Andrew Edison of AT&T honours the educational power of F1 – and coloured bricks
Andrew Edison has seen a lot of changes in 18 years at telecom giant AT&T – and spent a lot of it developing the firm’s business in some exotic countries.
He’s now regional vice president for Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA), but in the past, he’s worked on projects supporting growth in Slovakia, France, Mexico, India, Japan, Indonesia, the US and the UK. He’s driven the company’s global business outside the US, and developed its in-house telesales-based distribution systems.
What he wants to see in the industry is more diversity – and his team has established the EMEA Women in AT&T Network to help foster shared experiences and networking for women across the company.
Bring on the IP network!
What tech were you involved with ten years ago?
Ten years ago, the telecom industry was emerging from a low point, having suffered its “tech boom and bust”. While the rest of the industry was licking its wounds and retrenched, AT&T was investing in the build out of its global IP network.
We were moving from Frame Relay to MPLS switching. MPLS was the first real chance of achieving IP’s promise: lower the cost base, decentralize the network to avoid holding everything in one cost centre, while at the same time fine tuning the network to business priorities.
What tech do you expect to be involved with in ten years’ time?
Technology is quickly transforming and mobilising many industries; we are seeing companies apply mobile technology to everyday objects such as cars and even tooth brushes! Mobility will be the key interface for the business and consumer world. In fact, it’s clear that these worlds are already blurring, with the “consumer employee”, notably the social media generation, driving an innovation virtuous circle and appetite for simple, elegant devices and trends such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).
Mobility is already becoming the tool by which we access information, enabling capabilities that never existed before. It will transform business and the way we communicate, collaborate and work, and will drive innovation. It is also a vehicle for customers to make decisions, execute transactions, receive information, place orders etc. Mobile will be the interface of a hyper-connected world – in other words, anything that can be monitored or tracked will be in a process that is automatic and in real time and on the move. In this environment we see the emergence of the real-time adaptive enterprise – the Internet of Things. Suffice it to say, I believe that mobility will transform every industry beyond recognition!
Driving STEM learning
Who is your tech hero (and why)?
Anyone who brings STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) to a wider audience, for example Formula One’s foremost engineer Adrian Newey OBE, Chief Technical Officer, Infiniti Red Bull Racing.
I’m a personal devotee of Formula One and something of big kid when it comes to the races. Happily for me, then, that AT&T is a Technical Supplier to the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team. This move sees our high speed global network help speed up Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s race-critical data between its Milton Keynes headquarters and the race venues through a global VPN and high speed bandwidth access at all Grand Prix venues.
Who is your tech villain (and why)?
As a father I am sure I’m like many parents who worry about Internet safety, what – and who – their children might be exposed to in the virtual world. I really commend the work of the likes of ChildNet, a charity AT&T has supported over the last couple of years here in the UK and its mission to help make the internet a safer place for children and young people.
What’s your favourite technology ever made? And which do you use most?
Digital storage – I love the ability we have to carry around music and watch TV on demand.
What is your budget outlook? Flat? Growing?
Our budget outlook is for robust growth. Our business is growing.
Apart from your own, which company do you admire most, and why?
Lego! What a great company with a heartwarming heritage, that continues to inspire passion and creativity in children (and the child inside). No mean feat in today’s crowded, competitive children’s entertainment and play market.
What is the greatest challenge for an IT company or department today?
Increasing productivity is one of the primary challenges facing European companies today – new technologies such as cloud offer companies an opportunity to resolve this issue. However, findings from recent research by INSEAD, titled Building Business Performance and Competitiveness with ICT, shows that simply adopting these new technologies such as cloud or UC is not the answer if companies haven’t put in place the right technology foundation.
Organisations need to pay special attention to integrating and standardising these technologies throughout the company, subsequently creating a “mature digitised platform.” Without this special attention to integration, these solutions will provide very little support in achieving company-wide objectives and can in fact be counterproductive
To Cloud or not to Cloud?
Definitely to cloud – and more specifically, mobile cloud!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A designer or architect! In an odd way I’ve have sort of achieved that ambition in that I often think that what we do for our customers is to design a solution that meets their specific and unique business needs.
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