Published in Issue 2 | June 1, 2019
Throughout history, women have reinforced their unprecedented strength, resistance, passion and determination to break glass ceilings and create a better future for all of us.
This feature story celebrates women in whom strength and speed come together. We embark on a series of exclusive interviews with seven extraordinary women, all from different facets of the technology industry who have carved a name for themselves. In a free-wheeling conversation with Jasmine Bedi, Editor-in-Chief of IG Magazine, these iconic female forces recount their inspiring past, as well as their visionary eye for the future.
Dream. Believe. Action. In this special feature, we celebrate women!
Encapsulated in this feature story are very rare and exclusive messages from some of the most iconic women in technology today. These are seven women who are pioneers in their own right, who share their burgeoning journeys and passions with us. They also give us their two cents on what the industry has to offer your women enthusiasts. We hope you are as inspired—and fired up—as we are.
Editor-in-Chief, IG Magazine
STRATEGIC NEGOTIATOR, GLOBAL INFRASTRUCTURE, GOOGLE
Jayne has had an illustrious career in the subsea and telecommunications industry spanning over 25 years. She currently oversees the construction of Google’s undersea cable projects. Jayne is also the Executive Director of SubOptic.
Can you share with us the most notable milestones that punctuate your journey in this industry?
The most significant milestone really was the opportunity to build a submarine cable. Just like several things in my life, in my career when I’ve been faced with challenges, those have come with great opportunities that I hadn’t expected. This all started in 1995 when I joined MFS Communications in London. At the time, they had just acquired UUNET, one of the first of the startup Internet companies. We were a big data-driven company, delivering data rather than voice. So, I joined the company in absolute serendipity, although I had no intention of joining them. I had been given a very attractive job offer at BT, and I knew the person who had previously held that job. This is one of the things I want to come back to; this is important.
I want to give a message to women in business—always do your research, do your homework. I took the opportunity at BT very seriously, and I did my homework to understand what the job would entail and also found the person who had previously held it. After I reached out to him, he invited me for a cup of coffee. What I deemed as a half an hour chat, turned out to be four hours of debating the pros and cons of the job. At the end of the long discussion he affirmed, “I don’t think you will be happy at the BT job”. While I was reassessing the BT offer, he said, “How about taking half of my desk?” He was the CEO at the time of MFS International. To my inquiry about what my role would enlist, he added, “All of the things that I don’t have anyone to do, why don’t you take over that?” So, here was an opportunity that came out of a lot of research about what would have otherwise been a mundane, boring job. But now, I was given an absolute green field.
Jayne with the first bouy floating the Curie cable from CS Durable to shore
During my tenure, one of the things I did was looked at combination of the trans-Atlantic capacity requirements needed at MFS International along with the capacity needs at UUNET. A very simple spreadsheet showed my analysis: In 18 months not only would MFS International run out of capacity, but the Atlantic would too. I subsequently presented this wonderful study, this startling revelation to my boss. “What are we going to do,” he said. My solution was “if you can’t buy it, you build it.” He agreed. But I knew it wasn’t that simple from what I understood about submarine cables. “I have never built a submarine cable, and moreover we need something in 18 months. I think it takes 4-5 years to put a consortium together, and to build something like this it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars."
The subsea industry is going through an unprecedented resurgence. Looking ahead, do you think this new capacity is going to be sufficient for future connectivity requirements in years to come?
It’s never enough. First of all, technology allows us to be a lot more creative and get more capacity, but our business models are growing even faster. Google is now a major player in the Cloud business. Five years ago, we weren’t in the business. Today Cloud is driving a substantial part of our capacity requirements, as it is for many other companies in the industry in that space.
The products and services are becoming very bandwidth hungry. Machine-to-machine communications and artificial intelligence are all embedded in new products and services. The applications are also very bandwidth hungry, not just for Google but across the industry. So, we will need more and more capacity, particularly on the main routes, the trunk routes—trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, North/ South America, increasingly Africa—and in turn, need more and more cables in my view.