Category: Miscellaneous

Welcoming Google X @ Nokia’s Cloud Innovation Center


“We had also already integrated balloon powered internet into Telefonica’s network which meant that they could serve their customers from our balloons. During the floods O3B networks, Level 3 and Ecologistica Peru helped quickly set up ground stations (which connect the balloons to the Internet’s backbone) in areas with complete outages. Finally, the recent integration of Nokia’s proven LTE technology meant that the balloons could deliver improved LTE service.”Helping out in Peru by Alastair Westgarth at X.


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“We’ve served more than 160GB of data to tens of thousands who would otherwise have not had internet service. That’s enough data to send and receive 30 million WhatsApp messages, or 2 million emails. In situations like this, basic communications tools and access to information are especially important— yet communications infrastructure on the ground is often one of the first things to be knocked out by natural disasters like floods and landslides. The Project Loon team has spent the last few months in technical trials integrating balloon-powered internet into Telefonica’s network and flying balloons in the region, so they were set up and could offer some assistance. Project Loon will continue to deliver balloon powered internet in Peru for as long as it’s needed.”Nokia’s repost.


imageAlastair is heading Project Loon and our team was glad to host him and his team at our Cloud Innovation Center earlier in the month. This was a courtesy visit to Nokia’s Chicago Technology Center – Naperville Campus. The day’s agenda featured CIC among other teams.

Nokia’s John and Eric (on the left of this picture) had supported Project Loon and our discussion was centered on the work that our Solutions team is undertaking in the Applications & Analytics Group. We ran the LeanOps demonstration, which helped exemplify the scope of our end to end solutions engineering.

It was a pleasure meeting Alphabet’s X-men : ) and hope to cross paths again.


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Belated New Year Wishes!

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I took these picture in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter during our family vacation just a couple of weeks ago. The Born Cultural Center features archeological city structures from the 1700s, which are protected from the environment in a spacious modernist building originally designed as a market in the late 1800s.

Interestingly enough, in this context “born” is a Catalan word that might have meant “tournament site” back in the medieval times. Archeological excavations conducted in the mid nineties revealed the city heritage showcased in today’s facility. The big silver balls, which would appear to be seemingly floating in mid air, delivered a festive touch during these past holiday season.

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I would like to take this chance to thank everyone who took the chance to visit this blog. Innovarista.org has registered close to 16,000 views from 9,000 visitors.

I know that I’m a bit late with my new year’s best wishes, but hope that this reaches you at a good time for you and your families.

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Eight months at Nokia: quick personal recap


“The Indian Hill Lab at Naperville is built on the site of an ancient Potawatomi signaling hill. On the prominence where Native Americans once sent up smoke signals […] Indian Hill has one of the largest computer complexes in the Middle West”.

“It’s truly a great company with great people. Any community where a Bell Lab is located will have nothing but advantages. The company officials are among the most cooperative of any people you could associate with. They’ve also involved themselves with Naperville civic events. There are Lab people on the City Plan Commission and on the Economic Development Commission”.

“Science Fiction Becomes Fact: Bell Labs” by Dennis B. Fradin. Illinois Issues 11, 1977. 


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Bell Labs’ Naperville facility opened back in 1966. Last week we celebrated its 50th anniversary and the campus dressed up for the occasion. Our team was engaged in a daylong workshop that day and I missed the party for obvious reasons. But, I’m happy to share that I was able to help a bit with the photography for the posters featuring our Cloud Innovation Center, which were created in advance to the event.

The front atrium (above) displays congratulatory letters from government officials and we now have a small but rather emblematic museum on site. That helps us “make sense of history” while feeling both proud of and humbled by what has been achieved in half-century. By the same token, we can also sense “history in the making” thanks to a new wave of game changing innovations in the works.

My recollection is that Naperville accounts for 3,000+ patents and that there are 25+ Bell Labs Fellows among us. This is also the location that spearheaded the company’s Technology Leadership Council, which I am glad to be a member of.  


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Thinking out loud… after a busy summer, here is another hectic month. While my blogging slowed down considerably, innovarista.org is registering as many views as this time last year, which is very encouraging. Thanks!!!

Celebrating Naperville’s 50th Anniversary Retrospective makes me ponder about the need for stepping back every once in while, taking a deep breath and decompressing, which is what I intend to do by blogging tonight. 2016 got jumpstarted with an earlier celebration. We (former AT&T > Lucent Technologies > Alcatel-Lucent) joined Nokia in January. I blogged about my first impressions and had an interview featured on the corporate site’s section devoted to “My Life at Nokia”.

Shortly after, Eric Bauer released his latest book: “Lean Computing For The Cloud”. I would like to take this chance to thank him for including my name in the acknowledgements section. Eric pays attention to detail, his research is rigorous and thorough. He speaks with conviction about that it takes to run lean cloud computing systems.


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February delivered a very rewarding Mobile World Congress for our team. All the hard work (and calculated risks) gearing up to MWC paid off. The Lean Ops Project was very well received in Barcelona, featured on MWC’s stage by Bhaskar Gorti, President of Nokia Applications & Analytics, and in high demand at Nokia’s impressive booth where we run 160+ Lean Ops sessions for top executives in the high tech sector. Interestingly enough, our video has also grabbed a lot of industry attention thereafter.

