Displaying items by tag: Innovation

Speaking at the 2016 Telecom Review Summit, Gary Heffernan, senior managing director for Communications, Media & Technology, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America at Accenture, gave a thoughtful keynote speech about disruption within the Communications industry. He said: “There is no doubt that with the disruption and change that is going on around the industry, consumers have different and changing expectations of Communications Service Providers (CSPs).”

“I think the proliferation and explosion of devices, the explosion of consumption, and the explosion of experiences, creates a massive business upside for them, but only if they start to scale capabilities that will change their game on their customer experience,” said Mr. Heffernan.

“I believe in the need to inject new DNA – being digital capability - in CSPs’ organizations - a change that is absolutely critical as we think about the next generation of telecommunications,” Mr. Heffernan told delegates at the Summit. He added that there is “great opportunity” in what he calls “B2B 2.0”. Around the world, industries are crying out for innovation, and CSPs have the opportunity to empower enterprises with connectivity as the IoT starts becoming reality, he said.

According to Heffernan, the Communications, Media and Technology industries are providing the majority of game-changing technology and innovation. If we’re going to seize the “B2B 2.0” opportunity, he explained – whether that’s in SME’s or large corporates – we need more of the thinking that was highlighted at the Summit.

This includes collaboration with governments, creating the right investment climate, and becoming more pro-active in orchestrating the eco-system, whether that’s with start-ups or whether that’s with new innovators. These factors are “crucial” said Heffernan.

“In relation to the ongoing changes in the Communications industry, you can see that some European CSPs now believe that they’re going to be in the banking business,” Heffernan explained. “You look at companies like Orange, who have announced their intention to be a key player in mobile banking: they have already established “Orange Money” in the Middle East & Africa and now want to take what they’ve done there to other parts of the world.

“I think what’s happening with VOD and OTT is worrying for these industries, but I think CSPs need to be very thoughtful in what areas they’re going to play – and making sure they’ve got the vertical capabilities, the security capabilities, and the aggregator capabilities to be successful in whatever bets they choose.”

Discussing Dubai’s smart city transformation, Heffernan noted that there is clearly a “lot of vision” in the region – particularly with Dubai’s ability to attract talent. Right now, he said, the Communications industry needs leaders, not administrators: “Leaders that are going to have a vision and have the courage to try new things, and the courage to really transform their capabilities.” The capabilities of the last 20-30 years will “not be enough to transform any telecoms operator into a digital visionary.”

It’s absolutely crucial, Heffernan said, for CSPs to make the right investments in training and capability, and create the right environment for investment. “I truly believe that the key driver between success and failure will be talent,” said Heffernan. He also emphasized, “the ability to nurture, retain and unleash talent, even if it means challenging all the fundamental assumptions in your organization.”

Published in Interviews

US president elect holds talks with Silicon Valley tech leaders

Written on Thursday, 15 December 2016 13:01

US president elect Donald Trump has met with a number of the world’s leading technology figures ahead of his inauguration ceremony next month. During a toxic battle for The White House, which has divided a nation, tech leaders in Silicon Valley were extremely critical of Trump – and said if he were to be elected, it would be a disaster for innovation and the technology industry.

However, the 70-year-old billionaire has attempted to alleviate fears in the tech sector by organising a meeting with industry leaders in the US. Many of those that attended the meeting were pro-Hilary Clinton during the campaign, with many being vocal in their support for the Democratic nominee. The one exception was PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and it was conveyed that he was the central figure in organizing the meeting.

Trump headed into hostile territory knowing how he was perceived by some of America’s most powerful tech executives, but he was undeterred as he attempted to form new relationships in an effort to promote job creation and facilitate trade.

Some high-profile senators have expressed concern over Trump’s decision to make ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson his Secretary of State, with the oil tycoon having close ties to Moscow. Relations with Russia are at their worst in years – following the CIA’s assessment that Russia where in fact involved in the hacking scandal that disrupted the presidential election campaign. Some tech leaders have also expressed concern at Trump’s response to the CIA’s report. He rubbished Russia’s involvement and slammed the report labelling the claims as ‘ridiculous’.

