John Paczkowski

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John Roese on Redefining Huawei and the Democratization of Smartphones

With $29 billion in revenues in 2010, Huawei is the world’s second-largest maker of telecommunications and networking gear. But second largest and second best isn’t good enough for the Chinese company, which aims to increase its annual revenues to more than $100 billion per year within the next 10 years by expanding its business beyond communications service providers. John Roese, head of Huawei’s North American R&D team, is one of the guys charged with making that happen. How? By expanding its presence in the United States and hitting the sweet spot between the increasingly overlapping telecom, enterprise and consumer markets.

11:39 am: A few introductory remarks, and Ina Fried welcomes Roese to the AsiaD stage.

Ina Fried: Hi again, everyone. I’m very excited that our next speaker is John Roese of Huawei. Huawei, for those of you who don’t know — I’m sure everyone in this room does — is, you know, a huge Chinese networking giant involved in all kinds of areas, from making devices, making the networks that devices run on, and has quietly, over the last many years, amassed just a huge talent pool, not just here in Asia, but also in the United States. And John Roese oversees the U.S. R&D arm, which I actually didn’t realize is composed of as many thousands of engineers as it is. John also has an interesting career as CEO of Nortel, and several other technology companies before that. So, without further ado, John Roese.

Maybe, I think, John, the most helpful thing would be to talk first a little bit just about Huawei and what are the businesses it’s in.

John Roese: Most importantly, everybody knows that Huawei is a telecom company selling things to carriers. But this year the company has gone through a complete transformation to become an ICT company, and it’s based on the premise that in the future, most problems will not be solved purely by the consumer, the carrier, or the enterprise ecosystem. You actually have to combine the technologies from them to solve problems.

And so while we had a big carrier business and continue to be currently the second-largest carrier company in the world, in terms of equipment suppliers we quietly have emerged as a consumer company with a multibillion dollar consumer company in the handset business, and now have entered the market as an enterprise player with … about $4 billion in enterprise sales, which makes us probably the second or third largest in the world.

So the company is redefining itself on a premise that the future is not about distinct silos of technology, but how you put them together in a coherent way to actually solve more complex problems in this next generation of ICT.

Ina Fried: So everything’s all related, but let’s break it into silos for a second. What are the different products you guys make? You have networking — both, I think, wired and wireless — although carriers are certainly what you’re best known for. You guys make phones and tablets which have been less in the U.S. but starting to show up first, I think, through smaller carriers and now through some of the major carriers. What other kinds of products do you make?

John Roese: To put it into context, my role in the U.S., I’m responsible for advanced technology across all of the business lines. And I kind of joke with people that, in just my organization, you can go from dealing with people developing photovoltaic technology, to cloud technology, to next-generation cellular technology, to enterprise switches and routers, to core optical networks, to handsets and tablets and smartphones. It’s really the entire spectrum, and it’s probably one of the broadest toolkits of any company in the industry, in terms of providing the communication infrastructure for — everything. It’s a strange answer, but if there’s a way to communicate, there is probably Huawei technology involved in that communication ecosystem.

Ina Fried: And let’s talk about the organization you oversee. First of all, explain to people the scale. Because I certainly didn’t have an appreciation for just how many people Huawei had in the U.S. And talk about what they’re doing.

John Roese: So, obviously, over the years Huawei has gone from out-executing a lot of people in front of us to now out-innovating and being the leader in many segments. We’re now the market share leader and the innovation leader. And as part of that, we realized we had to operate globally. We had to create a global ecosystem of innovation. The biggest change in that was this conscious decision to expand our innovation organization worldwide.

So my charter was to come in and essentially scale the North American organization from a few hundred people to well over a thousand people now, that are all chief scientists, chief technology officers. The average seniority in my organization, from an engineering perspective, is probably 25 to 30 years in the industry, these deep, deep experts that, quite frankly, have created many of the industries that we’re dealing with, in terms of technology. So that thousand-plus people that’s emerged over the last year is the tip of an arrow that, behind it, is today approaching almost 60,000 engineers around the world, many of them in India and Europe, and a huge portion of them in Shenzhen, Beijing and other provinces in China.

Ina Fried: So, 60,000 engineers — some huge percentage of the company’s overall workforce — are actually engineers.

John Roese: Absolutely. As a technical guy, and having been an executive of many companies, one of the things that attracted me to Huawei was it’s still a very technical company. Almost 50 percent of the company is R&D. There are very few companies that have this kind of emphasis on the development of technology, as opposed to other aspects of the business.

