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Episode Descriptor

If you can imagine a world with millions of interconnected 5G private networks, then you are ready to step into the future. Ganesh Sundaram, the founder and CEO of TCS COIN™ start-up Alefedge, believes every enterprise can now become their own mobile operator by building a private 5G network. Oh wait, isn’t 5G complicated? Fret not! In this episode of The Next Big Think!, Ganesh simplifies 5G technology and takes us through how Alefedge, a start-up that’s part of TCS’ COIN™ Accelerator program, enables its customers to adopt and build a 5G network within minutes. Ganesh’s expertise in 5G and Kevin’s own insights as a futurist make this an interaction you do not want to miss.
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artwork cover
To the 5G-Future of Speed
Episode 4 is about 5G technology, private networks, and a world set to change forever.
0:00 10:25

 

 

 

Guest: Dr. Ganesh Sundaram, Founder and CEO, Alefedge
ganesh sundaram

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram is the founder and CEO of Alefedge, pioneering the next generation distributed Edge Internet.  With over 20 years of rich experience in technology creation and product realization, he has developed several foundational technologies leading to new standards, products, and deployments. Recently, Ganesh was recognized for his Biggest Individual Contribution to Edge Computing Development at the Edge Awards.  Prior to that, he was named a Bell Labs Fellow in 2012, inducted into the Alcatel Lucent Technical Academy, and is a recipient of two Bell Labs Presidents Awards.


 

artwork cover
To the 5G-Future of Speed
Episode 4 of The Next Big Think! is about 5G technology, private networks, and a world set to change forever.
0:00 10:25


 

 

TCS COIN™ PODCAST SERIES

THE NEXT BIG THINK!

A shout-out to the future. Presented by TCS COIN™. Powered by TCS Pace™.
 


 

Guest: Dr. Ganesh Sundaram, Founder and CEO, Alefedge
ganesh sundaram


Dr. Ganesh Sundaram is the founder and CEO of Alefedge, pioneering the next generation distributed Edge Internet.  With over 20 years of rich experience in technology creation and product realization, he has developed several foundational technologies leading to new standards, products, and deployments. Recently, Ganesh was recognized for his Biggest Individual Contribution to Edge Computing Development at the Edge Awards.  Prior to that, he was named a Bell Labs Fellow in 2012, inducted into the Alcatel Lucent Technical Academy, and is a recipient of two Bell Labs Presidents Awards. 


EPISODE TRANSCRIPT


Kevin Benedict:

Welcome to The Next Big Think. In this podcast, we give a shout out to the future. I'm your host, Kevin Benedict, a partner and futurist here at TCS. And I want to thank each of you for listening. Our guest today is Dr. Ganesh Sundaram who's the CEO and founder of Alefedge. Ganesh, thank you for joining us. So Ganesh has earned a PhD in mathematics from Purdue University. He was named a bill labs fellow. He is a recipient of two Bill labs president's awards. He was also awarded the Biggest Individual Contribution to Edge Computing Development Award. And that's a mouthful, but that is a huge and impressive biography, Ganesh. I love it. How do you get a biography like that?

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

Well, first of all, Kevin, it's always a pleasure to be talking to people like you in at a very fundamental level. Thank you for the kind words. It does look interesting, but you can't always put a pin on it on, you know, how does it happen? You got to keep doing what you love. And things happen early on as a little kid, my dad, he was an entrepreneur all his life, he probably spotted my way of analyzing things. So he got me into learning whatever I wanted, had a chance to learn mathematics. So went through a lot of competitions and did well. And that led me to where I am today, you know, including the doctorate I earned at Purdue University.

Kevin Benedict:

When you look back at mathematics, do you give credit to your study of mathematics for some of your successes today? Or was that just a launching pad for jumping out and doing other things that are of interest? What's your thoughts?

