Five suppliers to watch

Lee Miles, GM, Central Eastern Europe, CIS, Middle East and Africa at Red Hat.
Lee Miles, GM, Central Eastern Europe, CIS, Middle East and Africa at Red Hat.
 Hani ElKukhun, VP Middle East Strategy, Huawei Middle East
Hani ElKukhun, VP Middle East Strategy, Huawei Middle East
Indranil Das, vice president & head of Digital Services, Market Area Middle East & Africa at Ericsson
Indranil Das, vice president & head of Digital Services, Market Area Middle East & Africa at Ericsson
Cisco is seeing revenue growth after following a new software focused strategy.
Cisco is seeing revenue growth after following a new software focused strategy.

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Innovation, collaboration, growth

Lee Miles, general manager, Central Eastern Europe, CIS, Middle East and Africa at Red Hat tells COMMS MEA what makes the company successful.

What has Red Hat’s greatest achievement been so far in 2018?

If you look at what we have achieved in the last 12 months, the number of net new customers that we are writing now is higher than it has ever been, our grade is consistent, and sometimes above expectations. With the innovative solutions that we are delivering today, in terms of revenue for the year, we are by far the largest and most influential open source company in the world. That reflects very well for us locally in the region. If we look at the more local picture then I think we are seeing some extraordinary growth in the rest of Africa; in Kenya, in Tanzania, in Nigeria, even up towards the North of Africa where we have recently started working with partners seriously. In the Middle East business has also exploded in the last three years. Locally the biggest plus is not just from a revenue growth perspective, it is the number of universities and academies that we are opening. If we look now. We have opened something in the region of 20 academic programmes across Middle East and Africa in the last 12 months and that is now giving access to a lot more of the training certifications than we ever used to in the region.

What are you working on for 5G?

Actually, we are already delivering. Part of the 5G transformation for telcos is to be able to change the scope of their networks to be more software defined and we are playing a part of that. We are working with Etisalat and the majority of telco providers in Saudi and Kuwait, and that is allowing us to be able to provide the basic platform behind where a network will now sit. That is a project that has come from an open source project. There is now a telco open source framework and that open framework, now based on the original design of the open stack community and now is being contributed to by most telcos in the world. Open source is a route to market, we take a million people’s good ideas and then we effectively safeguard and make it risk averse by supporting it and developing it. We have now taken that onto the telco environment where the telcos and us, and the likes of Juniper or Huawei or Ericsson, are all contributing now to an open stack environment which is specifically tailored towards the latest needs of the telcos.

How does Red Hat drive innovation in-house?

We operate as an organisation, we have a higher up structure like every company, we report our quarterly figures to the stock-market and have to have those components in place, but the way we make decisions is often very different. We have very much adopted the open source methodology which is to allow opportunities to come from anywhere. So rather than have siloed divisions, we have divisions, but we have lots of people from different divisions working on projects so that they can come up with the best ideas. That has really driven a large proportion of both our software development. Our services are driven by the best ideas from within the company, whether it will be an inside sales person or a first year technician as opposed to the CEO or the CTO of the organisation.


Reporting a new industry role

Huawei brings sense to the connected world with two reports that can be used as industry indicators, standards, and the way forward for governments and entities.

Huawei is taking on a new a role; creating reports to advise the telco community, and its suppliers, what cvonnectivity looks like now, and in the future. Huawei has become much more than just a product manufacturer. The Global Connectivity Index (GCI), and the Huawei Global Industry Vision (GIV) are industry reports and standards that can be used by other parties – consultants and operators and governments are using it, according to Hani ELKukhun, VP Middle East Strategy, Huawei Middle East.

“The GCI is specifically talking about connectivity and what that connectivity does to each country. GIV is a vision by Huawei on what 2025 will look like, and it features three different visions that we look at in 2025. Firstly, all things sensing; we believe that the number of devices that can sense and extrapolate data and information which go to about 40 billion; secondly, all things connected - things will start getting connected and we will see 85% of the enterprise applications will be on the cloud. There will be a lot of connections bringing in data, and then finally the last piece is the intelligence, we see all thing being intelligent, and we will see a lot more AI, a lot more processing and making sense of that data. We will have a huge amount of intelligence coming into day-to-day discussions. We are talking about taking 35 million blind people and we see them wearing a helmet that will act as their eyes, giving them real-time information so that they can actually be able to sense what is around them much more,” said ELKukhun.

For the last five years, the global connectivity index has tracked investment trends in ICT infrastructure, and the relationship between digital maturity and economic growth. However, in 2018, the report included 80 countries, instead of the traditional 50. These 80 countries cover 84% of the global population, which generate more than 95% of the global GDP.

