The People Behind the Tech @ ECI (Part 5)
Ivan Bykov - 5G Solution Manager, Global Portfolio
This week I met up with one of the more colorful characters at ECI, Ivan Bykov, who joined ECI 3 years ago after leaving one of the largest telecom vendors in Russia. A fifth generation engineer and a self-professed ‘technogeek’, Ivan loves understanding how things work. In between his many flights to meet with yet another customer, Ivan was kind enough to give me a bit of his time to talk to me about his position and his goals. Today, Ivan is ECI’s 5G Solution Manager, helping us define and prioritize our solution offering in line with the developing needs of the market.
A bird’s eye view
Tenure: 3 years
Q: 5 Things no one knows about you
- I play the sax
- I am and expert skier
- I wood carve in my spare time
- I make charms via lamp work or glass blowing
- I have a green thumb
Q: What does your role entail?
I am helping define the strategy for ECI’s 5G solutions. In this new, unchartered world, I am looking at both the applications that will come and (hopefully) helping customers understand how these will affect the requirements of their networks. As opposed to PLMs I am not in charge of a specific product nor R&D resources. My goal is to understand the needs of ‘real’ customers and to then define the prerequisites and requirements for our products and solution. While today 5G is a budding technology, in the future it will expand. Most challenging is the unpredictability since the future is not yet defined.
I see the demand for the services, products and solutions that we bring. Because there are many types of 5G customers: service providers of course, but also military, critical infrastructures, smart cities and more. In other words, I see how other verticals are going to form the demand for 5G networks in the near future.
Q: How will you define success?
Every player in the market has his ‘golden era’. At this particular time, he has an opportunity to grow and gain traction in the market. I believe ECI is at the beginning of its golden era. I see how much our positioning and traction in the market has grown in my short time here. I am at the key juncture to influence the services, applications and the network for many potential customers. Every day customers are challenging us with new applications and requirements and it’s really empowering when you see how your ideas come back to you as customer requirements.
Q: How did you come to work at ECI?
I was working as a network architect for one of the largest tier 1 operator in Russia for 11 years. Working there I came to understand that it is really hard to influence and change the solution and product. As a customer, you often find the gaps only when you start to work with the products. When these gaps are discovered you have 2 choices: to change your requirements (i.e. compromise) or to start looking for another product or solution and begin again.
When I was working as an architect, I never had the satisfaction of a well implemented project. In all the projects I worked on, I was but a piece of the puzzle, I never saw the end result of my work. You feel the responsibility, but you don’t have a full view. I was looking for a company, where the changes that I make today can influence other people in other companies. Empowered by my knowledge from the field and my experience with mobile networks, I looked for a company where I could bring this knowhow. Somewhere to utilize my knowledge in adapting the products.
I made a list of possible opportunities of network vendors and ECI came out on top. ECI had two advantages, in my opinion: 1) still small enough, where I could make a difference and 2) yet big enough to make a difference (in the market). After 3 years, I see the difference that I’ve made.
Q. What do you like most about working at ECI?
Simple, the team – I believe that people do business, not technology. ECI has a lot of gifted and talented people with whom I enjoy working.
Q: Tell us a success story
My success story is still in process. I don’t want to jinx it before it is an official win. However, I see how the products are changing, how the perception of customers is changing, and I feel this can also be attributed to my time and energy.
Q. How is the industry changing?
The industry is being influenced by a number of trends:
- Capabilities – i.e. Chips become faster
- Consumer market. Here, like never before consumers are changing the demand. Applications, and especially wearables, are spiking demand. As a ‘technogeek’ I feel that I must adopt newest possible technologies to experience first-hand how they work and how they will change our culture.
The emergence of AI based applications along with the sheer number of applications, along with the increased connectivity and the higher speeds, all these are driving a better and more connected society. Once it was people creating technology, today it is technology changing people.
Q. How would your summarize your experience here?
The bright thing about this I see the impact I’ve brought after 3 years. On the company, customers and our market positioning.
Let’s finish with the questionnaire, which side of the following terms are you?
|Packet or optical?||Both, packet-optical|
|Virtualized or software defined?||Virtualized|
|5G or 4G/LTE?||6G|
|Open-source or home-grown||Both, depends for what|
|Service providers or non-service providers (utilities, etc.)?||Service Providers|
|Disaggregation or integration?||Disaggregation|