I had designed five different experimental 3D GUIs and researched a portfolio of use cases focusing on FMO, Future Mode of Operations. My selection criteria came down to prioritizing “ease of data visualization” and “elegant sophistication” to purposely deliver an “effortless operations experience” which become the project’s defining signature.

The underlying conceptual framework involved re-defining what Lean actually entails when intertwining analytics, automation, programmability and human factors. I cannot praise enough the engagement level, dedication and professionalism of the development team at our Cloud Innovation Center. Everyone worked tirelessly on the MWC prototype, and did that under mounting time constrains, a fluid workstream, and in the midst of other challenges.


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I joined the new Solutions & Partners Business Unit upon my return to Naperville in March. I became a member of Ted East’s I+D team as a Design Director – Human Factors Engineering. My new responsibilities enabled me to continue to work on Lean Ops. Ted runs a highly entrepreneurial environment where the opportunity presents itself to breathe Design Thinking, Agile and Lean.

Design Thinking equips us with project depth, Agile makes us dynamic and Lean keeps us nimble throughout. All key to fueling a serial innovation engine. I will be discussing this and AIM, Augmented Innovation Model, in my talk at Informa’s Back End of Innovation in November.

Below you can see the ideation and user experience rooms, part of our Naperville team, and the glass showcase displaying Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVI). Connectedness and collaboration get us to take down silos by working with other onsite teams and a number of other from other company locations worldwise. Basically, everyone is empowered to make a difference, while understanding that it takes teamwork to make things happen at speed.


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My first half of the year also involved developing content, most delivered as flagship presentations for customer meetings, internal processes to address “design sprints”, an innovation framework, and materials for training sessions. Couple that with a fair amount of customer activities and tech evangelism at:

I should also add to that list several trips to our offices in San Jose, Murray Hill (NJ), and Villarceaux (France). Being on the road makes time management and prioritization down to “yes/no” decisions of the essence.


By the way, right below, from left to right, you can see:

  • Ron Haberman, VP and General Manager of the CloudBand Business Unit, discussing a Lean Ops video in his keynote at NFV World Congress.
  • My presentation at IEEE Communications Quality & Reliability, which was scheduled as the sidekick to the keynote address given by Steven Wright, AT&T Executive and ETSI NFV Chairman.
  • I had the chance to re-connect with Bell Labs’ Markus Hofmann in Toronto at Bell’s conference where he spoke on analytics and I ran the Lean Ops demonstration.
  • Last but not least, I was deeply honored to join the Board at MIT IDSS, Institute for Data Systems and Society, in Boston.   

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Eight intensive months have already gone by since joining Nokia. This account helps me reflect on a number of good things… all memorable stuff that I would, otherwise, easily overlook given the fast pace and relentless focus on what needs to get done next.


What follows is some of the pictures that I took in my last trip to Murray Hill.


“Bell Labs, which was begun in 1925, has accounted for many of the major innovations and improvements in the telephone system. Other well known inventions which have come out of Bell Labs’ research are the talking film, the laser, the radio telescope, the solar cell, and communications satellites […] one interesting project of use to researchers is the audio response system, a talking computer”.

“Having achieved universal phone service, researchers are developing more useful phone services such as three-way calling and abbreviated dialing”.

“Science Fiction Becomes Fact: Bell Labs” by Dennis B. Fradin. Illinois Issues 11, 1977. 


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Bell Labs Museum. Murray Hill Campus, New Jersey.

Joining NOKIA


“With the combined strengths of Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent, we are an innovation leader in the technologies that connect people and things. Together, we have the capabilities and global scale to meet the extraordinary demands and opportunities of a world where everyone and everything are increasingly connected. We’re creating a new type of network that’s intelligent, efficient, and secure, and advancing the technologies that tap its power through smart devices and sensors.”

“Our business has evolved to adapt to a changing world for 150 years, but what we stand for remains true. Our vision is to expand the human possibilities of the connected world. We continue to reimagine how technology blends into our lives, working for us, discreetly yet magically in the background.”

Nokia.


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Source: Nokia Networks on Facebook.


I spent the first half of the week in the Silicon Valley and I am now back in Chicago. That means switching from 70°F to bone chilling 10°F. In Celsius that is going from 20°C to -10°C give or take. We are gearing up for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona… back to enjoying a warm climate in just a few days.

Thanks for the emails and messages enquiring about how things are going at work and if anything changed with the turn of the year. The MWC project I have been working on since last summer has undergone a series of internal reviews and keeps sailing through. I cannot discuss much more about it yet. What’s worth sharing is that I’m teaming up with one of the best teams in the industry at the Cloud Innovation Center. Stay tuned.