However, Trump reassured tech leaders of his commitment to the sector, and promised to help them continue their incredible innovation plans, adding that he was here to help.

Trump said: “I'm here to help you folks do well," Trump told the industry leaders in opening remarks that reporters were briefly allowed to observe after the tech titans went around the table introducing themselves. We want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. “There's nobody like you in the world," he said.

Trump was joined at the meeting by Vice President elect Mike Pence and a number of high-profile CEOs that included Tim Cook (Apple), Satya Nadella (Microsoft) and Larry Page of Alphabet (Google). Also in attendance were Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg and Oracle chief executive, Safra Catz, although it was noted that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was not present. Reports suggested Twitter were excluded from the meeting due to their refusal to allow an emoji version of the hashtag which read ‘crooked Hilary’.

Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence sat in the middle of the table with CEOs that included Tim Cook of Apple, Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Larry Page of Alphabet (Google). What effects a Trump presidency will have on the tech sector is hard to predict.

While the tech industry is likely to oppose any trade barriers or efforts to limit immigration, many companies are expected to welcome a lowering of corporate tax rates promised by Trump, especially on profits repatriated from overseas. "We're going to make fair trade deals. We're going to make it a lot easier for you to trade across borders. There have been a lot of restrictions, a lot of problems that I think you see. And if you have any ideas on that issue then that would be great.”

Tech firms led by Apple are responsible for the lion's share of an estimated $2.5 trillion being held overseas by US companies, and are reluctant to bring those funds back and face a hefty tax bill. A potential clash between Trump and the sector is possible over encryption, and the ability of enforcement and intelligence services to decrypt devices for national security investigations.

None of the industry leaders stopped to talk to reporters on their way out of the building at the end, except Catz who gave a little wave. Trump said he would add Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to his advisory council of business leaders tasked with helping to create new jobs "across the United States from Silicon Valley to the heartland."

Trump is putting the finishing touches to his cabinet, nominating former Texas governor Rick Perry as energy secretary and reportedly choosing Montana Representative Ryan Zinke as interior secretary. Perry, who participated in the Republican primary but was crushed by Trump early on, once assailed him as a "cancer on conservatism." On Wednesday, Forbes magazine ranked Trump as the second most powerful person of the year -- right behind Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Published in Government

A number of major US technology companies suffered a drastic decline in its stocks following the presidential election of Donald Trump – and are now quite fearful for the future under his administration. During the election campaign close to 150 tech leaders including founders of worldwide brands such as Apple, Reddit and Wikipedia penned an open letter in July - in which it warned that his nomination would be a ‘disaster for innovation.’

However, the controversial Republican candidate and New York based billionaire secured the nomination on November 8th and will now subsequently become the 45th President of the United States. His success has left the technology sector pondering its future under Trump – and already stocks have taken a huge decline since his nomination.

Trumps pre-election rhetoric sent shivers through Silicon Valley as he announced that he intended to squeeze trade on China, clamp down on immigration which is critical to many tech firms - and he also issued a warning to online giants Amazon suggesting they could have ‘a huge antitrust problem’ if he were to be successful in his candidacy.

Gene Munster, an analyst on the technology sector at US investment bank and asset management company Piper Jaffray has moved to dispel some of the fears surrounding immigration and Amazon.

Munster said: “The tech sector is in more control of its own destiny than Donald Trump and will work through these problems.”

“I think the ‘antitrust’ probe of Amazon is unlikely, and I don’t think there will be major change on skilled immigration under Trump, and there could be an increase on tariffs for electronics components and that could potentially impact companies such as Apple, but it would be equally spread over manufacturers because they all rely on imports.”

However, many tech companies could boost significantly from Trump’s pledge to lower taxes on capital repatriated from overseas, which could well benefit companies such as Apple and Google. The tech sector holds the lion’s share of an estimated $2.5 trillion (Dh9.18 trillion) held by US firms overseas.

