All current indicators are pointing to more hyper-mobile and connected environments in which advanced networking infrastructure will be crucial, explains Ali Amer, Managing Director, Service Provider Sales, Cisco Middle East and Africa.
EC: Please describe your leading products and solutions in the area of Networking, 5G and IoT.
Cisco’s 5G Now portfolio for service providers includes multi-cloud, IP core, 5G packet core and service edge, access, client services, security, and professional services, offering a cloud-to-client approach for 5G networking.
Our approach involves offering an open, hyper-programmable architecture which slims down a customer’s multivendor, multidomain network into a more agile and unified system. We’ve used our breadth of understanding across multi-cloud, IP routing, 5G core, service edge, access networks, IoT, and security to create real value in 5G services and networking as a whole. By delivering traffic engineering, bandwidth management and greater network control can be achieved.
What have been the latest innovations and developments in the area of Networking, 5G and IoT?
Cisco’s Annual Internet Report predicts that by 2023, there will be 2.6 billion networked devices in the Middle East and Africa alone, out of which machine-to-machine modules will account for 30% of all networked devices, while smartphones will account for 38%. By the same year, it is estimated that there will be 21.9 million 5G connections. All of this points to more hyper-mobile and connected environments in which advanced networking infrastructure will be crucial.
It is clear that conventional models for building mobile networks are no longer fit for purpose, and that is why operators are moving towards new models and strategies to ensure they remain competitive and can deliver on new services in a timely manner, all while decreasing operating expenses. New methods involve a software-centric approach, known as software-defined architecture, which includes cloud virtualisation and automation to help operators meet new application and operational demands.
Has the pandemic been responsible for driving innovation and new use cases?
The pandemic has accelerated the rate at which people invest in digitisation and recognise its full potential. As remote collaboration thrives, the ultra-low latency benefits of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will enable new experiences, which leverage AR and VR to bridge the physical and digital worlds.
In healthcare, advanced connectivity is enabling the widespread deployment of telemedicine solutions, to deliver care from the convenience of a smartphone.
In retail and tourism, product demonstrations, site tours and events are moving online to cater to demand for digital travel experiences, made possible by advanced networking solutions designed to deliver immersion in real-time.
What is the typical journey of an end user organisation while considering new use cases across 5G and IoT?
Organisations typically consider the affordability and accessibility of the solution offered, followed by ease-of-use and the extent to which the solution can positively impact user experience.
An organisation must know that its investment will lead to greater convenience and the learning of user habits to adapt and deliver customised experiences.
Which are the leading market segments globally that can drive new use cases around IoT and 5G?
In manufacturing, 5G is making processes more agile, while improving safety and lowering operating expenses. Energy is benefitting from advanced smart grid features, while the automotive sector is exploring vehicle-to-vehicle communications and self-driving capabilities. Each sector is proving crucial in enabling more hyper-aware and secure smart cities.