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It is always exciting when the advanced capabilities of your solutions are recognized with prominent industry accolades. So, we were understandably delighted to have recently won major awards for two of our testing products from influential industry organizations.


UE Emulation Solution: a 5G technology breakthrough

At the end of February, our UE Emulation (UEE) Solution received the ‘Innovative Breakthrough in Mobile Technology Award’ for protocol testing of NB-IoT at the Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) event in Barcelona. The award category highlights major technology enhancements in the entire mobile ecosystem from mobile operators and equipment manufacturers. The UEE solution delivers powerful and flexible test functions, including protocol and load testing for base stations across 5G NR and LTE, and enables emulation of a wide range of demanding usage requirements and configurations to improve network performance validation.


The advanced test capabilities of the UEE solution were further underlined at Mobile World Congress 2018, where Keysight announced successful interoperability testing of the solution with Samsung's new 5G base station based on 5G New Radio (NR) standards, to help accelerate the development and deployment of 5G networks. We also demonstrated 5G NR technology using the UEE solution together with Datang Mobile's 5G base station at MWC.


The best in field test: K400 load module is an industry first

In March, during the Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) in San Diego, the K400 QSFP-DD-400GE load module was a winner in the 2018 Lightwave Innovation Reviews program, in the Field Test Equipment category.


The Innovation Reviews program recognizes cutting-edge solutions in optical communications, with winners selected by an independent panel of judges from across the industry. The awards are presented annually by Lightwave, the leading publication focused on fiber optics and optoelectronics. During their evaluation, the judges said that the K400 load module offers "An important capability for the ecosystem to develop, test, qualify and deploy new 400G datacenter pluggables.”


At the OFC conference, the K400 load module was also used as a core component of the first ever public demonstration of 400GE traffic over QSFP-DD optics. The demo saw live, full line rate 400GE traffic being sent to and from Juniper 400G transport technology using LR8 QSFP-DD optics provided by Finisar and Source Photonics. These new optics will be key to accelerating the development of new 400 Gigabit Ethernet network equipment and systems, and will power a range of next-generation services, including 5G.


We’re honored that our ability to create innovative test solutions — that enable next-generation communications to be brought to market faster — has been recognized with these prestigious awards. Find out more about our 5G test solutions here, and our 400GE test solutions here.

In February of 2018, Keysight unveiled its vision for a new design and test engineering platform. Named “PathWave”, this platform will improve productivity and accelerate time-to-market by linking parts of the product development workflow that have up until now remained independent and siloed.
But wait, you may ask,

"Are product development platforms still relevant?"


Historically, in the context of development platforms, the word ‘platform’ has most often been used to describe a collection of tools that work together. In their recent book, “Platform Revolution,” Parker, Van Alstyne and Choudary discuss the platform business model, and the way that companies such as Facebook, PayPal and Uber have revolutionized their respective industries with innovative platforms. One of their observations is that these companies have taken a customer-focused, end-to-end view of the goals that consumers are trying to accomplish. They then single-mindedly built platforms to optimize the rapid and efficient completion of those goals.
I believe that this same concept applies to product development platforms. Modern development platforms should be focused on the customers’ ultimate end-goal, and not only on the individual steps along the journey. We constantly hear from our customers that their most important end goal is reducing their time-to-market.
It’s not hard to find examples of companies that appeared to be in a leadership position at the technology prototype phase, but who then ultimately failed (were late to market and did not meet their financial targets). These companies overlooked what would be required in the next step of the development process, and essentially had to start over in their quest to develop a robust, ‘manufacturable’ product.
Sadly, I have personal experience with this!  Many years ago, as an R&D engineer, I developed a working prototype of a new kind of radar speed detector. My design helped solve one of the most difficult problems associated with these devices: isolating a single vehicle in dense traffic. The prototype worked extremely well in field trials and impressed potential customers. Unfortunately, in my rush to develop the prototype, I hadn’t considered what it would take to bring this product to market. My company determined that their window of opportunity would have passed by the time the product was completely redesigned, and the project was then abandoned.

Predicting what's next

Like a good chess player, a good product development platform anticipates what will happen next and prepares in advance. Fatal errors, such as the one that had occurred with my project, can be mitigated with a predictive approach.
Allow me to give a really trivial example. When someone writes a document in Microsoft Word, the Microsoft Office platform anticipates that the writing stage is not the end of the process. The platform predicts that you will need to take further steps, such as have someone else review and edit the document, publish it, print it, email it, or use it in another application. It makes the next step easy because it prepares for the next action in advance.
It is a mistake to think that a good platform is merely a collection of tools that work together. The best platform providers take their knowledge and experience of the complete end-to-end process and incorporate that knowledge into the platform. I like to think of this as building “process intellectual property” into the platform.
At Keysight, we are doing just that. It’s one of the reasons we use the word “predictive” to describe our new PathWave platform. We know that building "process intellectual property" into a platform is not easy to do, but the rewards for users are huge in terms of productivity and time-to-market.
(I’ll add that we are also using the word ‘predictive’ to describe another issue that a good development platform should address: the ability to anticipate design and equipment failures before they occur. We'll discuss these issues elsewhere.)

Let me finish by answering the question above

Yes, product development platforms are not only still relevant; they are a necessity in order to stay competitive.  However, a good platform needs to be more than a collection of interoperable tools. A good platform is one that is predictive and makes it easier for users by anticipating their future tasks.
I’d welcome your comments!

Jeff Harris

Data Centers on Wheels

Posted by Jeff Harris Employee Mar 28, 2018

As vehicles pack in more and more technology, such as remote diagnostics, on-board GPS, collision avoidance systems, Wi-Fi hotspots for connectivity, cameras and yes, autonomous driving systems, it’s no surprise that they are increasingly being described as ‘data centers on wheels.’


Interconnecting all these complex systems involves wiring harnesses, connections, and, of course, data exchange processing. Sensors need to provide feedback to mechanical systems, and as more autonomy is built into vehicles, decision algorithms require central processing in between, often integrating inputs from external data sources. Some estimates state that the use of current, proprietary wiring harnesses in a typical car consumes up to 50% of the labor cost that goes into building it. This conventional wiring can also weigh upwards of 200 pounds (90kg), and each connection requires functional testing.


To solve these problems, auto manufacturers are turning to data center technology with the use of automotive Ethernet. This enables a single standard for wiring and cabling across all manufacturers, and can realize significant savings in production-line time and weight by simplifying connectivity.


Replacing complex and heavy proprietary wiring in current vehicles with simpler connections based around fast Ethernet also delivers further benefits. Today’s CAN (Controller Area Network) based wiring operates at just one megabit per second. But there are many functions in a vehicle competing for bandwidth — including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, infotainment systems, reversing cameras, automatic braking systems, hybrid powertrain systems and autonomous driving systems interconnecting dozens of sensors, processors and electromechanical system controls. Automotive Ethernet, offering 100 MB or even gigabit speeds, provides manufacturers with a proven method of interconnecting all of these subsystems, while ensuring that everything gets the bandwidth and ultra-low latency it demands.


Then comes the transition, as manufacturers migrate their vehicles from existing, proprietary CAN technology to automotive Ethernet. This requires a host of new testing approaches.


