Purpose: Shifting from why to how
What is your company’s core reason for being, and where can you have a unique, positive impact on society? Now more than ever, you need good answers to these questions.
By Arne Gast, Pablo Illanes, Nina Probst, Bill Schaninger and Bruce Simpson – Only 7 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs believe their companies should “mainly focus on making profits and not be distracted by social goals.” And with good reason. While shareholder capitalism has catalyzed enormous progress, it also has struggled to address deeply vexing issues such as climate change and income inequality—or, looking forward, the employment implications of artificial intelligence.
But where do we go from here? How do we deliver a sense of purpose across a wide range of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) priorities? Doing so means moving from business as usual to a less traveled path that may feel like “painting outside the lines.” Are we going too far beyond our core mandate? Does it mean we’ll lose focus on bottom-line results? Will transparency expose painful tensions better left unexamined? Will our boards, management teams, employees, and stakeholders want to follow us, or will they think we have “lost the plot”? There are no easy answers to these questions; corporate engagement is messy, and pitfalls, including criticism from skeptical stakeholders, abound.
Yet when companies fully leverage their scale to benefit society, the impact can be extraordinary. The power of purpose is evident as the world fights the urgent threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a number of companies doubling down on their purpose, at the very time stakeholders need it the most (for more, see “Demonstrating corporate purpose in the time of coronavirus”). Business also has an opportunity, and an obligation, to engage on the urgent needs of our planet, where waiting for governments and nongovernmental organizations to act on their own through traditional means such as regulation and community engagement carries risk.
Fortunately, a “how to” playbook is starting to emerge as a growing number of companies lead. In this article, we try to distill some inspiring steps taken by forward-looking companies. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, How to, Net, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Health, Internet, McKinsey, Purpose, Skills
Improving universal edge access with flexible and pluggable 10G PON
The network edge is where content lives, and to operators, where successful business outcomes are determined. With Ciena’s new 10G PON solution, we’re bringing more value to the network edge – via both access and aggregation. Ciena’s Wayne Hickey details the latest addition to our packet networking transceiver family.
By Wayne Hickey – For most network operators, their environment is a very challenging one, as they are experiencing surging traffic growth in both their wireless and wireline networks. Complicating this enormous growth is that most of the traffic is IP-based, an area where the industry for many years has seen flat to declining revenues and associated margins.
his trend is expected to continue well into the future, with many key access and metro trends driving the growth at the network edge today:
The Internet of Things (IoT) will drive in orders of magnitude more endpoints or physical computing devices, each performing application-specific functions as part of an associated product or service. This will drive more endpoints and increased traffic diversity. Just think of the complexity associated with the interconnecting of tens of billions of machines!
In the next few years, the promise of 5G is expected to make the number of connected devices and bandwidth swell, but 5G is more than just a wireless upgrade. It means IoT enablement, up to 100 times higher user data rates, up to 10 times lower latency, and up to 1000 times more data volumes. Having the right capabilities at the network edge is key to delivering much faster download speeds and guaranteed lower latency.
When it comes to computer-generated simulations of virtual and augment reality (VR/AR), less latency is key to a quality user-experience. Both AR and VR will require more bandwidth and near real-time performance. And yet another new video format is just around the corner – 8K, which quadruples the number of pixels, just like 4K did with 1080p.
The network edge is where content lives, and to operators, this is where successful business outcomes are determined. For network operators, improving the ability to offer new service revenue opportunities, as well as improving margins, is essential to maintaining existing customers, as well as attracting new ones. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Regulations, Technology
Tagged Broadband, Business improvement, Ciena, Fiber optics, Skills, Technology
By Robert Malley – Running parallel to the global battle against the coronavirus pandemic is a tug of war between two competing narratives about how the world ought to be governed. Although addressing the pandemic is more urgent, which narrative prevails will have equally far-reaching consequences.
The first narrative is straightforward: a global health crisis has further demonstrated the need for multilateralism and exposed the fallacy of go-it-alone nationalism or isolationism. The second narrative offers the counterview: globalization and open borders create vulnerabilities to viruses and other threats, and the current struggle for control of supply lines and life-saving equipment requires that each country first take care of its own. Those in the first camp regard the pandemic as proof that countries must come together to defeat common threats; those in the second see it as proof that countries are safer standing apart.
At first blush, COVID-19 seems likely to corroborate the argument for a more coordinated international approach. Given that the coronavirus does not stop at national borders, it stands to reason that the response should not be constrained by them either.