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's 1,000% relevant to my life. And let me put it in very simple terms. Mathematics is not about what you just learned. It's about how you think about problems and how you define problem statements and and common problem statements, the solutions will reveal themselves to you. So it's the power of imagining the odd thing and I'm going to give you a 10 second preview of an example. You know, there's this mathematician in the 19th century, his name is Rima. He challenged Euclid’s view of geometry. And he didn't know when it was going to be useful. It was called Romanian geometry, and then none other than Einstein found a way to use it in his pursuit of relativistic mechanics, as we know it today. I'll give you a much more mundane example. People have thought about you know, multiplication of numbers, and how difficult it is to factor once you multiply them. That was been practiced and known and studied for hundreds of years. But it took Ronnie Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Edelman to come up with the so called RSA algorithm, which is central to modern cryptography, and all of encryption as we know it on the internet today. So you never know when mathematics is going to be of use. But at the same time, conceptually, from my perspective, that's not why I pursued mathematics, I was good at it. I loved it. I kept doing it, but it taught me a set of skills, which all amounted to problem solving. Okay? It's a very hypotheses based reasoning. You have to have a vision. Okay? And in my case, as far as the corporation that I founded, the company and the people we attracted, it's all about being able to have the technology inside and the market insight and the timing of going after it has to be based on certain hypotheses. We will start to match with patterns in the industry. You see what is going on in other parts of the industry, you learn from that. And then you come up with your own hypotheses for a business, you test it, you experiment, you gather evidence, then you start to prove a thesis. And the ultimate proof of a theorem that I'm trying to prove, is this category. And it's coming together, the existence of the category was not known. But here we are talking.

Kevin Benedict:

Ah, that's so brilliant. Thank you for sharing your background kind of philosophy on mathematics. Have you found your background in mathematics to also be useful as the CEO and founder of your own company now?

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

100%? Because that, you know, in fact, it's a very interesting, way you're you posing this question, I'll drill down one more layer, you know, organizational dynamics is the hardest problem that one should ever be thinking about, because people don't fit into any hypotheses. Okay, you learn, you have to be open to picking the people who are always better than you. Okay, and how each one of these individuals as they grow into their job and as organization evolves, to me is a coupled optimization problem. That's just how I think, okay, and then the meaning reveals itself, and you find a way to solve it. This could be in a complex negotiation with a partner or a customer, right? We have to write down common problem statements, and work through it. And eventually, you can get to the get to the answer quickly. This applies to sales cycles, this applies to organizational dynamics, this, this applies to market dynamics, etc. So every one of us, as entrepreneurs find our path to, you know, dealing with and solving problems. Mathematics is my religion, of how I approach problem solving.

Kevin Benedict:

Fascinating. You know, because I, in school, I struggled with math. And it's just so interesting to look at each of our individual paths, because today, we're both talking to each other. And I had to figure work around because math was difficult. But programming was easy. It's just the way my brain was educated, you know, I didn't have a great math background. But programming made complete sense to me. So I jumped into there and started studying all kinds of logic, taking logic in universities and programming, and that was my ticket in. But math just didn't work for me, my brain didn't work.

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

I'm willing to beg to differ with you, Kevin, you're pretty good at math, the fact that you've solved a lot of problems in a structured manner, which is programming, okay? Programming is just a manifestation of how your brain thinks in terms of problem solving. For taking something from A to B, you have a bunch of inputs, and you want to find out what the output is. It's just an automation of your brain. Okay, so you're a pretty good mathematician. Well, don't give up on yourself. But there's a certain reality to what you just said, sometimes growing up, we don't always have the right teachers who can inspire us on various things, right. I am no exception. But you get lucky also, as a little kid, I had the some of the best teachers in math, maybe that that inspired me. So all of us, as long as we are problem solvers we’ll find our niche, specifically programming, you got to have a mathematical genetic code, otherwise, it doesn't happen. That's my view.

Kevin Benedict:

Ah, I love it. I love it. I want to go with that. Let's talk about entrepreneurship. You at this point in your career, I mean, you you're recognized for all these innovations and accomplishments, and you have all these awards, and then you jump into the business world. What made you decide to start your own company? Now?

