You know when networking companies are serious about cranking up local R&D when they bring in the big guns for the opening. That is exactly what Lucent has done recently, when the vendor opened its $20 million research centre in Sydney's IT hot spot of North Ryde.
At the opening was local Federal Member and Prime Minister John Howard, who commended the $20 million investment in the facility and the further $30 million Lucent expects to invest annually in R&D.
Lucent has grown its R&D operations from 80 staff, with a turnover of around $20 million, two years ago to 160 R&D staff, with a turnover of around $360 million, this year, according to Lucent's Australian managing director, Phil Pryke. And on the back of this facility, the company is expecting to treble sales in Australia and New Zealand to $1 billion.
"Our growth projections are staggering. Lucent in Australia and New Zealand has been hiring employees at a rate of 70-80 per month for the last 10 months," asserted Pryke.
At the opening, Pryke cited the acquisition of Australian networking and telecommunications supplier JNA Telecommunications in 1998 as integral to Lucent's growth - of which a number of former JNA staff will be based in the new complex.
Dubbed the Lucent Centre, the facility is home to Lucent's Bell Laboratories team and will provide the company with room for training, production, assembly and warehousing. The centre will be the home of Lucent's wireless research team, headed by Dr Chris Nicol, which has already filed 18 patents in integrated circuits design and third-generation wireless systems.