Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blueprint Column: Women in Engineering - Changing the Odds

by Scott McGregor, President and Chief Executive Officer, Broadcom Corporation

Some of the greatest successes in the modern economy come from finding multibillion-dollar industries that are ripe for disruption. Engineers spend a lot of time looking for such opportunities. And yet, one of the ripest targets for disruption is right before their eyes: the engineering industry itself.

Here’s how to disrupt it: Increase the number of women in the engineering profession.

Of all the science, technology, engineering, and applied mathematics (STEM) professions in which women are under-represented, the disparity is greatest in engineering. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 women comprised 45 percent of scientists, 25 percent of mathematicians, 22 percent of technology workers, but only 10 percent of engineers. Today, there are plenty of young women taking the required high school courses to pursue an engineering degree, including AP calculus and physics. Yet in engineering and computer sciences professions, where workforce demand and salaries are among the highest, the percentages of women earning degrees continues to lag.

By the time young women get to college, only three percent of them will declare a major in engineering and of the three percent, they are least likely to choose electrical and electronic engineering, according to the Department of Education. Female representation declines further at the graduate level and yet again in the transition to the workplace.

The fundamental issue to be addressed is gender bias. So where does it start and what can we do about it?

Middle school is a great place to start, where girls’ achievements and interest are shaped by stereotypes (“boys are better at math and science than girls”), biases (“math is hard”) and cultural beliefs (“engineering is a profession for men”). Researchers discovered that even subtle references to these gender stereotypes have been found to reduce girls’ interest in science and math.

In a landmark paper, “Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics,” researchers concluded “The answer lies in our perceptions and unconscious beliefs about gender in mathematics and science.” In other words, we can’t solve the gender disparity problem without first recognizing our own biases that are formed early and all too often persist into the workplace. The good news is that the negative impact of those faulty perceptions can be lessened, just by becoming aware of them.

We must celebrate the achievements of girls and women in STEM professions and provide young hopefuls with role models and mentors along the path from school to the workplace. We must encourage girls and young women to pursue engineering careers through interactive programs in our local schools and community.

We can enhance STEM curricula in schools, beginning in elementary school with hands-on projects that help girls build confidence in spatial skills, an area where girls underperform boys. Even playing with construction kits and toys can help girls build confidence in the spatial skills they will need later on to succeed at engineering. In middle school, 3-D computer games and digital sketching tools can reinforce that confidence. As their confidence increases, girls are less likely to fall back on the traditional stereotypes about gender, and more likely to feel like they “belong” in STEM courses.

Early exposure and encouragement in mathematics is also key. Studies have shown that girls who take calculus in high school are three times more likely to pursue STEM careers, including engineering.

Also crucial is creating a workplace culture that is welcoming and supportive of women. Enlightened work-life policies are important, but so too are active efforts to attract, promote, and retain women. Seminars, luncheons, peer coaching, scholarships, networking gatherings, and continuing education programs have been shown to be effective in turning talented women engineers into talented workplace leaders.

By spearheading women’s leadership programs and providing a range of professional development opportunities geared specifically for women, we can encourage women through all levels of their career. These women, in turn, can take that learning and inspiration back out to the community – which will help attract more young women into engineering as they see more female role models. It’s a virtuous cycle.

The “Why So Few?” report was funded by a number of organizations, including the National Science Foundation, and was published by the American Association of University Women. Here’s a link to thepaper

By the way, for anyone who thinks they can’t possibly have biases that impact the perception of women, or other stereotypes, check out this study at Harvard and take one or more of the tests.

About the Author

Scott McGregor serves as Broadcom's President and Chief Executive Officer. In this role, he is responsible for guiding the vision and direction for the company's corporate strategy. Since joining Broadcom in 2005, the company has expanded from $2.40 billion in revenue to $8.31 billion in 2013 revenue. Broadcom's geographic footprint has grown from 13 countries in 2005 to 25 and its patent portfolio has expanded from 4,800 U.S. and foreign patents and applications to more than 20,850.

McGregor joined Broadcom from Philips Semiconductors (now NXP Semiconductors) where he served as President and CEO from 2001 to 2004. He joined Philips in 1998 and rose through a series of leadership positions.  McGregor received a B.A. in Psychology and a M.S. in Computer Science and Computer Engineering from Stanford University. He serves on the board of Ingram Micro, on the Engineering Advisory Council for Stanford University and President of the Broadcom Foundation. Most recently, McGregor received UCLA's 2013 IS Executive Leadership Award.