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

That's a very interesting question. Every one of us as entrepreneurs, we go through epiphany moments, which finally leads us to actually starting the company. But if you really think about it, let me just go back to my background, being in Bell Labs in the early days, there were no wireless data systems. Okay. And we pretty much started the whole game. With respect to wireless mobile data, okay, whether it was you know, 2G data, and there was no 3G data standard when I started my career, and there was a bifurcation of standards at that time, there was a so called 3G PP standards and the 3G PP two standard, so on and so forth, things are fairly complex. But having said that, the only template we had was the early Internet, and how packet switching worked in the internet. So taking that as the cue, we started looking at how to build mobile access systems. And at that time, the game was all about mobile broadband getting to the conceptual breakthroughs in mobile broadband, getting these access systems. But the mobile internet was not optimal. mobile access to the internet, through a mobile phone had been created in optimal fashion. Okay, I'm trying to make a distinction. And I want to give you a pattern that you can match to, if you go back to maybe the early telephony systems, wireline telephony, fixed line telephony systems, there was a lot of capacity in those systems. And that is the so called PSTN that people talk about Public Switched Telephony Networks. And it existed. When mobile phones came up, and the so called 2G Revolution took over, which was GSM the fundamental principle behind that was, we're not going to be taken prisoners, the capacity of cellular telephony systems is not going to be as high ever as fixed line telephony systems. So, and Bactrim is a scarce resource. So they created a parallel connected universe called the public lan mobile network, or the so called PLMN. And then the PLMN, and the PSTN started connecting with each other. So that was the pattern that I saw, that maybe others had not seen. And I felt that that particular pattern had not been replicated in the data world, meaning there's the fixed line internet, but we only access that fixed line internet using a mobile phone. But we don't have a parallel mobile internet universe, we were always dumbing down content to make it fit in a mobile pipe. So for example, I met with senior executives in the industry, including at TATA in the early days, and I was talking to them about what is the key problem you want me to solve? It was always like, I want to make video work better on even 3G systems. So okay, there are two ways to do it. Either you optimize the video, or you optimize the network to make to consume the video, in its native form. I chose the latter, I started focusing on the technology inspirations that led to what we see as almost 5G right now. And, of course, I don't take credit for all that has happened. It's a whole team effort in an industry upward, but the early beginnings, but all technical inspirations. But there were some specific market inspirations. Because what was happening is access was getting commoditized, the value was in the higher layers. So we needed to democratize and create a system, cloud was beginning to happen, it has not really taken off. So is there a marriage between the mobile internet and the cloud that can be created without making massive investments? How can we do it in an expedited manner, the edge was born in my brain, and I still call edges, the new cloud. It's the new latency cloud. And now people talk about latency as the new currency in the internet. But these are the fundamental underpinnings that led to me starting this company. And of course, lots of things happened in the way. I found a lot of people who believed in the need for this technology, and then the rest is history. So it's a combination of market insights and technology insights. But of course, there are some personal reasons also, right? When you see people, you know, being able to, you know, enjoy their favorite program on their on the television set, and there are other people who don't have one and they'd rather be watching some of those things on a mobile phone. You start to wonder if I can make a difference. Why not try it? So there are various reasons why people start their companies, but I felt there was too much of technology and market friction in the mobile internet, and so I started thinking about what is that key technology we can introduce into the mix that can probably solve simultaneously resolve technology and business friction, and the edge was born here.

Kevin Benedict:

I love it. You know, I wasn't an engineer. But I ran a software company for five years, that was a mobile app, we built all kinds of custom mobile apps for large companies, everything from engineering companies, mostly field service kind of work. So a big utility companies and engineers and road building companies, all these guys that needed to move data back and forth from the field for project management, and service ticket and all that kind of stuff. So I certainly understand this is pre iPhone days, with everything my engineers did in my team was to try to optimize the movement of data, so everything wasn't too slow, so that they would just throw away the mobile device, you know, that had functions. So I can appreciate those early challenges there.