Ina Fried: And how did you build this workforce in the U.S.? You’re in many sites in the U.S. and Canada; um, from what I recall, you’ve basically cherry-picked some of the companies on the downturn and grew that way.

John Roese: I answered that question to some folks in the U.S. government; they asked the same question about how, isn’t it challenging to attract people? It was kind of an interesting conversation. I answered it, “One person at a time.” We candidly looked at where innovation was happening and tried to make sure that we had a presence close by, so we could tap into those ecosystems if you want to do advanced terminals, smartphones, tablets. A great place to do that is San Diego.

So we opened a big facility in San Diego. If you want to do cellular wireless — Chicago; Ottawa; Bridgewater, N.J. — great places to do that. Our biggest sites are actually in Santa Clara, where you have this — ecosystem where you can almost find any technology within about three miles of our facility. So it was a very conscious decision to say that there are clusters of intellect within the North American market, and instead of trying to assume that you can bring them to you, it was better for us to go to them and attract them into the organization.

Ina Fried: And I understand that you guys — your chief recruiter — you owe a big debt to Larry Ellison?

John Roese: Well, we actually kind of find it very useful when there’s mergers and acquisitions and consolidations. So when Sun and Oracle combined, we found a lot of people at Sun that basically wanted to rethink where they wanted to work. Sun is a fantastically innovative company, as is Oracle, but the cultures are different. So it was a great boon to us that we were able to be down the street, and be growing very rapidly, and have this idea where people could take their ideas and turn it into actual reality. By the way, we did the same thing up at Ottawa. When Nortel kind of disappeared, one of the things that happened very quickly, en masse, some of the top technical experts in Nortel just kind of walked across the street to a new facility while they opened, and joined the company.

Ina Fried: And that’s how you came to the company, right?

John Roese: Well, I was a little bit later than that. Actually, that team, most of them who worked for me came into Huawei, and then I was kind of off doing other things, and then as we decided to scale it, I guess they gave me a good reference and they say, “Well you should go attract this guy because we liked working for him, he built a good innovation culture and maybe can help you take it to the next level.”

Ina Fried: And talk about that: What was your thinking, how well did you know Huawei when they first approached you? I mean, obviously, some of your former workers were there. What were your concerns? What excited you about it?

John Roese: Well, I think most people, to quote my former neighbor up in Ottawa, the mayor of Ottawa — Larry O’Brien, at the time — he opened the R&D facility for us up there, and his comment was, “Huawei is the largest company I’ve never heard of.” And that was very common in our engagements. And for me personally, I knew about Huawei, I had competed with them, I even tested their technology to prove whether or not it worked and whether it was a real threat, and learned very quickly it was a very real threat to companies like Nortel. But for me personally, I had kind of checked out of the industry after Nortel. I said, four Fortune 500 CTO roles, it’s time to go do something else, I’ll go to that Ph.D. in cultural anthropology.

But then I started talking to Huawei. I saw some of my best and brightest people — people that were Nortel fellows — come into the company, and as I got talking to them, when I came over to SenJen, when I met with the management team, when I met with the folks that were running the company, what I realized is, this is one of those companies that actually truly values technology; understands that you have to invest heavily into it and was genuinely excited about, not what happened yesterday, but what was going to go in the future. For me, as a technologist — every technologist, any engineer — the most valuable thing you can do is take an idea and turn it into reality. It’s not about making money, it’s not about prestige, it’s about turning your ideas into reality. When I saw this engine here, and this desire to innovate into the future, it was just a complete no-brainer to join.

Ina Fried: Now, you talked about building your organization one person at a time, and part of the reason why Huawei has built its organization in the U.S. one person at a time is because the U.S. government won’t let you acquire just about anyone. You guys have tried a couple times. How challenging is that, in a technology industry that is largely built by acquisition? You came from Broadcom; they gobble up a dozen companies a year.

John Roese: No one will accuse government policy of preceding the technical ecosystems and industries. It usually is a couple generations behind. So the current status of our relationship with the U.S. government is really that we’re a bit out of sync. In most of the industries that we compete in right now, the industries have been highly globalized. If you wanted to build a wireless network today in the U.S., your choice of vendors would be, let’s see, a Swedish vendor, a Finnish vendor, a French vendor and two Chinese vendors. Those are the tier-ones. There’s no North American vendor that can build that for you. The last one was Nortel; it’s not there anymore.

