Dennis Godhart for his kind invitation.


There is more than meets the eye and I will start blogging about content generated this first half of the year, which can now be adapted and shared. So, stay tuned ; )

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