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Cryptocurrency news roared in like a lion in 2018. As 2017 came to a close, Bitcoin shares briefly peaked over $19,000 USD. It got me to thinking, a lot.


I made a mental note: I should have bought BTC a year earlier at the bargain price of $997 a coin. I also made a note to research how Bitcoin and other blockchain technologies would impact networks and businesses in 2018. This blog series is the result of that research.


Underneath the success of Bitcoin and Monero is a fundamental technology shift, called Blockchain. Understanding why bitcoins didn’t implode in the first year requires understanding how digital ledgers work. If you want that understanding, this primer is for you. Starting where it all began, out of necessity, blockchain became a method for allowing a new cryptocurrency to emerge and evolve, all designed to avoid middlemen.


In an article called A Brief History of Blockchain, Harvard Business Review calls blockchain a “quiet revolution.” Bitcoin and the underlying digital ledger technology that made it possible were introduced as an alternative to government-backed currencies nearly a decade ago. Today, cryptocurrency transaction volume is over $1B a day.

Blockchain is what is called a digital, or distributed ledger, essentially acting as a distributed database with no centralized data storage. Bitcoin was the first and most popular application of blockchain technology, though it is gaining momentum in a lot of other business applications. That underlying technology allows Bitcoin to be decentralized and fully transparent – this is one of the fundamental principles of the currency. Any person can trace the history of transactions through the blockchain at any time.


Bitcoin client discovery resembled earlier peer-to-peer protocols like BitTorrent, but the similarities ended there. Bitcoin does not need much bandwidth, and while the client accepted connections on port 8333, the client could participate in a limited fashion even without inbound connectivity. A one-time blockchain transferred several gigabytes of data, but subsequent activities were only small flows of a few hundred kilobytes.


Transactions are crowd processed on the Internet, where individuals can opt into processing individual blockchain transactions in exchange for bitcoin compensation. Those transaction processors contribute their computer’s CPU power, bandwidth, and electricity, and when they deliver an answer, they earn their own Bitcoins. We can call that the processing fee. The “work” they are providing is validating transactions, ultimately creating security by computing complex math problems. And what is the reward? In 2010, the value of the coins was negligible; Laszlo Hanyecz famously exchanged 10,000 of them for two Papa John’s pizzas, pegging their value at roughly a quarter-cent each. I am sure he wished he kept those.


The Value of Bitcoin

In 2010, a blockchain processor, often called a cryptominer, could earn 50 BTC for solving the complex problem. That reward was worth about 12 cents. Today, one Bitcoin is worth thousands of US dollars, and the solution rewards 12.5 BTC, or $87,500 given a target price of $7,000 per coin. You can always look up today’s bitcoin value. But how can a virtual currency gain value? It gains value because of trust, and that trust comes from the transparency and security of blockchain.


Compute Power Required

It is a race to the prize. Finding the solution to win the block prize of 12.5 BTC is approximately 3.5 trillion times harder than it was in 2010. Bitcoin, and all crypto-currencies like it, has a built-in mechanism that makes mining harder as more resources are thrown at it. This keeps the supply of new coins constant, while incentivizing further investment in coin mining hardware. Difficulty will continue to increase as long as miners can sell a coin for more than the cost of finding a coin.


Bitcoin’s proof-of-work is based on the SHA256 algorithm, a hashing function commonly used in security protocols. SHA256 can be massively optimized, and this has been exploited in the Bitcoin community. Miners turned first to GPUs, then FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays), and finally ASICs (application specific integrated circuits), seeking ever-higher performance.


Today, an ASIC miner can deliver 140,000 times the performance of a desktop PC (see table below on relative Bitcoin mining performance). Even pooling thousands of PCs proved inefficient vs. a single ASIC miner, thus nearly all Bitcoin mining is done via ASIC-miners today. However, other currencies are growing in popularity, and some are highly suited to distributed mining efforts.


ProcessorBitcoin SHA256 hashing performance (in millions of hashes per second)Cost
Intel i7 CPU system100 MH/sec$300
Nvidia GTX 1080Ti GPU1,000 MH/sec$400
Antminer S9 ASIC miner14,000,000 MH/sec$2,320


Distributed Mining

One of the biggest changes in the blockchain world is pooling of resources. As the work function to process a blockchain transaction grows more difficult, it becomes harder to find the next solution. To increase the odds of quickly finding the next solution, creative miners have turned to load balancing. Cybercurrency work functions can be easily distributed across large numbers of clients, a process called “pooling.”


Pool operators incentivize individuals to join a pool in exchange for a share of the profits. As mentioned earlier, pooling workstations is ineffective for Bitcoins due to the sheer performance advantage of ASIC miners. However, other blockchain applications utilize different proof-of-work algorithms, and some of these can provide very competitive returns when mined in pools.


Of course, whenever there are transactions being conducted in what are considered public forums, such as the internet, there will always be those looking to exploit system vulnerabilities for personal profit. Because of this, continuous active monitoring of your network is vital.


The Simple Equation

As of June, 2018, 0.32% of the world’s electricity is used to process bitcoin transactions at a cost of nearly $3B a year. In April, that number was 0.27%. That’s a big jump. This marks a shift in how transaction processing is being done. It also marks a shift in how distributed processing is changing the landscape of enterprises as they adopt blockchain for everything from B2B purchase orders to international corporate funds transfers to supply chain management. We can learn a lot from cryptocurrencies as they are innovating blockchain processing in new and exciting ways.


In the next chapter, we will look more closely at how these currencies work, and the reasons why new currencies rise and become viable. This is important when considering how to craft corporate policies not just for cryptocurrency, but using blockchain operations in your business and on your network. We may also explore threat vectors bad actors use to compromise systems, and how a network visibility architecture can ensure you have only legitimate transactions within your business network.

It’s estimated that more of the global population own a mobile phone than a toothbrush. This simple statistic highlights the gulf between how advanced our technology has become, and the scale of the global problems that we still need to solve.


The challenges we face over the next 20 years are truly complex. For example:

  • Global energy consumption will increase by 28% by 2040. How do we create and manage the energy to support this demand?
  • Nearly a billion people worldwide don’t have enough to eat. How do we improve agricultural and food production to end hunger?
  • Nearly a billion people don’t have access to clean water. How do we improve sanitation and reduce disease?
  • How do we address the issues of global climate change?


Meeting these challenges requires new generations of problem solvers across a diverse range of sectors, who can invent solutions and apply them for everyone’s benefit. But where will those problem solvers come from?


According to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, 2.4 million science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) jobs will go unfilled this year. 78% of high school graduates don't meet benchmark readiness for one or more college courses in mathematics, science, reading, or English. There is also a significant lack of women in STEM fields, and even greater underrepresentation of people from diverse ethnic groups.