Huawei’s framework is based on the four pillars which come from the traditional supply and demand theory, Huawei removed price and put experience and potential, which more appropriate for the future of the connectivity industry.

“We also put four technology enablers because we come from a technology background and we want to prove that with the investment into ICT there will be an improvement in the GDP. We were able to do that through 40 specific indicators. What we have seen is something really astonishing. If you invest $1 today, into any investment part of your budgeting vs. investing it in ICT, the ICT would give you more than $6.70 return on investment. In times where budgets are really strained this is something companies should really consider. Number just one point in your score - that automatically gives you 2.1% more competitiveness globally, 2.2% more innovation, which automatically fosters much more energy into the economy, and more importantly 2.3% more productivity,” stated ELKukhun. “It is one of the few gauges around the world, as an ICT index that you can take on board as a stakeholder and take to policy makers to drive forward future ICT investment.”


Going further

Ericsson is taking a leading role in the development of 5G ecosystems, COMMS MEA speaks to Indranil Das, vice president & head of Digital Services, Market Area Middle East & Africa at Ericsson.

What projects is Ericsson working on in the Middle East region to assist the implementation of 5G?

With the current flat operator revenue, 5G becomes increasingly integral to industrial businesses, there is a clear opportunity for new 5G-enabled revenues; Ericsson understands the key role 5G will play in the industry digitalisation, fostering new use cases and new business models. Today Ericsson is engaged with the key market players to support capture this value, and partner in their network evolution journey to shift from being a network developer into service enabler and service creator.

Beginning in early 2017, we have conducted 5G trials with leading regional operators using our latest Ericsson Radio System (ERS); with the clear commitment that money spent on 4G system will be effectively utilised in future towards 5G.

Our 5G collaboration goes further than the typical operator partnership, to large ecosystem and device platform. We are engaged with key industry players and academia, outlining the 5G business potential from industry digitalisation.

Today, we are keen to bring these successes and underling use cases here; and develop new regional ones. A few examples of these are the university competitions we have done in partnership with our customers in UAE, Oman, and Lebanon, this will act as an innovation platform for the future 5G / IoT.

What are the company’s goals for 2018 regarding 5G?

Ericsson’s focus in 2018 is split into two parts:

Technology track: Ericsson is leading the 5G technology development together with global and regional players. The main target will conclude the ongoing standardisation for both SA and NSA 5G NR; Today we support many global and regional operators for planning their next technology shift to 5G and defining when and where 5G will be needed.

Business readiness: Ericsson is stretching outside of ordinary operator engagement, collaborating with ecosystems, industry players and academia in the effort to outline the 5G business potential by enabling the industry digitalisation. We also support our partners in the business model shift out of the traditional connectivity providers into service enabler or service creator.


Cisco posts 4% revenue growth for 2017 financial year

Company sees success after focusing more on being software oriented

Cisco’s revenues are up $12.5 billion, a 4% increase for the third quarter year-over-year, with product revenue up 5%.

The company is also selling some 40 Catalyst 9000 systems, and has installed 2,700 of the big boxes this quarter bring the total to 5,800 since its introduction in 2017. The Catalyst 9000 is key to several of Cisco’s future initiatives – one of the most important being its drive to expand its Network Intuitive plans for intent-based networking. The other is that the way its software is sold – via a variety of subscription/feature levels is a key component of its overall strategy to become a more software-oriented company. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said during the financial call in May that the company will roll-out more software services and subscription options, particularly in routing.

“We are extending our leadership in data centre and cloud by providing highly secure and differentiated offerings such as ACI SDN solution. With growing 100 gig deployments especially in cloud infrastructure, we remain well-positioned for future growth with our data centre switching and intent-based portfolio. We also announced new hybrid cloud workload management solutions with ACI multi-side management and new flexible consumption models including SaaS delivery for our titration platform. Whether deploying enterprise applications or containers in a multi-cloud environment, customers are increasingly turning to Cisco’s unique architectural approach. This is leading to strong momentum with UCS, our compete platform and HyperFlex, our hyper-converged offering as customers benefit from simplicity and scalability to support their hybrid cloud strategies,” said Robbins. “We continue to rapidly innovate in security to address key areas of concern for our customers such as security in their complex of data centres. We introduced a comprehensive, integrated data centre security architecture that is designed to protect the modern data centre by seamlessly following any workload anywhere across physical and multi-cloud environments.”

This quarter, Cisco introduced new innovations across its collaboration portfolio with the convergence of the Cisco’s Spark and WebEx platforms combined with new WebEx Meetings and WebEx Teams applications. Cisco further enhanced its AI and machine-learning capabilities across its collaboration portfolio with the acquisition of a company, a relationship intelligence platform with robust insights and intelligence to improve meeting and team experiences.

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