Innovation in Fairfax County: Tata Communications

Tata Communications reaches nearly all of the world's population with a network that thrives in Herndon.

Beneath the oceans, across the continents and, right here in Fairfax County, Tata Communications has emerged as a major player in the world of connectivity as a global telecom provider for multi-national customers.

During the past decade, Tata has evolved from an India-based telecom company to a global digital infrastructure provider with more than 8,500 employees in 38 countries serving 7,000 customers worldwide. More than 5,000 of those are large, multinational corporations or service providers.

With $2.9 billion in revenue (77 percent of that generated outside of India) the company is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange of India and is the flagship telecom arm of the $110 billion Tata Group.

Tata Communications maintains global headquarters in Mumbai, India, Singapore and London, but its Herndon, Virginia office is integral to its success. Established in 2004, the Herndon location is responsible for sales, business operations, legal affairs and engineering.

What makes it all tick?

Tata Communications' cloud, mobility, security and unified collaboration services are underpinned by a global network which operates thanks to the company's wholly-owned subsea cable infrastructure.

"One of our claims to fame is that we're one of the only companies which runs a global undersea cable infrastructure that literally circles the globe," says Amitabh Kotwal, vice president of sales engineering for Tata's Americas Region. "This network carries more than 25 percent of the world's internet routes to reach more than 99.75 percent of the world's population."

It is the world's largest wholly-owned submarine fiber network with more than 500,000 kilometers of subsea fiber, not to mention more than 210,000 kilometers of land-based fiber.

That massive network enables Tata's portfolio of services, which includes high-speed connections (it counts 85 million voice transactions each day) and global MPLS virtual private networks, telepresence services, DDoS mitigation and detection service, content delivery networks and cloud offerings. Among the key markets it serves are oil and gas, banking and financial services, media and entertainment, insurance and manufacturing.

The company strives for seamless connectivity, ease of integration and security by continuing to invest in emerging mobile technologies including AI, automation and analytics. Innovating in Internet of Things (IoT) space has become a priority. It's safe to day that Tata does not rest on its laurels.

"Innovation a central aim of the company to create digital value for our customers," Kotwal says. "We foster innovation by crowd sourcing ideas, both externally with startups as well as internally from our strong 8,500 employee base.

"We incubate internal startups for go-to-market. An example of this is our flagship business incubator program called Shape the Future. Since its inception a couple years back it is responsible for internally crowd sourcing more than 500 business ideas, with the most promising ideas selected for incubation."

Some of those ideas originate in Herndon, where Kotwal says that one of the company's goals is to become the "employer of choice." The Herndon office currently employs about 110 with 15 percent annual growth anticipated.

"Fairfax County is home to the world's best technology companies and this is one of the reasons we've been here since inception," Kotwal says. "The proximity of the county to D.C. as well as a well-educated workforce coupled (with) the quality of life to attract the best employees and makes Fairfax County an ideal location for Tata Communications on the east coast."