Michel Combes, CEO Alcatel-Lucent
Michel Combes, CEO Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes has announced plans to open a new Bell Labs office in Israel, saying the research organization hopes to tap into the Startup Nation’s technology power to help his company solve big challenges for its customers, such as network virtualization.

Speaking at MIXiii 2014 high-tech conference in Tel Aviv, Combes said that Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs had realized early on the promise of moving networks to the cloud, but that it would take a dramatically different set of capabilities and innovations to make it happen. These capabilities, he said, would come from within Bell Labs but also from the creation of Alcatel-Lucent’s in-house start-ups like the Israeli-based CloudBand solution — the industry’s first open, multivendor NFV management platform that allows operators to offer cloud services with security, reliability and quality.

“Bell Labs is one of our key innovation engines and co-locating a new office with our CloudBand start-up in Israel will produce fantastic results for our customers and for communications globally, and will contribute tremendously to Alcatel-Lucent playing a shaping role in the industry,” said Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes.

Bell Labs has a history of innovation and its researchers are credited with the development of radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, the charge-coupled device(CCD), information theory, the UNIX operating system, the C programming language, S programming language and the C++ programming language. Twelve researchers have shared seven Nobel Prizes for their work at the Bell Labs.

Israeli computer scientist Danny Raz, a Bell Labs alum and a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, has been tapped to head the new Bell Labs in Kfar Saba, just outside of Tel Aviv.

“We know that great new discoveries and innovations in ‘cloud networking’ will emerge from our new Tel Aviv office with Danny Raz at the helm, in collaboration with our Cloudband team. This team will help Bell Labs continue to invent the future,” said Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs & CTO Alcatel-Lucent.

“This is a unique opportunity for me, as a scientist, to be part of the re-shaping of the telecommunication realm, and to have an impact over the lives of many people throughout the globe. I realize this opportunity is, of course, a great challenge, as ’success’ will require the team to come up with breakthrough research and innovations that address the main problems in cloud and networking,” said Raz. “However, I believe that the combination of the Bell Labs’ traditional model and spirit, together with the unique strengths of the Israeli academia and entrepreneurship is a unique combination, and thus the new Bell Labs Tel Aviv office will have a great impact both for Alcatel-Lucent as well as for the Israeli tech and the global ICT community.”