Putting automotive Ethernet to the test

We helped one of the largest automobile manufacturers in China make this transition. The company planned to upgrade to automotive Ethernet in its vehicles to reduce manufacturing costs and improve owners’ experience by enabling advanced data communications, remote diagnostic and software upgrade capabilities. They were using an older CAN system for their vehicle system bus, which meant using older electronic control units (ECUs) from several external vendors that identified them as end-of-life. The manufacturer had to upgrade, and we helped them move to Ethernet, to connect the cars’ digital instruments, driving data recorder, ECU, and infotainment switches. It turned out that the testing was not only more modern and comprehensive, but was also faster.


The manufacturer just needed to be sure the upgrade would work seamlessly before overhauling their manufacturing processes. Defining the new automotive Ethernet network required validation of the new physical layer, protocol conformance and automotive application performance. We ended up demonstrating a series of automated test scripts that provided so much test coverage, they were able to see how they could easily extend it across:


• physical layer validation for the 100 Base T1 Ethernet standard
• multiple physical layers validation within an ECU
• conformance validation to the various protocols used in the ECU
• network deployment validation and debugging using automotive data loggers


This was a great example to show the power of combining Keysight’s Layer-1 capabilities with Ixia, a Keysight business’ understanding of Layers 2-7. We demonstrated how to validate the physical test layer connection at every point, and follow that up with a full suite of Layer 2 through 7 conformance and performance testing. This was the only way to prove each new automotive Ethernet connection worked and properly interconnected every point within the car’s network.


The result enabled this car manufacturer to build a single integrated testbed (Keysight’s Oscilloscope, and IxANVL and IxNetwork from our Ixia business) to get to their desired test coverage and offer remote programming interfaces to achieve automation across testing tools.


By replacing an older, more manual test process with a set of modern, automated tests, testing time shrunk from two days down to one day. This is a great example of how upgrading can not only provide better performance, but also save time and money through greater efficiency. You can read the full Automotive Ethernet Case Study and find out more about Keysight’s automotive Ethernet solutions.

Having a strong perimeter for protection has been a core security strategy for centuries, and it’s still the basic foundation for network security today. Enterprises traditionally focus most of their security efforts on stopping unauthorized access and threats at the network border, to protect the applications and sensitive data within.


However, that network border is no longer a solid defensive barrier. It’s getting increasingly stretched and fragmented as organizations migrate their applications and infrastructure to the cloud. In its 2017 State of the Hybrid Cloud report, Microsoft found that 63% of enterprises are already using hybrid cloud environments.


The result is that gaps are appearing in perimeter defenses, which can be exploited by hackers or malware to steal information and IP. The data breach at credit reference agency Equifax, which exposed the records of 143 million U.S. customers in September 2017, was caused by hackers exploiting a simple vulnerability in a web application. That same month, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and Deloitte all suffered breaches from poorly configured Amazon S3 buckets.


These issues are forcing enterprises to rethink their approaches to data security. They’re starting to focus less on perimeter defenses, and more on identifying unusual user or network behavior which may be an early sign of a potential breach or attack. Another driver behind this rethink is the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on 25th May 2018.


GDPR will force organizations to take greater responsibility over how they secure the personal data they hold, or risk significant penalties if they have a breach. Yet a recent analysis by Forrester found that only 25 percent of organizations are currently GDPR compliant, while just 22 percent expect to be compliant by the end of 2018.


Given the need to urgently address these challenges, what actions should enterprises take? Security Week recently published our article describing how organizations can rethink their security strategies to resolve these issues before they get out of control. Here’s a recap of the five key steps it describes:


1. Assign roles specific to new threats

Data security is a priority, so don’t spread responsibility for it across your IT department or add it to an existing manager’s workload. Putting a single person or team in charge ensures that it will get the attention it needs.


2. Audit data and infrastructure immediately

Enterprises need to know exactly what data they are dealing with, what policies need to be attached to each type of data, who has access to that data, and where workloads accessing critical data are running. This requires in-depth visibility across the entire enterprise network environment. It is also important to document data capture methods for compliance. An initial audit, and ongoing asset discovery is essential to identify what is vulnerable and where, so action can be taken to close the gaps.


3. Create baselines
Once the enterprise understands its data profiles, and who should have access to which type of data, this can be turned in to baselines of expected, normal behavior.


4. Monitor for abnormalities
Enterprises then need to monitor user and network behavior against these baselines to identify anomalies which could signal a potential breach. Examples are a user downloading terabytes of data, or an employee with marketing credentials accessing server logs.


5. Ensure security data is also secured
Enterprise security teams also need to secure their own processes. Personally-identifiable information (PII), included in everything from vlogs to personnel data, needs to be secured through data masking to ensure security itself is not the weak link.


In conclusion, security strategies focused solely on perimeter defenses are no longer capable of protecting sensitive data against theft and inadvertent leakage in today’s complex IT environments. Organizations need to be able to quickly identify threats and vulnerabilities inside their networks, to keep PII safe. After all, if they can’t see what’s happening, they have no control over it.

My network of fellow women engineers continues to be a huge support for me, something that began when I was studying Electrical Engineering and was one of just a handful of women in the classroom. Recently I was connecting with a long-time friend and colleague who works at a different technology company. Her management recently changed and she’s finding her new manager unfortunately inept managing a workforce that is different than himself. He’s a super nice person and may be good at what he does, except that he’s stumbling over managing my friend and she’s quickly gone from motivated and high-performing to disempowered and feeling excluded. What she’s discovering however is that it’s not because of any conscious behavior on the part of her new manager, it’s all unconscious behavior to which he just is not aware.  Fast forward in time, and she carefully laid out for him specific examples of what was happening in a manner so not to put him on the defensive. He listened attentively hanging on to each of her words and ultimately expressed gratitude for her sharing. He had had no idea what was going on nor why or how he was contributing. While his actual behaviors will have a long way to go, he is now conscious of how he is affecting others and he is asking for feedback. This is excellent! He is trying and he is learning. Unfortunately for my friend, while it’s appreciated and she is happy to see this beginning of transformation, she’s already moved on. Hopefully though his growth will help foster an inclusive environment to keep all of his employees engaged and high-performing in the future.

This story is one that too many of us can probably relate to and one that continues to frustrate me. It’s often not a blatant behavior making it all the harder to pinpoint and name. Instead, it’s the repeated references and actions that reveal underlying bias. While my friend did a great job managing the situation and taking care of herself – both by finding something better for herself in which she can once more thrive, and also helping to make the environment better for others – the responsibility should not have been hers in the first place. It is important to discontinue the assumed responsibility of the already marginalized to “educate” or “take care of” those to which she/he is different. We each need to take responsibility to recognize how we might be influencing a culture of inclusion or one of exclusion.

I’m grateful to work in a corporate culture where one of our male executives inspires other men to “listen up” to become advocates for women and turn awareness into action, and where I get to represent our company in a long-standing strategic relationship with the Society of Women Engineers. That relationship helps us learn and take action. And as Karen Horting, Society of Women Engineers Executive Director & CEO, stated in her recent Forbes Article “What Role Do Men Play In Creating Diversity In The Workplace?”, "the more we work to achieve diversity, the more we realize the important role men must play in achieving this.”  To all the women, may we be courageous self-advocates. To all the men, may we proactively become aware and then move quickly to action. And to all of us, may we each take on the responsibility ourselves and not expect the person who is marginalized to become she/he who educates us on that particular facet of diversity.

