Parthiban Kandappan is Infinera’s chief technology officer, a role he has held since October 2018. He oversees systems design and is responsible for technology vision and industry leadership in systems architecture.
Mr. Kandappan has nearly 30 years of computing and communications technology and management experience. Prior to his current role, he served as Infinera’s senior vice president and head of architecture from 2013 to 2018.
Mr. Kandappan holds a Bachelor of Engineering with Honors from University of Madras, India and a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech, where he also completed part of the doctoral program. He has 11 issued patents, with others filed.
What technology breakthrough would pave the way for the ICT industry?
The explosive growth in bandwidth needs that service providers must support instantly requires technology that can offer such increased bandwidth while lowering cost and power consumption. Advances in driving coherent technologies to the edge and developing high-bandwidth capabilities within the fiber spectrum are essential breakthroughs that will pave the way for the industry in much the same way it transitioned from copper to fiber and then from single-wavelength SONET to multi-wavelength DWDM.
What network-related development will have the greatest impact in our industry?
The networking industry needs to move from a specialized service to the ubiquity of a utility – the right bandwidth connectivity charged for the bandwidth utilized, much like an electric utility. For that to happen, highly agile self-configuring sliceable networks are the key. This will be achieved by an amalgamation of IP services that offer fine granularity, via coherent optical links that can dynamically adjust bandwidth, all tied together by artificial intelligence/machine learning-based automation for a service that’s available on call yet requires minimal sophistication on the part of the end user.
Is it important for companies to continue to innovate their organization or offerings, and why?
Yes, and yes. The pace of technology is by definition accelerating; it is thus imperative that innovation is the norm and, in fact, has to accelerate. T1/E1 served for a decade, 10G survived for less than seven years before 100G surged forward, and before 100G can even be fully deployed, we are talking about 400 and 800 Gb/s. This is inevitable, and the only mechanism to keep this growth within affordable bounds of cost, power, and space is constant innovation.
As the velocity of innovation accelerates, organizations must learn to adapt, internalize, and innovate how they innovate. What worked for a fully in-house-integrated product development that took four years will simply not be viable in a world of continuous integration/continuous delivery with not just the products but entire networks morphing at speed via open source, disaggregation, virtualization, etc.
What value does PTC hold for you/your company?
PTC is unique in two respects. It brings a global perspective, allowing for companies to learn, present, and understand across a broad spectrum of users and applications. Further, PTC melds both a technical view and a business perspective – so one obtains valuable understanding of the need, impact, and social and regulatory influences and constraints on the use and applications of those technologies across a very broad geographical and applications landscape.
What advice would you share with current and future graduates interested in this field?
Graduates should understand that three truths will impact their success – learning is lifelong, there is no lifetime job, and those who understand the inevitability of change and prepare for it will succeed.
What is something that not many people know about you?
For one who has made a career out of technology and being at its leading edge, what still energizes me is getting away from all the technology and trekking into the primitive wilderness.
What has been a positive outcome organizationally or individually given the current state of the world?
While one does not wish for these troubled times to linger, it is nevertheless stunning and gratifying to realize the enormous impact that technology – networking technology – has had in allowing mankind to battle and win. From governments running international meetings via video conferences to schools going online, networking technology has enabled a semblance of near normality, without which the calamity would have been far greater.
Infinera is a global supplier of innovative networking solutions that enable carriers, cloud operators, governments, and enterprises to scale network bandwidth, accelerate service innovation, and automate network operations. The Infinera end-to-end packet optical portfolio delivers industry-leading economics and performance in long-haul, submarine, data center interconnect, and metro transport applications.