Nokia now owns 91% of Alcatel-Lucent. This time last month we celebrated our first day of combined operations. I recently learned that 99% of us did not carry a Nokia badge three years ago. So, we all talk about what the “new” Nokia is set to accomplish and how to best pave the path forward. We refer to either “former Nokia” or “former Alcatel-Lucent” when looking at last year’s projects and achievements. Everyone projects a renewed sense of pride for very good reasons.

Alcatel-Lucent’s most recent report was released just yesterday. We delivered on our turnaround plan: free cash flow of €660M in 2015 while showing 39.4% gross margin in Q4. That report also highlights significant software sales and the fact that next generation technologies grew to account for 77% of revenues last year. Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent delivered €12.5B and €14.2B in annual revenue respectively. By the way, this is not a blog about finance and investment, therefore, I need to refer you to Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent websites for that kind of insight.


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Source: The Nokia-Ericsson Two-Step by Leial Abboud at BloombergGadfly.


My new Nokia I.D. shows the very same picture that was taken for my badge at Lucent way back. So, I couldn’t help smiling. Einstein was known to say that “the only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once”  and my next immediate thought was that 18 years had passed by between the two badges.

Prior to joining Lucent I was in Chicago for my MBA in International Marketing and Finance. I enrolled in the program as a Be Brilliant Scholar, a competitive grant sponsored by Honeywell Europe. My professor of economics arranged a one of a kind internship with a leading multinational brand in the packaged foods industry. That came across as an opportunity I should be grateful for and feel very fortunate about, which I sincerely acknowledged.

However, my focus was on the high tech sector. His patience was tested in what turned out to be a passionate discussion. At an alumni reunion, he shared that the internship conversation made him think about what Steve Jobs told John Scully on “selling sugar water vs. changing the world”… though bearing in mind any significant differences of course : )


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I ended up with a dream internship at Lucent’s Microelectronics Group in New Jersey reporting to the Director of Global Operations, a newly created position. The two of us got that organization started and things went well from the get go. My internship was not only extended, but before completing my master’s degree I was approached with two job equally good offers. Lucent was recent AT&T spinoff and home of Bell Labs, the legendary research facility boasting 7 Nobel Prizes.

“LU” had become the mostly widely held stock in the U.S. The company employed 120,000+ people worldwide as far as I recall (peaking at 160,000+ some time later) and was listed as one of the best companies to work for. Those days, Microsoft released Windows 98, Google was founded in Menlo Park, NASA’s Clementine probe found water in the Moon’s polar craters, the Eurozone fixed currency rates and little known Bear Grylls scaled Mount Everest.


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Bell System, AT&T, Lucent Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia… just one of the evolution branches.


Joining Lucent as a transnational employee got me connected to the Global Leadership Program and I started work with a new Global Strategy Team. This one was set up as an in-house consulting group. I led projects in several countries reporting to regional senior executives on an assignment basis. That was a great experience, which was followed by a position as a product line manager for software back in Chicago. Naperville’s fast growing campus was home base for 12,000+ of us at that time.

imageNavigating the telecom industry bubble and its collapse became a source of new opportunities. My product management responsibilities grew to involve a wider portfolio and work on licensing deals and service agreements with strategic partners shaping a ecosystem in the field of Intelligent Networks. Alcatel and Lucent merged late in 2006.

Some sources credit Plato with stating that “necessity is the mother of invention.” Overcoming a rollercoaster of successive “bull and bear” markets let to a string of thriving emerging technology projects with Bell Labs, authoring new patents, M&A activities and, eventually, heading the Ideation, Incubation and Demo team as a senior manger. More recently, I zeroed in on cloud computing as a marketing director and developed the Lean Ops program jointly with Ted East and Phil Tilley.

Ten years after ALU came to existence, Nokia purchases the company in an all stock deal. I need to get a new running t-shirt : )

 


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“The Lucent name is now gone. The Alcatel name is now gone.  But at our core we are still working on changing how we communicate and connect.  We are still innovating.  We will still work tireless around the globe to change lives.   What we were before has left its mark on everything we will become.”Au Revoir Alcatel, Farewell Lucent – and Hello Nokia” by Wendy Zajack.


See you at MWC’s Nokia booth (Hall 3, Stands 3B10-3D10) in a couple of weeks.  

Belated Happy New Year!

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Greetings from Chicago’s winter wonderland : )  and many thanks for following this experimental blog. This past year’s posts registered 6,000+ views and 30,000+ twitter impressions. This is very encouraging, especially so given the narrow focus on the Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) projects that I am involved in, coupled with a handful of high tech marketing topics.

I would also like to express my gratitude to those of you who attended any of my presentations, panel discussions, and demonstrations at various tech events throughout 2014. So, thanks again and I hope that there will be more opportunities to meet in the new year.

Moreover, I am happy to share that 2015 is looking very promising already. My next stop is Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in March, where I will join Ted East, VP at the Cloud Innovation Center, to demonstrate NFV innovations.

Last but not least, I would like to show my appreciation for the professionalism and hard work deployed by everyone I had the pleasure to team up with. I am fortunate to interact with and learn from some of the best minds in the high tech industry here at Alcatel-Lucent.

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Pictures: Polar Dash Race in Chicago, Jan 10 2015.