STC FUDEX 2017: Vision 2030 Objectives for Saudi Arabia

Posted: April 7th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has set itself on a future-looking transformational journey for its people, the country and the region. Aiming to leverage itself as an investment power, backed up by a healthy portfolio of rich natural resources, the Kingdom will be a driver to connect African, Asian and European trade.

To fulfil the vision, it will be focusing on three key themes – a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation. The importance of the vibrant society is supported by strong historic roots and national identity, a good standard of living, family life and a supportive social and healthcare system. With a thriving economy, the KSA aims to provide “opportunities for all by building an education system aligned with market needs and creating economic opportunities for the entrepreneur, the small enterprise as well as the large corporation.” But, it won’t happen without ambition, so the Kingdom will look at improving efficiency and responsibility at all levels – starting with “an effective, transparent, accountable, enabling and high-performing government.”

A number of programs monitored by strong governance have been designed to help KSA conquer their vision and more details can be found here: http://vision2030.gov.sa/en

Vision 2030 Saudi Arabia

STC Role in Vision 2030

In 2016, Dr. Tarig M Enaya, Senior Vice President of the STC Enterprise Business Unit, was interviewed by a leading Middle East technology reporter at ITP.net. In that discussion, Dr. Enaya explained the role that Saudi Telecom Co. will play in Vision 2030.

“Digitisation is at the core of Vision 2030, essentially meaning we have a key enabling role to play,” he said. “We own and operate the largest fixed and mobile networks in the Kingdom, meaning we can connect almost any populated location in the Kingdom. We have a 147,000km-long fibre optic network tying major cities together, interconnected with metro rings, and reaching smaller towns and villages. We patch cover some areas with microwave and other technologies. Our mobile network covers 96% of populated areas, with 85% of all populated areas having LTE 4G network coverage.

“More important for Vision 2030 is the integration between ICT services and how integrated services and solutions are delivered and supported,” he continued. “To accelerate the growth of any service, you need good business practices and flawless business automation, a variety of different systems from different government agencies need to be interconnected together, and most important systems have to have very strict SLAs and high up-times.

Dr Tarig M Enaya, Senior Vice President of the STC Enterprise Business Unit

Dr Tarig M Enaya, Senior Vice President of the STC Enterprise Business Unit

“For us, Vision 2030 means we will continue to do what we have been doing since we merged the operations between our three business-to-business entities, the STC enterprise business unit, STC Solutions, and Bravo, but we will have to work harder and much faster.

Where things have dramatically changed over the past five years is how IT services are delivered, and the introduction of a cloud-based model and managed services methodology. When applied together to address customer needs and requirements, the two can create a very powerful mix. Virtualisation is the best way to manage IT hardware resource efficiency, but in its traditional sense, it means all the hardware is in one place, something that only the cloud can address.”

FUDEX 2017

The Future of Digital Technology Exhibition 2017 (FUDEX) was inaugurated by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Dr. Mohammed I. Al-Suwaiyel and organised by Saudi Telecom alongside major international companies in the ICT sector. The event (aligning itself to the KSA Vision 2030) took place 28th-29th March at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in Riyadh. Its focus was to introduce the latest network/IT technology through an exhibition and workshops to the various departments of STC and the industry.

Exhibition

The exhibition was representative of today’s traditional telco thinking with a clear demarcation of network suppliers versus IT vendors. The network suppliers generally promoted around the key telco themes of 2016/17 – 5G, IoT and virtualisation, each being eager to promote their own proprietary solutions. The IT vendors focused specifically around application and data security, plus the enterprise deployment of IT applications in the cloud. The only obvious vendor-agnostic supplier of OSS/BSS offerings for telco services was Finnish independent software vendor Comptel.

