From the magazine: Company Profile

Network Middle East profiles Corning Optical Communications, a global manufacturer of fibre optic systems

Juan Colina, regional director, Middle East, Corning Optical Communications
Juan Colina, regional director, Middle East, Corning Optical Communications

What is your company’s history-including Middle East History?

It has been nearly five decades since Corning inventors developed the first low-loss optical fibre, one of the vehicles of the modern world and the digitalisation. Considering fibre offers lower latency and almost unlimited bandwidth, Corning is a major player in the efforts enable the connectivity and data transmission requirements of 5G, IoT, and Industry 4.0.

Our operations in the Middle East are currently divided between our offices in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and our offices in Dubai, UAE. Our current presence in the region involves sales and marketing, application engineering and logistics. Additionally, we have a network of partners that are regularly trained and supported by Corning.

What is your company’s core competence?

Corning is a pioneer in materials science that stretches into a number of industries – glass, life science, optical physics etc. In optical communications, our value-creation model of work is thriving and it demonstrates the potential of our integrated approach and the power of innovation. We are continuously creating new products that help our customers realise their vision of faster, better and cheaper networks. Simultaneously, we are driving significant productivity improvements to provide capacity and lower costs. Importantly, this strategy includes co-innovation relationships with industry leaders around the world, which has resulted in the creation of around 100 new Corning products each year.

Our fibre optic systems for fixed and wireless networks enable better connected experiences for businesses, homes, and people around the globe. However, we do know that the transition to any new technology comes with its challenges. To accelerate – and ease – this process, we enable our customers to optimise and upgrade, rather than replace their networks. Whether in FTTH deployments, or data centre and in-building applications, we deliver the right scalable solutions to meet customers at different stages of their journey.

The advancement of 5G, FTTx and the Internet of Things is driving fibre deeper into the network.

What are some of the trends impacting your sector?

Some trends are worth noting. For example, the growing demand for reliable connectivity without restriction – all the time, at full speed on any device from anywhere – has made cellular telecommunications infrastructure a ‘fourth utility’.  This is just as important as electricity, water, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). As we are on the horizon of 5G entering the regional market, we are looking at an increased demand coming to the local area networks and in-building networks. These new experiences will drive a need for less latency, higher bandwidths, more connectedness and reliable connectivity, to keep businesses competitive. Network owners and designers will need to reimagine their networks, to make them easy to manage, easy to deploy and easy to scale.

With the arrival of smart cities around the region, we also see a bigger focus on smart buildings, which will change the way we live and work. This starts with connectivity enabled by fibre-deep infrastructure and transforming a building’s end-user network strategy to universal wireless (WiFi plus LTE) carries substantial benefits. If the majority of end-users have no devices that require a physical network connection, IT costs can be reduced dramatically. In the future, we can expect that the only cabling in buildings will be for wireless access, which will lead to all devices for smart buildings or tenants being connected to the nearest wireless access point.

In the future, we can expect that the only cabling in buildings will be for wireless access.

Discuss the latest solutions from your company and the impact you see in the market

The advancement of 5G, FTTx and the Internet of Things is driving fibre deeper into the network, creating a greater need for individual connection points. At the recent ANGA COM 2019 conference held in Germany, we showcased two products that simplify deploying, managing, and upgrading networks: Corning TrueDrop conical connectors and Corning ALTOS Gel-Free Loose Tube Cable with Binderless FastAccess Technology.

Corning’s new family of radio frequency TrueDrop conical connectors, offer improvements over current compression connectors, giving operators less network noise, greater ease of use, and better overall reliability.

From its outside plant portfolio, Corning highlighted the ALTOS Gel-Free Loose Tube Cable with Binderless FastAccess Technology.

Corning’s RocketRibbon cabling design offers ribbon sub-units that are easy to manage, identify, and trace, and this is having a significant impact on cable deployments for large-campus data centre interconnects.

What is your presence in the Middle East?

As mentioned earlier, we have marketing, engineering, logistic and sales force in the region, (sales staff are both direct and through a distributors). So far, our operations are developing well and we are confident that our efforts to build partnerships and offer future-enabling connectivity solutions will allow us to expand not only our partners’ networks, but also our client base.  This is an exciting time for the industry and we see that the region is active and prospering, making our presence here stable and well established.

Describe some of your biggest successes in the region

In the region, Corning has been involved in fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments in the region for several years. We do this through our portfolio of optical fibres for high-density systems in data centres. We have also introduced technologies such as compact cabinets and micro-cables for crowded environments, which bring more bandwidth and improve customer costs by speeding up installations.

We have had a lot of success with the multiuse platform we brought to the region in the last couple of years, which allows a mix of network architectures to access the same fibre backbone. The converged architecture of this solution allows operators and municipalities to rapidly deploy fibre networks that can also support 5G wireless connectivity.

We also consider our relationship with some of the leading operators a success story. Such types of clients has high requirements and demands, which leads to high volumes and long term planning. These are the strategic relationships that engage the full potential of Corning and allow us to contribute to regional network development.

Corning marks milstone: Delivering its 1 Billionth Kilometer of optical fibre

What are your regional goals for the rest of the year and beyond?

The region is moving fast towards advanced digital services and next-generation networks. In the UAE in particular, there have been some exciting new projects initiated by local telcos. Etisalat is building 600 5G sites across the country as it prepares to launch 5G services for consumers later this year. du is also working on setting up more than 700 5G-enabled base stations, with plans for 5G to go live by the end of the year. As a leading player in the industry, we would naturally like to be in the forefront of the process.

There are significant new 5G and hyperscale data centre opportunities emerging for passive optical cabling systems and that will be a major focus for us over the next few years. It’s important for us to understand the drivers behind this network evolution, to be able to apply our value creation model and respond to the specific network architecture needs.

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