I just got back from the giant Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, and the main impression I took away was that the 5G future is arriving fast, with momentum building for the first rollouts of new services and devices later this year.  The delivery of these new solutions is happening much more rapidly than many in the industry predicted just one year ago, at MWC 2017. One of the main reasons for this is that the 3GPP industry group formalized the first set of standards for 5G in December 2017. This was key to enabling network equipment and component manufacturers to start building equipment, and for telcos to start conducting tests.


Another key contributing factor was the successful commercial debut of 5G at the recent Winter Olympics in South Korea. The games featured a range of advanced applications, from driverless buses using 5G links to navigate, to live 4K video streaming of key events. The result is that MWC 2018 saw leading mobile network operators including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon all announcing firm timetables for commercial 5G rollouts in the U.S. over the next 18 months. China Mobile and Japan’s NTT Docomo stated that they are targeting 2020 for their 5G launches.


Further innovations were announced by chip and device manufacturers: Huawei unveiled what it claims to be the first commercially available 5G chipsets, ready for use in a range of products and applications; and Intel has partnered with PC makers to develop 5G-enabled laptops for 2019.


Putting 5G to the test

And with 3GPP set to announce a second set of standards in the summer, the 5G wave is rising fast. Exciting times, but this acceleration towards pervasive 5G also means the industry is facing a range of complex challenges in order to realize the technology’s full potential, and make it truly successful. As the vast array of new services and products are being developed ready for market, they will need rigorous testing to ensure they meet both current and emerging industry standards, and deliver the performance expected of them.


That’s why MWC 2018 was a milestone event for Keysight, as we showcased several industry firsts, including the first 5G New Radio (NR)-ready device workflow solution, the world’s first 5G packet core high-scale network test solution, and advanced cloud and analytics capabilities to accelerate 5G NR testing of components and network equipment. It was also exciting to see our technologies showcased in leading 5G innovators’ booths. Qualcomm showcased 4 Gbps data rate with 5G @ 28 GHz frequencies using our network emulation solutions (NES).


We also announced a collaboration with Samsung Electronics to enable design and deployment of 5G devices to support early operator trials, and conducted interoperability demonstrations with Datang Mobile.


By offering complete end-to-end 5G test solutions, we’re giving the industry the flexibility and scope to deal with thousands of different configurations and test scenarios:  from enabling mobile operators to gain insights into and validate the capabilities of their entire ecosystems, to helping device and chipset manufacturers speed up their 5G product development cycles and gain a winning advantage in the market. 


Find out more about our comprehensive range of test solutions and capabilities for the entire 5G lifecycle here

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a complex program with matrixed organizational ownership and accountabilities, making it difficult for any one function to successfully manage it. As a result, it is often bounced around between different departments with pieces of accountability in each related organization – resembling the children’s game Hot Potato, whereby an object is quickly passed between a group of people until an individual, begrudgingly, ends up with it. In this post, I will review an organizational structure that may help stop the bouncing Hot Potato of CSR governance and drive clearer accountability.


Why so many Hot Potato players?

Every employee has a part to play in CSR, which means there are many business areas that have some semblance of ownership and accountability. In addition, the varied aspects of the program, including program documentation, internal and external reporting, and annual initiatives that make progress toward the CSR vision, each have their own set of detailed requirements. Take external CSR reporting as an example. This aspect alone has multiple facets across human resources, global sourcing, product, and environmental health and safety functions – just to name a few. And within each of those are a variety of required statistical approaches, measures and goals needed to support different external stakeholder requirements.


Add to this a geographically and/or functionally dispersed business, and managing a CSR program with so many organizational stakeholders – or Hot Potato players – can seem daunting at best, paralyzing at worst. But CSR efforts can’t be frozen by the complexity. There are commitments that must be met! So, what are CSR practitioners to do?


At Keysight, we looked at similarly complex and broad-reaching programs for organizational inspiration and quickly realized we could apply the same principals as any large, cross-functional program to CSR. What resulted was a governance structure similar to a corporate-level Program Management Office (PMO).


Leveraging PMO structure for CSR governance

In a recent blog post, Hamish Gray, Keysight Senior Vice President Corporate Services and CSR executive sponsor, discussed the six steps Keysight took towards an evolved CSR program model upon the company formation. Step six of this evolution focused on engaging a governance team. This was when we investigated how best to organize our CSR program engagement model for success. Maybe it is the engineering in our DNA, or our company’s multiple experiences with complex, leading-edge enterprise efforts, but it seemed logical to consider a PMO structure for our CSR governance.


There are varying PMO organizational approaches to consider, but all have the same fundamental structure of governance that can be applied to CSR just like any other cross-functional, enterprise-wide program.


  • Identification of a single executive sponsor: It is critical to identify a single executive that is accountable for CSR success. This doesn’t mean this individual owns every functional aspect of these efforts. It simply ensures there is a final strategic decision-maker in place that is ultimately responsible for the success of CSR. This role provides guidance to the team, helps secure resources and organizational linkages, and champions the program throughout the company. In Hot Potato terms, this is where the “potato” lands at the top level.


  • Buy-in, guidance and support from an executive steering committee: Representation from the highest available executives and senior managers of the key functions involved in CSR provides a global business priority perspective to key CSR topics, assists in resolving strategy issues and policy decisions, and ensures alignment, control, and resourcing to implement to plan company-wide. This committee also provides an active escalation and decision path for balancing resources and prioritizing emerging trends against business commitments.


  • Empowered core team of functional stakeholders to deliver to plan: There are many ways to structure a core team, but essentially there are two critical levels at play in the CSR space.  
    • Governing program team: In Keysight this is a small team with a primary lead, me, that serves as the conduit for day-to-day program needs such as managing the plan of record (POR), commitment tracking, communications and deliverables to ensure program costs and resourcing are in line with our CSR vision and company priorities. Risks, actions, issues, decisions and opportunities are funneled through this central group for disposition, and offers a single CSR escalation path across the company.
    • Functional lead team: A working group where representatives from each function serve as single points of contact within their organizations. These team members represent input from their functional areas into the strategic decision-making process while providing a single point of contact within their organization to manage function-specific deliverables. In Keysight’s case, we further identify individuals from this working group to function as leads for each of our foundational pillars, helping manage any reporting aligned to critical program areas.


  • Competent extended team to support deliverables: Given the breadth of CSR efforts, core team members may not be detailed subject matter experts (SMEs) in their functions. Core team members rely on SMEs within their organizations who become the CSR extended team. This is particularly helpful during reporting season, when quickly engaging and communicating can help speed delivery of the multiple data collection requirements.


The Hot Potato has landed … and it’s okay!

By taking a PMO approach to CSR governance, Keysight has been able to support the program vision, business commitments and broader community by allowing us to:

  • Strategically manage CSR with key business priority and strategic decision-makers in place.
  • Clarify and drive accountability.
  • More easily gain alignment on resourcing and organizational support to meet CSR objectives across the company – functionally and globally.
  • Implement a defined process that identifies, consolidates, and prioritizes CSR needs while gaining executive alignment for resourcing and implementation.
  • Leverage work and resources to collectively drive program success, while minimizing resource impacts.
  • Proactively assess and prioritize emerging trends and future requirements.


