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Telecom Review’s latest virtual panel, entitled “Digital transformation driving the next phase of innovation”, explored various key points and shared insights on the opportunities of digital transformation, digital skills, as well as the acceleration of digital transformation among others.

The esteemed panelists sharing their views and expertise were as follows:

Sebastian Alberto Delgado, vice president, internet of things and artificial intelligence, Etisalat; Günther Ottendorfer, chief technology and infrastructure officer, Ooredoo Qatar; Karim Benkirane, CCO, du and Danial Mausoof, head of sales mobile networks Middle East and Africa, Nokia

The moderator of the panel was by Ghazi Atallah, former CEO, NXN.

During the session, the panelists responded to the various questions addressed by the moderator. One of the questions was about what seems to be the emerging opportunities and challenges in the cloud journey in the wake of Covid-19.

Daniel Mausoof was the first to answer, saying “All organizations are moving to the cloud and obviously Nokia saw that as a leap forward in terms of how online communication needs to go especially that public cloud grew by 20-25%. We saw the opportunities emerging in healthcare, government and citizen services.”

He mentioned also that Nokia saw an opportunity in the private sector, “We're seeing opportunities in the education sector, in different industries (manufacturing, automation) and healthcare sector; all of which have just accelerated.”

Günther Ottendorfer named three big opportunities that really changed societies to help them keep going forward. The first is digital money which is considered a great opportunity that really helped people in this difficult situation and changed their lives. “When it was difficult to go physically to an office and transfer money, we offered an easy digital opportunity to do this task.” Second was digital government giving the example of digital apps for Covid and vaccination status. And third, he mentioned online learning. “In the first 3 months, the traffic for online learning increased by 200. And so, something that has been used for niche and was exotic, suddenly became mainstream for society.”

Karim Benkirane stated that the Covid period was a massive opportunity for telcos to demonstrate their network capabilities to support customers. “During lockdown, we demonstrated that our network is capable to absorb all the pressure and we made sure that people can still learn and work from home in addition to consuming massive data by all the other activities such as video streaming or gaming. With this, we gained the trust of our customers and we showed our capabilities in a crisis, delivering a five-star experience.” As for the customers’ side, he added, “Customers’ demand was mainly around high speeds. To meet their demands, we were capable to upgrade from 10 to about 500 Mbps and 1 terabyte.”

Sebastian Alberto Delgado agreed to all what has been said and summarized, “I think that we have, from the technical perspective, demonstrated the resilience of our networks and the capabilities that we have. I would like also to mention that it has been a shock for organization, because there were some challenges they were facing, and were not ready for this pandemic in terms of having the right skills or the right people or the knowledge of how to efficiently move the service from the applications to the cloud.” He added, “I see this as an opportunity, because those companies and those governments have realized that they don’t have only the resources or the capabilities, but also they have the right skills within those organizations to drive this transformation.”

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