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

So you're making a very important point, what you noticed in my language is, you saw a lot of friction in the workflow of some of these apps being rolled out or built or adapted. And you set out to resolve the friction in that workflow. The mobile internet is no different. It was very difficult to build an application until the iPhone and the Android ecosystem started to open it up. People thought it was a zero sum game, it's going to be the, you know, the device makers are going to win big and the rest are going to be left out. No, it led to a whole trillions of dollars of economic activity. And more importantly, a new category of applications called Mobile Apps started taking place. And then an API economy started getting all you know, started happening right around the same time. And then lo and behold, once the adoption happened, mobile broadband adoption started taking place. 4G is one of the biggest success stories no matter where you go, the amount of data that's being consumed on 4G networks is gargantuan. Now, has the unit economics worked out independent of who's making the investment? Only time will tell? Okay, those are market optimizations, that every category of technology brings to the table or new category that is that is unearthed, always has some suboptimal decisions, right? Because we are all human, we are going to be making some quick decisions that as a group of people working the industry, you're always going to be trying to make the optimal decision based on the data that you have. But regardless, 10 years after, you know, 4G was started getting rolled out, look at where we are. It's totally amazing. The amount of activity that it has created is phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal. I can keep going on.

Kevin Benedict:

Yeah, well, no, no, this is just mind blowing. Cuz you're absolutely right. 10 years ago, 15 years ago, we weren't walking around watching our football games and our mobile devices or taking, you know, streaming music streaming, whatever we want with us everywhere. So massive developments, so Ganesh, your fate, and then your education, and the market, and 4G and now 5G is bringing us all together in the same spot in space and time. So here we are. Now let me ask you with a few years of running your own company under your belt, which is more difficult, which is more difficult running your own company or engineering your products?

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

Uh, depends on the time of the day Kevin. I mean, honestly, right. Because the regardless of where you are, in which industry you are, as a founder and as a CEO, it's a fairly lonely place, right? And then, especially when it's a brand new category, and we're trying to get people to understand the intensity of the problem, often people can miss the forest for the trees so it's a little bit of running the company, as well as engineering the new innovative products, and cutting the balance between them, putting the right marketing around it, amplifying the messaging. More importantly, working with the experts and subject matter experts who are much better than I am, people like you, talking to people like you. And more importantly, being able to get in front of customers. All of the above are very difficult, okay. And to do it in a coherent fashion is even more difficult. So, I would say, depending on the hour of the day, running the company, or getting new products, innovative products into the market, both go hand in hand. But, you know, depending on which phase you are in the product development, sometimes in the early stage of the product development, it ends up becoming a higher priority. But in terms of degree of difficulty, I would say both are equally difficult.

Kevin Benedict:

Got it, you know, as you were just sharing your experience there, Ganesh, a memory came back to me, me sitting in a in a conference room with my product team, the engineers and developers and all that. And they would be so frustrated because they thought they were making something superior to any competition. And I would look at them and say, it doesn't matter. If you can't communicate that value to the customer, it doesn't matter how good if nobody knows it's good. Or nobody can appreciate how good that is and what a competitive advantage or what value can be delivered to a customer, it just doesn't matter. So to your point, you have that balance, right? It has to be the best it can be. But if nobody knows that it there's no value exchange there.

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

Right? It's like a tree falling falling in a forest. Right? Yeah, because it's a jungle out there. And, you know, I try to keep it simple, stupid, and maybe cliched often. We have to discover product market fit in a very honest manner. I keep asking one or two simple questions. Who cares? Why now? We have to simplify it down to that. And then you find one, and then you really then you find one and then you pattern match it. So I believe messaging is as important as, as any anything else. But more importantly, what you said about amplification. It's a critical part, especially in new categories, like private 5G and the category we're playing it, right? Because the problem statement is not well understood. What is the big problem we're solving? Okay, you can't just go to the market and say I'm better. Okay. But you have to say why you're different. The difference should be about solving a critical problem that a customer segment faces, okay? And people should know they have this problem, right? iPhone, when it came out, or even the iPod when it came out people didn't realize they had missed out on the flexibility of a la carte music and music on the go and having, you know, 1000s of songs handy in one little device. Right? So then 90% of the work is down in my mind, in the early stages of a category are down to articulating the problem statement, the critical problem that is solved. And then why a different a different approach is needed, doing the same thing will not solve that critical problem. 5G is is kind of like that, just to be candid with you. But anyway, I just wanted to throw it out there because you touched upon something very important. It's super important, especially for new categories.

