Sunday, 29 May 2022

People and teamwork: Hexatronic talks core competencies and taking subsea tech to the next level

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 11 May 22

We were delighted to catch up with Hexatronic’s Head of Central Europe, Africa, & Middle East, Christian Priess, to discuss the evolution of submarine cable technology and why teamwork is at the heart of technical innovation

To say that the submarine cable industry is booming right now would be a major understatement. According to research from TeleGeography released last month, the next two years will see $10 billion-worth of subsea systems enter service, with hyperscalers like Facebook (now Meta) playing an increasingly large role in driving cable investment. For fibre optic infrastructure specialist Hexatronic, this surging demand for new cable systems not only presents the company with a wealth of commercial opportunities but is also driving the need for technical innovation…

To say that the submarine cable industry is booming right now would be a major understatement. According to research from TeleGeography released last month, the next two years will see $10 billion-worth of subsea systems enter service, with hyperscalers like Facebook (now Meta) playing an increasingly large role in driving cable investment.

For fibre optic infrastructure specialist Hexatronic, this surging demand for new cable systems not only presents the company with a wealth of commercial opportunities but is also driving the need for technical innovation.  

“The market is certainly booming,” said Hexatronic’s Head of Central Europe, Africa, & Middle East, Christian Priess. “We came into 2022 with a very high demand and that looks like it will continue over the coming years. We’ve seen advances in repeatered technology to facilitate higher fibre-count systems, switching technologies, and, in some cases, even aluminium cables.”

Unrepeatered cable technology also continues to go from strength to strength, with many cable operators begin to focus on expanding the diversity of existing subsea routes by launching new, smaller cables in key regions, like the Mediterranean. 

“Unrepeatered technology continues to be a strong sibling to the active side of the business, which is already well-developed technically,” explained Priess. “We see a lot of activity in the unrepeatered side of the business in Europe especially, but also around the Pacific.”

With demand continuing to soar, however, existing technologies will only be sufficient for a short time. Looking to the future, Hexatronic expects the fibre count in submarine cables to continue to climb, with fibre optic filament itself getting smaller and smaller as the technology advances.

“We have current research focussing on smaller fibre diametres, around 200 micron, to enable us to further increase the fibre count in the cables,” said Priess. “In parallel, investigations into lowering fibre attenuation, therefore enabling us to offer longer-reach fibre cable solutions, are ongoing.”

But these kinds of technical advances cannot be achieved alone. For Priess, people and teamwork are the key to unlocking innovation, calling collaborating effectively “the only real core competence there is”.

“I get a lot of inspiration from my colleagues in the Hexatronic management team. We have an open dialogue and we try to build on each other,” he explained, adding that having a close and open relationship with your customers is also key to meeting their needs. 

“On a personal level, Steve Jobs has inspired me; his tenacity, his mantra about being close to your customers to understand their needs, making things simple, and focusing on the most important things for your customers is really inspirational.” 

Want to learn more about Hexatronic? You can view the complete interview from the link above

Hexatronic are a key supporter of this year’s live Submarine Networks EMEA conference. Join us in London to discuss the latest and greatest issues of the subsea industry on 17–18 May

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