August 11, 2021
In 2021, there have been two main drivers – COVID-19 and 5G. Both continue to impact how businesses operate, including Anritsu. As offices reopen throughout the country, we sat down with Robert E. Johnson, General Manager and Vice President, Anritsu Company, to see how the company is addressing each.
1. What operational changes implemented during COVID-19 is Anritsu continuing as offices reopen?
We are taking a customer-centric approach in which we accommodate the individual preferences of each customer. In essence, we will maintain a hybrid model. The use of online tools will continue. That includes video conferencing for meetings, video tutorials for training and education, and webinars to discuss technologies and relevant test solutions.
We are maintaining our remote technical support and product demonstrations. Many of our solutions also have remote operation capability, so we can help customers bring systems up and help solve their test problems without being in-person. Having said that, we are seeing slow and steady growth in face-to-face meetings.
All of these processes and tools improve the overall customer experience. Continuing these services while reintroducing face-to-face meetings will further position Anritsu as a thought leader and a company that customers can rely on 24/7/365.
2. What do customers say to you about Anritsu that makes you most proud?
Customers cite two recurring advantages. One is that we DO NOT over promise nor over commit. This is a long-standing value that been infused over the past 125 years. Our product roadmaps are our obligation. This helps our products be the most reliable in the industry.
The other is that our tech support organization is the best of the best. Our field application engineers (FAEs) and service team are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. Customers rely on them for more than support on Anritsu instruments but for technology-related issues, too. Our FAEs have been in the business for decades, so they have been through technology evolutions before – 3G to 4G, now to 5G and C-band. It has created many long-standing trusting relationships. Our FAEs are here to help customers solve problems, not sell them anything.
Our FAEs are the backbone of our U.S. operations. They help us achieve our goal – helping ensure our customers’ success.
3. What recent initiatives has Anritsu implemented to meet its stated goal of being a good corporate citizen?
During COVID-19, we made sacrifices together but we stayed whole. We will maintain that same mindset moving forward. I want employees to look beyond ourselves and count our blessings. Our mission is to be more than a test solution company.
We are building a culture that helps create an identity that is socially conscious and betters our local communities. We just started a community program whereby Anritsu donates $1,000 to a charity selected by the customer for every $10,000 worth of demo equipment they purchase.
It’s also about giving back to the communities where we live and work using our time and talent. One upcoming example is a high-energy, team-building activity that will help feed the hungry. During our sales meeting in October, we will host a mini-golf tournament that will be a hole-in-one for the fight against hunger.
Each Anritsu team will map out their mini-golf course using a robust selection of nonperishable food items. Once the final hole is played, the food items will be donated to The Network of Community Ministries, a partner of The North Texas Food Bank. In FY20, they served 39,000 families over 2,600 pounds of food in the Dallas, Richardson, and Garland communities. The need has never been greater, and Anritsu is proud to help feed these families.
4. What emerging 5G use cases do you see greatest potential and impact for the industry?
Many long-tail/downstream opportunities in areas such as Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR), 5G IOT, and automotive connectivity are growing. As a result of the new applications created by 5G, chipsets are in many different devices that literally range from DC to light and must support mission-critical URLLC applications, from private 5G to O-RAN.
We are experiencing interest in 5G use cases in cyber security in light of the spike in ransomware attacks. It will be a very important aspect of 5G, particularly in mission-critical environments such as automotive. Anritsu has developed solutions such as the Radio Communication Test Station MT8000A and Signalling Tester MD8475B that simulate cyber attacks so engineers can ensure their products effectively withstand nefarious activity.
One thing that is crossing nearly all applications is high-speed serial buses like PCIe. It’s branching out to all the applications, especially automotive. Another key segment for us is 400 Gb transport. With the massive growth in cloud computing and high-bandwidth applications in 5G, 400 Gb optical connections are a necessity. Our expertise in digital and optical technology allows us to develop innovative test solutions for these market segments.
5. How is testing changing due to these emerging use cases and how is Anritsu addressing them?
Although 5G opens doors to a plethora of use cases, customers want unified, simple, and scalable solutions that will quickly give them answers they can trust so that they can then move one to the next task. Sometimes, that can’t be achieved with a single instrument. So, Anritsu is collaborating with a number of other companies to create integrated solutions to meet specific customer requirements.
One example is our collaboration with Spirent for testing 5G video quality. Our 4G/5G mobile device repair solutions that include chambers, cables, automation software, and other accessories is another example. Only a company with experienced test engineers who understand the market, the business case, and the technologies can develop these integrated solutions to efficiently meet customer needs. This knowledge and experience have been leveraged/parlayed into industry-leading products that address Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth®, optical, 3G, 4G, 5G, and C-Band.
Solutions must go beyond technology, though, and extend to every aspect, such as finance. That is why we introduced Anritsu SmartPay™. The more you can accommodate, the more value you create. We put everything together and create one solution with a single point of contact for the customer. With the speed of life being so fast now, it’s a necessity.
6. What advantages does Anritsu bring customers since you have a focus on specific solutions and markets, especially compared to other broader test companies?
Anritsu was founded more than 125 years ago. More than a century in the market creates significant compounded learning in engineering and manufacturing. It also shows that we have proven business principles that keep our customer’s long-term interest at the forefront.
Another benefit is that we are not the "cookbook" for all test instrumentation. Our focus on certain test technologies allows us to develop superior products. It creates a benefit with tech support, as well. Our FAEs have a deeper understanding of product and technologies that cannot be achieved by test companies that have a larger product portfolio.