So part of our challenge is educating the U.S. government, educating the politicians. And not just the U.S. — around the world — that we’re in a highly globalized environment, the innovation has shifted, the structure of the industry has shifted and there needs to be a rethinking of how public policy and governmental policy relates to understanding a technology and its application and networks.

Today we build the networks for 45 of the top 50 operators in the world. The remaining five, a chunk of them, happen to be in the U.S. And so we’re very patient. Candidly, we’re now engaging very heavily, we’re dispelling myths on a regular basis, and it does make my life a lot more difficult. In fact, some of the U.S. government people made that comment. They said, “We applaud what you’re doing because you’re hiring lots of people in the U.S.” And we’re exporting $6 billion of goods and services into our global supply chain out of the U.S., we’re a great corporate citizen. But we kind of have to get in sync between the public policy and the actual reality of the industry.

Ina Fried: And what do you think it is? Because, I mean, you mention all of your competitors are global, non-U.S. based companies, is it xenophobia, what is really fueling this fear, and are any of the concerns legitimate or are they all fear-based?

John Roese: Well, I think I would say none of the concerns are legitimate in the reality, but perception is sometimes reality in people’s minds. So the punch line is, some people still think the industry that we exist in is the Bell Labs and the Lucents of the past. So, again, we do have to educate them about this future. The second is an unknown. My comment about Larry O’Brien — I mean, the biggest company he’s never heard of. Well, if I went and polled people in Washington, every senator and congressman, and asked them, “Do you even know how to pronounce Huawei?” — the answer would be, probably not. So we have to engage.

There’s an interesting thing: It’s a $30 billion company; our definition of an emerging market is the United States. So when a U.S. company comes into China, there’s a big educational process to kind of convince people that the company is legitimate, it can provide goo technology, it can be a good partner. And so it’s really just a systematic process of getting them to understand the reality. It doesn’t hurt now that we have a highly globalized workforce, that we have a big presence in the U.S., that we’re not in front of them and dialoging and being present. But more important, the thing that will ultimately overcome this is innovation. There is — you can prevent or avoid certain companies, until the technology they develop is so far superior to what you have at your disposal currently, that it creates a competitive disadvantage. And we believe, given our investment in innovation, that we are almost at that point. In many places ,we are clearly out innovating our competitors, and it just is sound public policy to let the carrier infrastructure of the United States — or the terminal industry or the enterprise industry– use the best technology to solve the best problem, because the correlation between global development, economic advancement, user experience, is entirely tied to using the best technology.

If I told you you couldn’t use any state-of-the-art tablet because I didn’t like the country of origin, and you had to go back to using a typewriter, would you do it? Of course not. We’re not quite there yet, but I think that will occur.

Ina Fried: So I want to turn to one of the topics that’s near and dear to my heart — and certainly to much of the audience — which is this mobile revolution. You guys are playing in that in several areas. You’re building, as you mentioned, the gear that a lot of these networks run on. Perhaps not the ones that I get to use in the States, but a lot of the other networks that I use when I travel, as well as, increasingly, some of the devices. And one of the areas that Huawei and ZTE and a number of Asian companies are making huge influences, democratizing these smartphones. Can you talk about the world you guys see, with smartphones everywhere on the planet?

John Roese: Absolutely. We’ve been through this before. A long time ago, Huawei decided that cellular technology — mobility — should be everywhere. And at that time, most of the big players said it wasn’t cost effective to build cellular networks that could be deployed in sub-Saharan Africa or in the developing world. Huawei was one of the few companies that said, “No, no, no — we need to figure out how to do this.” The result was skipping of generations, massive penetration, and today we have a couple billion people sitting on our networks, which is a good step.

Now we’re in a different phase. The different phase is now that you have these mobile networks, there is still a bit of a have-and-have-not world, and that is the smartphone versus the feature phone. I think the day before yesterday somebody mentioned, “Would it be great if there was $100 smartphone, or something better than that”? Well, there is, we build them. In fact, in the U.S. right now, you could go purchase — there are commercials on television from some of the tier-two operators. They’re our customers that essentially are describing $29 Android smartphones, Huawei-branded, no contract, no commitment.

Ina Fried: Now, does that mean you’re building a phone that costs less than $29 to make?