This makes perfect sense from a public health perspective. If COVID-19 persists anywhere, it will remain an incipient threat everywhere, regardless of efforts to wall it off. The more widely that testing kits and, when discovered, treatments and vaccines, are distributed, the faster the pandemic will be vanquished. The more that scientific knowledge is shared, the faster those drugs will be developed. And, in the meantime, the more that governments coordinate on matters such as travel restrictions and social distancing, the smoother the exit from this crisis. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, How to, Net, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Health, Organization, Pandemic, Skills, world order
5G is your business – even if you are in the wireline business
5G is not just about updating handsets, radios, and antennas. Learn about the impacts and opportunities 5G will bring for regional wireline service providers.
By Eric Danielson – 5G is at the forefront of current technology discussions, promising orders of magnitude improvements in data rates, latency, number of connected devices, and overall traffic volumes when compared to today’s 4G LTE. This new generation of mobile network technology will shape and enable the evolution of augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), IoT, esports, and Industry 4.0 applications and use cases. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are investing heavily in 5G, but even if you’re a regional provider of wireline services, 5G will affect your business, bringing substantial new opportunities and threats.
5G is more than upgrading the handsets, radios, and antennas that comprise the Radio Access Network (RAN). Most of the journey content takes from the end device to the data center, where accessed content is hosted, is over (fixed) wireline networks. As 5G removes the last-mile access bottleneck, the unstoppable traffic demand of bandwidth-hungry users and applications will pulse through the entire network.
The first major impact falls over the infrastructure that connects the cell towers to the MNOs’ switching offices. It will need to deliver much higher capacity to a larger number of sites, boosting the wholesale backhaul connectivity business that relies heavily on regional infrastructure service providers.
5G New Radios (NR) will provide much faster download speeds by leveraging millimeter wave wireless spectrum – high frequency electromagnetic waves that don’t propagate far or well through buildings and obstacles – creating the need for many more small cells, much closer to subscribers, humans and machines. It means numerous new sites to interconnect, each one requiring 1Gb/s or (much) higher bandwidth, depending on the expected traffic profile. Mobile backhaul has been a key growth driver for fiber players in recent years and as it surges with 5G deployments, a new competitive environment will arise.
Another significant shift on the wireline fabric will come from the transition of radio networks to centralized/cloud-based architectures (C-RAN model). The radio intelligence, the Baseband Unit (BBU) that once sat on the base of the tower, will be moved to centralized locations and virtualized for improved cost and performance efficiencies.
In 4G, these high-capacity and low-latency fronthaul connections between Radio Heads (RRHs) and BBUs were served mainly by dark fiber links, as fronthaul was closed and proprietary. Fortunately, 5G fronthaul is expected to be open and standards-based, which opens a new fronthaul services market for wholesale operators. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Science, Technology
Tagged 5G, Broadband, Business improvement, Ciena, Fiber optics, Internet, Skills
Digital strategy in a time of crisis
Now is the time for bold learning at scale.
By Simon Blackburn, Laura LaBerge, Clayton O’Toole, and Jeremy Schneider – If the pace of the pre-coronavirus world was already fast, the luxury of time now seems to have disappeared completely. Businesses that once mapped digital strategy in one- to three-year phases must now scale their initiatives in a matter of days or weeks.
In one European survey, about 70 percent of executives from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland said the pandemic is likely to accelerate the pace of their digital transformation. The quickening is evident already across sectors and geographies. Consider how Asian banks have swiftly migrated physical channels online. How healthcare providers have moved rapidly into telehealth, insurers into self-service claims assessment, and retailers into contactless shopping and delivery.
The COVID-19 crisis seemingly provides a sudden glimpse into a future world, one in which digital has become central to every interaction, forcing both organizations and individuals further up the adoption curve almost overnight. A world in which digital channels become the primary (and, in some cases, sole) customer-engagement model, and automated processes become a primary driver of productivity—and the basis of flexible, transparent, and stable supply chains. A world in which agile ways of working are a prerequisite to meeting seemingly daily changes to customer behavior.
If a silver lining can be found, it might be in the falling barriers to improvisation and experimentation that have emerged among customers, markets, regulators, and organizations. In this unique moment, companies can learn and progress more quickly than ever before. The ways they learn from and adjust to today’s crisis will deeply influence their performance in tomorrow’s changed world, providing the opportunity to retain greater agility as well as closer ties with customers, employees, and suppliers. Those that are successfully able to make gains “stick” will likely be more successful during recovery and beyond. more>
Posted in Business, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, History, How to, Net, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Crisis, Digital transformation, Health, Internet, McKinsey, Skills