STC FUDEX 2017

The one observation that emerged from being part of and studying the expo was a distinct lack of network and IT convergence perspectives. The network vendors were discussing their own particular flavours of infrastructure cloud commoditisation, and the replication of traditional network features as virtual network functions (VNF).  There was little attention paid by these suppliers to actual commercialisation of NFV services and the evolved processes needed. The IT vendors, on the other hand, demonstrated little to no appreciation that the CIO’s role is due a considerable responsibility upgrade as the network moves to a data centre model. No doubt this will be a focus for STC in the coming year and next year’s FUDEX will likely represent the convergence more strongly.

Ministerial VIP Visit

Along with a huge entourage, the exhibitors and attendees were treated to an Executive VIP visit from Minister of Communications and Information Technology Dr. Mohammed I. Al-Suwaiyel , STC Group CEO Dr. Khaled Hussain Biyari, and STC Technology & Operations SVP Nasser Sulaiman Al Nasser. The executives familiarised themselves with many of the exhibiting vendors being suitably impressed with the future technology and solutions being promoted to assist STC to address the challenges of the KSA Vision 2030.

STC FUDEX 2017

Comptel at FUDEX

Since 2015, Comptel has been championing the vision of “Perfecting Digital Moments” alongside its thought-leading NEXTERDAY concept, which encourages the telecommunications industry to “Think Again, Think Ahead and Think Across” vertical industries. The concept aligned very well with the visionary objectives of KSA Vision 2030, especially around digital transformation and empowerment of its people through technology.

During the event, Comptel were promoting two Digital Journeys that telcos around the world are currently addressing. The “Digital Customer Journey” presents solutions to map out contextual engagement, service personalisation and customer experience to help the telco CMO transform and connect with valuable subscribers and consumers. The “Digital Service Journey” lays down a realistic approach to addressing the evolution of telco network services and IT/OSS. It considers the modernisation of telco operational processes and roles, the introduction of early-stage hybrid virtualisation technology, plus the move to full scale Digital Service Lifecycle Management™ for future-state NFV-enabled networks. This was the topic of the keynote workshop delivered by Comptel to an impressive audience from across STC attendees.

In addition, Comptel and STC announced a second initiative to nurture and develop young talent within Saudi Arabia. The first initiative in 2014 took a number of talented young STC IT professionals to various locations around the globe, educating them on the broader business and technology topics from the telecommunications industry. In 2017, STC and Comptel announced the “Hunt-a-Shark” initiative and signed a joint memorandum-of-understanding at FUDEX.

STC FUDEX 2017

At the very heart of Vision 2030 lies innovation, youth enablement, cost optimisation and economic growth through new revenue sources. The “Hunt a Shark” contest is aiming to unlock these objectives by inviting university students from Riyadh to share their ideas about emerging digital platforms and artificial intelligence-driven economies. Finalists will compete to secure – or ‘hunt’ – seed funding, training and mentorship to support their ideas, based on business rationale, uniqueness, viability, relevancy and alignment of their idea with Vision 2030.

Summary

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are embarking on an exciting path with Vision 2030. They have the resources, the people and the ambition to get there and Saudi Telecom with its industry-leading partners will clearly play an important role to make the vision a reality.


Analysys Mason Recognises Comptel Among World’s Top Mediation Players

Posted: March 21st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The analyst firm Analysys Mason has released a new Comptel Company Profile, recognising Comptel as one of world’s leading data processing vendors. The report also lists our DATA REFINERY software suite as a top-six mediation solution when ranked by worldwide marketshare.

analysys mason comptel digital transformation 2017The report, titled “Comptel: digital transformation,” analyses Comptel’s overall product portfolio, 2015 financials and strategic direction. DATA REFINERY is based on Comptel’s award-winning EventLink technology, providing a software suite for convergent mediation, roaming management and enterprise data processing software products. It provides a comprehensive and productised data integration solution with over 1,000 off-the-shelf online, real-time and offline interfaces.