In order to solve the problems facing our society and planet, the first challenge we need to overcome is closing the STEM skills gap. That means increasing students’ interest in STEM subjects, and building their skills in these areas.


Advancing education worldwide

This is why Keysight operates education programs worldwide, to demonstrate our values and commitment to corporate citizenship and helping to solve the most pressing global issues. By engaging directly with the communities where we operate, and encouraging employees to get involved in local, national and international projects, we are making strong progress towards our key impact goals in education and community action.


Our activities in these areas involve:

  • School education programs, including direct school support programs, education events and science fair volunteerism
  • University relations, including research grants and class engagement programs such as guest lecturing
  • Software and equipment donations and discounts to higher education establishments
  • Employee volunteering: Keysight policy allows four hours of paid time monthly for volunteering on educational or charitable work
  • Ongoing employee education and communication to conserve natural resources and reduce waste: Keysight has the goal of recognizing $2 million in cost avoidance, 10% energy conservation and 15% water conservation by the end of fiscal year 2020 (using our fiscal year 2015 as a baseline)


The Keysight After School education program is a great example of how we are encouraging young students’ interest and abilities in STEM subjects. It’s a hands-on science course for children aged 9 to 13, featuring over 20 different life, physical and earth-science experiments, designed as complete ‘programs-in-a-box.’ Students can build electronic-circuit games, balloon-powered cars and explore clean-water engineering, learning first-hand about how STEM drives innovation and creativity. These programs are delivered completely free of charge to the host organizations, which range from schools and community centers to museums, and even hospitals. Such engagements will truly impact the way the students think and spark creative problem-solving ideas in these young scientists and engineers – as a school district’s STEM coordinator remarked, “I know that this was an experience that they will remember for quite some time.”


And at the other end of the education journey, we are actively supporting next-generation research at some of the world’s leading universities, as the opening of a new research lab in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast showed. This state-of-the-art facility will enable pioneering research that will drive the future of communications.


Keysight’s CSR goals

Education and community support are two of Keysight’s four key impact goal areas, and our latest 2017 CSR Report highlights the strong progress we are making towards the targets we set for ourselves. By end fiscal year 2020, we plan to engage upwards of 570,000 students and future engineers through a mixture of education strategies: the Report shows that to date, we have engaged 275,000, so we are almost halfway to our goal. We also planned to commit over $1 billion in value to community strengthening efforts, and so far we have delivered $685 million in value.


Solving problems and raising next-gen problem solvers

Keysight creates and develops technology to help solve problems and drive innovation. We also recognize the need to develop the skills that enable people to utilize our technology to address global challenges. Our CSR community programs are helping to nurture that next generation of problem solvers who’d give back to the society and ultimately make the world a better place to live in.

In recent weeks, my inbox has been filled with daily reminders of how far data privacy has come. The E.U. General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) became effective May 25, and multinational corporations from Target to Twitter have been notifying their customers of the steps they have taken to comply with the new law.


At first that might not seem noteworthy: Under the GDPR, all companies processing personal data of E.U. residents must apply new rigor to their collection and use of that data and adopt a heightened level of transparency. For instance, companies must document the E.U. personal data they collect, the purposes for processing it, and any transfers to third parties. They must also integrate privacy into their businesses by conducting privacy impact assessments for any new activities that might pose a high risk to the privacy rights of E.U. residents. And companies must provide clear notice of how they use personal data and how individuals can exercise their rights regarding their personal data. Hence, the emails.

But I don’t live in the E.U., and the GDPR does not apply to my personal data. So why are all of these companies emailing me?

The answer, I believe, highlights a fundamental shift in how the corporate world is approaching data privacy. Companies across industries are choosing to apply GDPR-compliant policies and practices to all customers no matter where they live. This choice likely is driven by many factors, such as the realization that in a connected world, region-specific policies are no longer practical. But at some level, companies are recognizing the growing importance of privacy rights to all individuals, particularly when it comes to the collection and use of their personal information. Long considered a fundamental right in the E.U., the right to the protection of personal data has appeal outside of the E.U. as well in an age of identity theft, state-sponsored hacking and the exposure of social media. But no matter the reason, the result is the global extension of the E.U.’s new best-in-class law, accelerating the expansion of privacy rights well beyond what regulators alone could accomplish. And likely there is no going back.


Keysight and GDPR

In preparing for the GDPR, Keysight too has taken the global view. Our commitment to operating with uncompromising integrity has long included honoring individual privacy rights and protecting the personal data we hold. Keysight’s Standards of Business Conduct includes a dedicated provision on data privacy, and functional groups within Keysight have maintained specific policies and procedures to ensure that personal data is handled appropriately. To strengthen our existing privacy controls, Keysight has:

  • Introduced a new Global Data Privacy Policy, which sets out clearly how we process personal data and provides guidelines for employees worldwide handling personal data in their jobs;
  • Updated our Customer Privacy Statement and Employee Data Privacy Statement to ensure we are providing clear, transparent notice to individuals about how Keysight collects, processes and transfers personal data;
  • Developed a global process to provide individuals access to their personal data, as well as the ability to request correction or deletion of that data;
  • Required that all vendors that process substantial personal data on Keysight’s behalf enter into data privacy agreements to govern the transfer and processing of the data;
  • Adapted our collection of individual customer contact information to ensure we are meeting GDPR requirements around consent;
  • Reviewed and documented Keysight’s personal data processing activities – from marketing to HR to workplace solutions and beyond – to ensure compliance with GDPR principles; and
  • Trained each of our [approximately 11,000] employees on the GDPR and its requirements.


GDPR: A shift for the better, globally

It is exciting to witness the advancement of privacy rights in the E.U. and the expansion of those rights beyond E.U. borders. While this means a lot more work for multinational corporations, we are all better for it.

On a recent Uber ride in Colorado Springs, my driver was a retiree of Anheuser-Busch, who recently started his Uber career mostly for the social aspects of the job. With pride, he talked about the start of his career at Anheuser-Busch as a truck driver, delivering beer to local restaurants and working up the ladder and becoming a sales and office manager. He benefited from the national introduction of Bud Light in the 1980s, which is now one of the best-selling beer brands in the world.

