Sangeeta Ramakrishnan is perhaps best known for a prescient paper she wrote, in April of 2009, called “Scaling the DOCSIS Network for IPTV.” At the time, everyone (including Bill Gates) was encouraging cable to go not just “all digital,” but “all-IP” (meaning Internet protocol). Three and a half years later, her assessments remain true and are becoming business as usual in the transition to IP. Ramakrishnan, 41, earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communications from the College of Engineering Guindy, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India (where she met husband Ram), and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of California.
MCN: First job in cable or first job out of college?
Sangeeta Ramakrishnan: First job in cable was as in software engineering for VBits, a statistical remultiplexing vendor; first job out of college was in software engineering for Compression Labs, a video-conferencing provider.
MCN: First job in technology?
SR: Research in video compression algorithms.
MCN: Kids, cats, dogs?
SR: Daughter, Anika, 6.
MCN: Tech people you look up to and why?
SR: Bill Gates, for his philanthropy.
MCN: When did you know for sure you were destined to be in tech?
SR: High school. In India, by your sophomore year in high school, you are required to self-select into math and science, biology, the arts — I was good at math, and I liked it. So I picked math and computer science.
MCN: Stuff you’ve built or rebuilt?
SR: Mostly video delivery products — first over MPEG, and now over IP.
MCN: Who would you have dinner with, alive or dead, tech or not?
SR: Leonardo da Vinci.
MCN: The thing that drives you the most crazy about engineers/technologists?
SR: When they ignore the business implications of technology.
MCN: The thing that drives you most crazy about non-techs?
SR: When they want everything — yesterday.
MCN: Top 3 things on your work to-do list for the rest of 2012?
SR: Wi-Fi for service providers; IP video; next-generation edge architectures.
MCN: The weirdest question/observation about your career/job?
SR: “How can you spend three days looking at cables?” — in response to telling a non-techie friend that I was headed to the Cable Show.
MCN: The worst thing about being the lone female in the room?
SR: It’s a reminder that things haven’t changed much in the last 20 years. Here’s hoping this will change in the next 20!