John Roese: Well, the economics are slightly different and more complex, but clearly they’re in that strata of the sub-$100 smart phone. The advantage of that is, once you get rid of this concept of feature phone/smartphone, that everybody has a mobile broadband device, everybody has a media-capable device — think about the capability that can unlock. I mean, I think Vice President Gore mentioned this concept of five billion people on mobile networks, and less than one billion on smartphones. Well, as soon as everybody is on smartphones, every interesting piece of technology you saw here over the last couple of days is contingent on having an interface that can actually do media, can do data, can be fully interactive. There is a huge opportunity, and the democratization of smartphones — which is clearly our message — we are absolutely trying to make sure that wherever there is a mobile user, they are a fully featured mobile user. That has a huge, profound impact; not just on the mobile networks and the devices, but all of these very interesting, over-the-top applications, cloud services and other things that are contingent on a better terminal and a better mobile experience.

Ina Fried: That growth you mentioned is also contingent, of course, on having networks that can handle that capacity; having enough spectrum. How much time does your organization spend looking at solutions? It’s great to say, wouldn’t it be great if the whole world has smartphones. I think we’d have a problem if any country went to 100% penetration. Data networks are struggling today. How much of your time is spent looking at that issue, and what are some of the things you guys are looking at?

John Roese: A huge portion. I mean, the good news is, I did a calculation a couple of years ago to say, how well have we executed as an industry in improving the bandwidth efficiency of networks — and this was wireline networks. But over a 20-year period, we had improved the cost-per-bit ratio by 22 million to one. That’s a pretty good ratio, if you will. We are very good, as an industry, at figuring out ways to increase the available bandwidth. Now the challenge is, it gets a lot harder when you have to deal with laws of physics, when you deal with things like Shannon’s Law and channel bandwidth. And so we are spending a huge amount of time. Given the composition of my organizations and the people in the organizations I run, they’re all advanced technologists and they’re the place where we are exploring not just how to make it more spectrally efficient, but how do we architect the cellular network. Instead of having these big monster cell sites all over the place, move to heterogeneous networks that have multiple tiers and multiple devices and ways to access, different kinds of networks to interface with, spread the spectrum over multiple spectrum channels.

At the same time, we go and lobby very heavily to get the digital dividend, free up spectrum, increase spectrum. That’s a very precious commodity. But more importantly, think about ways to use that spectrum efficiently. Now, most people don’t understand that a lot of the inefficiency in the network is based on the way it’s designed, and the fact that things like the modulation rate degrades as you move away from the cell site. If you can fix that, then the efficient use of spectrum can improve dramatically. Those are the kinds of things that we keep working on.

I actually have a very high degree of confidence that, contrary to public belief, we’re going to run out of capacity on the cellular networks. I think our industry is actually quite good at figuring out ways, creative ways, of improving that cost per bit of the available spectrum or the available capacity of the network. Occasionally we hit a wall, but usually we figure out a way around it. We innovate, we come up with a new approach and we continue to provide that kind of foundational attribute, which is capacity for people to connect.

Ina Fried: I want to get to questions in just a second, so definitely be thinking of them. But since a lot of people don’t know Huawei, and don’t know what you guys do, take us through the labs. What are some of the coolest projects that you can talk about, that you guys are working on? What are the things that you could tell your cousin, and they’d be like, “Wow?”

John Roese: Yeah, absolutely. So, one of the most interesting ones that I’m really excited about is cloud. So everybody knows the term “cloud”; the problem is, it’s kind of cloudy — we don’t actually know what it really defines. But right now, there’s kind of two schools of thought about cloud. There’s this idea that cloud is just a virtualized data center, and it doesn’t really change much; it just makes things slightly more efficient. And then there’s this very disruptive model that people like Amazon and Google have been focused on, which is, let’s just rethink things like storage and compute and really change the economics so that we can kind of give storage away for free and make it up on advertising. So they had to really rethink how the world was created, in terms of some very foundational components like storage and compute.

So we have a huge amount of projects. I think today we have almost 2,500 engineers across Huawei working on cloud-based projects; which, by the way, is bigger than the total R&D staff of most of our competitors in many markets. But most importantly what we have to acknowledge is, the thing that we have to build is not just a minor iteration of the historical data center, but we have to actually take what people like Amazon and Google philosophically have created, which is a radical rethinking of storage and computing, and turn that into commercial offerings.

