Nokia is making its presence in Silicon Valley a bit more prominent with the addition of a new corporate campus in Sunnvale, California. Although the campus won’t be ready until the first half of 2020, the company’s intent is to bring together its 1,000 or so employees that are currently scattered throughout Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and San Jose, California.
The goal, according to Ricky Corker, president of customer operations for Nokia’s Americas region, is not only to consolidate its offices but also to get more engaged in the whole Silicon Valley ecosystem, particularly as the company evolves its business to be more focused on software.
“We are consolidating so we can build a more concentrated brand here in the valley,” Corker said. “Our legacy real estate doesn’t fit our culture.”
With that in mind, the company is building and designing its new office to fit the Nokia brand and make it attractive to potential new workers. “We can build it from scratch, design it from a Nokia perspective, and entice people to work at Nokia,” he added.
Currently, Nokia has an office in Mountain View where its IP and Optics group, which it calls Ion, is based. Mountain View is also home to Nuage Networks, which Nokia absorbed when it acquired Alcatel Lucent. Nuage, of course, is known for its SDN product line.
The San Jose office is the headquarters for the company’s standalone software business, which is developing software security, custom analytics, and working on artificial intelligence. It also is home to much of Comptel’s portfolio of service orchestration products. Nokia acquired Comptel in February 2017 as part of its increased focus on software.
And finally Nokia’s Technologies Group has a location in Sunnyvale where people from BellLabs are based as well as some of the firm’s mobile networks and radio group employees.
Corker himself is a new California transplant. He moved his family there about four months ago. However, he insists that Nokia’s North American headquarters will remain in Dallas and noted that the vendor has significant presence in other cities too — such as Chicago.
Nevertheless, Silicon Valley remains critical to Nokia because of its proximity to so many of the major tech players. Corker noted that Nokia, like many of its peers, is pivoting toward becoming more of a software company, particularly as the wireless industry moves to 5G networks. He said that during the firm’s recent restructuring, Nokia moved its cloud core business out of the mobile networks division and into the software division. “We are making those moves as we prepare for a more software-centric model in IP networks and the core,” Corker said.
While many of the 5G network news today is focused on deploying radios and cell sites, Corker said that soon the focus will turn to analytics, network automation, network slicing, and security. And those aspects of 5G are handled by software, not hardware.
Plus Nokia is also trying to expand its customer beyond just service providers to enterprises. Selling to vertical markets in the enterprise coupled with the complexity of 5G, means that firms like Nokia will need to be more engaged with their customers. “We are training people to be more software oriented,” Corker said. “We are pivoting to software.”