Kevin Benedict:

Oh yeah. And that is the thing. You can't just go to Amazon and buy a book on how to be successful in a new category. You're kind of pioneering it. And you're figuring it out.

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

Yeah, but you keep going on, you know, Google was not the first search company. Right? But did they didn't set out to becoming the internet company that everyone talks about, they wanted to solve a simple problem, a critical problem. Okay, make search relevant. I remember an interview that Eric Schmidt did on PBS. Okay? The interviewer was Charlie Rose and has this very interesting setup. There's a little light on the top, and there's a rosewood table, just two people sitting. And the rest of the setup is kind of dark. And so it's like, a very warm environment. And Charlie asked, Eric, so how do you define Google? This is like the really early days, I think they'd gone public. He said, we catalog the world's information. That's all he said. I just think that was such a profound statement. Because right there, he said, the world has not found a way to catalog the world's information.

Kevin Benedict:

And now I'm doing. I love it.

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

Now, we all know each other. And it's been taken to different dimensions. A company called LinkedIn came and catalogued people business, relationships. Facebook comes along, social media happens, and the whole economy around, cataloging started taking place, not just so we are a digital advertising company, or we are a search company. He went to the root problem cataloging the world's information. I just found it profound. So you have to learn from everything you hear and read about.

Kevin Benedict:

Oh, absolutely. So you said something a few minutes ago here. That's just fascinating. You know, I've had the honor to be able to interview literally hundreds of different executives within technology. No one has ever said these three words to me. And then you pattern match it. Thank you for listening to the next big thing. We'll be back in just a minute. Stay tuned.

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

I believe Cloud consumption models are a pattern match with telephony systems. How do telephony providers offer, they offer it as a service. It is telephony as a service. So it's a bit of an exaggeration if we said cloud had this disruptive model, yes, it is disruptive in a space which had not discovered that model. But it was a pattern match to a consumption model that already existed in telephony world. So a lot of times incremental pattern matches can have a profound impact and can lead to phenomenal economic outcomes. And I believe that is the case even with 5G.

Kevin Benedict:

Wow. So let's move into the actual market opportunity Ganesh. What do businesses need to know about 5G to actually exploit it or take advantage of it?

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

Oh, wow. That's a huge question. Fundamentally I'm going to ask people to admit that 5G is complicated. But they should also be reassured that technologies exist by which a lot of almost everything in 5G can be abstracted and have been abstracted. And in a few clicks, they can own their own 5G network. If you are an enterprise - manufacturing - next big thing, you made a decision that you want your own private 5G network. And you go talk to, you put a team together to understand 5G. It is complicated. Let's admit it. Why is it complicated? And I'll explain it in two sentences. For the first time in the history of wireless telephony, the radio access technology, the Multiple Access Technology that that is used in the wireless layer did not change going from 4G to 5G. Every other generation when we went from 1G to 2G, we went from analog to digital. Then we went from 2G to 3G, we went from so called TDMA and GSM, which is time division multiple access. And then we went to code division. So the multiple access technology changed. Then we went from 3G to 4G, for unit economics and a better technology, on the radio on the wireless layer, we went into another change, we went some CDMA to OFDMA. For the first time, when we went from OFDMA to 5G, no change happened. 5G is also based on OFDM, whatever that means, meaning the radio access technology, the Multiple Access Technology did not change. So what changed? Practically every change in 5G comes down to changes in the network. Yes, there is something called new radio technologies. Yes, there are some architectural changes, but the fundamental architectural change is in the network side. So this can overwhelm a typical IT manager, or a CIO or anybody in the C suite, because the power of 5G is understood. But the critical need is to accept yes, 5G is complicated. But just like Cloud was complicated. And companies like Salesforce and Twilio and Amazon and everybody else found a way to abstract compute. And everything is APIs. We are sitting on the threshold of abstracting everything and rolling it out big, where we pattern match again and start to offer 5G in minutes. This is what I want people to know that admit the problem, you might solve it, if you don’t, you won’t. And so complexities are there for a reason. But help is on the way. Help is already there. You just have to go make the right calls and listen.