We are just about to start trialing and putting out technology to show some of these technologies. But imagine an environment where the cost of storage could be one-tenth what it is today. And you do that by delayering and stripping out a ton of technology so that it’s just very simple architecture, very well-architected and orchestrated. If you change the cost of storage fundamentally for a carrier or for a consumer, for an enterprise, what is the implication of that? Everything. You could change your business model; you can no longer worry about, you only get one gigabyte of storage for your email or don’t make those big files because I don’t have anywhere to put them or be concerned about the cost of those hard drives, or the backup is too complex. If you can get rid of all of that by just changing this fundamental component of the cost of storage, it cascades through every one of these ICT ecosystems. So we call that single cloud, it’s a piece of our overall cloud architecture; and, candidly, I think it’s going to be one of these very big disruptions in the overall industry. Beyond that, obviously we’re doing stuff in everything you could imagine, next-generation wireless. Imagine, if you’ve played with an LTE network today, it’s pretty exciting. A 30-millisecond round-trip time, a 20-30 megabit per second of realistic bandwidth; the theoreticals are much higher. The stuff we’re working on pushed the envelope up to hundreds of megabits or gigabits per second over the wireless environment.

Now, it’s hard to say what you do with that. But I have no doubt that creative people will find a very interesting thing to do with gigabit wireless.

Ina Fried: Really fast dropped calls.

John Roese: Well, it’s funny, I was just at MIT last week, and they were showing me holographic video. I asked them a simple question: How much bandwidth does this take? And they said, “Well, basically it’s the equivalent of a whole bunch of high-definition channels combined to create this three-dimensional, high-definition visualization.” So they were talking hundreds of megs or gigabits of capacity to do holographic video. We think holographs are kind of neat, and they’re interesting. I’ve heard it come up a couple times in the last couple of days. But to move that over a network, we’re going to have to rethink and redesign the networks, which might be one of those first applications, but even if that isn’t the one, I have no doubt people will figure out what to do with it.

Ina Fried: Even making Netflix cost-effective. I mean, their pure data shows that right now we’re not in that place where it’s really you can get Netflix for $7.99 a month, but the cost of delivering a movie is approaching that same rate.

Moving on now to the Q&A with the audience …

Q: On this topic of spectrum and bandwidth, we actually had Mr. Gore here mention that one of the main challenges that the networks are facing is video delivery, broadband delivery; this is definitely one of the drivers. And if that’s an issue not only over typical wired networks, it is only more an issue if every single one of us started to want to stream video or these other high-bandwidth applications over the networks. It’s a significant challenge, which as I understand it, faces two very serious walls, which you’ve alluded to. One is the physics itself. And the second is a political wall. As an example, in Europe, one of the issues is you have a lot of small countries and space; they have to divide the spectrum in ways that are actually very, very inefficient and leave very little spectrum for a given country. So my question is, is this actually really a technical problem, or is it more of a political problem that needs to be solved, that will allow us to get that kind of bandwidth necessary?

John Roese: Yeah, well it’s a great question. I mean, the bottom line is, yes, there’s clearly a political piece to the equation. If you carve up spectrum in funny ways, or you decide that it can only be used in certain ways — like frequency division duplexing versus time division duplexing — these create an unnatural burden. Spectrum is a spectrum; it’s just a segment of the airwaves. We’d like to see a little more rational spectrum policy. Clearly it’s improving, and people I think, now — definitely the FCC, and around the world — are really thinking about how to free up spectrum. But it just takes quite a long time to actually accomplish that. But don’t underestimate the technical problem. There is clearly a technical problem that needs to be solved. You cannot take a network that was historically designed to move very low-bit-rate voice calls, GSM and SMS, and suddenly assume it can be an ultrabroadband wireless delivery vehicle for high-definition video, without really rethinking not just how you do things like modulation on the cellular side, but also how you design the network. And so, that heterogenous networking model, which I think is where most of the action is going to be for the next several years, starts to say, well maybe we should redesign the way the network works. Instead of having one tier, let’s have two tiers, let’s have small cells, let’s spectrum up in the 5- and 6GHz range in coordination with 700 megahertz spectrum.

Imagine a device, five years from now, that’s always connected over a 700MHz channel. So it’s got long range, great building penetration, it’s kind of the control channel — that’s where the important stuff flows. But it’s seamlessly able to invoke additional radios when it’s nearby a small cell, that gives it 100MHz wide channel, 4×4 MIMO, so it has a gigabit of capacity potentially to consume video. So those are all theoretically possible. There are technologies that can be built that way, but the design of the network is very different. It means that now you have to start putting those small cells somewhere; you have to decide that it’s okay to put them on light poles or on building walls, and if we have to have a permitting process that says it takes six months and $10,000 per site to get the permit to hang something on a light pole that just is a small cell in the second tier, that’s just not going to work. So you’re absolutely right, both are important pieces of the equation, both are resolvable, but if you just solve one without the other, it probably isn’t going to get us there.