As usual I was looking for connection points and similarities to our industry, particularly in the sales organization. On Keysight Investor day, Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Mark Wallace, outlined three areas that triggered me to strike up the following beer-to-high-tech commonalities:


  1. Direct and indirect sales model: Keysight has more than 650 channel resellers and solution partners to reach every single engineer who could benefit from our test equipment, solutions, and services. My Uber driver emphasized the importance of scalability by selling to 7-Eleven stores around the city, touching customers who might not be touched through their traditional channels.
  2. Deep customer connections: Just as our retiree knew each and every restaurant, convenience store, and even military base in town, our 2700 Keysight customer-facing and customer-support resources foster deep customer relationships on a daily basis, serving more than 32,000 customers in 100 countries around the world.
  3. Innovation is a constant requirement no matter which industry we’re talking about. According to Forbes magazine, the number one beer trend of 2018 is “better beer.” While classic domestic beers, such as Bud, Miller and Coors still dominate but are declining, other styles of craft beer, India Pale Ale (IPAs) or wheat beers are rising in popularity. Correlating this to electronic test and measurement, we see market segmentation as well. What was good enough twenty years ago is no longer sufficient as demands for better quality and sophisticated needs rise. Keysight welcomes a similar challenge. To drastically simplify, our solutions might well be the IPAs and our traditional products are the Buds, Millers and Coors of this world. Our classic products and hardware are still very central and core to our customer’s success. Our deep understanding on market trends, participation in standards bodies and hundreds of customer engagements all come together in workflow solutions, layering software and hardware while assisting our customers with their productivity and cost challenges.
  1. As an example, just recently Keysight and Qualcomm Technologies, have achieved 2 Gbps LTE download data speeds using Keysight’s 5G Protocol R&D Toolset solution and Qualcomm Technologies’ mobile test device. The 5G protocol test solution, a part of Keysight’s suite of Network Emulation Solutions is the only seamless radio frequency (RF) and protocol workflow approach that enables chipset and device manufacturers to efficiently develop and test the latest 4G and evolving 5G standards in a single solution.
  2. Or, as seen at the Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) in March, Innolight, a global leader in high-speed optical transceivers, uses a wide array of Keysight solutions in the development of their 400G OSFP 2xFR4 and LR8, 400G QSFP-DD FR4 and SR8 transceivers for 400G PAM4 data center applications.

These are just two examples of Keysight solutions. Whether you innovate designs as a 5G device manufacturer, an LTE service provider, or a car manufacturer, Keysight helps you to get there faster while creating, optimizing, and monitoring with more confidence.


I hope you enjoyed this Uber detour with some beer tasting of domestic classics, IPAs and craft beers. Please feel free to comment. Prost!

Our world is already more interconnected than ever before, and that connectivity is still increasing. Innovations in networks, electronics and communications are transforming our global landscape, and how we interact, in unprecedented ways.


The speed of this transformation means that we need to shape our future responsibly. At Keysight, we take that responsibility seriously. Over the past year, we have continued to use our technology to help people and organizations globally to solve problems by accelerating innovation, and in turn to have a positive impact on society through our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs.


The importance of CSR to communities, individuals and corporations alike was brought home to us in October 2017, during the devastating wildfires in Santa Rosa, California where we are headquartered. Supported by our CEO, Ron Nersesian, executive staff, and existing CSR programs, we were able to quickly offer affected employees emotional support through our employee assistance program, enable and support site emergency responses, and provide direct funding to displaced employees and those who lost their homes in the fires, to help in their personal recovery. We set up a relief center to distribute donations of clothing, necessities and funds from our global employee community both to Keysight employees and their families, and to all in the local community that needed assistance.


Supporting our employees and the wider community through this life-changing experience shows the true value of CSR, and its central importance to the future of our business. In fact, it’s been a core part of the company’s DNA since Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded HP in 1939. Bill and Dave introduced and nurtured a strong culture, “The HP Way”, which included sponsored philanthropic, educational, community and sustainability programs. We are continuing that philosophy today as we execute our CSR programs.


Our CSR strategy

Our commitment to CSR has two core purposes. First, to help achieve our goals of growth in revenue, profit and total shareholder return. Second, we want to help build a better planet through innovations to connect and secure the world, and through operations that adhere to high ethical, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility standards.


In line with this latter objective, during 2017 we worked to clarify what it means to build a better planet through CSR, and developed four key impact goals to achieve by the end of 2020. These four goals involve our place in the community; the education of the next generation; our environmental impact; and the governance of business operations worldwide.

  1. For communities, we have pledged to commit more than $1.0 billion in value to strengthen them through a mixture of philanthropic giving, employee volunteerism, community sponsorships, donations and discounts, and university research and engagement.
  2. In terms of educating the next generation of engineers, we plan to engage upwards of 570,000 students and future engineers, through tools such as the Keysight After School education program and community education events, and our donated and discounted solutions at universities.
  3. In order to have a positive impact on the environment, we aim to recognize $2 million in cost avoidance, 10% energy conservation, and 15% water conservation per our fiscal year 2015 baseline. Our efforts focus on natural resource conservation and efficiency.
  4. Finally, on the governance side, it is vital that we ensure no material negative impacts to profit and loss or to institutional investment levels. For us, CSR must go hand in hand with running a profitable and innovative business, to ensure that our activities benefit our shareholders, customers, employees, community, and our planet.


Making strong progress

These are certainly ambitious targets – and our new 2017 CSR Report highlights the rapid progress we are making towards achieving them. We are delighted to say that we have already committed $685 million in value to community strengthening efforts – meaning that we are more than halfway to that $1.0 billion goal.


We have engaged upwards of 275,000 students through a mixture of education strategies, including Keysight employee volunteers engaging with primary and secondary schools through to universities. Once again, we are nearly halfway to that 570,000 goal.


In terms of the environment, we have recognized 4.69% and 12.44% respectively in energy and water conservation, which has resulted in $850,000 in cost avoidance. Crucially, all of this has been achieved with no material negative impacts. We have successfully aligned ethical operations and business commitments, through close governance of how we conduct business and our environmental, health, and safety programs.


The steps Keysight is taking in its CSR programs are building upon our strong foundation to grow and create value, while meeting our sustainability goals and reinforcing our commitment to global social responsibility. Find out more about our CSR progress by downloading our 2017 CSR Report.

As I reflect on the recently passed Earth Day 2018, I was reminded of conversations I have had with my daughter as she was growing up, about sustainability and care for earth’s ecosystem. When she was born, I remember thinking that when she gets to driving age, her first car will be a green car or a zero emissions vehicle (ZEV). This thought recently became a reality as she just passed her driving test last month and is now driving a hybrid vehicle. I was also reminded of going to events with her such as beach/river clean ups, trail restorations, tree plantings, when these were considered “special” events. For my daughter and her generation, this has now become the norm. As a junior in high school, she volunteers at a sustainable fish hatchery, teaches primary school children about marine ecology and the importance of keeping plastics out of our oceans and rivers, and regularly attends events run by our local river clean-up crew. She knows the importance of our finite supply of natural resources and how we all have an opportunity, and obligation, to protect and preserve them as much as we can. This led me to the realization that natural resource conservation must continue to be learned and nurtured to effect lasting change, and that education isn't just for the next generation. We can all learn from ongoing education to drive continuous improvement.


