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April 2006
Executive opinion

Bull in ‘telecoms’: an innovative, agile and robust industrial partner
Jean-François Leprince-Ringuet, General Manager, Bull Telecommunications and Media

It’s always been hard to predict evolutions in the telecoms industry: Internet, GSM, GPRS, 3G, VoIP, ‘Triple Play’, fixed-mobile convergence, IMS, ISP, mobile ‘pure player’ technology, integrated operators, MVNOs.
The combined evolution of technology, industry regulation and the changing needs of both residential and business customers have continued to throw up many surprises, whether they involve new service offerings for existing markets or developing business in new domains which push operators towards the worlds of media or value-added services.

But what does this all mean to a supplier like Bull, who works for both telecoms and media customers? There is one constant we can provide in the middle of all this continual upheaval: to be an engine for innovation, while at the same time delivering ‘carrier grade’ solutions.
So – at the risk of surprising some people – I want to explain why I believe that Bull is in a very good position to be that very ‘innovative, agile and robust industrial partner’. And here’s why:

•  Bull is a manufacturer. This ‘industrial’ mindset as a manufacturer has been part of our DNA for more than 80 years. And when we delivered Europe ’s most powerful supercomputer to the French Atomic Energy Authority (CEA), this once again demonstrated Bull’s mastery of complex industrial projects, demanding the highest possible skill levels and technology expertise.
•  Bull’s strategy – as ‘Architect of an Open World’ – is to be a systems integrator for complex, heterogeneous, flexible and secure infrastructures. This approach begins, of course, with IT infrastructure, but applies equally well to the telecoms sector, at a time when telecoms infrastructures are being built around IP-type infrastructures which take their inspiration from the world of computing. Bull’s expertise in operator networks has been built up over many years, for example, as a result of implementing SS7 signaling equipment within major operators’ networks and more recently with the development of interfaces, such as SS7/IP gateways. These kinds of skills are highly appropriate when it comes to working with partners – especially telecoms equipment suppliers such as Thomson/Cirpack, Juniper and AudioCodes – on infrastructure implementation and integration with operators’ networks and information systems.
•  Bull is an innovator, having invested heavily from the start in the area of IP infrastructures, whilst also observing that an ecosystem of innovative companies – including Cirpack (the supplier of Softswitch), Highdeal (billing systems) and StreamWIDE (multi-media messaging) – is currently emerging in France (doubtless because the country was one of the most advanced markets for telecoms services worldwide). As a result, Bull has developed partnerships with these key businesses and has become an ‘innovative integrator’, successfully delivering projects involving products from all three companies.
•  Bull is a robust business. Our manufacturing know-how means we develop applications with all the characteristics of ‘carrier grade’ solutions. To use an analogy, Bull can change an aircraft engine in mid flight! And of course, they offer the total reliability that is so essential to every network operator.
•  And finally, Bull is agile, because it comes from the IT world, where, as we all know, speed is often the prime motivator over others, but the difficulty has always been to be (or to remain) robust. That’s especially true when it comes to developing services platforms, which demand an in-depth understanding of operators’ networks and their information systems, as well as the ability to manage often highly complex projects.

So here you have it, a brief resume of why Bull is growing so strongly in this sector not only in France, but in the rest of Europe, in Africa, in South America.

And finally, to further accelerate that growth, Bull recently acquired – a company based in the Polish cities of Warsaw and Lodz – for its excellent skills in this area. Amongst other projects, has developed the Orange and TP portal in Poland, and offers significant expertise in software packages such as Volantis (content management for mobile operators) and ATG (e-commerce solutions). The acquisition will strengthen Bull’s presence in the rapidly growing Central European market. This investment also underlines Bull’s commitment to be a leading supplier in the telecoms sector: being that innovative, agile and robust industrial partner, and proving it!

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