Across the world, 150 operators trust Comptel’s data processing to turn massive amounts of raw data into valuable, purpose-driven, real-time actions. Operators of all sizes and volumes rely on DATA REFINERY, including India’s Bharti Airtel, Indonesia’s Indosat, Argentina’s Telefonica, Saudi Arabia’s Mobily, Denmark’s TDC and The Netherlands’ Ziggo. In all, Comptel processes more than 20 percent of the world’s mobile usage data through our software solutions.

DATA REFINERY plays an important role in supporting the Digital Customer Journey, which is all about applying better technologies and data-driven business strategies and models to improve the way telcos engage and serve their customers in a personalised and contextual way.

Within that journey, DATA REFINERY provides a layer of intelligent fast data to enable real-time decisions and actions. The software has the capacity to capture and process vast amounts of raw data in-stream. As a totally vendor, technology, and service agnostic solution, DATA REFINERY captures data of any type and from any source, including social media, apps, connected devices, networks, locational data and services. It then refines that data with important contextual information and sends it on to the next stage of its journey – all in real time.

As a result, DATA REFINERY allows telcos to build a 360° profile of their customers based on diverse data sources. That profile is then available for other business systems, allowing telcos to craft intelligent, individualised service offerings, customer programs and more. Additionally, DATA REFINERY hides all technical complexity between the network and OSS/BSS layers through a unifying processing layer.

To provide a perfect, personalised Digital Customer Journey, DATA REFINERY’s intelligent data fabric works seamlessly with two other pillars of that journey: FASTERMIND™ for customer engagement automation and MONETIZER™ for agile service monetisation. All three software suites rely on the same EventLink technology platform, benefiting from common capabilities such as a broad online and offline interface library, programmed and automated fast data processing, operational intelligence, business and operations reporting and a Software Development Kit (SDK).

Together, the solutions within the Digital Customer Journey help telcos take advantage of a rapidly changing landscape, one in which the customer is in control. Our solutions allow telcos to compete and win on the basis of customer engagement, with personalised and contextually relevant content, offers and services.

We’re proud to be recognised by Analysys Mason alongside other top players in the mediation market. To learn more, download Comptel: digital transformation,” a company profile from Analysys Mason.


IBM BusinessConnect Helsinki 2016: Partnerships Make Innovation Possible

Posted: November 4th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | Comments Off on IBM BusinessConnect Helsinki 2016: Partnerships Make Innovation Possible

“Welcome to the Cognitive Era,” IBM proclaimed recently at Messukeskus Expo and Convention Centre in Helsinki, hailing an opportunity to outthink challenges, competitors and the limits of what is possible. IBM BusinessConnect 2016

IBM says the cognitive era is one in which companies compete with each other by using algorithms, which are to a great deal responsible for how those companies develop, advance and succeed. Cognitive computing capabilities are emerging that resemble human learning and thinking processes: Discovery, Decision and Engagement. It’s taking data analysis as we know it to an entirely new level.

As we heard in many of the presentations at IBM BusinessConnect Helsinki 2016, digitalisation is a data-driven enabler for re-inventing and re-imagining the customer experience. That new experience can then be implemented through fresh business models and ecosystem-based collaboration. Partnerships are everything, because partners make innovation easier to achieve.

IBM BusinessConnect 2016 brought together a big crowd of about 1,500 enthusiastic professionals looking to get inspired and excited about the partnership opportunities offered by digitalisation and the Internet of Things (IoT). The program was fully packed with interesting presentations from IBM, KONE, Finnair, cyborg Neil Harbisson, and Comptel’s hybrid cloud, just to mention few. Here’s a summary.

The IBM/Comptel Telco Story

IBM and Comptel have a long-standing partnership that stretches over 10 years. Comptel is both a partner and a customer of IBM software and services. Together, we are actively helping telco operators around the world transform their OSS/BSS environments. Our strategic partnership is in the area of Digital Service Lifecycle Management (DSLM) with the IBM Architecture for Cloud-Based Networking, devising a new model for service orchestration and delivery of SDN/NFV.

