Ciena opens India R&D lab, scales back outsourcing

Ciena opens India R&D lab, scales back outsourcing

Ciena Corp. has set up its own R&D center in India, marking a shift from its earlier strategy to outsource development work.

Networking technology provider Ciena has set up its own research and development (R&D) center in Gurgaon, India, marking a shift from its earlier strategy to outsource development work to Indian companies.

Ciena decided to set up its own center since the outsourcing model works well only if there is well-defined work, said Stephen B. Alexander, Ciena's chief technology officer and senior vice president for products and technologies.

"The way that we typically do R&D is much more collaborative, and we like to be able to move resources amongst projects very fluidly, which is difficult to do in an outsourced model," Alexander added. The company may continue to outsource some work to Indian companies, he added.

Having its own R&D center in India is also important for Ciena as it targets the country's growing telecommunications market. The center will be able to provide Indian customers and Ciena's engineers an opportunity to work together on problems.

Ciena's customers include multi-service broadband service providers, enterprises, and telecommunications carriers. As a result of acquisitions abroad by Indian companies, some of Ciena's customers, such as FLAG Telecom and Tyco Global Network, a submarine fibre optics telecommunications network that was owned by Tyco International, are now owned by Indian companies like Videsh Sanchar Nigam and Reliance Group of Mumbai.

The new R&D center, which has about 40 staff currently, will have about 300 staff in the next 18 months to two years, making it the company's largest R&D center. Ciena has three R&D centers in the U.S. and another in Canada.

The Gurgaon center, which has expertise in embedded software, will be doing end-to-end product development, Alexander said. One of the tasks the center will be working on, for example, is the integration of storage protocols on Ciena's transport products.

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