So far it has worked for us, but certainly isn’t the only way to effectively organize for successful CSR governance. I’d like to hear from you! How has your company organized to meet CSR program needs? Do you have any learnings you could share that we should consider, or some best practices that have made a difference for your business?

5G, the fifth-generation wireless network, made its global commercial debut at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. This year’s Games were a huge showcase for the technology across a range of applications: driverless buses transporting attendees around Olympic sites using 5G links to navigate roads, while beaming live streams of event coverage to interior video screens. 5G-linked cameras were attached to bobsleds to deliver live footage from the pilots’ point of view, while videos of figure-skating events allowed viewers to stop the action and see 360-degree views of every twist and turn on the ice.


The technology even protected farmland adjacent to the Winter Olympics sites against native wild boars which threatened crops and the safety of tourists. Setup to replace an existing 4G-powered network that proved inadequate at tracking the boars’ movements and keeping them away from fields of cash crops, the 5G-connected system highlighted the huge range of applications and use cases that 5G supports.


The showcase was engineered by South Korean telecom carrier KT Corp. using technology from Intel, Ericsson AB and Samsung Electronics Co. The technology is being brought offline after the event to enable developers to analyze data from the deployment and identify any issues to improve the service. This, before South Korea’s wireless carriers start a full commercial roll out of 5G in 2019. But even so, the Olympic 5G showcase has been billed as a success, and a major milestone for 5G – enabling reliable, high-capacity, low latency networks, and giving gigabit-speed connectivity. 


Testing matters

Even though the Olympics has shown how 5G can be deployed at scale, there’s still some way to go before the technology can be rolled out at a national, or international level. These large-scale services will go beyond the provision of faster mobile broadband –  they include wireless connections replacing fixed connections, and improvements in other existing technologies. And these new services will require new network architectures that are not only capable of supporting much greater data volumes than ever before, but are also secure, flexible enough to support billions of devices, and adaptable to different applications.


To ensure that 5G can deliver on its promises, these emerging infrastructures will need rigorous testing. And building test architectures capable of doing that will be challenging, because the use cases are hugely diverse. Endpoints will appear and disappear rapidly, cell-site complexity will grow with network sharing, and even the bandwidth required for the visibility traffic itself will require new ways of thinking – all while supporting data volumes that are orders of magnitude greater than those of today.


To meet these challenges, Keysight is leading the way in delivering first-to-market, next-generation 5G test solutions that will help both operators and their equipment suppliers validate their configurations and underlying hardware and software, ensuring that they perform as expected, and that they’re on the right track to 5G success.


We recently published a detailed white paper that describes the 5G technology roadmap, the implications of 5G for test architectures, and how the major 5G use cases can be tested – which can be downloaded here. Keysight is also exhibiting at the giant Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, from 26 February to 1 March:  find out more about our presence at the show here.

The tables were turned on this well-documented “5G Symposium Critic” last month. This began last spring, when I am sure I visibly flinched when our group president said, “Let’s have a 5G Summit!”


Despite the risks of having YA5GE (Yet Another 5G Event), I was fortunate to host a very successful inaugural Keysight 5G Tech Connect event in which we drew on the best practices of the industry, and inserted a few of our own, novel ideas.


This post is a tribute to events and speakers who inspired us to throw an excellent technical party. We drew upon many best practices, and here are just a few that are noteworthy:


Best Practice 1: Bookend with Charisma and Competence

(Inspiration: 5G North American Workshop, hosted by Ericsson and Qualcomm, San Jose, Summer 2016)


Innovation happens when the unconstrained mind confronts the over-constrained problem. Making 5G real will require significant innovation and the keynote speakers highlighted innovative thinking. Maryam Rofougaran, co-founder of Movandi, opened the pre-event dinner with a description of how her organizations managed these processes through unprecedented mixed-signal IC integration in a previous role at Innovent and later with Broadcom, and now new phased array antenna technology for 5G.


Peter Rabbeni of Global Foundries further underscored the potential of silicon technologies even in our new mmW world during his opening Keynote the next morning. And Dr. Mischa Dohler of Kings College London closed the event with an optimistic and energetic talk on the inevitability of 5G combined, enabled, and even driven by profound changes coming to networks—changes that will disrupt that business so it will ultimately not look at all like it does today.


Best Practice 2: Stay Technical

(Inspiration: IWPC, pretty much any event Tom Watson and team do)


Recall my criticism of overtly or thinly veiled commercial presentations. The 5G Tech Connect avoided this by focusing not just on technology, but on technology for measurement. Professor Gabriel Rebeiz (UCSD), Dr. YiHong Qi (GTS), and Emil Olbrich (Signals Research) introduced and led discussions on phased-array antennas, over-the-air measurement, and 5G NR device validation respectively.


Notwithstanding a few pleasant (and unsolicited) plugs for Keysight by Gabriel and YiHong, the discussions remained focused on key challenges in the technology. Here are some of my insights:

  • Reinforcement of my prediction of mobile commercial mmWave coming only after 2022;
  • Renewed confidence in silicon technologies making headway in 5G mmWave; and,
  • The inevitability of the uncomfortable marriage of licensed and unlicensed spectrum — starting in Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) but moving full-force in 5G.


Others reached additional insights which means there was technical fodder for all involved.


Best Practice 3: Provide Fascinating Toys for Engineers to Play With

(Inspiration: Brooklyn 5G Summit, 2017)


One cannot host a proper 5G event without the “show floor/demo room.” It is on this real estate that the “overt commercial” behavior often becomes crushing. So, we adopted three rules:

  1. Keep our demonstrations constrained to very newly released and cutting-edge technology, or even capabilities that have yet to see commercial exposure;
  2. Only have our deepest technical experts available to discuss these technologies; and
  3. No lead sheets within 50 miles of the venue. We ran the risk of tipping our hand too soon on some of this capability, but the animated discussions in the crowded demo room were evidence that this recipe worked.


The Wrap Up

I walked away from that initial discussion on hosting a “5G Summit” with a feeling of dread. Those of you who have managed such things know the work involved—the planning, finding participants and speakers, last-minute changes, panic, elation, terror, anger. And finally, relief— relief followed by pride in managing a good use of time for all involved. But pride has again been unseated by dread; we had not yet opened the post-event cocktail bar when the group president shook my hand, thanked me for an excellent experience and said, “Let’s do one of these in Asia!”



This article is an adaptation of Roger's original post published in the Next Generation Wireless Communications Blog, where you can connect with our industry and solution experts as they share their experiences, opinions and measurement tips on a number of cellular and wireless design and test topics that matter to you.

In a previous post, Keysight’s Senior Vice President Corporate Services and CSR Executive Sponsor Hamish Gray discussed the six-step journey Keysight took to evolve our CSR program and to meet emerging trends. I’d like to take a deeper look at the step in our journey that really changed everything! And by “everything,” I mean solidifying the strategic role corporate social responsibility (CSR) plays in business success.


Seeing the Forest through the Trees

The benefit of CSR programs to the planet are obvious: supporting community growth, mitigating impact on the environment, and supporting basic human rights for all people to name a few. The benefits to the company, however, can be lost in the process itself.


