Anup ChangarothOver the last couple of weeks, I have been on the road supporting our annual Ciena Drive Roadshows in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and finishing up with Hong Kong. We had the opportunity to share Ciena’s Adaptive Network vision with both customers and partners, as well as an opportunity to discuss with them their top priorities, challenges and investment plans.

From the many interesting conversations, there were a number of insightful take-aways. These 3 take-aways resonated the most with the customers and partners I spoke with.

Ciena’s Adaptive Network vision sounds great, but where do I start?

Pretty much every customer we presented our vision instinctively understood the direction we are taking. They agreed that it is the right way forward to prepare for the expected network growth and service agility required that has been brought on by developments in broadband applications, video delivery, Internet of Things (IoT), and the upcoming 5G tsunami. In fact, a number of operators I spoke with will be among the first in the world to launch commercial 5G services. 

However, most wanted the next level of detail and the steps involved in embarking on the Adaptive Networking journey.

Ironically, it took a little explaining before they realized that with Ciena’s existing portfolio of programmable networking platforms, many are already well alongthe journey. Nevertheless, clearly more work needs to be done to drive adoption of other components within the Adaptive Network vision, namely Ciena’s Blue Planet, and Analytics software.

What part does Ciena’s Adaptive Network vision play in 5G?

It was clear during the roadshows that most customers had 5G on their mind, even in markets like Vietnam where 5G is not expected to land till 2021 and beyond. However, most understood that they need to act now to get their networks ready for the expected scale and “software-ization” needed to be ready for 5G. Our presentations on the latest Ciena WaveLogic, Packet-Optical solutions and Blue Planet were a hit as the content directly addressed their pain points.

That said, more work still needs to be done. Our customers expect a well-articulated strategy on how our networking products and software play within the 5G ecosystem, especially in using our Converged Packet-Optical solutions to solve some of the more complex issues such as efficient fronthaul, architecting cost-effective transport and switching backbones, and the part that Blue Planet plays in enabling and orchestrating 5G network slicing in the delivery of differentiated services.

We’re experiencing significant data center market growth. What value does Ciena’s Adaptive Network vision add?

Clearly, there is tremendous momentum around new and expanded data centers across the region. Without exception, customers in every city wanted to hear about our latest offering in data center solutions, including interconnect, switching, and access solutions.

In Conclusion

As I walk our customers and partners through the Adaptive Network vision, they recognized that it is a strong framework to help in the paradigm shift that’s taking place in our industry. 

Ciena’s Adaptive Network vision is not only a blueprint for our investments going forward, Iit is also a great tool that allows our customers to visualize the future of their networks through a structured framework. It brings together the value of Ciena’s comprehensive portfolio of solutions that helps our customers use as a roadmap on their network transformation journey.

A Ciena Drive roadshow session in Korea, one of six across the Asia-Pacific region

A Ciena Drive roadshow session in Korea, one of six across the Asia-Pacific region.