Internally, Comptel deploys IBM cloud software assets in a hybrid environment for R&D, testing, training and more, both on-premises in Comptel’s own data centre and off-premises in the cloud. This hybrid workstyle offers us flexibility and agility, creating a better customer experience, whether we are using services on- or off-premises in single or multi-tenant mode.

IBM, like Comptel, believes in this hybrid cloud model. A presentation from IBM explained the global movement toward cloud, but stressed that cloud should not be viewed simply as a blanket destination: “Not every service needs to move to the cloud,” said the presenters. The key consideration for telcos is to figure out which services are better to run in a cloud environment, and then achieve seamless end-to-end orchestration across the hybrid network environment. Ultimately what matters most is being able to deliver a compelling customer and user experience irrespective of where the service resides.

Cognitive Computing in Healthcare

IBM and Tekes discussed their partnership, which resulted in the creation of the Watson Health Center of Excellence in Finland. Their aim is to improve the health of citizens, further local innovation and strengthen the Finnish healthcare business ecosystem. The partnership invites health companies to build an ecosystem on top of IBM’s Watson platform to create “the world’s most advanced data-led IoT hospitals.” Healthcare touches us all, and there’s a big need and sense of urgency around creating new innovative and disruptive health services. The ultimate vision is to establish a hospital-free model where the hospital is a base for service and care at home.

Moving People at an Urban Scale

KONE digitializationKONE, a Finland based company serving more than 400,000 customers worldwide, moves more than 1 billion people every day with more than 1 million elevators and escalators. They anticipate the urbanisation trend to accelerate business, as more than 200,000 people are moving into cities every day, driving the need for sustainability and smart urban living. By embracing open innovation, KONE benefits from fresh ideas from outside their own company. Through IBM Watson, KONE has made a massive volume of escalator and elevator data available to third-party startup companies to innovate. This ecosystem and collaborative approach to innovation will be essential for KONE to take its business to the next level.

San Fran to Finland, Nonstop

Finnair SlushThe airline industry is also undergoing a digital transformation. Digitalisation is changing how airline employees work, how operations are run and how customers are served. Finnair is at the leading edge. Through an innovative strategic collaboration with Slush, Finnair has arranged exclusive direct flights to Europe’s leading startup event for attendees traveling from San Francisco. The San Francisco-to-Helsinki flight path will part of Finnair’s ongoing flight options starting in June 2017. It’s one example of how Finnair is working with leading startups to create better customer experiences and possibilities.

A Union Between Biology and Technology

Neil HarbissonCould you imagine hearing colours?

The most exciting and memorable speech at IBM BusinessConnect was given by cyborg Neil Harbisson. He was born with an extreme form of colour-blindness that meant he could only see grayscale. But, with the help of an internet-connected head implant that converts light into sound, Harbisson is now able to “hear” colours. Harbisson had his head antenna permanently installed in his skull in 2004, and his merging of biology and technology represents the ultimate in collaboration.

“Not many people go for a walk in the supermarket for fun, but I do,” he said. “I have an electronic eye that converts light into sound to enable me to ‘hear’ colour. So, the cleaning product aisle is very exciting. The rows of rainbow-coloured bottles sound like a symphony to me.”

He views the internet as an extension of his body and says he is able sense the inaudible reality around us, even hearing a sunset. Harbisson takes his role as a cyborg seriously, founding the Cyborg Project in 2010 to protect his rights under government classification. This is truly uncharted terrain, and we’ve only seen a glimpse of the possibilities of digital and connected technologies.

Comptel’s Nexterday North 2016 will feature many more inspiring stories of unique partnerships and collaboration. Register for Nexterday North to hear from some of the world’s leading thinkers in innovation, academics, technology and business, including Mike Walsh, Dietmar Dahmen, Chris Messina, David Meerman Scott and more.