If you want to stay ahead you must in­no­vate

Capacity - - Editor’s Letter -

Let’s face it, this is an in­dus­try that sur­vives on in­no­va­tion. Over the past 150 years – since the first sub­sea ca­ble went into ser­vice across the At­lantic in 1866 – car­ri­ers and their sup­pli­ers have trans­formed not only the tele­coms in­dus­try but the whole of the world’s econ­omy, pol­i­tics and so­cial life. (If you don’t be­lieve me, just try con­vert­ing the last page you looked at on the in­ter­net into Morse code.)

Sadly, to a large ex­tent the in­dus­try does its work, if not in se­cret, at least hid­den away from the pub­lic. A Face­book user may well com­ment on the dif­fer­ences be­tween Ap­ple and Sam­sung, or pos­si­bly AT&T ver­sus Ver­i­zon – but is hardly likely to know of the global com­pa­nies be­hind their hourly self­ies or up­dates. Even an of­fice worker – like me – will email or phone a con­tact in the US, in China or in Aus­tralia and grum­ble if the con­nec­tion doesn’t work, with­out think­ing about the tech­nol­ogy be­hind it all.

The com­pa­nies that build and op­er­ate ter­res­trial and sub­sea ca­bles, data cen­tres, in­ter­net ex­changes, and other in­fra­struc­ture, keep this whole 21st cen­tury in­for­ma­tion net­work op­er­at­ing.

It’s an in­dus­try that moves fast, with a mix of com­pa­nies that are at once com­peti­tors and col­lab­o­ra­tors. The in­dus­try is in­no­vat­ing faster than ever be­fore; or at the very least is fac­ing the con­se­quences of in­no­va­tion. Partly that’s from the pub­lic’s ap­petite for over-the-top video con­tent and high-qual­ity, low-la­tency cloud ser­vices even in the re­motest of places.

But it’s also be­cause of the de­vel­op­ment of new tech­nolo­gies that do more but threaten to make mar­gins even tighter – the spread of LTE and other wire­less tech­nolo­gies, for ex­am­ple, or the ad­vance of fi­bre and cop­per broad­band.

There’s seem­ingly no end to this up­surge in de­mand. It’s an ex­cit­ing fu­ture, but the in­dus­try will need a clear head and a steady hand to nav­i­gate into it. it

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