Let’s face it, from a company and shareholder perspective, the most critical role of CSR is to ensure related programs meet stakeholder requirements:

  • The investment community wants to invest in sustainable companies with minimal risk.
  • Customers need suppliers that help them meet their own CSR commitments, strategy and vision.
  • Current, and prospective, employees want to work for sustainable and ethical companies.


To support these varied requirements, companies must develop associated programs and logistics that ensure appropriate data collection is in place, manage detailed processes that monitor and measure efforts, respond to various reporting mechanisms, and actively communicate actions and results. In a global company such as Keysight, this often occurs across myriad functions, organization levels and countries. The result is a lot of great work being done in pockets of the company to meet specific requirements, but its collective benefit to the business gets lost in the details.


Corporate citizenship experts often tout the critical role that a sound CSR program plays. As a recent BSR report noted, one way to build appreciation for CSR is to "establish a compelling long-term value creation story that asserts the central role that sustainability plays in business success."1 I completely agree! But when you are in the throes of meeting stakeholder reporting requirements and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) on specific program elements, it is easy to miss the proverbial sustainable forest through the trees.


Connecting CSR Program Goals to Company Objectives … Really?

At Keysight, we took the opportunity of our company formation to align our CSR programs directly to our company commitments for revenue growth, profitability and shareholder value. At first there was apprehension, perhaps even a bit of skepticism, that our CSR programs could be directly linked to the core business objectives. But as we considered all our programs collectively, the connection became clear.


Let’s take revenue growth as an example any company can relate to. There are many strategies to meet this objective, but in the CSR space, related strategies include having the right employee skillset to meet demand and enable faster new or adjacent market entry.


Keysight Penang International Science Fair promoting STEMFirst and foremost, the needed skillset for growth must be available to hire in the community. At Keysight, our CSR efforts support future engineer development programs starting in grade school through university students. This provides a baseline of future worker skills. Since Keysight formed in November 2014, the company has engaged roughly 275,000 students and future engineers through various science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education events and programs.


From there, it is critical to attract and retain the needed talent for growth. At Keysight, we enable this through a broad range of benefits to support employee hiring and retention, including ethical governance policies, philanthropy and volunteerism programs that align with employees’ interests.


Key to new market entries that support growth are solid and consistent ethical governance policies that meet worldwide regulatory and legal requirements. At Keysight, our strict focus in these areas enables us to more quickly enter a new product or region market and to integrate acquisitions because we are not continually having to re-invent the process.


These are only a few examples. At Keysight there are roughly 50 programs tracked as part of CSR. Each is directly linked to one or more business objective. Separately, these efforts may seem to support isolated company commitments, but when considered collectively, they become a solid contributor for meeting near- and long-term business objectives.


The "Aha" Moment Revealed!

As I mentioned earlier, there was a healthy level of skepticism when we started down the path of connecting our CSR program to business objectives. While each of our CSR governance team members own or represent multiple and deep-level CSR programs in their functions, and each participated in this mapping exercise, no one except me had seen the consolidation and rollup across our company. So, I was excited to present the outcome of our due diligence in this area.


I literally heard gasps when our CSR program and business objectives alignment was revealed. It was clear that, while everyone understood their actions in this space supported business commitments, they only saw one piece of the puzzle. When viewing all program contributions holistically and aligned with our companywide objectives, it was a collective “Aha” moment.


Since then, this realization has helped:

  • Develop a clear understanding of where and specifically how individual CSR programs impact business commitments and thus contribute to business success.
  • Enable our CSR governance team to more strategically manage the program by considering company impact in the prioritization of new initiatives and emerging trends.
  • More easily gain alignment on resourcing and organizational support to meet program objectives across the company – functionally and globally.


Again, this is not a new concept. Many leading companies have heeded the advice of industry experts and done this exercise. For those that have not yet, or are new to this space, as a practitioner of this advice I can unequivocally say it is well worth the effort!


Has your company aligned CSR goals to business objectives? How has it changed the view of such programs in your company? Alternatively, was there a different, more profound “Aha” moment from your organization’s CSR program development? I’d love to hear what has helped highlight the strategic nature of CSR programs in your company!



1. "Redefining Sustainable Business," BSR (Aron Cramer, Dunstan Allison-Hope, Alison Taylor, Beth Richmond, and Charlotte Bancilhon), January 18, 2018

My first blog posts covering the myth and reality of 5G put everything in the framework of three intertwined drivers: Technology, Policy, and Business Model. If you ever had doubts about the impact of one of these elements on the other, consider what the ITU’s designation of the ISM bands, way back in the 1940’s, ultimately did for the microwave oven, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.


Today’s 5G environment is filled with critical policy issues. Some, like national and international spectrum policy, are obvious to us in the radio world. Some are more indirect, but could have more impact—such as local and regional covenants and zoning for network elements. Test and measurement solutions providers, including Keysight, must pay strict attention to governmental regulations to enable our customers to validate compliance with regulation. But we also need to consider our role in ensuring our customers’ success in navigating the less-direct facets of policy. Here are a few of my direct, and not-so-direct, favorites:


Spectrum Band and Bandwidth are set nationally by the various government bodies around the world with acronyms like Ofcom, FCC, MIC, MIIT, etc. Another critical acronym is the ITU (International Telecommunications Union)—a branch of the United Nations (UN) that sets international treaties in the world of spectrum harmonization. Recent examples include November’s Report and Order (R&O) from the US’ FCC (regarding 24 and 47GHz bands) and MIIT’s (China) request for comment on plans to use 3.5GHz and 4.9GHz bands. Also, the ITU will meet at the World Radio Conference 2019 (WRC-19) to try and harmonize what is feasible.


Zoning and real-estate: The most important facet of addressing coverage gaps and spectral efficiency in 5G, is the reduction of cell size. There are three major policy hurdles to achieving 5G reality:

  1. Placement of small cells: Most operators must negotiate small-cell placement with each municipality and often with individual neighborhoods, resulting in lengthy and costly negotiations and re-negotiations with many local governments. Mobile operator coalitions are lobbying for nationally consistent legal frameworks. A proposed law for this framework was recently vetoed by the governor of California.
  2. Management of backhaul: Linking new small cells to the core network requires a cable, which are rarely installed without considering additional “dark capacity” to future proof the situation. Every cable needs a trench or a position on a standing pole. The negotiations for the rights-of-way are as traumatic as those for placement of the cell. A representative of one US operator told me that more than half of the US national average cost of $100/foot for laying fiber is for negotiation and retention of these rights-of-way.
  3. Radio flux density: The IWPC event in Bristol, held this past November, was an eye-opener for me. The sum of various operators’ radio energy in many public areas in Europe are at the legal limit for flux density (a measure of radio energy). One example was central Brussels, currently at the limit of 61V/m (~3V/m per operator) averaged over 6 minutes. Adding a cell or coverage at an additional frequency band requires the operator to reduce the average power output of their existing system.


National Commerce: Among the interesting examples of this are the management of inter-operator competition and related areas of managing spectrum allocation. The drastic differences in how nationalities manage these can be illustrated with a few key examples:


Operator-count, within the range of “Wikipedia error,” consider the following table:

Country / RegionPopulation (Millions)Number of Mobile Cellular Operators
European Union500> 70


It may not be fair to group all the EU into one line on this table, but it does illustrate the vast difference in how EU policy has impacted the competitive landscape, which is a significant criticism from the major players in the industry.


