28 April, 2016

ETNO ThinkDigital interview - Altice Labs showcasing innovation at the Net Futures 2016 event

On the occasion of the Net Futures 2016 event, ETNO interviewed Helder Biscaia, Director of Business Development at Altice Labs, the innovation arm of Portugal Telecom #ThinkDigital

What is Altice Labs and in what way are you committed to the European 5G leadership effort?

Altice Labs, an Altice Group company, lives for innovation and works every day to develop new solutions, technologies and trends for the telecommunications area. We believe that knowledge is the raw material that Altice Labs then transforms into advanced solutions, Our  innovative approach is supported by an ecosystem built around R&D entities, startups and industrial partners. Altice Labs, formerly known as PT Inovação, carries out Research, Innovation and product development for the Altice Operations as well as providing solutions to our partners and clients.

We have been involved in Europe’s 5G Leadership effort from the beginning, supporting the 5GPPP Infrastructure Associationas direct member from 2014. Altice Labs is currently a partner in 4 of the 18 H2020 RDI funded projects in the area of 5G Development and assumes active and regular participation in the European 5G architecture and coordination forums.

Commissioner Oettinger mentioned the importance of “trusted IoT solutions” in his speech at Net Futures. What is Altice Labs doing to maximise the benefits of IoT for users and to ensure trust?

Commissioner Oettinger’s insightful speech is of the utmost importance and touched several key issues. IoT solutions are popping up everywhere and will affect our everyday lives. However, with time, these solutions will increase in complexity, interact with each other and will access many data sources that may contain sensitive and restricted information. Each Telco Operator will have its own strategy to provide communication services for IoT. A few might opt for a simplified approach and solely transport data back and forth while many others will provide additional services. Altice Labs is a technology provider with a wide range of solutions. From innovative network equipment such as our GPON and NGPON2 line of products that target future bandwidth requirements, our certified OSS solutions to our Advanced Business Communication Suite and our Connectivity Management M2M solutions that allow service providers to have full communication control over their own devices. Altice Labs will continue to provide solutions, which allow operators and service providers to implement the strategy that they have chosen.

Smart cities, buildings, cars, mhealth or wearables are no longer things of tomorrow. What role do telcos play in this new digital society?

That is a great question and, during our participation at this Net Futures event, it became quite evident that a great number of the people I had the opportunity to talk to were intrigued by a Telco participation in this type of event. I found that the ETNO stand served to remind people of the vital role Telco Operators play in the IoT. In general, people often forget that when they read and send their e-mails or use their favourite social network applications, they are accessing these services via infrastructures and services rendered by their Telco. I think that this is often forgotten because users are accustomed to having high availability and trouble-free access to services.  This implies that the Telco is doing a great job. Otherwise, they would certainly be reminded that Telcos are an essential part of the digital society ecosystem.

Can you give us some real life examples of innovative telecom solutions that will impact people’s lives and businesses?

There are many examples of innovative telecom solutions that have impacted people’s lives and businesses. New ground-breaking solutions will continue to emerge and these will certainly also affect the way we live. Let me briefly describe one of Altice Labs’ solutions. At the transport level, we have recently demonstrated in a live Portugal Telecom environment, NGPON2 technology capable of reaching 80Gbps symmetrical bandwidth. At the Net Futures event I was often asked “why do we need such speeds?”. This was the very same question people asked when 128kbps ISDN connections arrived. With Ultra-HD TV transmissions, immersive and interactive services and massive IoT just around the corner, I am sure that in a few years those same people will be asking “how did we ever do with so little?”. Altice Labs does not stop there however! We are carrying out research in a few other areas that will certainly affect people’s lives and will be providing solutions in the near future that are sure to raise a few eyebrows. 

By Joanne Mazoyer for ETNO #ThinkDigital, Brussels, 28 April 2016


Helder Biscaia, Director of Business Development, Altice Labs

Helder Biscaia graduated in 1991 from the University of Guelph, Canada with a Degree in Electrical Computer and Information Science and afterwards, obtained a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications from the University of Aveiro, Portugal in 1997.

He joined PT Inovação in 1991, where he participated in several European projects under the RACE and ACTS programmes. Within these projects, he carried out applied research in collaborative and interactive work environments and in cross-platform software development.  In 1997, he joined the Business Intelligence group in which he was responsible for the specification and development of key components for bulk information processing and data analysis. Within the Business Intelligence group he was also the lead coordinator for PT Inovação’s Fraud Management and Detection System that, at the time, was targeted directly at identifying less known vulnerabilities of mobile networks.

In 2003, he joined the Mobile Networks and Services department and became unit lead of the Mobile Internet and Value Added Service Platforms section of the department. Within this unit, he was in charge of coordinating all development tasks carried out in the Mobile Portal service enabling platform, Multimedia Messaging Systems, Mobile TV and video on demand services as well has initiating the development work that led to the launch of PT Inovação’s very successful Content Management and Delivery Service Platform. These service platforms have all aided in promoting innovative data based services for mobile operators.

Early in 2008, he joined the new and promising department of PT Inovação that focuses on the Commercial, Marketing and Communications area. Within this department he is responsible for promoting PT Inovação’s Value Added Service platforms as well as coordinating the overall strategy for the continuing evolution of these successful systems. He is currently Director of Business Development at Altice Labs.

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