Bell Labs opens video research facility in Cambridge, UK

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 
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Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs opens video research facility in Cambridge, UK

  • Bo Olofsson heads up new Bell Labs team; researchers co-located with Alcatel-Lucent IP Video business to concentrate on video-centric networking innovation

CAMBRIDGE, England — Alcatel-Lucent’s (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) Bell Labs has opened a new ‘antenna’ office in Cambridge, UK, led by Bo Olofsson. From this base Bo will head global research into real-time delivery of video to all types of connected devices, such as smartphones, games consoles, tablets, Smart TVs, and more across Bell Labs. This is the second Bell Labs antenna office and follows the opening of the Israel Bell Labs cloud research facility in May. A third location will be announced later this year.

Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs maintains a leading role in research and innovation with a focus on how networks should evolve based on users’ changing behaviors and demands. Research at ‘antenna’ locations contributes to this overall objective by centering on one major industry issue. These smaller, highly-specialized locations foster a more nimble ‘start-up’ like environment to allow researchers to actively engage with Alcatel-Lucent’s businesses, other Bell Labs researchers and external stakeholders such as enterprises, universities and other research organizations.

Research at the Cambridge location will center upon the evolution of video and real time cloud content delivery. Video currently accounts for approximately 75% of a mobile service provider’s network traffic. This is expected to increase as consumer appetite changes and demand for video over any device grows even further, driving the need for networks to evolve. In addition, with the rise in user generated content – from tablets, smartphones, video cameras and machines – which needs to be uploaded, stored, managed and delivered in real time, the scale and scope of video-centric networking will increase even further. This makes it essential to develop innovative solutions that help design the “video centric” networks of tomorrow.

The Bell Labs team will be co-located with the headquarters of Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Video business, which has grown significantly following the acquisition of Cambridge based Velocix in 2009. Focused on delivering specialist integration services and one of the most innovative ranges of video solutions in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Video business was named leading vendor of CDN equipment by SNL Kagan MRG. The company’s IP Video solutions include the Emmy® award winning Cloud-DVR, the Velocix CDN and Transparent Caching.

The Cambridge antenna will be led by Bo Olofsson, who, in his previous role as director for the product research group at British Sky Broadcasting, was responsible for research and experimentation of emerging media technologies and their potential future application and implications for Sky. Prior to this Bo was Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Getty images and has also held positions at IBM, Apple and Dell. He has a Master of Science Computer Science degree from Uppsala University in Sweden.

Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs & CTO Alcatel-Lucent said: “Work at the Bell Labs location in Cambridge will focus on one of the big problems that is facing the industry today. The massive growth in the generation and demand for video-centric content is creating one of the biggest issues for our customers as they evolve their networks. Bo Olofsson’s team will work closely with the IP Video team to solve these issues with solutions that optimize video-centric delivery and network capabilities that ensure high quality even as demand explodes.”

Bo Olofsson, head of Bell Labs Global Video Research and the Cambridge Bell Labs antenna location said: “As consumer and enterprise user behaviour evolves and appetite to produce and consume video continues to grow it is placing huge demands on the network and forcing a need for change – coming from a provider I have first hand experience of these challenges – and we are going to research new ways to support that demand. I’m very excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead, as I lead this research at the new Bell Labs facility.”

Paul Larbey, head of Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Video business said: “The start-up mentality of the Bell Labs antenna fits very well with the ethos of our IP Video business. By creating an environment in which a dedicated team of experienced researchers led by Bo Olofsson can collaborate closely with our IP Video teams, we will be able to accelerate innovation in this space to meet the needs of tomorrow’s networks.”

Bell Labs continues to conduct innovative and game-changing research around the big issues affecting the ICT industry. Using its wide-reaching expertise and collaborating with the global innovation community (both inside and outside of Bell Labs), Bell Labs is focused on finding solutions that offer a 10x (or more) improvement for the industry. These solutions will then be used to create cross-discipline ‘Future X’ initiatives that will shape the future communications landscape. To accelerate innovation in this field, the Bell Labs Prize was launched in June. This prize gives any researcher, in a participating country around the globe, the chance to introduce their innovative idea to the world and collaborate with Bell Labs researchers.