Inter-operator spectrum allocation: The most impactful spectrum policy decision made in the mobile wireless industry was the FCC’s choice to auction the PCS spectrum in the early 2G days of the 1990’s. This approach, combined with “use it or lose it” policies, was copied in many nations resulting in legal and financial spectrum battles over the past 25 years. However, China and Japan have not implemented spectrum auction in any significant manner. But, while these governments apply other pressures to these entities, the operators do not have the “spectrum depreciation” line-item in their P&L statements.


The internet traffic generated by the leaked United States National Security Council document underscores the criticality of policy on our industry and how it impacts business management. Whether the US should nationalize its 5G network is up to the political pundits, but we at Keysight will carefully watch the discourse as we work with our customers and collaborators around the world to make 5G a global reality.

After the FCC announced the availability of a huge amount of 5G spectrum in 2016, I wrote about it in this blog posting. I was rather impressed with the amount of spectrum made available but I also identified three areas that needed breakthrough innovation for 5G to be successful:

  1. New channel models
  2. Beamforming
  3. New air interface


The industry is making progress in all three of these areas and there’s still more work to be done. For a good overview of 5G status, see this article on ElectronicDesign "5G—It’s Not Here Yet, But Closer Than You Think".


The 3GPP standards body has been working on the new air interface, now referred to as New Radio (NR). A major milestone was the release of the first NR standard, known as the Non-Standalone (NSA) Release 15 specification. “Non-Standalone” means that the 5G network is dependent upon the existing LTE evolved packet core (EPC) network and an LTE “anchor” carrier for control signaling aggregated with an NR carrier for data. Industry leaders pushed for and got the NSA early release to expedite their deployments. The full up (Stand Alone) Release 15 using the next generation (NG) core network and NR air interface is due out in June 2018. This phased approach makes a lot of sense for a complex system like 5G. 


The wireless network operators are already planning and doing 5G field trials of various forms, including proprietary pre-5G implementations. These early trials are mostly focused on delivering broadband wireless to fixed locations, called Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). These deployments not only deliver immediate value to customers but also allow the industry to gain experience with NR and the higher frequency bands.


The goals of the NR specification are very aggressive, and cover use cases including:

  • Very low to very high data rates
  • Low latency
  • Massive machine-to-machine communication
  • High reliability
  • Low power operation


Think about those requirements a bit and you’ll see that they are full of contradictions and engineering tradeoffs. But engineers do what they do and the NR spec handles these conflicting requirements via a new highly scalable orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) system. I won’t try to describe the complex system of variable subcarrier spacing, symbol length and timing but it is designed to be very flexible to cover all the desired use cases.


Up In Frequency

To achieve high data rates while supporting more users, the plan for 5G is to move up in channel bandwidth and frequency. There’s just more spectrum (as measured in Hz) at higher frequencies. These ranges are now referred to as Frequency Range 1 (FR1) and Frequency Range 2 (FR2).


Frequency range designationCorresponding frequency range
FR1450 MHz – 6,000 MHz
FR224,250 MHz – 52,600 MHz


FR1 extends somewhat higher than the existing LTE spectrum in use now and will require some incremental improvements in technology and approach for 5G, particularly for the much wider bands and channel bandwidths. FR2 is another ballgame, well into the mmWave range where signal power is more difficult to achieve and much easier to lose to propagation losses.


Throw Your Cables Away

With signal loss a problem, adding some additional antenna gain can certainly help. At these higher frequencies (shorter wavelengths), phased array antennas can be used to improve the gain and steer it to where we want it to go. To keep cost down and performance up, these compact phased-array antennas are being attached directly to the RF Integrated Circuit (RFIC). This tight integration into the system means the usual output connectors are not available for measurement use. All measurements must be made Over The Air (OTA). So, yes, it’s time to throw your cables away.


Accurate connected measurements at FR2 can be a challenge, but decades of measurement science work has made them commonplace. Making accurate OTA measurements is a lot harder, introducing a much larger measurement uncertainty. Think many dB of uncertainty instead of <1 dB for connected measurements! In other words, OTA measurements are going to be less accurate than we have become used to – making everything more difficult.

Enter the Spatial Domain

Mobile wireless devices have always operated in three dimensions…the world tends to be configured that way. When a 3G mobile phone changes location, the system just has to track signal strength and make a handover to the right base station at the right time. Now consider a 5G device working at FR2: the variables now include the base station antenna gain, pattern and direction; the behavior of the channel including fast fading and the mobile antenna gain, pattern and direction. We have moved into the spatial domain.


Let’s consider how the User Equipment (UE) makes and maintains a wireless connection. The UE and base station need to find each other by sweeping their antenna beams around in some organized fashion. Once they lock onto beam settings that work, they’ll need to keep updating the beam directions as the UE moves through the network or changes orientation. Especially at FR2 frequencies, shadowing and blocking can be severe. At some point, the UE will need to switch to another base station, causing the cycle to repeat. Beam management is the key, at the UE and at the base station.


The test challenge is made more difficult by this beamforming operation. How do we ensure that the UE can steer the beam appropriately so that the 5G devices will work? Do we need to test in all 3D directions? Or can we just rely on a few key samples to ensure proper operation?


At our recent 5G Tech Connect Conference, my colleague Moray Rumney spoke about these spatial challenges, "For FR1 the question being asked for the last 100 years was “How good is my signal?” But 5G NR at FR2 brings a new paradigm which is “Where is my signal?” since if it is pointing in the wrong direction its quality is no longer relevant."



FR1 cellular vs FR2 cellular requirements


These design and test challenges are being worked on every day by Keysight engineers and other technical experts in the industry. Learn more about Keysight 5G technology and solutions here.

As I mentioned in a recent post, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – also referred to as corporate citizenship or sustainability – has morphed from the right thing to do several years ago to a business imperative today. This shift is driving new thinking in corporate governance models to ensure CSR strategies are aligned to industry trends, stakeholder requirements, and business success. Being in-line with, or even a step ahead of, this integration of CSR in corporate governance will save you and your company some grief. But how do you get there? And once you “get there”, how do you maintain momentum? At Keysight, we used our company formation as the impetus to embark on a 6-step journey to evolve our CSR program model to help get us “there” and position ourselves for continuous progress.


Importance of the Journey

Before I delve into the steps Keysight took to evolve our CSR program, I’d like to share how I was recently reminded about the importance of this journey. In a 2018 Annual Letter to CEOs, Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, referenced the increasing importance of CSR in institutional investment decisions and corporate engagement strategies. “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” Mr. Fink wrote. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”1


That is a powerful statement. One that underscores how the investment community is signaling a move beyond just financial performance as an indicator of business value, to include societal impact and sustainable operations. As Mr. Fink stated, “a company’s ability to manage environmental, social, and governance matters demonstrates the leadership and good governance that is so essential to sustainable growth.”


This is not an isolated example. F. William McNabb III, Chairman and CEO of The Vanguard Group, Inc., noted last year in an open letter to directors of public companies worldwide that they “believe it is incumbent on all market participants—investors, boards, and management alike—to embrace the disclosure of sustainability risks that bear on a company’s long-term value creation prospects.”2


I couldn’t agree more! These messages are spot-on with the trends Keysight has experienced with our investment community as well as our customers and rating agencies as they request increasingly comprehensive social responsibility data. This reality, coinciding with our company formation, marked an opportune time to consider evolving our CSR program model to address these trends, and align it with our new brand and business strategy.


