Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is to open a new Bell Labs office near Tel Aviv, Israel, as the research organization sharpens its focus around challenges that confront the evolution of networks. Bell Labs is a key element of Alcatel-Lucent’s innovation leadership as its customers in both traditional and new market segments begin the massive transformation to cloud-based network architectures.
On the same day as the Bell Labs Tel Aviv announcement, Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes has spoken at MIXiii 2014, Israel’s technology conference, in which he outlined how The Shift Plan – the company’s industrial transformation from telecoms generalist to specialist – is helping the company solve big challenges for its customers, such as network virtualization.
In his keynote address, Mr. Combes pointed out that Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs had realized early on the promise of moving networks to the cloud, but that it would take a dramatically different set of capabilities and innovations to make it happen. These capabilities, he said, would come from within Bell Labs but also from the creation of Alcatel-Lucent’s in-house start-ups like the Israeli-based CloudBand business and Nuage Networks, its Silicon Valley-based SDN (software defined networking) solution, which leverage Bell Labs’ insights and innovations.
The Bell Labs Tel Aviv location will be led by the notable Israeli computer scientist Danny Raz. A Bell Labs alum, Danny Raz is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at The Technion, Israel’s leading technical university. He has been published widely in the area of network, system, and cloud resource management and has a strong working relationship with a number of leading global companies in Israel including receiving the IBM Faculty Award, and consulting with Google.
The new Bell Labs team will be based in Alcatel-Lucent’s cloud facility in Kfar Saba, near Tel Aviv. The facility is already focused on helping customers apply NFV (network functions virtualization) to create a simpler, more agile and efficient operating model for meeting networking demands. At the center of this work is Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand™ solution — the industry’s first open, multivendor NFV management platform that allows operators to offer cloud services with security, reliability and quality.
More Bell Labs locations will be announced later this year each with its own original focus in an emerging research area.
On a significant day for Bell Labs, at a ceremony in New Jersey celebrating the 50th anniversary of the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson – one of the strongest pieces of evidence supporting the “Big Bang” theory – Marcus Weldon, president of Bell Labs and CTO of Alcatel-Lucent, will introduce the Bell Labs Prize.
The Bell Labs Prize, which we hope will be seen as the premier Prize in Information and Communications Networking – is a competition that will reward winners with up to $100,000 in cash and the opportunity to develop their ideas with world-renown Bell Labs researchers.
The Prize is intended to encourage new answers to the great challenges facing the ICT industry, as well as collaboration with Bell Labs researchers to accelerate understanding and investigate the potential of the best ideas. And, as in the classic Bell Labs model, in answering the big questions that confront the evolution of information and communications networking, there will always be a eye on the ‘unexpected discoveries’ that change how we perceive our world, exemplified by the work of Penzias and Wilson.
Alcatel-Lucent, CEO Michel Combes: “As Alcatel-Lucent continues its journey to become a specialist in IP Networking, cloud and ultra-broadband access, driven by execution on The Shift Plan, we are also unlocking and expanding the innovative heart of the company around the globe. Bell Labs is one of our key innovation engines and co-locating a new office with our CloudBand start-up in Israel will produce fantastic results for our customers and for communications globally, and will contribute tremendously to Alcatel-Lucent playing a shaping role in the industry.”
Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs & CTO Alcatel-Lucent, added: “Bell Labs is once again looking at solving the big real-world problems that will change the way we communicate, collaborate and connect with each other and with our ‘things’. We know that great new discoveries and innovations in ‘cloud networking’ will emerge from our new Tel Aviv office with Danny Raz at the helm, in collaboration with our Cloudband team. This team will help Bell Labs continue to invent the future.”
Danny Raz, new head of Bell Labs Tel Aviv: “This is a unique opportunity for me, as a scientist, to be part of the re-shaping of the telecommunication realm, and to have an impact over the lives of many people throughout the globe. I realize this opportunity is, of course, a great challenge, as ’success’ will require the team to come up with breakthrough research and innovations that address the main problems in cloud and networking. However, I believe that the combination of the Bell Labs’ traditional model and spirit, together with the unique strengths of the Israeli academia and entrepreneurship is a unique combination, and thus the new Bell Labs Tel Aviv office will have a great impact both for Alcatel Lucent as well as for the Israeli tech and the global ICT community.”
About Alcatel-Lucent in Israel
Alcatel-Lucent is a leading telecom infrastructure provider to Israel and the Palestine Authority with deployments of IP, optical transmission and small cells. Also a worldwide leader of 4G LTE deployments and access technologies, including FTTH, Alcatel-Lucent is leading in the Israeli service provider migration to LTE beginning next year, as well as the country’s transformation to a new, fast broadband reality.