Lynn Liu -
Innovation is in her DNA
By Isabelle Paradis
President, HOT TELECOM
Article in PDF format
IPX is on everyone's lips and is the buzzword of the day. Most International carriers are now in the midst of defining what is IPX, should they offer it, what it can do for them and if it will be the solution to support the current IP evolution sweeping the industry.
One provider leading the IPX wave is Aicent. It now boasts over 116 IPX customers and states that it currently connects 4-5 new service providers a month to its IPX network.
Lynn Liu founded Aicent in 2000 with the vision of bridging the IP and wireless worlds through innovative mobile data services.
I recently had the pleasure of talking with her, about what she sees as key success factors for IPX providers, where the industry is going and her secret for staying ahead of the pack.
Aicent now supports over 3 billion mobile users through more than 200 mobile operators. With its network reaching nearly every GPRS/3G/4G operator around the world, it operates one of the industry's largest GPRS and 3G network eXchanges. Here is what Lynn had to say about the secret behind Aicent's success.
‘The key to success is coverage, quality of service and a complete solution’
‘I believe a full suite of services is important, because it enables you to provide a one-stop solution to satisfy your customer’s needs. Because IPX is a hubbing solution, it is also all about coverage and to enable your customers to reach as many different devices and destinations as possible. Finally, quality of service is becoming increasingly important for our service provider customers, so quality needs to be part of the mix. Consequently, a complete solution is the secret recipe: coverage, quality and a full suite of services.'
‘Our main challenge will be to keep our leader position’
'We believe that one of our main challenges will be to continuing to scale up and keep our leading IPX player position. There are a lot of wholesalers that are getting ready to launch IPX and it is going to get very competitive in the coming 3-5 years. These large carriers will all want to become key players in the IPX market. So we have to be able to scale up quickly and ensure we evolve from the first mover in a new segment to retain our position as a key player and compete with the global wholesalers. But innovation is one of our secret weapons as it differentiates leaders from followers and is the best way to keep ahead of the game.’
‘Innovation is in our DNA'
‘IPX is just taking off, so there’s a lot of new technologies that need to be developed. We have a tradition to be the first mover and developing technology is what we do. The company headquarters is based in Silicon Valley, so innovation is part of our DNA, we are known in the industry as the most innovative GRX vendor, and we will continue to be so. This is partly why we are so successful.'
‘LTE roaming and signalling will be the first wave of IPX applications'
‘The first applications inside the IPX will be LTE roaming and signalling. This wave started in the second half of last year and continued in 2013, so we will carry on focusing on developing LTE roaming at least for the next year. But at the same time, starting at the end of 2013 and early in 2014, Voice over LTE (VoLTE) will take off. We are planning to lead that segment and help mobile operators support VoLTE and we are in a good position to achieve this. We have established Aicent as a leader in LTE signalling and roaming and we are planning to extend this to VoLTE.'
‘Everybody is participating in mobile data – it’s no longer just for mobile operators'
‘The GSMA defined IPX not only for mobile operators, but also to support interoperability between fixed line operators, ISPs, content providers and OTTs. For example, we support OTTs not only for their P2P SMS and off-net traffic, but also for their A2P requirements. By the end of the year, when we support VoLTE, HD Voice or even video over LTE, we hope to bring OTTs into IPX to also take advantage of these new services.
In addition, we are seeing a growing need for wifi uploads and the industry has yet to integrate wifi into IPX. Other than AT&T, mobile operators are not deploying wifi, and as wifi uploads is a growing need, we anticipate that cablecos might participate in IPX in that way. Once cablecos are interconnected to IPX, they may also bring in content, which will stimulate the interaction between cablecos and mobile operators and mobile data as a result. So, as well as mobile operators, everybody is participating in mobile data growth and ultimately IPX. At Aicent, we aim to continue extending our offering to these new types of customers and to grow through innovation.'
Aicent is Lynn's third company. Prior to founding Aicent, she was a co-founder and COO for GRIC Communications, eventually leading the company to a successful IPO in 1999. She also co-founded and held the COO position at Aimnet, a leading ISP in California. Aimnet was acquired by Verio in 1996 and is now a subsidiary of NTT Communications. Throughout her career, Lynn has established a long stream of successes in IP data services and I was eager to understand a bit more about the women behind the success. Here is what she had to say about the challenges she faces and how she manages to come out a winner.
‘To keep innovating is a key challenge’
'It is non-stop. You have to continually come up with new technologies and services if you want to grow your company in the current telecom environment. You have to listen carefully to your customers' needs and work with them to develop solutions. You need to help them solve their problems. That is a never ending challenge.'
‘No matter how successful you are, you have to remain humble.’
‘First and foremost you have to remain humble, no matter how successful you are. You’re going to have to learn to be humble, because only by listening humbly to your customers who have been supporting you, will they continue to support and respect you. Being humble and listening to your customers are essential qualities if you want to be successful and respected in business in the long run.’
After spending some time talking with Lynn and delving into what makes her so successful, I can say that from my point of view what has made Lynn Liu into the business leader she is now can be summarized in a few words:
'Thirst for innovation'
About the Author:
Isabelle Paradis, President of HOT TELECOM is an international telecoms expert, with over 20 years working experience in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.
HOT TELECOM has been serving global operators, governments, equipment vendors and telecom investors for over 10 years, providing leading edge market research and consulting services to industry leaders around the globe.
For more information on our HOT INTERVIEWS program, please contact Isabelle Paradis at: email@example.com or at +1 514 270 1636
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