|Issue:||Asia-Pacific III 2009|
|Topic:||The art of reduction|
|Title:||Chief Branding Officer, Wireless Product Line|
Robert Fox is the Chief Branding Officer for Huawei’s wireless product line; he is a strategic communications professional with over 30 years’ experience in the marketing and advertising industry on three continents. Mr Fox won several awards for creative design, writing and broadcast commercial direction in the UK. Mr Fox introduced Xerox technology and equipment to Russia, directed campaigns for clients in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal. In New York, Mr Fox helped launch the first American offices of GGK GmbH. He advised Oki Telecom in the first years of the US mobile phone market. He helped the Wall Street Journal, and established corporate awareness and business-to-business programmes for Dow Jones Inc., Reader’s Digest International, Westinghouse, and General Electric. Other clients have included Seagram’s, Kimberly-Clark, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Polygram, Warner’s, CBS Music and more. Mr Fox is also a published food and travel magazine writer. Robert Fox is British born and Oxford educated.
Voice, data, information and entertainment are now accessible from increasingly smaller handsets. Handset design, combined with advanced chip technology and innovative wireless network solutions, squeeze more functions into increasingly compact packages with substantially improved performance. Converging networks and platforms and accelerated broadband adoption have increased the need for interoperability and solutions that use less space and energy while reducing costs. Single RAN (Radio Access Network) solutions can integrate wireless voice, broadband and more into one network to meet many of these needs.
In mathematics, a reduction means the conversion of an expression or equation to its simplest form. In culinary terms a reduction refers to a process in which the volume of a broth is reduced through evaporation yielding a richer, more concentrated sauce with a correspondingly intensified flavour. Something very similar is happening in today’s world of wireless communication – advanced simplification. In contrast with the cumbersome portable devices of the early 1980s, mobile phones are approaching a Lilliputian extreme. Not one, but multiple levels of communications, information and entertainment resources are now accessible from a single device whose proportions are reckoned in inches and ounces. As this concentration of assets and experiences has occurred, our appetite for innovation has increased. The phones of today keep pace with applications that can guide us home when lost, and even alert a doctor when we are sick. The phones of tomorrow promise even more. If you were to ask who should be credited for the ‘incredible shrinking phone’ and its amazing multi-functionality, most end-users would probably respond with praise for the handset designers. In truth, this would be a judgement based on the superficiality of appearance alone. The reality is that the aesthetics of slickly-designed handsets only present the skin-deep surface of the entire story. Beneath the cool exteriors lies the intricate complexity of true reduction; concentrated chip technology, combining with innovative wireless network solutions, enabling the delivery of more functions from an increasingly compact package while substantially increasing its performance. Just as in mathematics, and the seeming infinity of primes, the research and development teams of our industry are committed to constantly refining wireless infrastructure to realize its simplest, strongest and most relevant form. Convergence and scalability have become ubiquitous links in our value chain. Operators, just like consumers, seek value and scalability. Consumers want to do more with their phones and operators need to meet that demand. And they need to do so at a price and level of efficiency that makes business sense. As technology-innovators, our job is to ensure that function matches the expectations generated by form, and that the price of delivery is on a par with the affordability of the devices. To do otherwise would be akin to offering magnificently designed cars with impossibly expensive engines. As technologies mature, the need for innovative, multifunctional, compact products and solutions continues to increase. We all recognize that less [bulk] is now considered more [efficient] but, in the light of now critically important financials, more [results] must also be achieved with less [resources]. As communications devices with expanded capabilities become physically smaller, the convergence of supporting network technologies and the increasing pace of mobile broadband adoption have inevitably created more exacting requirements – particularly in respect to interoperability and related standards across multiple platforms – from end-users and operators. It seems that the only thing not shrinking in our industry is the demand at each stage of the value chain for increased efficiency and improved service at lower cost. End-users now expect more convenient, effective delivery of information. Operators realize that their future success depends to a large degree on the capabilities of telecommunications infrastructure vendors to deliver products that respond to the new technological and economic paradigms. This is especially true in Asia-Pacific where the technology roadmaps must correlate to the economies and geographies of both highly developed and under-developed countries. Given their position in the value chain, it is vital that manufacturers anticipate the needs of their telecom customers with a speed that corresponds to the pace of technological innovation. While it took 20 years for 2G and about ten years for 3G to come of age, we concur with the general industry view that Long Term Evolution (LTE), the next step in the technology roadmap, will be here within the next three years. At the same time, data-rich services are beginning to emerge as a key component of the mobile communications industry. Operators are