"This led me to the realization that natural resource conservation must continue to be learned and nurtured to effect lasting change, and that education isn't just for the next generation."


As I have guided my child through the hands-on Earth Day event presentations over the years, it has been exciting to watch her learning progress – from her amazement in baking cookies with a solar oven, to shock at how plastics kill and maim our aquatic life. Yet the learning continues. Even as a professional with direct purview of environmental topics, I realize that I am constantly learning too! More than once, my daughter has reminded me about the ingredients in our foods, our personal care items, and the importance of taking time to appreciate the simple wonders of nature. It is with this understanding of ongoing learning and continuous improvement that I appreciate the efforts of Keysight in this area.


Keysight’s ongoing education and communication to conserve natural resources and reduce waste

At Keysight, we have long had programs, policies and procedures in place to support the environment. We operate under a company-wide environmental, health and safety management system registered to ISO14001:2015 standards. In addition, Keysight has the goal of recognizing $2 million in cost avoidance, 10% energy conservation and 15% water conservation by the end of fiscal year 2020 (using our fiscal year 2015 as a baseline). Ongoing education and communications are implemented to ensure employees not only comply to standards, but also to understand how their individual actions can support the company goals in natural resource conservation and efficiency. For example, recurring communications include reminders to employees such as to:


  • Conserve energy by turning off computers, monitors, and equipment when not in use.
  • Inform Workplace Solutions about water leaks so they can be quickly fixed.
  • Increase trash diversion rates by segregating wastes, and recycle food waste in food compost areas.
  • Minimize the use of disposable cups by using washable mugs.
  • Print double-sided, and only when printing is truly necessary.
  • Use public transportation or bike, walk or car-pool/ride-share to work if viable.


The hope is that these learnings carry over into their personal lives as well. In line with Earth Day 2018’s theme to help end plastic pollution, Keysight’s Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) team provided information to all employees through our company newsletter about how to calculate and reduce their plastic consumption. That was a great tool for me at work, as well as personally. It was eye-opening to understand how much plastic one household puts into the environment over the course of a year. It also gave me another tool to share with my family and to think twice about the need for a plastic straw in our water glass at restaurants.


"In line with Earth Day 2018’s theme to help end plastic pollution, Keysight’s Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) team provided information to all employees through our company newsletter about how to calculate and reduce their plastic consumption."


Earth Day is always a great time of year to be reminded and educated about natural resource conservation and environmental impacts. However, it is important to continue the learnings year-round, whether it is in support of your company’s goals or your personal “Earth Day Resolution” goal.

On my Uber rides, I talk to drivers who are artists supplementing their income while establishing themselves in the world of painting, drawing, sculpting or photography. Recently, I talked with an Uber driver artist about painting techniques and the history of perspective and use of vanishing points to create an image with convincing depth and an illusion of a 3-dimensional space. Paintings with buildings in the distance are typically achieved by drawing them much smaller than buildings in the front. Technically, orthogonals (parallel lines), the horizon line, and a vanishing point are the three components used to make objects in a picture look increasingly smaller as they near the vanishing point and give it a 3D look.

While there is evidence that ancient cultures like the Greeks and the Romans had figured out depth illusion, it was not until 1415 that Italian Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi painted the first picture with a vanishing point and true depth. Before that, paintings had a flat look to them.


Brunelleschi's famous "mirror experiment" demonstrated his use of mirrors to sketch the Florence baptistry in perfect perspective, and the mathematical calculation he employed to scale objects within a painting for that realistic appearance. This monumental discovery, was first used by fellow artists in Italy such as Donatello, Andrea Mantegna, and Leonardo DaVinci. German artist Albrecht Dürer used the perspective more than 100 years later. I cannot help but wonder at how long it took in those days for innovation to “travel” in order to get adopted?

How amazingly fast are those adoption cycles today. In Keysight, we not only use every opportunity to connect with industry leaders at conferences, consortiums and plugfests, we also make sure we are actively driving and fostering new innovations while leading and participating in over 30 standards bodies such as the 3GPP, PCI-SIG and JEDEC to name a few. While face-to-face interactions are very effective, we also ensure scalability, connection and collaboration with engineers all over the globe in a timely manner through a variety of digital channels. I’d like to highlight a few:

  • EEs Talk Tech Podcast Series: Inspired by over-the-cubical-wall conversations about the changing world of electrical and electronics engineering, Daniel Bogdanoff and Mike Hoffman set out to create an electrical engineering podcast. Covering a broad range of topics from the basics of electrical engineering to the tough engineering problems of tomorrow’s technologies, Daniel and Mike bring in members of Keysight’s engineering team to provide their unique perspectives. Listen in the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month as Daniel and Mike take a break from their day job to talk about electrical engineering news and industry trends.
  • Check out our engineering YouTube channels, a place where electrical engineers of all disciplines and ability levels can come to get problem-focused, example-based guidance to solve their toughest engineering challenges and stay up to date with current industry trends.
  • Please comment and interact with us while getting the latest tips and techniques from Keysight’s product and technology blogs. Hear from our experts on the design and measurement advances to solve tomorrow’s technology challenges. Discover reflections, lessons, and insights from Keysight thought leaders on the technology and business issues of interest to today’s electronics industry. Whether you are connecting the world or the devices around us, making the world safer and more secure, or advancing technologies that make our lives and our planet better, we are proud to be your measurement partner. We invite you to visit often, subscribe, and give us feedback on topics you’ve found valuable.
  • Join us every month for an hourly webcast on a variety of test and measurement topics as part of the Keysight’s Engineering Education Webcast Series. This global webcast series covers fundamentals topics such as signal integrity, spectrum and signal analysis or RF & Microwave Component Measurements. For our Asian customers, we will accompany the webcast with subtitles in Korean, Japanese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese.


I hope you enjoyed this Uber detour from innovators such as Filippo Brunelleschi in the 15th century to Keysight engineers today. Please feel free to comment.


Vanishing Point painting by Lea Rilling
Pencil drawing colored in with aquarelle with two vanishing points laying outside of the drawing.
Artist: Lea Rilling, Bingen, Germany

How can our ever-growing numbers of digital devices communicate at even higher data rates, with lower latency and wider coverage than they do today? These are the questions that advanced wireless technologies such as 5G and new ultra-fast Wi-Fi standards are helping to answer, utilizing millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies.


