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At GITEX 2020, Telecom Review spoke to Ayhem Al Zaem, ICT regional sales manager, Middle East and Africa, Red Hat to discuss the company’s participation at the annual exhibition and the measures it took to guarantee business continuity during these challenging times.

In addition, Ayhem Al Zaem shared his point of view on whether emerging trends that created the new normal will persist in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and outlined Red Hat’s future plans.

Can you tell us what Red Hat is showcasing at GITEX this year?

At Red Hat, we are proud of our long-standing association with GITEX Technology Week and this year, like all previous editions, we are showcasing new products and solutions that we believe will make a significant impact in the coming years. As part of our strategy for this year and beyond, we are working closely with our ecosystem to provide 5G, edge computing, and hybrid cloud technologies – all of which have the capabilities to transform businesses, industries, and society. Because GITEX brings together a diverse community of business leaders, enterprises, influencers, and investors, we are also utilizing the platform and occasion to provide attendees with exclusive insights into open source culture, the role of Red Hat in the present and future, and the possibilities and potential that accompany our offerings.

How did Red Hat weather the COVID-19 storm when it hit?

From the outset of the pandemic, and as it evolved, we prioritized the health and well-being of our associates and the communities where we live and work. First and foremost, we ask everyone associated with our company to work from home. Even before the pandemic, we had a strong remote work culture, and our IT infrastructure was built to enable this for both associate mobility and business continuity purposes. Secondly, we recognized that some business-critical exceptions that warranted limited access to our facilities would be inevitable during remote working. Therefore, our facilities teams followed recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other leading authorities to ensure everybody remained safe and well. Thirdly, we defaulted to virtual engagements wherever possible with customers, business partners, and suppliers. Finally, we utilized every resource available to us to ensure those we serve and work alongside had seamless and continuous access to our services, solutions, infrastructure, and technologies to mitigate the pandemic’s impacts and continue moving forward.

Do you think the changes brought about by COVID-19, such as remote working, will continue for the foreseeable future?

The evolution of digital technologies and capabilities stemming from the pandemic has driven fundamental change across the societal landscape, accelerating future reform at an unprecedented scale in the process. Although only time will determine what changes remain in the long-term, remote working to a degree will almost certainly remain. Moreover, from a business perspective, companies that have engaged customers, empowered their people, optimized their operations, and introduced next-generation products and services during this time through their newfound capabilities and operational practices will continue adopting current strategies. Looking ahead as we continue emerging from the crisis, some recent changes will no longer be required, while other new approaches will be ever-present in the years ahead.

 

Will future conferences take the form of virtual permanently?

Despite the unprecedented challenges and difficulties that we have experienced in 2020, there have also been positives that have emerged, and one of these is the positive effect and impact of virtual environments. As such, we know that regardless of challenging environments that may present themselves in the future, virtual conferences are a viable continuity option that has already been tried and tested. That being said, it is also important to note that in-person communication will always be perhaps the most prudent form of interaction. Moreover, many people either want to return to pre-pandemic normality or, at the very least, combine traditional practices with the newfound flexibility they have become accustomed to. Although future conferences going virtual permanently when the ongoing crisis ends is unlikely, the option will always be there, and certain aspects of conferences may well have virtual components moving forward.

What is next for Red Hat?

For Red Hat, the coming period is all about continuing to meet our objectives, delivering transformative change, pursuing new opportunities, and further enhancing the role of open source across the business and societal landscapes. We will continue investing heavily in open source communities, advancing the pace of innovation, supporting the agendas of those we work alongside, and pledging our time, expertise, and resources in many upstreams. As the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, our technologies integrate new and existing IT applications, develop cloud-native applications, standardize operating systems, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments. Looking ahead, we will ensure our technologies make even bigger impacts and deliver even greater value for everybody connected. Our work in the telco industry is no exception to the above. Our alignment with the industry's best partners continues to bring many positives – for the operators and the wider community – with innovation, the creation of new roles, and alignment with industry players at the forefront of our efforts. 

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