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Simplification is Our Innovation

Benoit Dupeux On OCTIS™

May 2018

Benoit manages all the R&D, Marketing and Field Application activity for the entire OCTIS™ product range.

On the inspiration for the product...
The OCTIS™ concept was developed after a technical meeting with a big telecom network equipment manufacturer at beginning of 2010. During this meeting, the designers explained how difficult it was for them to manage the overheating of radios. They also mentioned that their installers were scrapping a high number of cable assemblies in the field (as it is so easy to crash the optical connector when trying to blind-mate it by using one hand, as the other one is grabbing the mast to prevent falling on the ground 10m below).

I remember sketching the first shape of the OCTIS™ plug with my boss at the airport after the meeting! We were so excited because we knew that it was a huge opportunity for us to offer a new solution that would solve these problems. Within two weeks we had a mock-up ready to send to the customer, and it was the start of a fruitful co-design phase with them.

On simplifying the life of those who use it...
We knew that solving the customer's problems would mean we’d have to "think outside of the box." Our first idea was literally to take the SFP transceiver out of the radio box. As the SFP is located inside the plug, it can no longer bring heat to the radio. So, the design phase of the radio suddenly became very quick and simple for our customer. It is also possible to plug the optical cable to the SFP on the ground, then the final mating to the radio up the mast only consists in introducing the termination of the SFP into the board socket, which is very easy and safe as the optical fiber is no longer exposed.

On the product development process...
Since the beginning, the benefits of speed and agility were major aspects of the development process with OCTIS™. When we built the first mock-up we knew that we had a very narrow time frame to convince the customer's design team to integrate our solution. But it was easy because they were involved in the brainstorming at the beginning, so they realized that Radiall was fully committed to deliver the solutions they needed. At the same time, very early in the project, we started to present our ideas to other telecom customers and all of them had the same problems! But interestingly, our customers didn't have the same technical requirement nor the same approach in solving the problems. Some customers were very focused on corrosion resistance and life duration in the field; others were mainly focused on the ease of mounting the connector on the cable and eliminating the risk of mistakes; and others had big issues with lighting strokes on their installations. In just a few months we were able to gather and compile all the market requirements and decide which technical solutions to implement on OCTIS™ in order to make it a generic product that could meet all customer expectations.

On being proud of the team that works on OCTIS™ ...
Looking back over the past eight years, what I'm most proud of is how the Radiall team has been able to challenge its development process in order to gain greater speed and agility. At the beginning, the project was handled in a very conventional way using our standard development process. We soon realized that this market required much more reactivity than usual. Our customers were constantly requesting new versions of OCTIS™ products and the conversation was always ending the same way: "By the way, our mass production starts in two months. If you cannot be ready for that date, we will continue using the product from your competitor.” So, in 2015, we decided to experiment with a completely new project organization fully focused on speed and agility.

This team organization did not look like anything else, so we decided to call it a "tribe"! It could be described as an independent start-up fused into the global Radiall organization. The result was really amazing; we more than doubled our development speed and we became even closer to our customers.

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