Six Steps to an Evolved CSR Program Model

Upon formation, Keysight had robust CSR programs with monitoring, reporting and functional accountability already in place. Many companies do, even if they don’t know it collectively. Keysight’s opportunity was to do a six-step, top-to-bottom review and assessment of our CSR program model and governance, to fine tune it and ensure ongoing success. Following was our journey:


  1. Defined Material CSR Topics – The base of any program starts with key stakeholder needs. So, as most new CSR organizations do, we first conducted a materiality assessment. This helped us identify and prioritize the topics most important to our investors, customers, employees, and the community, building on the trends we were seeing from these stakeholders. While the result did not note any significant difference from our previous approach, it helped ensure we were starting with a solid foundation based on issues important to our key stakeholders.
  2. Aligned Material Topics to Company Values – The purpose of this step was to align our stakeholders needs with our company’s core DNA. By reviewing the material CSR topics from the last step against our core company values, we ensured that the program tenets would be supported across the organization and deep within our employee base, all of whom have a part to play in our CSR success.
  3. Created/Modified CSR Vision – It is important for any program to have a vision statement, a beacon of sorts, that drives behavior and connects the program goal to the business strategy. At Keysight, we connected our top-level beacon, to “build a better planet,” with our business purpose of “accelerating innovation to connect and secure the world” all while “employing a global business framework of ethical, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible operations.” This comprehensive statement allows us to quickly frame the program tenets while testing that our efforts in this space support the program direction. If a CSR program or policy doesn’t support this vision, then why would we do it?
  4. Aligned Goals to Business Objectives – Along with supporting the broader global community, CSR programs must help the company meet its business commitments. As such, the goals of our CSR program were directly mapped to our business objectives in revenue growth, profitability and shareholder value creation. This step was critical to ensuring the company and the world is made better by our efforts, and also helped solidify the strategic nature of CSR in delivering business results.
  5. Developed Foundational Program Strategy – To achieve the vision and deliver to program goals, we defined a strategy that supports our business objectives while positively impacting the planet through a set of foundational pillars. Our six foundational CSR pillars provide a structure to which all programs are aligned and measured for company and global community benefit. They also compartmentalize a very wide-ranging set of functions to identify management accountability, helping to drive a governance structure … which was our final step!
  6. Engaged Governance Team – To drive accountabilities companywide and address emerging trends, we implemented a cross-functional governance team. With me as the executive sponsor and a set of executive colleagues as our steering committee, we ensured alignment at the root functional levels of the company. From there, a core team, led by a central program management team, manages the strategic planning and function-specific initiatives. The core team then relies on an extended support team within their respective functions to deliver to plan. This matrixed structure establishes ongoing alignment with executive leadership, puts in place a core accountability team to address cross-functional impacts and opportunities, and provides access to extended contacts across the company to meet program deliverables and goals.


Where to Next?

Evolve! Did I mention this is a journey? The end of the process is really just the beginning. The adventure continues. While we put much effort into these steps to get us to a point that addresses the emerging corporate governance reality, we will continue to review our programs and make progress while adjusting appropriately to meet changing needs.


Regardless of if your organization has long-entrenched programs or is new to CSR, you may find that our journey could also help your business develop and implement an evolved program model that is well-aligned to emerging trends and your corporate strategy. And of course, all while helping improve the planet!


Please feel free to share in comments how your company is addressing the evolving requirements and trends in this space. What has worked, not worked for your organization?



1 "Larry Fink’s Annual Letter to CEOs: A Sense of Purpose," Larry Fink, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer BlackRock, January, 2018
2 "An open letter to directors of public companies worldwide", F. William McNabb III, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Vanguard Group, Inc. Aug 31, 2017

If I close my eyes, lean back in my chair and take a breath, I can almost hear the echoes of kids’ voices. Tri-fold cardboard displays and colorful ribbons are splayed across rows of folding tables. I’m at my 4th grade science fair and I’ve just won first place for my solar-powered hot dog cooker.

Solar Energy School ProjectA lot of things have changed since then, but the scientific method used for my science project still stands: make an observation, form a hypothesis, conduct an experiment, capture and analyze the data and draw conclusions. Sounds simple enough, right?


In my previous blog, I talk about not being afraid to take your first step in data analytics (DA) for testing and measurement (T&M) and I outline tips on getting started. But then what?

If you want that coveted blue ribbon, read on.





Our Ambitions May Be Tripping Us Up

From where I sit in data analytics for T&M, I often see my customers – brilliant scientists, engineers, architects, project managers – get hung up towards the end of the scientific method process. After observing, hypothesizing and conducting the test, they struggle with managing and analyzing the data and drawing confident conclusions.


It’s easy to understand why: we’re all doing everything we can to get to market fast – to get to market first – that we lose the rigor we once had when we started engineering.


Some steps are taken to collect and analyze data, but they are misguided. Engineers use complex Excel spreadsheets, pivot tables, custom MS Access databases and other home-grown tools. While these tools appear good on the surface, they ultimately don’t deliver. Not only do they come up short but the tools can only be used once, and usually poorly.


Despite the best intentions, most don’t have the resources, time or expertise to deal with data or data analysis in an effective way. And it’s not just about dealing with data from one step in the product lifecycle. DA for T&M happens throughout the lifecycle:

Design -> Validation and characterization -> Release to manufacturing -> Full-scale production

So how do you find the right tools to help with your messy data?


More Data, More Confidence

It’s a basic concept: by making accurate measurements (and lots of them), the more confident you’ll be in your conclusion.


I wrote in my previous blog about how you must have your Design of Experiments (DOE) planned before you do anything. What questions are you trying to answer?


If you build a car, you’re not just going to ask, “Does it turn on?” You’ll want to know, what is its maximum speed? How will we measure speed? What kind of gas mileage does it get? How will we measure gas mileage? Will people survive in a fender bender? How many measurements do we need to ensure confidence in our eventual conclusions?


Your DOE can’t be set in stone. It needs to be fluid and you need a tool that allows you to change your DOE on the fly and not spend days – or even weeks – going back and forth with your own personal (and expensive!) IT database architecture team to get things just right. And you certainly don’t want your Team Lead spending weeks on end buried in her cubicle designing a system that only she understands or that blows up with one little change in your DOE plan.


Figure out what questions you have (and how you’ll get answers), and understand you’ll probably have more down the road.


Get Your Hands Off the Data

Imagine: you walk into a bakery and it smells of fresh cinnamon rolls. The baker rushes out to help you. Mouth watering, you point through the glass case at the squishy, doughy roll. The baker takes your $2 with his flour-dusted hands and returns a grimy quarter. He hands you your roll with his bare hands and rushes back to continue his work.

Is something wrong with this picture? Yes! The baker should hire a clerk – let’s call her a retail expert – to focus on helping customers. And the baker should focus on what he does best: bake.


It’s not much different in our world. If your designer is responsible for building cars, she shouldn’t be graphing data from her T&M. She needs to focus on what she does best and not waste valuable time formatting and processing data.


