Every Monday morning we fire five questions at a senior technology sector leader. Today we’re pleased to be joined by Angela Logothetis, CTO of Amdocs Open Network. She is also a non-executive board director of telco test instruments EXFO.
Angela – What’s the Biggest Challenge for your Clients?
Our customers are the world’s leading communications services providers (CSPs), investing hundreds of billions of dollars in technology each year. Most of these companies are going through an important evolution as they look to roll out new the new communication standard, 5G, and move to more open and software-centric networks. These new networks can leverage technology like AI and machine learning, which can deliver automation and provide service providers with more intelligence about their customers and the performance of their infrastructures.
However, one of the challenges that the telecoms industry faces is that it is very difficult to predict what new services networks will have to support. When 4G came along, nobody predicted that networks would have to sustain today’s mobile app economy, which has seen mobile devices become our primary gateway to the internet. Ten years ago, nobody could have foreseen how increased broadband speeds would kick-start a video streaming revolution in and out of the home, which is slowly displacing traditional cable and satellite TV. And cloud computing would be non-existent without global high-bandwidth and high-capacity networks.
As we move it to the gigabit-speed internet era, it is almost impossible for telcos to predict what consumer and business services their networks must supports. Service providers are now having to build flexible and scalable networks that can withstand even more internet traffic, can respond to decisions in real-time, connect even more devices and support a wider range of services than ever before. It is an industry that is constantly in flux and Amdocs is also having to evolve our services and technology to ensure we can support our customers during this critical time in their evolution.
What Technology Excites you Most?
There has never been a more exciting time to work in the telecommunications industry. The development of 5G is coinciding with the introduction of a number of other related technologies – such as edge computing (moving processing power closer to end users), AI and machine learning as well as many new consumer and enterprise devices. These will combine to create endless digital transformational possibilities in our personal and professional lives.
As consumer our first experiences of 5G will be faster speeds and faster response times for the things that we do today’s. We will be able to stream ultra-HD video from almost any location, download and transfer huge files on the fly, and browse the web at lightning speeds. We will be able to play games that today our devices are jot powerful enough to render and we will have much longer battery life as the 5G edge will provide the processing power that we need.
5G will create much lower latencies and the capacity to support a massive number of devices, sensors and machines. Latency will reduce from 50-100 milliseconds today to a just few milliseconds. This development will be a major enabler of the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0. In this new Industrial age, we’ll see manufacturing automated on a huge scale, with dynamically configurable production lines, operated by machines that can communicate in real-time and are able to process huge amounts of data. They will be monitored with AI-powered video feeds, able to stop or correct a production line in real-time. Mobile edge computing will also be critical in this new industrial environment, and will enable data processing and storage at the network edge as a means to cut down the latency between network end points and servers.
The capacity to support massive machine-type communications will mean industries can connect the huge array of sensors and technology in the IoT ecosystem, that will transform the business, home and smart city environment. We can expect to see highly automated highly intelligent mining, agriculture, logistics tracking.
We are only at the start of our 5G journey and over the next five years we will see an array of new use cases as technology converges across the business and domestic environment.
I take great pride in my career within the tech sector. It has allowed me to live, work and meet people from countries across the globe. I’ve crossed paths with talented people of diverse skillsets – some are highly strategic, whilst others are more operational or technical; some are even lucky enough to boast a mixture of all of these talents.
International Women’s Day was a great opportunity to hear stories about how women are succeeding in the telecoms industry. But more progress needs to be made. It is still not unusual to get hundreds of applications for a technology position and only a few of the applicants to be women. It is also not unusual to be presented with a short list of candidates with no women on the list.
I am proud of the role that Amdocs is playing to try to increase female representation. Last September Amdocs management set a goal to raise the overall representation of women across the company by 20 percent in three years. Our gender diversity program focuses on recruiting strategies, setting internal goals for the representation of women across the entire managerial chain in major Amdocs business units and the adjustment of company policies including parental leave and flexible hours.
We are also looking at recruitment and promotion strategies which aim to create a pipeline of women that are qualified for promotion, the provision of mentoring and coaching for women and providing diversity training for all Amdocs management.
In the same way that we are making progress with increasing diversity in the industry, we need to recognise past failures in this area. Women hold less than 25 percent of technology jobs and less than 5 percent of leadership positions in technology companies. And only 1 percent of funding goes to female-led startup companies.
I consider myself fortunate to be given a global platform in a leading tech company to discuss the issues that I’m passionate about. That’s certainly not the case for all women in similar positions – many have not been allowed to act as the voice for the company on technical issues, a role that is traditionally given to men.
If businesses, either intentionally or unintentionally, do not place women as figure heads for a company, it can create a negative public perception, a gap in role models for the next generation of workers and lead to a bigger diversity gap across a business. Women in senior positions who are provided with a platform to share their views, try and use this opportunity to drive positive change across their respective industries.
In Another Life I’d Be…
I have a passion for environmental issues and believe we should all being doing more, both in our personal lives and as responsible businesses, to reduce our carbon footprint and the neutral the world acts to mitigate climate change.
Technology is playing a key role in this environmental push, transforming every aspect of our lives from how we travel, to how we eat and how we recycle. Given the opportunity, I would love to explore how we can harness the benefits of technology to expedite the drive to become a greener society.
See also: Five Questions with Dave Sikora, CEO of ALTR