Our guest this week comes from a similar industry as mine. We share many mutual connections. Mo Katibeh, the EVP-Chief Product & Platform Officer of AT&T Business, joins us to discuss 5G innovations. He’s on the show to discuss about what is real versus what is hype when it comes to innovation in 5G capabilities, as well as give some advice for the listeners.
Mo’s parents left Iran right before the revolution in 1978 and came to the U.K. He moved to the U.S in 1991, where his parents bought and ran some sandwich stores. From the age of 13, he was working at the stores and learned about working with customers. Fast forward to today, Mo has been with AT&T for almost nineteen years. He loves AT&T because of how diverse they are with what they do. You can do something different every single year, and you are always learning new things. For Mo, that has included managing call centers, construction, and engineering, building up the LTE network, financial planning, product management for cybersecurity, marketing, etc.
Similar to Mo, my employment started at a young age. My mom managed a bowling alley and was a professional bowler. I worked at the alley often. It was great to see what working was about at such a young age, and I gained great experience.
Always heavily invested in innovation, AT&T has an astounding legacy. They were one of the first companies in the world to put a lot of work into a corporate research group/fundamental science outside of product development. They pioneered these processes for the sake of advancing the knowledge of humankind.
AT&T and COVID-19
Voice, arguably the oldest innovation when thinking about communications network, experienced skyrocketing growth due to COVID-19. Peak use days are usually holidays such as Mother’s Day or New Years’ Eve. During the beginning of COVID, that level of network usage was seen every day across the country.
Humans are social beings naturally, so when you’re sheltering in place, you tend to get lonely. Work also shifted from central to distributed locations, which added to the high level of network usage. When the movement started in China, AT&T was able to get a heads up on what was coming before it shifted into Europe and the U.S. They were able to prepare and work with their large enterprise customers to help with the oncoming challenges of COVID.
Innovation in 5G
When people think about innovation in 5G, they often think of speed. Speed is a part of it, but when thinking about it from an innovation and business lens, it’s essential to look at the other capabilities. The first one is latency or how quickly the network responds to a command. One promise of 5G is driving down latency from hundredths of milliseconds to sub-ten milliseconds.
Another key promise is massive connectivity, where you can connect a million things per access point. This technology will genuinely reshape the fabric of this next decade. Many people think about innovation as that next big thing but often done in incremental steps.
When it comes to 5G, there has been a lot of “hype” around it. In healthcare, a robot doing surgery on someone would be hype because it is far in the future. What is available now is moving around large files more effectively from an MRI machine to a doctor using a cellular connection. In a post-COVID world, there are things like connected medicine boxes that track what medicine was used and recognizes the doctor using 4K video computer vision. Kids hate wearing medical bracelets at hospitals and like to take them off. 5G brings an IoT bracelet that offers peace of mind to the parent and has different fun designs.
Advice for the Listeners
If Moe went back to the beginning of his career, he would tell himself three things. Firstly, in everything you do, look for how you drive step-function improvement. Find how to materially change the outcomes in every job tied to whatever your key performance indicator is. Secondly, make sure you communicate how you drive that improvement inside your specific role. Lastly, be a good human being. Look out for the people you work with and share what you have learned. When you become a leader, look out for your team, and create a culture that is balanced and flexible.
If you want to keep up to date with what Mo is doing at AT&T, check out his LinkedIn here.
About our Guest: Mo Katibeh
Mo Katibeh is the EVP-Chief Product & Platform Officer of AT&T Business. He has responsibility for the group’s portfolio-wide P&L with $36 billion of annual revenue and its cutting-edge integrated platforms, products, and solutions, including Mobility, 5G, Edge Compute, Internet of Things, SD-WAN, cybersecurity, cloud connectivity, and wholesale. He also oversees pricing, distribution strategy, compensation, analytics, and AT&T Business’s digital platforms and portals. Previously, Mo served as EVP-Chief Marketing Officer for AT&T Business, where he was responsible for marketing strategies, including branding, advertising, and global events. His team created the award-winning Edge-to-Edge advertising and marketing campaign, highlighting AT&T Business’s ability to provide an entire range of services to business customers. During this time, Mo was named to Forbes The World’s Most Influential CMOs 2019 list, citing his work around 5G in business.
A 19-year veteran at AT&T, Mo draws on a wealth of experience in technology. The expertise ranges from cybersecurity, omnichannel digital strategy, long-range technology, and financial planning. There’s also deep operational expertise across call centers, field force management, construction and engineering, and customer experience improvements.
To know about the latest innovation in 5G capabilities, listen to this week’s show: Innovation in 5G Capabilities.