Momentum Builds for Wi-Fi Passpoint, New Features Extend Functionality

The Wi-Fi Alliance's Certified Passpoint program is quickly gaining momentum and is poised to become a key enabling technology for connecting mobile devices to public networks.  Passpoint enables seamless connection and WPA2 security for mobile devices in Wi-Fi hotspots.

At a press event in San Francisco, Wi-Fi Alliance officials said hundreds of models of smartphones, tablets, and operator-grade access points have been certified for Passpoint, which was launched in 2012 and is based on Wi-Fi Alliance’s Hotspot 2.0 Technical Specification.

Fixed and mobile operators, including Boingo, Orange, SK Telecom, Time Warner Cable, and Telkom Indonesia have deployed Passpoint networks, and more than 20 operators are now participating in Wi-Fi roaming trials based on Passpoint.

New features in Passpoint make it more versatile and scalable:

Online sign-up and immediate account provisioning: Passpoint now enables a streamlined process to establish a new user account at the point of access. For service providers, this reduces barriers to account creation and usage. For users, this capability takes the complexity out of getting connected and enables in-pocket connection across a service provider’s network of hotspots.

Secure registration: The process of establishing a new account or connecting a second device takes place securely. Devices are provisioned with the appropriate credentials and configuration for network access. Users can be confident they are connecting to their chosen provider’s valid network, and their credentials are exchanged securely.

Operator policy: Passpoint now includes the capability for service providers to distribute their specific subscriber policies, such as which networks to join and in what order of preference. This policy support enables providers to deliver the best user experience on Wi-Fi, while still easily maintaining the business requirements of Wi-Fi roaming agreements.

The Passpoint certification program test suite includes support from Aruba Networks, Broadcom, Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, Marvell, MediaTek, Qualcomm Atheros, and Ruckus Wireless. DigiCert and NetworkFX are authorized certificate authorities for the program.

“Enthusiasm for Passpoint from both mobile and fixed operators continues to mount, and the strategic value of Passpoint extends into new segments as well,” said Edgar Figueroa, CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. “What makes the new features exciting is that they empower businesses to realize the powerful commercial impact that Wi-Fi can offer by giving them the ability to engage with customers on a new platform in a secure and streamlined fashion.”

“Passpoint already delivers the best user experience available in public Wi-Fi access, and the new feature enhancements provide a fundamental step forward that enables carriers to identify and provision users on the fly,” said Dr. Derek Petersen, CTO for Boingo Wireless. “We’ve
made Passpoint a standard requirement for every new network we deploy. Carriers, handset manufacturers, and network OEMs should run — not walk — to embrace and deploy Passpoint capabilities as soon as possible to maximize accessibility and dramatically improve the user experience."

Level 3's Cloud Connect Adds HP Helion

Level 3 Communications has added HP Helion Managed Cloud Service to its Cloud Connect Solutions ecosystem, which provides enterprises and government agencies with an MPLS VPN connection over the global Layer 3 network to third party cloud services.

In addition to the security of a private VPN connection, Level 3 said its Cloud Connect offers rapid service provisioning, dynamic bandwidth, and usage-based billing. Level 3 Cloud Connect via the global Level 3 network to HP dual-active cloud sites establishes load balancing and redundant failover.  The companies cited 99.999 percent uptime.

Level 3 Cloud Connect Solutions also delivers direct connections to HP Helion Managed Virtual Private Cloud for Public Sector. HP Helion Managed Virtual Private Cloud for Public Sector follows applicable regulatory standards such as FedRAMP and FISMA, which provide customers with reassurances about the security and compliance of their overall cloud strategy.

Level 3 and HP expect these services to be available in North America during the fourth quarter of 2014 with global availability in the first half of 2015.

"The combination of HP and Level 3 delivers the tools for customers to transform their IT and network architecture in the cloud," said Anthony Christie, chief marketing officer of Level 3. "By forging relationships with the most respected brands in the cloud services industry, like HP, enterprises can execute their cloud strategies with confidence in the performance of their cloud environments, allowing customers to focus on the growth of their business."

