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CEO Interview: David Heard of Infinera

CEO Interview: David Heard of Infinera
by Daniel Nenni on 07-05-2024 at 6:00 am

David Heard Infinera

David Heard has served as CEO and has been a member of the Board of Directors since November 2020. Mr. Heard joined Infinera in June 2017 and served as our Chief Operating Officer from October 2018 to November 2020. During his time as COO, Mr. Heard was responsible for leading the innovation of new solutions and the overall operational excellence of the company, overseeing functions including corporate development, facilities, human resources, information technology, marketing, operations, product lifecycle management, quality, research and development and services.

Mr. Heard brings a proven track record of technology industry leadership, with more than 25 years of success in the industry. Prior to Infinera, Mr. Heard served as President of Network and Service Enablement at JDS Uniphase from 2010 to 2015, and as COO at BigBand Networks (now Arris) from 2007 to 2010. Earlier roles included President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Somera (now Jabil), President and General Manager, Switching Division, at Tekelec (now Oracle), President and CEO at Santera Systems, and various positions at Lucent Technologies and AT&T.

Tell us about your company?
Infinera is a U.S.-based manufacturer of optical semiconductors and high-speed connectivity solutions for communications service providers, webscalers, and various industry verticals including government, energy, and healthcare. We build, sell, and deploy optical systems and subsystems that transport large amounts of data across fiber optic networks from shorter-reach metropolitan networks through ultra-long-haul and submarine networks. Our solutions provide the backbone for the internet, cloud services, and data center interconnect, and enable services such as 5G mobility, artificial intelligence, streaming video, and high-speed broadband. As part of delivering innovative, industry-leading solutions, Infinera owns and operates a U.S.-based compound semiconductor fab as well as an advanced testing and packaging facility.

What problems are you solving?
Bandwidth demands have been growing at more than 30% per year for more than 20 years. Infinera has been instrumental in helping network operators to cost-effectively keep up with the relentless growth in bandwidth. Leveraging our unique vertically integrated capabilities, Infinera has consistently provided innovative, flexible, and scalable solutions that increase capacity per fiber while driving down cost and power per bit.

What application areas are your strongest?
Infinera specializes in cost-effective scalable optical connectivity solutions. We focus on higher-capacity solutions capable of transmitting multiple terabits of data across all network applications, from intra-data center through ultra-long haul and submarine.

 What keeps your customers up at night?
Cost-effectively keeping up with their bandwidth demands, including rapidly growing demands between data centers driven by explosive applications such as artificial intelligence. Our customers also operate in highly competitive environments, driving the need to consistently provide differentiated service offerings.

What does the competitive landscape look like and how do you differentiate?
This is a growing field that is confronting the unprecedented operational challenges associated with the impact of AI workloads. There are traditional suppliers of optical networking gear focused on addressing this problem, as well as networking companies that can leverage a whole new ecosystem of optical pluggable technology. The environment remains extremely competitive, with the importance of vertical integration and performance leadership being critical to winning customers. Solutions providers need to consistently invest and innovate to bring new technologies and solutions to market that provide incremental benefits to network operators.

What new features/technology are you working on?
We continue to leverage our unique vertical integration capabilities, including our expertise in semiconductor material sciences, to bend the laws of physics to provide the Moore’s Law of economic scalability to critical network infrastructure. Our solutions and technologies are enabled by our U.S.-based semiconductor fab and our advanced test and packaging facility. We are currently bringing to market solutions that enable transmission of 800 Gb/s in a power-efficient pluggable form factor, 1.2 Tb/s in a high-performance embedded solution, and 1.6 Tb/s in an ultra-low-power, short-reach intra-data center solution.

How do customers normally engage with your company?
Networking solutions are typically large and complex deployments. As a result, we work closely with our customers to choose the right technology, optimize network designs, and deploy networks.

Our website is https://www.infinera.com/. We can be reached through our contact page: https://www.infinera.com/contact-us/. Our LinkedIn is https://www.linkedin.com/company/infinera/.

Also Read:

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CEO Interview: Dieter Therssen of Sigasi

CEO Interview: Dr. Nikos Zervas of CAST

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