IT Life: Driving Networking Technology Forward
Networking is meat and drink to Peter Jennings of MLL Telecom – but he finds time to drive and care for a vintage Austin 7
Peter Jennings is head of architecture at managed networks provider MLL Telecom. In his 25-year IT career, he has worked on pretty much every networking technology you can think of, including modems, Ethernet, ATM, token ring, Novell, Unix, Microwave, LTE, WiMAX, 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi (public and enterprise) as well as fixed mobile convergence. He joined MLL Telecom 8 months ago from the once-mighty Nokia Siemens Networks (whose troubles we have been following atTechWeekEurope).
What’s been your favourite project so far?
That would have to be the fixed mobile convergence project in Sweden. This was the first commercial European deployment of a solution that brought together 2G cellular and Wi-Fi inside buildings. The solution involved integrating the mobile core network, home Wi-Fi and public Wi-Fi as well as testing a brand new handset that was developed specifically for the solution.
Triple play before its time
What tech were you involved with ten years ago?
Ten years ago I was working on triple play trials – a solution that was considered ahead of its years at the time. This solution encompassed voice, video and a home broadband connection as well as Voice over IP for home and enterprise and video on demand.
What tech do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?
I envisage the availability of a single connected device similar to a mobile phone but with massive computing power. It will automatically dock with any input and output device within its range to provide a large screen and offer keyboard functionality. For example, when in the car, the device will interface with the dashboard, when the user is in the office it will interface with a large screen and keyboard on the desk and while at home it will interface with the TV and tablet for control.
Who’s your tech hero?
Steve Jobs. I have to admit that I am not the biggest Apple fan but I have great admiration for the man behind the brand. Steve Jobs was a great visionary, who permanently changed the world of technology through his constant drive for innovation with a focus on an improved user experience.
Who’s your tech villain?
Poor technology itself. It has been the culprit of many headaches and unfortunately will continue to plague me and my work. Poor technology is difficult to use, is never able to achieve a satisfactory end result and has extremely poor green credentials.
What’s your favourite technology ever made? Which do you use most?
From a pure technology point of view I would have to say my favourite is Ethernet. Originally designed to connect printers, it has grown immensely over the years and now we would be lost without it. The technology I use the most is mobile connectivity of any sort. I am constantly connected via my mobile phone and have access to mobile data. I can’t imagine my personal and professional life without this today.
What is your budget outlook going forward? Flat? Growing?
MLL Telecom is heavily involved in wireless network connectivity, an area that is constantly growing and expanding, especially with the greater need for more speed and connectivity across more remote places. Therefore, I’d have to say that our budget is definitely growing, with new technologies and techniques continuing to be developed within the marketplace.
Apart from your own, which company do you admire most and why?
I have great admiration for Cisco for a number of reasons. Firstly, it has grown from modest beginnings to a large multinational company that has been able to grow and shrink as the economy has flexed over the recent years. Secondly, it branched out into multiple technologies and market areas, testing the water and identifying its core areas before focusing on a set of strengths. And thirdly, throughout the years it has continued to exhibit a very focused acquisition strategy, when necessary, to achieve its end goals.
What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?
Demonstrating it is relevant in a cost conscious world where everybody is supposedly an expert! They need to ensure it is able to provide services that the end users see value in and that it is also responsive enough to react to any crisis or situation when necessary.
To Cloud or not to Cloud?
Definitely to Cloud – The Cloud is for everyone, but not for everything. This solution is able to shift and flex to suit the needs of individuals and businesses, without the need to over-build in order to be able to support maximum capacity; hence driving costs down. Also, the growth of connectivity across remote areas makes it possible for more people to use cloud services from wherever they are around the globe.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
Originally I really wanted to be a racing driver. I’ve always had a passion for cars and last year I took part in the London to Brighton Classic Car Run in my 1930 Austin 7. However, I quickly realised a fully fledged career as a racing driver was not feasible, so after reading a few crime novels I decided I wanted to be a forensic scientist instead. Along the way I discovered my love for all things telecoms and technology related…and here I am today.
Tech goes to the movies! Try this week’s quiz!