Bob O’Donnell, a consultant at Tech-analysis Research in Silicon Valley believes there could be a lot of money repatriated by tech companies. O’Donnell said: “Tech firms could use the repatriated money for job creation, and that would be very interesting - the tech sector may get a fresh look at the kinds of services and technologies that people want to invest in under Trump.”

“For example, a major push on infrastructure investment could be a big opportunity to integrate ‘smart’ technology for services such as transportation.”

While Trump has said very little in relation to the tech sector thus far, analysts and consultants have noted that the tech industry is such a huge part of the economy that you simply can’t ignore it. However, it has also been noted and taken into account that things that were viewed as special privileges may be taken away.

Some within the tech sector are gravely concerned that a Republican administration may seek to roll back so-called ‘net neutrality’ which ultimately prohibits broadband firms from playing favorites – which could spell trouble for online video operators like Netflix and Amazon.

Many tech leaders have simply had to put the disappointment of Trump’s election result behind them and move forward. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO, Tim Cook sent a memo to staff in which he said that the only way to move forward is to do so together. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg brushed off the election result by stating that it would not be right to say the election of Donald Trump changes the fundamental arc of technology over time.

Published in Government

A new global report from Ericsson, “Opportunities in 5G: The view from eight industries”, reveals the anticipated impact of 5G, the next-generation mobile technology, on specific industries. It examines how these industries expect to apply 5G, which specific uses of the new technology are likely to dominate in their industry, and what business reasons will drive them to move to 5G.

The report captures the opinions of more than 650 executives globally – including CIOs, CTOs, CMOs, and other heads of IT Infrastructure – from the eight key industries most likely to be impacted by 5G: automotive, utilities, public safety, high-tech manufacturing, Internet/digital natives, healthcare, financial services, and media/gaming.

A majority of these decision-makers depend on and actively invest in communications technology to help drive innovation. Looking ahead, 94 percent rate next-generation mobile networks as important to the strategic development of their business.

Responding to disruption from emerging technologies – such as M2M communications, broadband connectivity, cloud service, and mobile – is a key driving force behind business innovation within the respondents’ companies and industries. A large majority indicated they intend to make significant changes to their businesses in order to take advantage of 5G when it arrives.

Rima Qureshi, Head of Region North America and Chief Strategy Officer says: “Emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things, are becoming integral parts of our economy and lifestyle, and this is driving major change across industries. 5G will accelerate this transformation and create new uses, new revenue streams, and new business models for industries and consumers alike. With 5G, industries will have connectivity that is customized for their requirements and the agility to move quickly to meet customer needs and be innovative.”

”Today’s business environment is driven by change. Three fundamental ICT forces – broadband, mobility and cloud– are rapidly reshaping value chains, digitalizing business models and creating possibilities that were previously unimaginable,” said Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Region Middle East and East Africa.

Highlights from the report include:

Automotive: Cars will rely on high-performance, secure networks

Increased performance, increased security and device-to-device communications are expected to be the areas where 5G provides real business value. The connected car is the major trend in the auto industry, and while many are looking ahead to self-driving systems, enhanced GPS with instant traffic and map updates is the most favored use for 5G globally.

Utilities: 5G will help cut costs, secure facilities

Increased productivity, faster introduction of new products and services to consumers, and boosted efficiency are key business drivers for utility companies to adopt 5G. Remote monitoring and maintenance through sensors is seen as the top benefit as many utilities look to protect valuable assets located in distant and sometimes hazardous locations.

Public safety: 5G will improve citizens’ experience, security

Public safety organizations expect 5G technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help keep citizens safe while spending as few taxpayer dollars as possible. A total of 96 percent say they are already investing to take advantage of these technologies. They look to new networks to expand capabilities in connected devices and for network slicing through 5G to provide secure priority communications during an emergency.

High-tech manufacturers: Reach peak productivity with 5G

With disruption from new entrants and business processes threatening the manufacturing industry, the majority of companies plan to take advantage of 5G technologies to increase productivity, improve the customer experience and introduce new products and services to consumers faster. Many expect 5G to help manage risks through monitoring of assets and improving remote site safety and security.

