Zia Syed has joined Rakuten Symphony as president of its Symworld™ Platform Business Group. He joins the company from Dell where he was CTO, 5G Solutions. Before that he was CTO & VP Product Engineering, and Head of Ericsson Industry Connect. Zia will lead the effort to fully integrate the software from Rakuten Symphony acquisitions Altiostar, InnoEye and Robin.io and from partner companies into the Symworld Platform. Here are his thoughts on the opportunity ahead of him at Rakuten Symphony:
The cellular industry has, for a long time, been discussing opening its ecosystem and embracing cloud technologies in order to put more focus on differentiated services for customers. But progress has been slow, as the cloud and internet industries come at the problem from different directions than traditional telecom companies. Traditional telecom still follows practices that were common in IT 20 years ago. Rakuten is an internet software company and they approached telecom from this new cloud-native software-centric perspective and now want to share the platform they built with the rest of the industry. I am excited to join the leadership of that industry changing initiative. I feel I am joining the SpaceX of the telecom world.
Mobile network operators (MNOs) have gotten stuck in generational change mindsets where big promises are made once every 10 years and they always under deliver, despite the marketing campaigns that promote the technology before. If a generation of mobile technology is “seen to be successful,” the financial benefactors have been the people that build on top of the technology rather than the industry itself. There is an opportunity to start changing this paradigm in the 5G era, that is cloud-native and micro-service by standard. This requires a completely different approach.
We, at Rakuten Symphony, are focused on making the total telecom business cloud-native and API-enabled, exposing network capabilities and data services that enhance the experience of existing mobile applications and enable a new class of innovative applications that have not previously been possible. We do that by solving the operational complexity of the network itself and exposing network capabilities and associated data services for developers to create a new class of dynamic hyperscale and hyper-local applications. We enable hyperscale type economics, faster time to market and radically different investment and operational costs.
The way that Rakuten Symphony will make a difference in the whole telecom ecosystem is with the Symworld Platform. The Symworld Platform is the industrialized implementation of automation required to scale operations with predictability, quality and fixed cost. We are doing this by digitalizing the supporting processes in the platform itself and the applications that run on the platform.
With Rakuten Symphony, we have developed the technology to plan, build and operate a modern network and demonstrated the successful implementation and execution of cloud-native architecture to deliver telecom functions.
I think the company has been very shrewd in its acquisition strategy to fill in all the holes needed to provide a cloud platform that offers everything MNOs need to plan, build, and operate advanced, secure, high-quality networks. My charge is to bring that all together in a unified manner. My ultimate measure of success for this platform is the reduction of software implementation times from months to days and hopefully, ultimately to hours.
Before the iPhone, deploying an application on a phone took months to years. With the introduction of the app store concept this has been reduced to minutes and we can see the results, both in terms of choice, innovation, and efficiency. We want to introduce the same result on the network side. People tell us this is impossible. People told Apple the same. I want to be part of the team that challenges the status quo to see what is possible. I believe that is where we will all be surprised.
We are working hard to deliver on the full promise of the Symworld Platform by working closely with our customers during this transformational journey. We need a laser focus on demonstrating quantifiable operational efficiencies of the network and helping our customers to unlock the capital tied into manual and non-differentiated system integration tasks: capital that they need to innovate on services offerings to their customers. To do that we need to continue to show operational efficiency gains through a cloud-native and software-based approach.
I joined Rakuten Symphony because I believe telecom can be and needs to be so much more. I believe software people that care about the future of the planet can have the largest impact in securing that future by making telecom better; by changing the basics of the industry, connecting the unconnected and transforming the already connected to a better place. I would love to connect with you and listen to your feedback.