Joe Zhu is the Founder and CEO of Zenlayer, an edge cloud services provider. As a telecommunications professional with over 20 years of experience in the Pacific region, Joe has always been passionate about the exchange of ideas and commerce between Asia and the rest of the world. Prior to founding Zenlayer, Joe was the SVP of Global Business at ChinaCache, where he built the global business unit of China’s largest CDN provider. He also worked as the Director of Network Operations at China Telecom (USA), where he oversaw China Telecom’s North American network operations and led the development of China Telecom’s global peering policy.
How can telecommunication technologies help humanity?
Telecommunication technologies can help humanity in a myriad of ways. Most obviously, they allow for instant communication across the globe. Families can stay connected no matter how far apart they are. Doctors can prescribe treatments from halfway around the world. Human rights advocates can document and distribute information about oppression in ways that were impossible just a few decades ago. There’s just about no person or industry that isn’t helped by global telecommunications.
How can corporations and researchers best serve the next generation?
The best thing we can do for the next generation is to preserve the openness of the Internet and maintain global communication for all. If communication becomes gated, we will be doing a disservice to our children, who may find information they need barred from them due to financial circumstances, place of birth, or other reasons.
What network-related development will have the greatest impact in our industry?
Intent-based networking will have a huge impact once it matures enough to deploy at scale. Imagine being able to set a desired network state and letting artificial intelligence take over from there. The algorithms would almost certainly come up with connections and efficiencies humans wouldn’t have. There’s also a lot of space for innovation and competition. How do you develop your algorithms? What data sets do you use to train them? Do you prioritize speed, reliability, or a blend? When industry leaders make these choices, they will echo throughout the entire industry on a scale currently unheard of.
What value does PTC hold for your company?
Zenlayer’s vision is a better connected world, and the events that PTC organizes are invaluable in building connections among industry leaders so that they can collaborate and advance technologies and business strategies in the telecommunications field.
What important piece of information should people know about PTC?
There’s a place for everyone in the Pacific Telecommunications Council. It shouldn’t be seen as a group just for businesses, but also for researchers, students, telecommunications professionals, and so on. If you have an interest in the networks that span the Pacific, PTC is for you and wants to hear your thoughts.
What advice would you share with current and future graduates interested in this field?
Make personal connections as often as you can, especially with people who are in different locations or fields. Those connections will allow you to bridge the digital divide in the future, which is what telecommunications is all about. The best innovation comes from collaboration, and collaboration comes about when people with diverse skills and ideas get together to work toward a common goal.
What industry mogul or up-and-coming leader have you followed or are currently following, and why?
I’m very interested in what Elon Musk is doing. I don’t always agree with his ideas, but he is able to put many of his plans in motion that other people considered impossible. There is as much to learn from his failures as his successes, and I often consider how I would have gone about implementing some of those ideas myself if I were in his shoes.
Zenlayer is an edge cloud services provider that helps businesses instantly lower latency and improve global user experience. The company offers on-demand bare metal cloud, cloud networking, SD-WAN, and managed services in more than 100 data centers on six continents.