Internet/Digital Natives: Build customer loyalty with 5G

The online stores, social networks, digital organization and collaboration tools, and travel and ride-sharing services included in this category seek out cutting-edge technology to help them stay relevant, attract new customers, and build brand loyalty. A total of 96 percent confirm they are investing to take advantage of 5G, and that an enhanced customer experience is the leading expected benefit.

Healthcare: 5G promises to improve quality of life

A significant majority of healthcare executives surveyed expect 5G to allow them to implement new services and products that will improve quality of life for the public and 94 percent said they will make significant changes to their business to take advantage of 5G networks. Additionally, healthcare executives think that security is just as important as performance in terms of 5G business value.

Financial Services: 5G will enhance productivity, customer satisfaction

The financial services industry expects 5G to boost real-time mobile trading and high frequency trading. With security top-of-mind in the financial world, though, 84 percent of financial services executives expressed even greater interest in 5G’s potential for powering more secure transactions.

Media and Gaming: 5G will bring truly immersive experience

Media and gaming executives place the highest priority on delighting their audiences and holding their attention. This includes providing new immersive experiences – such as ultra HD 4K and virtual reality on mobile devices – using the higher capacity delivered through 5G networks. A significant majority highlighted live personal 360 view broadcasting and fixed wireless broadband as additional developments expected from 5G.

Published in Telecom Vendors

China Unicom recently held the 2016 China Unicom International Partners Meeting in Shanghai, China. Over 400 participants from telecommunications carriers, top level industry press, and information service providers worldwide attended this meeting. The theme of this year was “Focus, Innovation, Cooperation”, where the representatives actively engaged in discussions which, in turn, fostered bonds and cooperation between players in international information and telecommunications industry. It was a very informative event that highlighted network enhancements.

Yimin Lu, President of China Unicom Group, delivered the keynote address, highlighting the new features for the development of the Chinese economy, the latest market trend of the telecommunications industry; the past year’s progress and development of China Unicom, as well as its international cooperation. Lu said the seamless fusion between the latest information communication technologies and traditional industries would radically transform the traditional industries’ operation and business growth, and rapid growth would be sustained in innovative services sector with enormous growth potentials noted in integrated information communication services in the near future.

Lu also explained China Unicom’s latest strategy of “implementing focused strategic moves and promoting innovations and cooperation”, in which the Company would be dedicated to continue its efforts in innovations and developments, with notable growth engines in Cloud Computing, Big Data, ICT, M2M, Industrial Internet and global business.

In terms of global business operations, China Unicom aspires to become “A leading Information Service Provider for Global Enterprises in Asia Pacific, linking Asia to the world”. The Company would utilize China Unicom Global Limited (CUG) as the platform for international expansion, speeding up its global networking and marketing outreach, as well as enhancing lines of products as an integrated telecommunications carrier. This would undoubtedly increase the competitiveness of China Unicom and its service worldwide.

Deputy Director-General of Department of Information Development, Cyberspace Administration of China Zhong Shilong, Deputy Secretary-General of China Internet Development Foundation (CIDF) Wang Bo, Director of Communications Policy and Economics Research Institute at the China Academy of Telecommunication Research Lu Chuncong, General Manager of China Unicom System Integration Limited Sun Shizhen and Consulting Director of OVUM Telecoms Consulting Asia Pacific Dr Cheung Chi-wah gave keynote speeches to illustrate the views on future development of the telecommunications industry from different perspectives.

China Unicom has been holding its International Partners Meeting annually since 2006, and this year is its 11th meeting. Over the years, it has become an important annual event, providing telecommunications carriers round the world with an exchange platform. China Unicom has established and maintained good cooperation with over 100 international telecommunications operators and multinational enterprises. This not only enhances the Company’s growth and development, but it also widely promotes its brand and corporate image.

 
Published in Telecom Operators
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