But these technologies also present new challenges, placing stringent demands on designers and manufacturers across industries to characterize and test the performance of their mmWave components and devices, and ensure they perform as expected. At mmWave’s frequencies, there’s virtually no margin for error.


To help meet these challenges, Keysight is already leading the way in delivering end-to-end test solutions that enable the industry to bring their current innovations to market faster. And we’re also looking to the future, helping to develop the skills of the next generation of designers and engineers, to accelerate new research and technology breakthroughs.

That’s why we recently announced the opening of a new mmWave research laboratory in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast, at its Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT). The lab, based in the Institute’s Centre for Wireless Innovation, offers a truly state-of-the-art microwave and mmWave research environment that can accommodate over 60 researchers, students, and engineers.


We have equipped the lab with a range of our advanced test solutions, including the N5247A PNA-X Non-Linear Vector Network Analyzer, E8361C PNA Microwave Network Analyzer with N5260A mmWave controller and a N9040B UXA Signal Analyzer. These will enable researchers and students to investigate, analyze and measure the performance of mmWave prototype components and devices across a range of applications, from wireless communications to imaging, radar, and telemetry systems.


The Keysight equipment supports a wide range of test and measurement configurations, including ultra-high quality mmWave signal generation, and rich signal and network analysis capabilities. It can also be easily adapted to multiple different test scenarios, to enable full characterization and testing of both active and passive mmWave components.

Announcing the new lab, Professor Vincent Fusco, Chief Technical Officer of ECIT and leader of microwave research at the University for over 30 years, commented: "This partnership between Queen's University Belfast and Keysight gives us unprecedented measurement and instrumentation capabilities that will transform our microwave and mmWave laboratories, to advance our world-leading research in this area."


It’s a privilege for us to work with Queen's University Belfast – which is ranked in the top 1% of universities globally – in opening the new lab. Both undergraduate and postgraduate students will be able to use its world-class facilities to explore mmWave theory and techniques, helping to drive the future of wireless-enabled connectivity.


As part of our Millimeter-wave Measurement Insights HOTSPOTS Seminar series, Dr. Dmitry Zelenchuk, Senior Research Engineer at Queens University Belfast’s ECIT Institute will be joined by experts from Keysight in Belfast on May 24th. Dr Zelenchuk's presentation will focus on case studies of mmWave components and provide insights into mmWave measurements in recent academic research.


For more information about the Belfast event, and the HOTSPOTS Seminar series which is visiting 14 other cities across Europe over the coming months, click here.

In April 2017, one year ago to date, Keysight announced the closing of the acquisition of Ixia. It was positioned as a perfect complement for testing and monitoring next generation networking technologies. As an engineer and marketer for Keysight’s data center and infrastructure solutions, no one is happier than me (well, besides our customers) in this integration. Let me explain why.

Keysight is a recognized leader worldwide in the test & measurement industry for its Physical Layer 1 test solutions. Ixia tests what are typically referred to as the Networking Protocols (Layers 2/3) and what is typically called the Application Layers (4-7). Before I go into more details, this might be a good time for a quick review of the Open System Interconnect (OSI) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)/Internet Protocol (IP) models. They are the two most widely used models for communication networks, let’s do a quick review of them.

OSI and TCP/IP models

OSI and TCP/IP Models


As you can see, the OSI model is comprised of seven layers, whereas the TCP/IP model has four. In simple terms, regardless of the model data sent to the network flows from the top Application layer downward through each layer. Since I mentioned earlier that Keysight’s expertise is in Physical Layer 1 test, I’ll use the OSI model to explain a very simple example of how data flows through the network.

For example, when you request to browse a web page from your computer, data is sent to the Application Layer of the network. It is then passed downward through the layers, with each one performing a specific function and encapsulating the data before passing it on to the next layer. Physical Layer 1 is aptly named since it manages the point-to-point connection and physically transmits it over the network to its intended destination. There are several hardware devices that operate at Layer 1, but the most influential and the most expensive, is the transceiver.

Keysight provides the hardware and software solutions to test transceiver performance and compliance to industry standards, ensuring the very heart of every network. IHS Markit forecasts that the number of devices connected to the Internet will reach 125 billion by 2030. That is a big number, each making their demands on those transceivers. Can you imagine how many requests will be sent to and from the network with that many devices? As I wrote about in my blog last week, 400GE Innovations at OFC 2018 – Enabling 5G and IoT, we work closely with industry innovators to help them bring to market the next generation of transceivers needed to support these network demands.

Now that you understand what part of the network that Keysight tests, it is time to explain the importance of Ixia’s contribution. Ixia provides network test solutions for all the other network layers from 2-7, including validating Software Defined Networking (SDN), and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) functionality and traffic loading. Each of these topics alone are worthy of a much more detailed explanation in a future blog article, but I’ll give you a short story here.


Remember all the billions of devices I mentioned above that will connect to the network? Well, this is really pushing the limits of existing network infrastructures that have remained virtually unchanged in the last several years. Therefore, enterprises and service providers need to find new ways to design and operate their networks and are shifting to virtualized networks using SDN and NFV. Once they have made that shift, they need to make sure that data flows through their virtualized networks as they designed them to, and that they can withstand the kind of traffic that billions of devices will generate. This is what Ixia’s network test solutions are designed to do.

Together Keysight and Ixia offer the widest array of test solutions across all network layers, from Physical Layer 1 test to full network test of Layers 2-7 including SDN/NFV validation and traffic loading. It is a powerful combination to ensure actual data center infrastructure works as promised.


Learn more about Keysight’s transceiver test solutions here and Ixia’s network test solutions here.

Emerging technologies such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality(AR)/(VR) and autonomous vehicles are driving big data and traffic explosion beyond 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GE) speeds in data centers. A key theme at the Optical Networking and Communication Conference & Exhibition (OFC) 2018, the largest global conference and exposition in optical communications and networking, that I attended last month in San Diego was around next-gen transceiver development to support these new services and the ever-increasing demand for network bandwidth.

100G paves the way for 400G in the data center
As 100G technology reaches maturity in 2018, innovations such as single-lambda 100G will continue to drive down costs of next generation 100GE links, as well as enable faster transition to 400GE in the data center. Single-lambda 100G uses four-level pulse amplitude modulation (PAM4) to transmit 100G over a single fiber, as opposed to four lanes running at 25Gbps. Since single-lambda 100G requires only a single set of optical components per module, the costs of 100GE connectivity are significantly reduced and next generation 400GE becomes viable.

