The year 2021 has been a tough year for everyone. Industries across the globe were shut, companies were barely floating above the economic ocean, in fact, and this year had pushed the whole world almost 2 to 3 years backwards, when all we were aiming was to achieve the things new and unheard-of milestones. The unprecedented outbreak of Covid 19 had a fierce impact on all the sectors of the global economy. Businesses that were hoping to expand and grow were now barely surviving, and no sector remained untouched from the horrors of the pandemic.
However, things are changing their course now. As the whole world is rapidly moving forward with vaccination drives, the blanket of the outbreak is being pushed away. Businesses and industries are going back to Normal, but with a ‘New Normal’. They are optimistic to recover the damage that has been made by the pandemic and foreseeing a brighter future for their operations.
ELE Times Sub Editor and Technology Correspondent Sheeba Chauhan got an opportunity to have a profound conversation, with Monojit Samaddar, Country Director, VIAVI Solutions – India where he reflected back upon 2021, and discuss the optimism for the next year, and provide an outlook for 2022, for their respective industry.
ELE Times: What are the exciting industry developments to look forward to in 2022?
Monojit Samaddar, Country Director, VIAVI Solutions – India: In the Indian market, we will likely see the first 5G auctions in early 2022, making India a 5G country for the first time. Considering that India is ahead in many aspects of technology globally, we’re certainly playing catch-up with 5G. From the State of 5G report from VIAVI back in June, we can see that there are already 65 countries with 5G availability.
However, you could make the case that India has “second-mover advantage” and can turn this apparent negative into a positive. Indian operators can learn from other countries what has worked well and what hasn’t and chart a smarter course through the next few years of ramp-up and rollout. There are exciting times ahead, for sure.
ELE Times: What innovations are lined up for 2022 and for what application areas? (Be specific to your company)
Monojit Samaddar, Country Director, VIAVI Solutions – India: It’s going to be a big year. Part of the exciting nature of being involved in network tests and measurements is that you play a key development role in the future of networks. If you have to validate and assure new network technologies, you have to be ahead of the curve and always keep one eye on the future.
So, from VIAVI, you can expect further pushes into the future of networks across areas such as network cloudification, O-RAN, hyperscalers and the edge. With O-RAN, for example, we’ve been involved in standard development, in plugfests and O-RAN labs globally and we can see that there is a lot of positive momentum. You can expect more from O-RAN participants, VIAVI included, in the coming year, both in the lab and the field.
ELE Times: What milestones are targeted in terms of research, technology development and market expansion by the end of next year?
Monojit Samaddar, Country Director, VIAVI Solutions – India: We can’t give too many specifics, but we can certainly give a flavor of the type of targets. Because of our role in validating and assuring networks, anywhere where the network (in the broadest sense) is evolving, VIAVI will be there, providing the resources and tools that will give service providers and enterprises the means to “command the network”, as we say.
So, expect more from VIAVI in terms of supporting the cloudification of networks. And that means both at the infrastructure level where we work with service providers and hyperscalers to support the traffic flow at the level of fiber connectivity and data centers. All the way through to supporting an increasingly virtualized and automated network operation within various types of networks. Likewise, expect more from VIAVI to support the push towards the network edge, both for hyperscalers and service providers.
ELE Times: Considering emerging technologies, what market trends to be followed in 2 to 4 years?
Monojit Samaddar, Country Director, VIAVI Solutions – India: By the very nature of the technology world, you have to envision the benefits of technology before they happen. So, there will be a natural lag between discussion or even hype about a subject and the benefits from them being realized.
In evolving 5G and fiber networks, we can expect to see some of the benefits being discussed now to come to fruition in the next 2-4 years.
To give you an example, there is a lot of discussion around openness and disaggregation in networks currently. Obviously, a major driver for this is to bring down costs through standardized hardware – which is already happening in many cases – but some of the other benefits may take more time and more effort to materialize.
Take O-RAN for example, “intelligence” is another fundamental concept at the heart of their standards, with the vision of having embedded AI-powered radio control. We’re not at the point where this is happening at scale, but the movement towards it is absolutely picking up speed. We’ll be hearing a lot more about RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller) in the coming year or two and no doubt the realized benefits will likely happen in the next 2-4 years.
Sheeba Chauhan | Sub Editor |ELE Times