Lumen CTO Dugan shines a light on new brand name and what it means for enterprises

networking
Lumen CTO Andrew Dugan says the new brand name reflects his company's mission to build an end-to-end platform for enterprises. (Pixabay)

The full-court press started on Tuesday for Lumen Technologies, according to chief technical officer Andrew Dugan, after the new brand was announced on Monday.

Using the tagline "The platform for amazing things," Lumen is now one of the three brands for what was once called CenturyLink. Lumen CEO Jeff Storey laid out the company's vision for Lumen in a video, which included "Furthering human progress through technology."

After being founded in 1968, CenturyLink has rebranded as three separate entities—Lumen Technologies, CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber— all of which are part of Lumen in full.

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RELATED: CenturyLink rebrands as Lumen Technologies

Lumen Technologies' platform is comprised of the company's global fiber network (including dark fiber), edge cloud capabilities, cloud on ramps, and security. Quantum Fiber is a subscription-based, digital platform for delivering fiber-based products and services to residents and small businesses. Quantum Fiber serves residential and small business customers while Lumen focuses on enterprise, government and global businesses.

The CenturyLink brand will continue to be used for residential and small business customers over traditional copper-based networks.

In an interview with FierceTelecom, Dugan said the primary definition of a lumen is a measure of a unit of light.

"The core of our infrastructures is fiber-based," Dugan said as the reason the Lumen name was picked. "It sort of comes back to the optical infrastructure that we have underlying all of our services, and the focus that we have there on delivering high performance, high capacity, flexible services to our enterprise customers."

While Lumen's branding efforts are now underway, Dugan said the CenturyLink brand could stay on the side of service trucks when techs pull up to homes.

"We're working through where all these brands will show up on buildings, on trucks, on people, so that's something that's a work in progress," Dugan said. "If you're a fiber-based consumer or a small business that will be a Quantum Fiber product."

On the enterprise side, Lumen has a large customer base that's probably not too concerned about the name change, but more attentive to what the platform brings.

Through CenturyLink's raft of fiber acquisitions over the years, Lumen is particularly fiber rich in the U.S., but also has fiber in place in Latin America and the EMEA, due to, in large part, buying Level 3.

Last year, CenturyLink announced it was beefing up its fiber network by adding 4.7 million miles of fiber across its inter-city networks in the U.S. and Europe. In addition to fiber-based services for consumers and businesses, as well as backhaul for 5G, Lumen is also using its fiber to provision more than 100 active edge nodes across its U.S. network to provide a range of low latency managed services and hybrid cloud solutions for its customers. Lumen will also tap into 170,000 on net buildings that were built out over the years by CenturyLink.

"This is something that we've been working toward for a while," said Dugan, who was also CTO at Level 3. "And this signifies that transformation that we've been building towards, and it really it's about helping our customers with their digital transformations.

"We're creating a platform that has adaptive networking. It's got cloud and security. It has the communications tools that enterprises need to talk internally as well as externally. We're bringing those together under an integrated platform. A platform where an enterprise can interface digitally through portals and through APIs to be able to consume those services and put them together the way that they need to put them together to support their applications. It's a pretty exciting shift for us as we create that integrated set of products."

Dugan said CenturyLink had been evolving away from being a traditional telecom company that delivers individual services to a company that builds an end-to-end platform for enterprise customers.

"Put yourself in the shoes of an enterprise CIO," Dugan said. "They are dealing with an environment where they have a lot of sources of data, whether it's smart devices or connected devices, whether it's the data that they're collecting from their customer sets. They have to have the applications, and that's their focus. How are they going to collect, analyze and act on this data?"

Dugan said in addition to the applications, CIOs also have to worry about how their networks are built and how they will provide security for their applications and services. While the Lumen platform has been coalescing over the past few years, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated enterprises' digital transformation needs.

"We can create an environment where they don't have to treat all of those things as independent things. They can manage it all on a common platform," Dugan said. "We think that's going to be pretty powerful for enterprises. And that's where we're headed."

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