400GE industry-first demonstrations at OFC 2018
At OFC each year the industry has a close eye on who is innovating at the fastest pace. By working closely with the market makers, we know what the industry needs to meet market timing and ramp requirements for optical components, modules and systems. Test solutions are not only instrumental to enabling new technologies, but often the only way for our customers to showcase their new product introductions.

At this year’s show, Keysight’s solutions were an integral part of more than twenty customer demonstrations including many 400GE industry firsts, such as new 100G single-lambda modules from Accelink Technologies and Applied Optoelectronics, 400 Gbps transceivers from Innolight, as well as 400 Gbps transceiver chipsets from MaxLinear.


At the Ethernet Alliance (EA) booth, Keysight Ixia’s K400 QSFP-DD-400GE load module sent and received live, full line rate, 400GE traffic to and from Juniper 400G transport technology using LR8 QSFP-DD optics provided by Finisar and Source Photonics. This was the first public demonstration of 400GE traffic over QSFP-DD optics, which will help to accelerate the development of new IEEE 802.3bs-compliant 400GE network equipment and systems. The K400 load module also won the 2018 Lightwave Innovation Review award for the category of Field Test Equipment.


A lot has changed in the span of one year since OFC 2017, where 100G and its production ramp were all the focus, and 400G seemed in the distant future. With PAM4 enabling single lambda to cost-effectively carry 100Gb/s of data, 400Gbps in the data #center is right around the corner and production of 400G optical modules is expected to start later this year.


It was amazing to see first-hand how Keysight’s optical test solutions have accelerated and helped bring to life so many new 400GE innovations that will enable exciting new services such as 5G and IoT.  Find out more about our K400 load module here and our 400GE transceiver test solutions here.

Since 3GPP announced the first set of 5G standards in December 2017, we’ve seen an explosion of high-profile 5G demonstrations – notably Verizon’s showcase of 5G low latency capability at the Super Bowl LII, and following that, 5G’s impressive and varied use case in real-world applications at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.


Since the 3GPP 5G specifications announcement, we’ve also seen a number of announcements at CES 2018 in January and MWC 2018 in February where leading mobile network operators such as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon announced firm timetables for commercial 5G rollouts in the United States over the next 18 months.

The 5G wave is rising fast, and as a result of rapid developments in this space, experts are now targeting for 5G products to debut in the market in 2019, a year ahead of the prediction at MWC 2017.


How 5G Ready Are We?

Despite the impressive developments and demonstrations to date from carriers and mobile device manufacturers, there are still gaps as the 5G standards process isn’t complete. While the first set of 5G standards included specifications for tower-to-device connection, specifications for network services—that will enable IoT, automated driving, and augmented reality (AR), to name just a few—have yet to be finalized. Current projections for the second set of 5G standards by 3GPP point to a summer (June) release date.


Why We Shouldn’t Be Rushing Summer

The current 5G momentum is certainly leading to mounting pressure to rush the standards process. Rushing the 5G standards would be a huge blunder as seen from the hurried standards process for 3G and 4G, that had resulted in timing issues, interoperability issues, and all sorts of complexities and inefficiencies. Slowing down and taking our time to create a more robust standard will ultimately result in products that truly deliver a transformative experience for consumers.

Bridging the Standards Gap Between Now and Summer

Fortunately, slowing down the standards process doesn’t have to inhibit 5G development. While we look forward to a robust set of network services standards in the summer, carriers and manufacturers can use testing to bridge the gap. Testing can go a long way in simulating realistic test environments, and fortunately for us, the standards agreed to in December established the reuse of existing 4G infrastructure. Focus would then be on areas targeting large bandwidth and low latency applications. Having said that, there are known challenges to creating this ideal, realistic test environment, which would impact the accuracy and reliability of testing.


Over the air (OTA) conditions pose a major problem due to the very short range of frequencies that 5G promises to leverage, that are also extremely susceptible to line-of-sight issues as objects just a few inches across can cause interference. 5G developers require end-to-end testing expertise as they need to set up a testing chamber with laboratory conditions, and replicating real-world conditions by distorting signals and introducing channel model effects. In addition to laboratory conditions, developers can also carry out testing in the field. Contrary to the myth that 5G requires mmWave bands, most early deployments in Asia run on sub-6 GHz bands which are in ample supply in other global markets.

Helping You Carry 5G Development Forward

At Keysight, we’re aggressively rolling out 5G NR ready products and applications—including several industry-firsts showcased at the MWC 2018—to help developers carry out accurate, reliable testing, and move forward quickly in 5G development. This will allow the 5G momentum that has been built up over the past several months to continue while letting the standards process play out by summer.


I leave you now with a couple of free 5G resources you will find useful. More to come towards summer.

Yes, please keep reading…  Keysight, a leader in wireless technologies offers complete solutions for technologies such as 5G test beds, over the air (OTA) and many other 5G wireless related technologies. However, Keysight is also looking forward to another revolution that is occurring on the high-speed digital side of the business as PCI Express or PCIe and DDR move their 5th generations.

Why is this Gen5 revolution happening? The same story that drives the need for 5G mobile, also drives the need for much faster intra-data center interconnect or intra-DCI (connections inside the data center), and inside of our servers. Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), autonomous cars, and high-definition (HD) streaming continue to push the need for more data, faster. Consumers no longer tolerate even the smallest delay, especially in VR/AR and autonomous driving. The end result is that new technologies are moving forward quickly in the data center.

The PCIe Gen5 Wave

Ever heard of Cache coherent interconnect for accelerators (CCIX), GenZ, NVLink or OpenCAPI? If you haven’t, you soon will. These wave of technologies is currently pushing the incumbent PCIe to faster speeds. PCIe Gen4 is just becoming mainstream, but has limited bandwidth, given the needs of today’s technologies at only 16 Gbps. This is a far cry from today’s IEEE-led interconnect technologies that are now looking to data rates well above 100 Gbps. As a result, new technologies have appeared to speed up the interconnect space. These buses look to specialize in areas where PCIe is not as customized. For example, GenZ is targeting memory-to-CPU connections and moving to speeds above 30 Gbps. Another technology, NVLink is being developed to connect GPUs to GPUs. CCIX looks to replace PCIe at 25 Gbps.

This is where this whole revolution gets interesting. PCIe took over 5 years to develop the Gen4 technology at 16 Gbps, but rather than be satisfied with those speeds, it has announced PCIe Gen5 with speeds of 32 Gbps. So, in a matter of a year, we have seen server speeds go from 16 Gbps to over 30 Gbps, and the technologies are looking to PAM-4 to push speeds above 50 Gbps. We have also moved from having one dominant technology to having competition in the technology space, which can lead to even further innovation.