Q: I have a question about Huawei and potential market share and mindshare in the U.S. One thing that I found really disrupting recently was, Google has shifted Chromebooks with an allocation of Verizon data for free each month. And I think that model is — it’s an incredible model, and I think if you were to put it on lower in phones, you could get people to dig in to this data so that they would see the value of it and want to purchase it, but it’s hardly anywhere. I’m just wondering if you have tried this in any markets around the world, and if you think that this might be something that would be disruptive enough to get traction in America? Because there’s no one offering that.

Ina Fried: So the drug-dealer model — the first hit is free. [laughter]

John Roese: Yeah, we’d rather not use that analogy, but generally it’s not us that are going to create that model, in the sense that it’s the carrier that ultimately has to decide what makes economic sense. Now, the good news is that carriers are now more and more engaged with us saying — they used to think of Hauwei as kind of a supplier of technology that kind of kept the other suppliers honest. That’s when we were in the fast-follower mode. Now that we’re the innovator, the dialogue we’re having with customers is fascinating. So I think you’re on to something, and I think that there are markets where the carriers are looking for ways to increase the penetration rate. And I think now Huawei has an opportunity to actually describe new business models, and the carriers are much more willing to listen to us, because they view us more as an innovator. So I haven’t had that discussion especially, but I’m pretty much, on a weekly basis, sitting down with either CEOs or CTOs or the operators.So maybe the next one, I’ll bounce it off of them and see what they say. I think it’s a great idea, and there’s many other examples in the enterprise world where we’ve done that as an industry and it has worked really well. Get people excited.

Cloud storage is a great example. Give them the first 20 Gb, and see what happens. If they like it, they’ll buy more.That’s what Picasa does, that’s what many of these systems do. You’re absolutely right, it needs to be applied to other markets.

Q: I have a question about your intellectual property strategy. Traditionally, IP is still a little bit of a stigma over here, especially in China. But Huawei has a very impressive IP strategy, so I want to know how it is received internationally, and how it compares to when you were at other international companies.

John Roese: I think you’re absolutely right. The perception is that intellectual property isn’t important. Some companies historically — Huawei, seven or eight years ago — said, no, this is really important. And in the last couple of years we’ve been in the top five intellectual property producers in the world, in all industries — a couple of the years we were, I think, number two. Today we have about 50,000 patents PCTs and patent applications globally. So, my — to answer your question very briefly, compared to Western companies I’ve been CTO of, in fact the patent portfolio is larger and the discipline and desire to create it and the willingness to invest in it is absolutely higher in Huawei. They get it, they understand it and I think realize that intellectual property is a critical part of actually being able to compete in the global marketplace.

Q: It seems like on the one hand you have Moore’s law, giving us faster and faster devices capable of consuming bandwidth, and new business models springing up to accelerate that consumption. On the other hand, you have networks struggling to provide enough spectra. I’d like the answer of, well, technology is going to find a way, but do you think that a period of just real latency is almost inevitable at this point, and if not, do you see solutions coming from outside the network world, like smart flash to do caching, to smooth peak times?

John Roese: Absolutely. The solution to these problems will not be just more bandwidth in the network. That’s a great vehicle. I joke that I’ve been in this industry long enough that we go — we oscillate as an industry between finding really long-term solutions to problems by looking at the end-end ecosystem technically, to moments of time where suddenly the network provides more bandwidth, and we think that you can solve every problem by just throwing bandwidth at it. We’re right now approaching a point in wireless where we can’t just throw bandwidth at it. LT is going to give us a bit of a bump, but it’s a bit more time before we get to LT advanced, and in between there, we will have to get very creative on content management, caching, dynamic transcoding, the intelligence of the endpoint, multi-tiered topologies — those are not cellular problems. And so, you’re absolutely correct, which is great for Huawei, because we actually touch all of those, as opposed to only having one tool to solve the problem.

Q: And do you think that’s going to result in an inevitable period where there’s just going to be a lot of latency?

John Roese: I think it’s going to slow things down in certain markets and certain business models, where the assumption of unlimited bandwidth in all environments is true. But you look over the last 20 years, and it has always gone through those cycles. I’m an optimist, I’ve seen us work through them before. The technical work to solve it when you’re in those “periods of latency” is much more complex. And then eventually we have a breakthrough on bandwidth capacity and everybody kind of breathes a sigh of relief and rapid innovation occurs. And then we do it to ourselves again. It’s inevitable.

John Roese Session Photos

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