Kevin Benedict:

So these technology evolutions, what new capabilities does a business need to be aware of so that they can stretch their mind on what's now possible?

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

Very, very good question. So there's a lot of noise in the system in the market, right? It's hard for an IT manager to to discern the signal in this ocean of noise, right? Fundamental architectural change, going from 4G to 5G is around edge. It's the edge technologies. That's a fundamental, and what the standards have incorporated and what the market is trying to adopt is absolutely fascinating. For the first time, technology is meeting unit economics on the architectural side, so that enterprises can become their own mobile operator, they can build their own custom 5G network in service. And I'll talk about it in a couple of sentences. I hope I can capture your imagination. Let's start with spectrum, right? Why did Wi Fi become such a universal technology because Wi Fi spectrum is free. In the United States and other parts of the world, there are certain sections of the mid band spectrum in the 3.5 gigahertz range, which had been made free, okay. But in a managed fashion. In the US that band of spectrum is is called band 48. And it actually is referred to as citizens broadband radio spectrum or CBRS. So, you have spectrum, how do you buy that spectrum? You don't have to buy, you just go license it by going to a portal and signing up for it. You get that spectrum. You may have to pay a monthly fee or sometimes you don't have to depending on the provider and you get to transmit using that frequency and you and you alone can transmit in that neighborhood because you obtained that license. Now there are different slices. So there's enough frequencies in that band. So it doesn't mean to neighbours cannot have CBRS, just like, yeah, multiple channels in Wi Fi, you have multiple channels and CBRS also. So you start there. But then the rest of the network all the way from antenna to the application, this edge has created a way, a fascinating set of possibilities at every layer to be able to apply efficiencies and take advantage of the basic underpinning of 5G, which is latency is the new currency. As a result, new applications and use cases are possible. So the basic thing that I'm trying to talk about in terms of new technologies are how all of this is coming together from a market timing perspective, is both regulatory unit economics, and the standards all coming together. And now you pattern match it with what has happened in the cloud world, okay, you have a fascinating set of circumstances, with every enterprise who can be their own mobile operator.

Kevin Benedict:

What’s the business value of that ganache for, let's say, for insurance company, a bank company, a manufacturer?

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

Right, let's talk about manufacturing, just as an example. We are finding use cases in education also, because of the pandemic and otherwise, right. So the need for high bandwidth in manufacturing has been known, right. So because you're thinking I'll keep throwing more Wi Fi into it. But Wi Fi is suboptimal for after a point you'd hit a ceiling. Because these Wi Fi signals, your neighbour is also using the same thing. It's not a managed network. So, if you want to use some kind of autonomous system, you have robotic systems and manufacturing, you want to have some kind of augmented reality, you want to have complete control. And the use cases are around augmented reality virtually any one of these 5G use cases, which demand high ultra high bandwidth, and ultra low latency in that combination is absolutely feasible. With with 5G. Okay, I can keep talking about this is a very passionate area for me. And I've actually had a chance to contribute to some of these. So basically, private 5G is often more secure than Wi Fi. It's a lot more, it's a mobility, and AF psi, reliability in coverage, flexibility in laying things out ability to be able to offer new use cases, of course, low latency, high bandwidth. Everything is true with 5G. So at the drop of a heart, if a CIO has to respond to his CEO, or her CEO, and being able to roll out the next layer of digital transformation, having access to a private 5G network that is customized to their needs is critical. Right. So 5G provides that platform, I wouldn't say Wi Fi did not provide, Wi Fi continues to provide it in certain areas. So in my view, it's not either or. Wi Fi and private 5G networks will coexist forever, in my view, because Wi Fi is also going through its evolution. But 5G is custom defined to deal with some of these characteristics that are demanded by the next generation of use cases. And the use cases could be in the access layer, network layer application, it doesn't matter. Mobility is another strong component. Our vision, and I just want to give a little preview of how we think about 5G. We believe private 5G networks are going to sprout all over the place. And instead of just having 500 Mobile Public operators, there are going to be a million private operators, every enterprise having its own private 5G Network. Have you ever thought about belonging to one enterprise organization and going visiting a customer or a partner and being able to use their private 5G network in a roaming fashion? These things are all possible with private 5G. This didn't happen just overnight. Certain steps were taken in the early days. And now, things are much more cost effective. We have a chance to take it to the next level. So the the market timing is also interesting in this context, because it's not just a matter of these things have been standardized, but just the fact that, like I said, the pandemic may have catalyzed a few things. The unit economics is in favor, you can pattern match with the cloud, a lot of these things are coming together, leading to what I consider. I've always said this, and I'll repeat myself, I'm a bit of a broken record. It's a bit of a tectonic shift that's taking place right now.