Of course, the revolution does not happen without challenges. For PCIe Gen4, the standard eye height was specified at a mere 16 mV at the end of the channel (this is really small), even with all channel effects removed and equalization applied. Going to 32 Gbps does not help that problem, and for Gen5, the eye height drops to a miniscule 8 mV. Essentially, high-speed digital technologies are moving to a closed eye. Keysight has numerous tools to help test all these standards.

The Rise of DDR5

The other revolution is occurring on the memory side with DDR. For the last number of years, there has been discussion of a memory wall. What is a memory wall? The theory of the memory wall is that at some point, the dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) would be unable to keep up with the PC power, and a new memory technology would need to be developed. We now have moved into 2018, and yet DRAM remains viable and the “memory wall” has not happened – hence, the introduction of the new DDR5 technology. DDR5 represents the possibility of going beyond 5 GT/s for the first time. It also introduces a new challenge as DDR5 developers will need to test both the transmitter and the receiver.  Previous DDR technologies only required transmitter testing.

Here are a couple of questions to consider: Why the need for a new DRAM technology (DDR5) when other, “better” technologies such as 3D silicon are coming to revolutionize the memory market? Does this mean there is no memory wall? First, new technologies are being developed on a continual basis for memory. If a new technology goes mainstream, it can become a billion-dollar business almost overnight.  We see announcements around 3D silicon, magnetic memory, hybrid memory cube, and other high bandwidth memories all the time. The problem is that shipping them in volume is still too expensive for what consumers are willing to pay. Until costs get comparable to DRAM, DRAM will remain king and the industry continues to push DRAM further and further. As for the memory wall, it still absolutely will happen, it is just a matter of when. Maybe it is after DDR6, or maybe we will get to DDR10, but at some point, the memory industry will have to find a new technology to get to ultra-fast speeds. It will be interesting to watch.

Keeping Watch

I look back at 2010-2012 as great technology years, as Universal Serial Bus (USB) went to USB 3.0, PCI Express went to Gen3 and DDR began movement into DDR3. The result was much excitement for high-speed digital technologies and significant growth in the industry, especially coming out of the economic downturn. When you look at the technologies that are coming, you see a similar pattern happening from 2018-2020. It is a great time to watch as a new revolution is occurring, the Gen5 revolution – and not just in wireless.

In the meantime, watch our industry experts discuss the latest updates on PCI Express 5.0 and DDR5, as part of our DesignCon 2018 Keysight Education Forum (KEF) offers. I’m also interested to hear from you, technology watchers, on the Gen5 revolution. Feel free to comment below.

The future of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) starts with children today. Plain and simple. Many studies have detailed the need to build interest in STEM fields early in childhood education to ensure continued interest through college and beyond into careers. While school systems around the world have related classwork, it is important for children to see real practitioners, particularly female, from STEM fields and have tangible engagement in these areas to build their interest. This is where industry leaders can help!


In this post I’d like to highlight why this is important work in which more industry players need to participate, and share the multi-faceted win for students, schools, employees and our future!


Hands-on program drives early STEM engagement

Keysight After School (KAS) is a company-funded program that provides a STEM engagement experience to school children. It features 23 different hands-on life, physical and earth-science experiments designed as complete "programs-in-a-box" that are delivered by Keysight employee volunteers working with local school communities. From single-kit experiments tied to in-class curriculum, to multi-week engagements and even special after-school focused sessions, we can adapt the kits and customize the engagement for students. Through the program, Keysight engages upwards of 10,000 children worldwide each year, while offering our employees the opportunity to volunteer in their community and help drive the future of their fields.


Engaging the future

Recently, I partnered with my local school district in Loveland, Colorado, to support a full-day STEM engagement for students in grades 3-8 using the KAS program materials. It was a teacher work day, which meant the kids had the day off. Instead of staying home and likely watching TV or playing video games, the school district gave students the opportunity to sign up for a full-day STEM program. This was a unique approach to implementing the KAS kits and I was excited to be a part of a more immersive student experience.


Working with assigned substitute teachers from the district, we started by determining which STEM topics the kids were currently studying, and then selected two KAS kits that best aligned with both curriculum and age group. From there, the teachers designed a morning curriculum for the students to learn the basic concepts of their respective STEM topic. The full-day event culminated in an afternoon hands-on experiment with Keysight volunteers armed with KAS experiment kits.


  • For the group of third, fourth, and fifth graders, we selected electricity and magnetism as the target topic. During the morning sessions, teachers introduced the concepts of magnets, compasses, and electricity. Using the “Invisible Forces” KAS kit, students did hands-on experiments with not only magnets but also the magnetic field induced by the flow of electricity through a wire. The experience culminated with students building a working electric motor so they could see first-hand the practical application of the invisible forces of electricity and magnetism at work.


  • For sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, we selected the principles of hydraulics as the study topic. The KAS kit we paired with this subject was the “Hydro Lift” kit, in which students built their own working hydraulic lift and learned how the transfer of energy can be used to increase force.


After completing their experiments, students took their finished projects home with them – furthering the STEM engagement opportunity as the children share their projects with family, friends, and teachers. In total, for this event alone, we engaged 131 students across 5 schools with 28 Keysight employee volunteers. It was a great feeling to see the excitement in the eyes of the students as they learned about important scientific concepts and how engineers use them in practical everyday ways to build devices and machines they are already familiar with.


A Fun and Rewarding Experience for All!

The hands-on experience and the very visible volunteer STEM practitioners are what truly made the connection with the students. As one of the Keysight volunteers offered:


"The kids were engaged, asked good questions and answered our questions well too! Everyone got their motors to work, and they were fascinated by the Keysight oscilloscope display we brought with us. They all brought their motors over to the oscilloscopes for 'testing'. One student was so enthralled by the process, that he built two motors to test!"


In turn, the school district’s STEM coordinator with whom I worked said:


"At every camp I visited, I saw students who were actively engaged in learning. I know that this was an experience that they will remember for quite some time. I appreciate your commitment not only to taking the time from your busy schedules to sit down with our students and work through the kits, but also your willingness to share your love of engineering and a little bit about what you do and how you got into your field."


While this was just one of many ways to take advantage of the KAS kits, the unique approach and engagement model is worth noting for others to consider. The engagement was a true multi-faceted win. Students had the chance to learn STEM concepts, teachers were provided a new way to support their curriculum, Keysight employees were able to give back to the community, and Keysight as a company had a part in developing the next generation of engineers and scientists! As the school district’s STEM coordinator noted, “Hopefully, some seeds were planted with students that will lead to their becoming engineers one day!

