With nearly 30 years under her belt in product management roles, Metaswitch's Micaela Giuhat has experienced firsthand the impact of major technological trends on the telecom industry.
Before her role as VP of product management and lead for cloud infrastructure products at Metaswitch, Giuhat worked for startups and larger companies such as BroadSoft, Genband and Nortel. Women in Comms caught up with Giuhat to discuss how 5G may impact career opportunities for women in the industry, new developments in Metaswitch's unified communications (UC) platforms, and the impact of mentors on her own career path.
WiC: Last year, one of our Women in Comms panels focused on how 5G may open up new opportunities for women in the industry. How can women revamp their skills to prepare for the impact of 5G on the telecom industry and the potential new employment opportunities that 5G could deliver?
MG: 5G will have an impact on everybody. Women have to keep up with the skills the same way as men will have to keep up with skills, so I don't think it's a gender-related issue. Gender plays in it as much as people want to keep up and better their knowledge and skills.
Considering the technology advances that are related to 5G – there may be more opportunities for women to shine. Women, I believe, are much more creative, and they can actually take advantage of the new opportunities that 5G can create.
To give you an example: I was talking to one of my daughters, and she and her friends were discussing having a wardrobe directory – a sort of IoT-type application but for clothing, because many young women have a lot of clothing that they forget about. They can take the application even further to suggest certain outfits, for example. I bet you no men have thought about that.
WiC: Switching gears a bit, are there any new updates to Metaswitch's MaX UC platform?
MG: Yes, absolutely. We have been extremely successful with MaX UC – there is a definite hunger from MNOs, in particular, that really don't have a history of reaching out to businesses for mobile-native UC applications. To that extent, we have won quite a bit of quite a few Tier one customers such as Telekomsel and Hutchison Drei Austria.
It's very interesting to strike such a chord with MNOs that wanted to get into the enterprise business, and this gives them an "in" that is extremely competitive.
WiC: Have there been any updates to the product itself since last year?
MG: We are always improving the product and continuously doing cloud-native developments. We had a very large wireline customer base, and for that base, we had a MetaSphere application server. When we bought OpenCloud, we got a mobile application server. Over the last year, we have brought those application servers together so we can provide the same functionality to all customers, whether mobile or fixed.
WiC: Has part of the success of the product been a result of an increasingly mobile workforce?
MG: There are a few factors – one is an increasingly mobile workforce. Second is the fact that due to the increasingly mobile workforce, the old UC offerings were not attractive to mobile users because they couldn't make it work. Now with this being the first thing that they see, there's a much higher adoption rate.
Another thing is what's called the "Brisco effect" – with BroadSoft and Cisco coming together and really creating a little bit of a vacuum, which we took advantage of. BroadSoft was very well known and a wonderful company, but they were very much wireline oriented and their mobility features were not what we have brought, which is the mobile application of MaX.
Next page: Mentors and how to handle difficult managers