Keep your experts doing what they do expertly.


Make a Decision, but Make It with Confidence!

Analyzing big dataEventually, you need to make a decision about your product.


Is it time to build a set of prototypes? 


Can you launch to market? 


What will be your production yield? 


You can’t make a decision with confidence unless you have good data and insight from this data.


There are hundreds of information sources to help you determine how to achieve 99% confidence based on measured data. Online articles, data entry tools and tables help aggregate data and determine how much you need to get to that desired level of confidence. But first...

  1. Figure out the questions you want answered (remember your DOE!) before you begin collecting and analyzing data, and...
  2. Don’t overlook your testing environment. Would my solar-powered hot dog cooker from 4th grade perform the same on a cloudy and sunny day? Of course not. Your results won’t align if you’re not considering what’s going on in your testing environment.

Once you have your questions figured out and your testing environment set, it’s time to find your data analytics tool. 


A good tool will easily adapt with you. 

A poor tool will cause headaches, delays in your design and, even worse, cost a lot of money.


Product Lifecycles are Global and Your Data Should Be, Too

You have a globally distributed team, so your data analytics tool can’t be located on Some Guy’s laptop. And your data can’t be understood/analyzed/charted by just Some Guy who might be spending half of his time on LinkedIn looking for that next big engineering gig, when he should be designing driverless cars. It’s even worse if Some Guy is your top designer and he’s spending 50% of his time wrangling data (possibly poorly).


Data and decisions need to be communicated across your distributed organization throughout the product’s lifecycle. You need a team collaboration tool that is understood by multiple people, across your organization, and that extends throughout the entire lifecycle.


Here’s a real-life scenario that might make you sweat. Susan, a VP of validation engineering, wants to fabricate a prototype of an important new design. Tom, her top engineer, has been managing the vast amount of test data and analysis with his own system. She asks him if they’re ready to fabricate the design as he’s the only person on this highly skilled team who has the ability to analyze the data, and he says he sees no concerns. Long story short? Tom is an expert engineer, but not an expert at all facets of the design – and the others on the team were not involved in the analysis. This mistake cost the company $1 million and three months as they built something that didn’t fully work.


Imagine if all your company’s presentations had to be created using Adobe Photoshop. The hardship this would cause in terms of time, productivity, and expertise! Your data analysis tool needs to be as intuitive and easy to use as PowerPoint is when putting together a presentation.


Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

If you have butterflies in your gut when talking to your manager about a conclusion you’ve come to, it’s time to look into your data analytics tool. Explore what’s out there and test it with a small project. Report back and let me know how it goes.


In my next blog, we’ll dive a little deeper into decision-making with data analytics and figure out how to move from validation to manufacturing.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – also referred to as corporate citizenship or sustainability – has morphed from the right thing to do several years ago to a business imperative today, requiring detailed monitoring, reporting, and accountability to support various stakeholder requirements. This shift, and the ongoing global transformation, requires diligence to ensure corporate CSR strategies are aligned to industry progress in this area while supporting global communities and business commitments.


As an individual who grew up with, and continues to have, a strong sense of community and volunteerism across the socio-economic spectrum, I am thrilled with these developments in the business environment. And as a business leader, I have seen first-hand how social responsibility results in a multi-faceted win for communities, individuals and corporations alike. Just one example is the recent devastating wildfires in Santa Rosa, California where Keysight is headquartered.


Keysight Strong sticker rolls during the Santra Rosa fire crisisSupported by our CEO, Ron Nersesian, executive staff, and existing CSR-related programs, Keysight was able to quickly offer affected employees emotional support through our employee assistance program, facilitate site emergency response, health and safety information, and provide funding of $1000 to displaced employees and $10,000 for those who lost homes to help in their personal recovery. Donations of clothing, necessities and funds from our global employee community were funneled to a Santa Rosa relief center we had set up to distribute them not only to Keysight employees and their extended families, but anyone in the local community that needed assistance. It was the right thing to do, we had the programs in place to support it, and I was proud to be a part of Keysight’s contribution. If you are interested in learning more about this, Keysight’s Brand Manager recently published details about the company’s response to the Tubbs fire crisis on another post.


As a CSR executive sponsor, however, I have experienced the challenges many corporations face to address the ever-evolving standards and industry guidance in this broad, cross-functional space. Instituting an effective CSR program model that supports the company and global community while ensuring it continues to meet today’s, and tomorrow’s, stakeholder requirements takes significant commitment to balance company resources, programs and obligations.


The Right Thing to Do is Now Required 

For more than 75 years – as part of Hewlett-Packard, then Agilent, and now a separate company – Keysight has acknowledged its responsibility to help address global social and environmental challenges. Beyond just being the right thing to do, it is part of our company DNA going back to HP founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard.


Long before companies were required to monitor, track and report on such activities, Bill and Dave built a strong brand culture – referred to as “The HP Way” – that included company sponsored philanthropic, education, community and sustainability programs. They didn’t do this because they had to, they did it because they knew it made good business sense! In the words of Bill Hewlett, the HP Way “is a core ideology … which includes a deep respect for the individual, a dedication to affordable quality and reliability, a commitment to community responsibility, and a view that the company exists to make technical contributions for the advancement and welfare of humanity.”


Flash forward more than 75 years, and this core value continues in our company DNA today. However, the broader CSR landscape has changed dramatically. While the main tenets remain intact, supporting programs in this area are now business success imperatives. Here's why:

  • I regularly review environmental, social and governance (ESG) industry ratings and reports to gauge Keysight’s effectiveness. Our investors are doing the same. As a Barclays report stated, “many responsible investors believe that ESG criteria are material to future business success and, ultimately, to financial performance.”1
  • Customers need us, as their supplier, to help meet their own CSR commitments and growth strategies. According to Accenture, corporations work with suppliers "to turn supply chain sustainability into a driver of competitive advantage."2
  • Beyond that, today’s highly desirable, skilled workforce wants to work for sustainable and ethical companies. The 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study noted that 76 percent of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work, and 64% won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong CSR values.3

Any corporation, Keysight included, cannot be successful without positive relationships with investors, customers and their workforce. Thus, the CSR space has become a business imperative that creates sustainable business value while driving competitive differentiation. Again, the recent Santa Rosa wildfire response is a great example.


From a business perspective, the unintended, but positive consequence of the company’s response was our employees recognizing that Keysight has, and will, support them and their communities in times of need. As a result, Keysight employees worldwide responded by doubling-down on their day-to-day jobs, and in some cases taking on more responsibility in the short term, to make sure the company recovered as quickly as possible and continued to meet customer and market commitments. Such events illustrate how critical CSR programs are to the success of local communities, employees and companies. It just makes business sense.


As with any business-critical program, periodical reviews, rightsizing and evolving of corporate CSR programs are necessary to navigate emerging industry standards and guidance in this space. At Keysight, we used our company formation as the impetus to embark on a 6-step journey through which our CSR program model evolves, as we align it with industry trends, and our new brand and business strategy. More on this journey in my upcoming posts.


In the meantime, feel free to share how CSR has shaped and supported your business success.



1 "Sustainable investing and bond returns," Barclays Report

2 "Why a sustainable supply chain is good business," Accenture

3 “2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study,” Cone Communications