Kevin Benedict:

There's a phrase that I often use in my writing, which is technology without strategy is wasted. So you have these, the all this 5G and edge capabilities, massive capacity, low latency, but as a CEO in the C suite, how is that technology going to change my business strategy? How would you respond to that?

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

That's a very important question. The fact that you know, I had to face this question for a lot more, say two, three years ago. Okay. Now, the market has recognized the need for 5G, maybe because of the pandemic, also. But you said something very important. Technology meets strategy, I'm going to extend that to technology means strategy meets market timing, because the who cares? Why now? both are important. You've already identified, who cares, I believe everybody in the C suite of any enterprise has to care. And they do care. So what your real question is why now, why now comes down to, they are in the middle of it's a dog eat dog world, any enterprise is in a competitive setting, okay? Because once that is one successful enterprise, and technology is easy to replicate in these days. So what happens is, there is a need to be able to get better and better, so faster and faster. So just to stay competitive, digital transformation, and network transformation are definitely an imperative. Okay, and for the first time, and again, as a broken record, we have an opportunity, where technology meets unit economics, and we are able to pattern match, okay, and anybody looking to embrace a new technology, who is overwhelmed by it, my advice to them is, help us already out there.

Kevin Benedict:

Thank you for that, Ganesh. So let me just ask you to put your futurist hat on, and look five years ahead, what's gonna what's the world gonna look like around 5G? Maybe it's not 5G by the end. But how do you think things are going to develop over the next five years?

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

We're going to have a million private networks, all interconnected with each other, controlling their own destiny. And each one of these private networks is going to be enterprise owned, you're going to have millions of developers on these platforms, okay. I believe trillions of dollars of economic value has is going to be announced. The early signs are already there. The addressable market is already tens, if not hundreds of billions of dollars, the the edge and the edge internet is going to become a metaphor for the next generation of software technologies. There is no doubt in my mind. 5G is just a manifestation of that. Okay, people are going to discover ways by which they will pattern 5G capabilities into other access technologies. Also, I'm already working with a customer who wants to overlay 5G technologies on top of Wi Fi. And there are standards that support it. Okay. So I believe there's going to be a tectonic shift. In five years, it's going to be a million private networks all interconnected with each other. There's going to be more than one platform. But my hope, and my belief and view is this is going to be an open system, where people can innovate the silos of walled gardens and, and all if you want a capability, let's go to standards. That's all gone. This whole open economy by which lots of winners are going to be seen - it’s here, you're going to see a lot of people who are going to make a living on this. And one last shout out. I talk about developers, developers, developers. There's another new movement called low Code, no code, it's going to go on steroids. Okay. You know, five years ago, I knew I was early, but I was looking for what I call designer wins and trophy wins. I underestimated how long it'll take. I thought it was a couple of years. Now it ended up being five years. But now, I think it can happen in a couple of years. Although I'm willing to give myself five years, for all of the things that I said, are going to happen. No doubt in my mind.

Kevin Benedict:

Ganesh, I love, love the opportunity to talk to you, an entrepreneur, a brilliant innovator, and inventor. And I wish you and Alefedge the very best and, and I'm going to be rooting for you. So thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Ganesh Sundaram:

Such a pleasure talking to you and thanks for reaching out and look forward to all the help we can get as an industry from people like you who can amplify this and make this come true. Thank you for your time.
 

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