In April 2014, Level 3 and Digital Realty, which owns 131 data centers in major cities worldwide, announced a partnership to deliver direct cloud services to co-location customers.  The initial rollout targets 14 markets in the U.S. and Europe and will include Amazon Web Services (AWS Direct Connect) and Microsoft Azure (ExpressRoute).
Digital Realty said a hybrid cloud environment offers its customers the ability to centralize IT management and also gain the flexibility to respond to changing business needs as a result of data and storage growth. For example, leveraging Level 3's virtual private network services, Digital Realty customers can dynamically scale their bandwidth and only pay for what they consume as demand for computing capacity spikes, say during the holiday shopping season. In a hybrid environment, transferring large data sets is expedited with greater bandwidth capacity, which also improves the performance of real-time voice and data feeds.

Cyan Blue Planet SDN Discovers and Provisions Cisco and Juniper Nodes

Cyan significantly extended the reach of its Blue Planet SDN platform by adding the ability to provision and manage Ethernet services across Cisco ASR a
nd Juniper MX routers.

Blue Planet SDN-based control over Cisco and Juniper equipment is based on access to standards-based interfaces such as CLI and NETCONF/YANG.  New element adapters being introduced this quarter use Link-Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) to auto-discover Cisco network, including all nodes, connections, and the overall physical layer topology.  Platforms supported include the Cisco ASR 901, ASR 903, ASR 9000 and ME 3600 platforms, as well as the Juniper MX960, MX480, and MX2010 platforms. Blue Planet functionality allows customers to automate, manage, inventory, and provision Ethernet services across networks built with these devices.

Cyan also features a multilayer, 3D visualization tool that allows users to see relationships between service layers (fiber, DWDM, OTN, Ethernet, IP). After a service is provisioned across the network, Cyan's Trail-Analyzer can be used to see the circuit’s path through different nodes and layers.

“Customers are looking for us to integrate and orchestrate Cisco and Juniper based on their perspective that the element management systems and SDN tools available today for these devices are not capable of providing the multi-vendor service automation, management, and abstraction that Blue Planet delivers,” said Michael Hatfield, president, Cyan. “This is required for the network transformation our customers are rapidly embracing.”

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom Selects Coriant for Mobile Backhaul

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom (CHT) has chosen Coriant's 7090 Packet Transport Platform to upgrade their mobile backhaul network.

The Coriant 7090 Packet Transport Platform enables end-to-end "any-service" transport, including Triple Play, Carrier Ethernet, and private line (TDM, Carrier Ethernet) services. In mobile backhaul applications, Coriant calculates the 7090 enables operators to save up to 40% in CapEx compared to router-centric (IP/MPLS-over-WDM) solutions.

"We are upgrading our LTE network to meet the ever-increasing expectations of our 10 million mobile subscribers," said Mr. Ruei-Chang Hsu, Vice President of Chunghwa Telecom.

TIM Brasil Picks Coriant for Long Haul DWDM

Telecom Italia Mobile Brasil (TIM) will deploy the Coriant hiT 7300 Multi-Haul Transport Platform. Coriant said its hiT 7300 was selected due to its flexibility, stability and per-channel transmission capacities. TIM ranks as the second largest mobile telecommunications provider in Brazil covering 94 percent of urban geographies with over 74 million customers.

"Our Coriant team has been working with TIM Brazil since 2008 and we are pleased to continue to strengthen our relationship. In the near future we expect that the network will carry as much traffic as a small city at times. Our hiT 7300 solution will enable virtually unlimited capacity growth with seamless scalability," stated Roberto Cepparotti, Vice President, Customer Operations Telecom Italia Global for Coriant.

Truecaller Raises $60 Million for Verified Global Directory

Truecaller, a start-up based in Stockholm, Sweden, raised US$60 million in new funding for its verified mobile phone community.

Truecaller manages a global database of verified telephone numbers.  Users of its app can search for business or friends. Truecaller users will be notified when someone requests their number, and have the option to approve any request that comes through.  The system filters out spammers and unwanted callers.

The new funding came from Atomico, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and Sequoia Capital.

  • Truecaller was founded in 2009 by Nami Zarringhalam and Alan Mamedi, both of whom were studying at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.

Infonetics: Carrier Spending on OTN Switching and P-OTS Jump 35% YoY

The global optical transport network (OTN) market totaled $4.3 billion in the first half of 2014 (1H14), an increase of 9% from the first half of 2013 (1H13), however sales of OTN switching gear jumped 35% in the period, according to a new report from Infonetics Research.

“The dramatic growth of OTN switching we saw last year carried over into the first half of 2014 (1H14), with revenue soaring 35% from the same period a year ago as deployment is catalyzed by service providers continuing rollouts of 100G coherent technology,” notes Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for carrier transport networking at Infonetics Research. “Most of the growth in OTN switching is coming from North America as spending trends stagnate again in EMEA. The P-OTS market is also up 35% in 1H14, as providers continue to favor packet optical systems that combine OTN and Ethernet switching over more complex and expensive carrier Ethernet systems.”

