Long Term Vision

The Nokia CTO organization and Nokia Bell Labs Consulting have continuous engagement with customers, and through this and through ongoing market and technology analysis, develop a long-term view of the most difficult problems to solve, that will have the greatest impact in our lives.

Nokia Bell Labs researchers address these difficult problems and arrive at solutions by studying the essential issues and creating new technologies (and new science) in the process of solving them.

We are an energetic community of creative individuals committed to having real and sustained impact on the communications and information networking market. Members of Technical Staff (MTS) conduct both applied and fundamental research, with near-term and longer-term targets. Projects generally consist of groupings of experts from diverse disciplines converging to find solutions for the difficult and complex challenges emerging in the market.  

Open Collaboration

Real solutions for many of the complex challenges addressed by Nokia Bell Labs researchers often collaborate with other research organizations from around the globe. Past collaborations have led to advances in fiber optics; those with universities have led to the development of the laser and the confirmation of the Big Bang Theory; and with those with public research organizations have led to the birth of satellite communications. Collaborations remain a key part of the Bell Labs research model.

Research Portfolio Management

Research projects and activities in Bell Labs are broadly managed as a portfolio in which near and mid-term opportunities with the promise of significant market impact receive substantial weight. Many of our staff are attracted to the prospects of seeing their ideas transition through development and transform into solutions that will have value for customers.  Researchers often play a significant role in this transformation.

The portfolio balances these initiatives with longer-term activities that, while perhaps entailing greater risks, might never-the-less lead to far more dramatic outcomes. An example is research in quantum computing and communications, an activity that might need five or ten more years before results can be directly incorporated into products. Longer-term research has the added benefit of fostering the in-depth competencies in areas that will become critical for the industry — institutional expertise that cannot be generated overnight.

Ongoing Industry Leadership

Nokia Bell Labs ranks among the world’s leading industrial research organizations in its number of highly cited authors of articles published in scientific and technical peer-reviewed journals. Its researchers often hold senior appointments within scientific, mathematic, and engineering professional societies. Along with other representatives from Nokia, they are active in approximately 150 industry standards bodies and working groups — often serving in senior and technical leadership positions.  

On the subject of networking, few organizations can claim an industry leadership footprint on par with that of Nokia Bell Labs. Technical, strategy, and executive representatives from carriers, enterprises, vendors, government and universities are among the daily visitors to Nokia Bell Labs locations across the globe. There they engage with researchers about emerging technologies and subsequent impacts on the market. Students from community schools are also frequent visitors. Here, they meet with researchers and learn how science and math are fundamental to their present and future world.

Bell Labs researchers have led several initiatives that are at the forefront of today’s industry. In a 2004 paper entitled “The Softrouter Architecture” they proposed many of the key concepts that are the foundation of the Software Defined Networks (SDN) that are beginning to emerge within the industry. Beginning in the early 1990s with the concept of multiple input/multiple output (MIMO), and later in 2005 with Base Station Routers and then femtocells, Bell Labs researchers created core paradigms that are the basis for today’s small cell wireless networks. In 2009, concerned about the carbon footprint associated with Information Technology and Communications activity, Bell Labs researchers identified theoretical minimal energy consumption requirements associated with networking activity. They then assumed the leading role in creating the GreenTouch© Consortium, a group of researchers from around the globe committed to dramatically reducing that footprint. There are many other examples, some of which are highlighted in the innovation timeline feature here on our site.