A little known manufacturer to the normal business staff is showing the way, Ciena.

            Last week I had a chance to chat with Tom Mock the SVP of Strategic Planning for Ciena. I am sure you are now asking who is Ciena and why should I care? Well this company is making great stride in the carrier backbone arena, Ciena provides network equipment to those carriers. With the ever expanding need for bandwidth Ciena is allowing companies to get the needed bandwidth from their carriers. Ciena has had positive sales and growth with double digit earning from last year's totals. I am sure you are asking why do I need to know this? This shows that there is growth and spending in carrier networks, this is good news for all companies.

            Positive news is good for companies who are looking to expand their networks, get more bandwidth, service customer and move to unified communications over wire and wireless. That's right I said wireless, the wireless companies have to use a wire backbone to service most all cellular sites. This means upgrades to slow cellular phones and a move to 3G and 4G networks; you have to upgrade the backbone if you are going to upgrade the cellular sites.

During my call I had the chance to ask a few questions to Mr. Mock and his answers are below.

1.       Ciena has gained market share and the stock is up for the year, how did you do it when the other players are down or flat?

           As our network specialist position implies, we've chosen to selectively focus on what we believe to be high-growth markets, both from a technology standpoint and geographically. Our success in executing on that strategy has enabled us to take share.

2.       Who is your biggest competitors in the space and what do you see from them this year?

           It would depend both on what market (telco, enterprise, etc.) and what geography you're talking about. For example, in the service provider space in North America we most commonly run into the Nortels and Alcatel-Lucent. With service providers in EMEA, we typically see Alcatel-Lucent, particularly given their incumbency in the region. On the enterprise side, given our focus on particular applications, we commonly come across ADVA and Cisco.

4.       Where will you be expanding this year such as different products or different verticals?

           On the technology side, you'll see us make moves that both further our leadership in our traditional optical markets and better position us to be a leader in Ethernet. You'll also see us expand into new geographies, particularly Eastern Europe.

5.       Tell us what you see in emerging markets and who in the world has the biggest growth for 2008-2009?

            Clearly, the migration to IP/Ethernet-based network architectures is pervasive. That in and of itself is an 'emerging market' so to speak. However, the challenge is that nearly every service provider is taking a different approach. Being able to provide them the solutions that enable the most effective and cost-efficient migration for their particular needs and situation will be the difference between success and failure for any one vendor. We believe we're in the sweet spot for giving them what they need.

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