Networks according to AT&T CTO Hossein Eslambolchi

Almost ten months ago, I was working on a piece for old-Red Herring’s 10th anniversary issue and got a chance to interact (via email and through PR people) with AT&T’s Hossein Eslambolchi, AT&T CTO and President of AT&T Labs. It was a short e-interview which asked Eslambolchi to focus on four aspects of telecom industry. The e-interview never ran because Red Herring went out of business.

This past week while cleaning out the archives I came across this transcript and I thought it would be appropriate to share it with you folks.

Eslambolchi on telecom in 2003

* The Telecommunications Act of 1996, which laid the groundwork for opening local monopoly markets to competition.

* Unfounded projectionsðby WorldCom of more than 1,300% annual Internet growthðrates, which were repackaged byðgovernment agencies (Dept. of Commerce) and helped trigger the Internet overbuild that resulted in the slump we’re in today.

Eslambolchi on the breakthrough that got us to where we stand in 2003

* Internet Protocol.ð This standard has been driving the industry for years and will continue for years to come.

* Optical switching and high-capacity optical transport technologies are helping reduce the cost of data transport.ð

Eslambolchi on the biggest challenge 10 years out for telecom.

* AT&T is working on systems that will automatically regulate traffic in the same way that the human body unconsciously regulates body temperature and blood pressure. We have invested nearly $300 million dollars in the development of a system that uses artificial intelligence to predict system faults before they happen.ð Already 60% to 65% of AT&T network failures go undetected by customers because the problems are predicted and solved before they become an issue.ð AT&T expects it will be able to correct the remaining 30% to 35% before the end of the decade.

* AT&T is integrating its numerous systems for ticketing, billing, provisioning and maintenance, and backing it all up with an intelligent global optical core based on MPLS with an IP control plane.ð Intelligence at the network edge will be extended using a multi-service aggregation device to support everything from frame relay and DSL to ATM.

* Internet content will be delivered by spoken word using voice browsers – giving speech to the Internet through VoiceXML.ð This standard, developed in part by AT&T,ðmakes it easier and cheaper for machines to deal with customer calls and increase user satisfaction.ð When AT&T converted its 800-number directory service to a VoiceXML platform, satisfaction increased by more than a third and costs dropped dramatically.ð AT&T is looking to roll out a product line of automated speech of services for its business customers to use with their customers in the near future.

Eslambolchi on the future of telecom and what it will look like in 2003

* Over the next ten years, IP (Internet Protocol) networks will take over the core of telecommunications technologies. Not only advances in existing services but also in IP services to support new applications, such as grid computing, which links many PCs together to create massive computational power.ð

* High-speed data networks will become standard.ð

* Next-generation wireless technologies will deliver anytime/anywhere communications.