Siemens AG, the worlds foremost supplier of public switched telephone network (PSTN) equipment, has earned much of its revenue selling equipment for fixed-line communications. Today, it is throwing its full weight on Internet Protocol (IP); though it means giving up some of its traditional fixed-line business as well as a number of cherished traditions.
The Information and Communication Networks (ICN) Group at Siemens has clearly been won over to the advantages of IP-based communications. And it is aggressively pushing for Next Generation Network (NGN), which is the convergence of data and voice networks over an IP platform.
IP-enabled devices and servers have the ability to gather and share intelligence more easily than traditional fixed-line environments, partly because they share the same IP standards, and thus boost corporate productivity
Siemens aims to be a leader in the supply of networks based on a common IP infrastructure; more specifically, the leader in real time communication that provide the same voice quality a fixed-line customer would enjoy via IP, according to Siemens Malaysia Sdn Bhd newly appointed senior vice-president for ICN Dr Jan Skowronski.
As a proof of its seriousness about establishing itself as the leader in this area, Siemens had in June last year introduced LifeWorks, its new strategy for IP-based product development over the next decade, he said.
Siemens spent 2 billion euro on R&D in Information and Communications (I&C) last year. A large portion of that went into developing NGN. A major part of this is in software development. And some of this is developed in the Malaysia lab in Cyberjaya, Skowronski told StarBiz.
NGN is also among the projects of Siemens ICN Carrier Networks Asia Pacific headquarters, set up recently in Kuala Lumpur.
Globally, ICN accounts for a third of Siemens I&C revenue, and 10% to total Siemens revenue.
It's basically the same in Malaysia. We plan to grow that (ICN revenue) by a low two digit, Skowronski said.
Skowronski noted that NGN was now picking up among some larger companies though the projects were still fairly small in relation to their general capital expenditure. However, the demand for broadband Internet access, whether fixed and wireless, was getting increasingly high and Siemens works with the major broadband access service providers in the country.
Siemens reckoned it was among the top three players in the fairly new technology, and it targets to capture 20% share in the local ICN market. It is in an ideal position because it has both carrier-oriented and business-oriented technologies; two sets of expertise it can leverage on. It has around a million enterprise customers, and some 300 large carriers worldwide.
Siemens could leverage on its knowhow in telecommunications, especially on voice, and on its partnerships and alliances with some of the world's leading equipment vendors, such as Juniper Networks, and application developers that complement its SURPASS portfolio to provide best-in-class, end-to-end solutions for carriers.
According to Skowronski, SURPASS, consisting Next Generation Access, Next Generation Switching, Next Generation Optics and Next Generation Network Management modules; has all of the building blocks for the migration to an NGN. The SURPASS vision sees all networks ultimately converging to self-managing, optical fibre networks carrying IP-based voice and data packets which can monitor and analyse traffic patterns. An NGN saves on capital and operational expenditures and permits fast and cost-effective creation of new services and applications.
SURPASS provides smooth and cost-effective migration towards an all-IP and optics converged network for every type of service and application. It encompasses a complete range of carrier-grade IP network solutions for building NGNs. With its modular design, open platforms and open interfaces, SURPASS is a future-proof technology that can be used in any network, at any point in time and whenever it fits the corporate strategy, he said.
Meanwhile, Skowronski said that with back office functions (which form a large part of project management) now the responsibility of the ICN regional headquarters, ICN Malaysia could focus more on providing consulting, presales, and after sales services. The 50 staff of ICN Malaysia has been re-trained to be more customer-centric, Showronski said.
The regional ICN headquarters also handled special or unique support requirements, while Siemens regional service centre headquarters in Bangkok catered for very specialised front-end functions, he added. - By Yvonne Chong
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