rushing to launch enhanced data support services and gain new market share from customer excitement. To remain competitive, operators face the double challenge of fulfilling existing voice and data needs while cost-effectively preparing for the delivery of super-rich data communications. To enable the introduction of improvements in service, products and support, it is essential that multiple network systems coexist. To use the shrinking handset analogy, it isn’t just the anytime, any place, on-the-move consumer who is looking for an all-in-one package. Operators look for similar efficiency and practicality – and they look to vendors to develop network-related solutions that are just as appealing to them as the latest mobile phone might be to a young executive. An uncertain global economy rouses understandable concern about costs and long-term effects. Faltering production translates to lost jobs. Uncertain income means that ARPU (average revenue per user) falls as end-users attempt to cut costs. Despite this, our technology-driven and dependent global communities still expect operators to deliver enhanced services, faster speeds and greater network coverage. In turn, operators look to telecommunications infrastructure vendors for more efficient network solutions. More relevant than the peer pressure of style dictating more compact phones, operators, by necessity, are now looking for faster deployment solutions that involve less space, less energy and greater cost efficiency than ever before. Given the current economic climate, telecommunications operators need to adjust direction and strategy to remain competitive. At the start of 2009, In-Stat predicted worldwide CAPEX will experience a negative growth rate between three and four per cent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) over the next 36 months. From Asia Pacific to the rest of the world, operators are urgently seeking efficient ways to grow their business while reining in costs. In terms of future trends, the UMTS Forum predicts that by 2015 LTE users will number as many as 400 million. Meanwhile, other technologies in the mainstream market will remain strong. Informa predicts that by 2012, GSM will have 3.2 billion users while the total number of UMTS/HSPA users will sharply increase to 1.4 billion. For operators, this means that while LTE will receive considerable attention, GSM and UMTS/HSPA will remain primary revenue generators. Therefore, to compete effectively on many fronts and in response to varied market demands, operators will have to quickly deploy services across multiple technology platforms. They will have to protect their current investment as well as ensure that their network equipment is able to undergo a smooth transition to future technologies. Last year, a converged solution that addresses all of these needs was introduced. Specifically designed to support multiple wireless systems via a single uniform access network, this type of Single RAN (Radio Access Network) solution helps operators achieve the convergence and evolution of networks for different technology systems. Single RAN integrates radio bearers for voice, narrowband data, mobile broadband and more into one network element instead of many. Looking to the future, single RAN also affords operators the added capability of allowing all radio bearers a simple software upgrade evolution to LTE. In Asia Pacific, developed countries have wireless penetration rates of nearly 100 per cent and the need for a single, future-proof, solution that incorporates multiple network systems is especially important. Given recent global economic developments, cost effectiveness is an ever more important consideration for operators throughout this region. Single RAN can offer Asia-Pacific and global operators a high performance network that competently covers existing requirements and allows for future expansion while reducing the total cost of ownership. In this context, Single RAN solutions take the notion of ‘shrinking the unshrinkable’ – best associated in our industry with handsets and their chips – and applies it rigorously and relevantly to operator needs. For example, with traditional 2G and 3G OAM (operations, administration and maintenance) solutions, configuration and monitoring are separate functions requiring separate monitoring teams. The inclusion of Co-OAM combines all operations on one platform – optimizing human resources and improving network maintenance efficiency by more than 40 per cent. Radio network planning and optimization allows constant 2G/3G network performance monitoring for further analysis. Project sharing, joint parameter management and common tools are used for multi-mode network planning and optimization (coverage, capability, and neighbouring cell) to realize a single high-quality network. This co-platform, multi-mode BTS is also the industry’s first commercialized solution to save energy through network convergence and simplified energy-consuming nodes. Single RAN not only reduces the number of wireless networks, it can also reduce the number of sites – potentially reducing harmful emissions by at least 60 per cent. Since multiple network systems utilize a uniform equipment room and uniform auxiliary facilities, budgeted individual equipment room costs (from installation to power and maintenance) are now unnecessary. A European operator, who has already selected Single RAN to cover existing GSM and 3G networks, projects annual cost savings of 17.1 per cent or US$69.3 million, over the coming five years of deployment. With one purchase decision, operators can now realize the optimal benefits of ownership from a cost and time efficient solution for multiple network investment protection, convergent network evolution, enhanced performance and customer quality of experience, reduced OPEX and CAPEX, and improved TCO. Exemplifying convergence and simplification, single RAN solutions can bring our world closer, quicker, and more cost efficiently than ever before. At the heart of our world lies the Asia Pacific region where reduction is nothing less than a fine art.