Some highlights of the report:

  • Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, and Infinera are the key beneficiaries as service providers adopt integrated WDM and OTN switching and deploy 100G coherent technology in the core
  • Meanwhile, Chinese carriers continue to expand deployments of OTN switching, benefitting both Huawei and ZTE
  • Incumbent vendors Ciena, Cisco, Coriant, Fujitsu, and Huawei (listed in alphabetical order) are the P-OTS market leaders, and new players BTI, Cyan, and Transmode are challenging with pure-play P-OTS platforms
  • The OTN market is forecast by Infonetics to grow at a 12% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013 to 2018, slightly faster than the wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) segment

Televõrgu Deploys ADVA 100G Core over 3,000km

Televõrgu AS, which is part of the Tele2 Group, has deployed the ADVA Optical Networking's 100G Core to connect Northern and Eastern Europe.

The network uses the ADVA FSP 3000 with coherent detection technology and RAMAN amplification to transport up to 9.6 Tbps of data across 3,000km of fiber without regeneration and without any dispersion compensation. Together with flexgrid reconfigurable add/drop multiplexer (ROADM) technology, this system is ready to carry future bandwidth services, such as 400 Gbps, across the whole fiber route that stretches from Frankfurt, Germany to Tallinn, Estonia.

"Our new route has been extremely well received by customers, and almost 20% of the whole capacity is already in use" said Ove Ant, CEO, Televõrgu. "This network provides a lot of new opportunities in means of features, future deployments and services. This definitely sets us on a lead position on a transmission services market."

"Televõrgu is a company that is continually pushing the boundaries of what's possible," commented Christoph Glingener, CTO, ADVA Optical Networking. "This is what excites our team. With Televõrgu's trans-European network, we were able to showcase what our ADVA 100G Core can do.

Open Interconnect Consortium Gets Underway

A new Open Interconnect Consortium has begun work to define the connectivity requirements to improve interoperability between the billions of devices making up the Internet of Things (IoT).  The group recently appointed its leadership:

  • President: Jong-Deok Choi, executive vice president and deputy head of Software R&D Center, Samsung Electronics
  • Vice President: Imad Sousou, vice president, Software and Services Group and general manager, Intel Open Source Technology Center, Intel Corporation
  • Secretary: Bernard Shung, general manager, new business development, MediaTek
  • Treasurer: Kip Compton, vice president, IoT Systems and Software Group, Cisco

The goal of the Open Interconnect Consortium is to develop an open specification and connectivity framework to enable application developers and device manufacturers to deliver interoperable products across Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, Tizen, etc.

The standard will include IP protection & branding for certified devices (via compliance testing) and service-level interoperability.

Twenty-seven companies have joined the consortium, including Acer, ActnerLab, Allion, Aepona, Cisco, Cryptosoft Ltd, Eyeball Networks, Global Channel Resource, Gluu, IIOT Foundation, InFocus, Laplink Software, Mashery, McAfee, MediaTek, Metago, NewAer, Nitero, OSS Nokalva Inc., Realtek Semiconductor Corp., Remo Software, Roost, SmartThings, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Thug Design, VMC and Zula.

DragonWave's Revenue Jumps 32% over Previous Quarter

DragonWave reported revenue of $37.9 million, for the second quarter of fiscal year 2015, ended August 31, 2014. This compares with $28.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 and $25.5 million in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014. Revenue from the Nokia channel represented 60% of revenue in the second quarter of fiscal year 2015, versus 61% in both the first quarter of this fiscal year and the second quarter of fiscal year 2014. DragonWave had one other customer that contributed greater than 10% of revenue in the second quarter of fiscal year 2015.

Net loss applicable to shareholders in the second quarter of fiscal year 2015 was $8.9 million or ($0.14) per basic and diluted share. This compares to a net loss applicable to shareholders of $6.6 million or ($0.11) per basic and diluted share in the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 and a net loss applicable to shareholders of $10.5 million or ($0.28) per basic and diluted share in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014.

“We delivered another quarter of strong sequential growth,” said DragonWave President and CEO Peter Allen. “Our product leadership together with strong global capex cycles underpin the business momentum we are experiencing. We anticipate fiscal third-quarter revenue to grow between 20% and 30% compared to our fiscal second quarter.”