When Thomas J. Watson, Jr., the former president of IBM said in a 1973 lecture that “good design is good business,” he was acknowledging the impact design had made on IBM’s fortunes during the 1950s and 60s. In those decades, Watson Jr. had overseen the company’s transition from making punch-card systems to new electronic computers. It was a big shift on multiple levels. He also put in place an overarching ‘design thinking’ program which spanned everything from IBM’s products, to its buildings, marketing and logos.


Those changes formed the foundation of IBM’s future in the computer market, eventually leading to the popular phrase customers would utter, "You’ll never get fired for buying IBM." Becoming a trusted brand has always required building products with thoughtful, integrated features and high reliability. Rapid hardware development, spiral design cycles, and the introduction of continuous software services forever extend the relationship between product developer and product user. End-of-life electronic components, processor and memory upgrades, new interfaces and features, and bug fixes continue the be part of the development process long after the design is complete, the prototype has been validated, and the device has been produced.


Trusted brands deliver products with performance, reliability, and safety that users demand. Getting there requires in-depth testing and benchmarking in the widest possible range of environments and use cases. But another key element has emerged in the product development lifecycle – the need to integrate services as part of the product offering. The more features and uses your product has, the more customers benefit from deeper interactions beyond the sale. Learning, exploring, and using are all more engrained with integrated offerings.


Knowing when a microsecond matters

We are fortunate to support a lot of very important and exciting customer product developments. One area, automotive, is currently undergoing a renaissance: integrating more eMobility, more autonomy, more connectedness, and of course more electronics. There is also a lot at stake so developers need to make sure measurements are very precise.
Cars are integrating autonomous driving algorithms that rely on inputs from sensors: optical imagers, LIDAR (light detection and ranging) and radar systems, to name a few. For new automotive millimeter wave (mmWave) radars operating at 77 GHz, testing requires a precise set-up so we had to develop a complete service offering – measurement equipment, chamber guidance, special data capture software, and high precision calibration. You will see why when you see the basic test steps:


  1. Start with an automotive radar target simulator consisting of an anechoic chamber, signal analyzer, power meter, and target object
  2. Create a Simulink model of an automotive radar simulator
  3. Run uncertainty analysis on all sub-elements to generate test procedures and limits
  4. Load procedures into the test system
  5. Run diagnostic measurements to verify system operation
  6. Preform calibration on the test equipment
  7. Run the test


Throughout this collection, precision counts so the equipment alone was not enough. It needed precise tuning. We are looking for the signal, but we are also looking at the noise, interference, temperature variation, environmental variation – they all make a difference in the result. And why? Because seconds can count, milliseconds can count, and in this case, microseconds can count a lot.


Putting it in perspective: What’s an order of magnitude between friends?

Let’s take our setup above and pretend that we are simulating the position, or range, of a car driving in front of us. Uncertainty in time delay due to skipping the tuning steps, for instance, can cause a bias in the recorded results. The time delay measurement is very sensitive. Radars send out pulses and once they encounter something solid, some of the signal bounces back. The more solid the object, the larger the reflected signal. Range is determined by measuring the pulse delay.


If, in our example, the car in front of us is 100 meters away, and the setup has as small as 1 microsecond of uncertainty, that translates into a potential 30-meter error in estimating its real range. Not good.


Build a business that solves problems and helps your customers win

Whether your innovation is in automotive technology, 5G, IoT, cloud, aerospace and defense, or any other modern market, the move to products integrated with services is part of your world. It is necessary for a better customer experience. Developers expect, and need, complete solutions that solve a problem. The trusted brands of tomorrow will be the ones who successfully help their customers win in the market. We intend to be at the head of that line so that customers may someday utter: “You’ll never get fired for buying Keysight. Those guys solve problems.”


Find out more about how we’ve helped enterprises solve their design problems here.

Occasionally, I take Uber rides and they are almost always a guarantee for fascinating conversation, allowing me insights into very different industries and topics, yet always discovering connections to the industry I work in. Just recently, I took a ride back home after dropping off my car for the 80,000 miles service appointment at my local dealer.

The driver was in the knitting industry, working at a local yarn store in town. We started talking about the tremendous transformation in the yarn and knitting industry with trends like online retail, luxury fabrics and community building. Especially, the latter point reminded me about commonalities with our test and measurement business and the Keysight Leadership Model. Really? You might think – how can something as low tech as knitting have anything in common with high tech topics such as 5G wireless technology or Industry 4.0?

Before I get there, let me start by saying that I remember knitting from my grandmother in Germany – after World War II. Knitting was one of the cheapest possible ways to build a durable sweater or socks for the most utilitarian fashion, that we could afford in our family. Even our home decorations were done by her amazing crochet skills. Today, knitting sometimes is an expensive hobby, with exotic fabrics, a high-end luxury fashion trend or other times an artsy Etsy business with sales at a premium price.

Now, knitting and Keysight connect on two different levels:

  1. Deep Customer Relationships
    • Keysight Technologies just introduced the Keysight Leadership Model (KLM). Besides fundamentals such as capital allocations, profitable growth, operational discipline and financial management, at the very core of the model resides our customers’ success. This is achieved by nurturing deep relationships, truly understanding their problems and delivering leading edge solutions through speed and agility. This is the cornerstone of everything that we do.
    • As recently demonstrated at Mobile World Congress and described by our CMO, Marie Hattar, we illustrated some of those deep relationships with Qualcomm, Samsung, Datang Mobile among other leading players in the industry.
    • Our local yarn store is applying the exact same principles: By closely listening to their customers, they found out that there is a true need for community building, stress relief, knitting groups and sharing, and making lives more comforting and connected. These knitting groups are now a cornerstone of the business even attended by customers who seek health benefits such as lowering heart rate and blood pressure.
  2. Industry 4.0
    • The textile industry among many other industries is going through the transformation of Industry 4.0, the interconnection of information technology and manufacturing processes. On March 6, 2018, at Investor Day, our Senior Vice President of the Ixia Solutions Group, Mark Pierpoint, mentioned that only 40% of industries have been digitized, which gives Keysight a huge growth opportunity for our products, solutions and services. Connecting and analyzing information technology resources, and delivering insights require improvement across traditionally disconnected manufacturing processes. This is where Keysight helps.
    • The introduction of new products and processes to enable the yarn industry to adopt Industry 4.0 to its customer base can benefit from Keysight platforms, such as Pathwave. Pathwave enables sharing of analysis and results as innovations take place in new processes all the way from the design phase through validation and manufacturing test.


I hope you find this Uber detour interesting. Please feel free to comment. In the meantime, I will dig out this light-yellow crochet table runner that my grandmother gifted me years ago. It perfectly brightens up my kitchen for the spring time.

crochet table runner