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May 2021 | mobilemagazine.com

IOT: Becoming More Human in a HyperConnected World

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5G REVOLUTION Verizon Business SVP and Chief Product Officer Aamir Hussain on what 5G technology means for the future of mobile FIND OUT MORE

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The Mobile Team EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

HARRY MENEAR EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

SCOTT BIRCH CREATIVE TEAM

OSCAR HATHAWAY SOPHIA FORTE SOPHIE-ANN PINNELL HECTOR PENROSE SAM HUBBARD MIMI GUNN JUSTIN SMITH REBEKAH BIRLESON

PRODUCTION DIRECTORS

GEORGIA ALLEN DANIELA KIANICKOVÁ PRODUCTION MANAGERS

OWEN MARTIN PHILLINE VICENTE JENNIFER SMITH PRODUCTION EDITOR

JANET BRICE

VIDEO PRODUCTION MANAGER

KIERAN WAITE

DIGITAL VIDEO PRODUCERS

MEDIA SALES DIRECTOR

RICHARD TURNER JAMES WHITE MARK CAWSTON

SAM KEMP EVELYN HUANG TYLER LIVINGSTONE

SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR

DIGITAL MARKETING EXECUTIVE

MANAGING DIRECTOR

PROJECT DIRECTORS

CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

DAISY SLATER

CRAIG KILLINGBACK

JASON WESTGATE STUART IRVING

STACY NORMAN PRESIDENT & CEO

GLEN WHITE


EDITOR'S LETTER

The Broadband Space Race is Heating Up With the recently-resurrected OneWeb putting more satellites into orbit, market leader Starlink and Project Kuiper - the sleeping giant - are once again facing steeper competition in the race for satellite broadband supremacy.

“SpaceX is the most widelyavailable source of rocket real estate”

MOBILE MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY

The battle for a bigger slice of the fast-developing satellite internet market is growing more competitive as companies jockey for the right to provide rural broadband access to billions of potential customers from above the clouds. The three leaders in this 21st Century Space Race are Elon Musk’s Starlink - which is putting hundreds of new micro-satellites into orbit every month, thanks to its association with SpaceX - Project Kuiper and OneWeb. Project Kuiper, Amazon’s entry into the market, has yet to put any of its satellites into orbit - largely due to the fact that SpaceX is the most widely-available source of rocket real estate and is firmly committed to Kuiper’s bitter rival - but recently signed an agreement for nine launches with the United Launch Alliance. OneWeb has surged back into the fight, following a bankruptcy filing last year and a much-needed injection of funds by the UK Government and Indian telecom company Bharti Global.

HARRY MENEAR

h.menear@bizclikmedia.com

© 2021 | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Bringing the Community to LIVE Broadcast from London to the World

September

14th - 16th 2021 A BizClik Media Group Brand


Featuring:

Keynote Speakers LIVE Roundtable Q&As Networking Lunch Inspirational Presentations

Over 5 Stages:

Technology Stage Digital Transformation Stage Cloud & Cyber AI & Automation Tech Expo Stage

EARLY BIRD TICKETS

Creating Digital Communities


CONTENTS

Our Regular Upfront Section: 10 Big Picture 12 The Brief 14 Global News 16 People Moves 18 Timeline: Surviving the post-pandemic workplace 20 Legend: Mike Sievert 22 Five Mins With: Vassils Seferidis

46

Telecoms & Sustainability

Dematerialisation and the future of work

24

Verizon Business

Bringing in the 5G revolution

58

Vodafone Procurement Company Ready for an exciting future


108

Customer Centricity

Connectivity: Going above & beyond (the atomsphere)

80

5G Networks

OpenRAN: The future of 5G

116

NTT DOCOMO, INC.

Unlocking the potential of 5G

92

Telia Inmics-Nebula Shaping the future of HR

134 IOT

Becoming more human in a hyper-connected world


SAP 5G Council:

Why 5G Matters In this very special webinar, we examine the incredible opportunity that 5G brings for network providers, their customers, and end-users.

Thursday 20th May

REGISTER NOW

Featuring Guest Speakers From:


184 144

Edzcom

Solutions driven by edge connectivity

Dialog Axiata

Customer-focused digital transformation

200

Vodafone Ghana

Digital journey key to employee connectivity

160 Top 10

Semiconductor manufacturers

218

BT Global Services India Delivering through disruption

172

230

The Cambodian telco playing the game

Growth through market disruption

Cellcard Cambodia

Tuenti Ecuador


BIG PICTURE Spot the 5G-powered robot dog

Odense, Denmark

Ripped straight from the pages of science fiction, Spot - a quadrupedal robot that sort of resembles a dog - is Boston Dynamics’ big push to commercialise over a decade of advanced robotic trials. Now, Spot can be seen patrolling the perimeter of Hans Christian Andersen Airport in Odense, receiving nearinstantaneous instruction via Ericsson’s 5G network.


Boston Dynamics bostondynamics.com/spot

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THE BRIEF “ WE WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT OUR SERVICES ARE NOT JUST FOR JAPAN, BUT ALSO FOR OUR CUSTOMERS OVERSEAS.”  Zaif Siddiq Executive Director, Global Head of 5G IoT Enterprise Business, NTT DOCOMO

BY THE NUMBERS

How many of us will still be going into the office by 2030?

Data collected by Ericsson found that, even when the pandemic “ends”, remote work will be here to stay.

2019

READ MORE

“The more technologically advanced we get, the more human we need to become.”  Pernilla Wikman VP, Head of Global Business, Telia READ MORE

2030 42% Outside company premises At company premises

59%

EDITOR'S CHOICE LOCKDOWN: ONE YEAR ON AND ITS EFFECTS ON DIGITAL BUSINESSES Looking back on the anniversary of the first national lockdown, what impact has the pandemic had on the way we work? READ MORE

“ TECHNOLOGY IS ENABLING A SIGNIFICANT SHIFT TOWARDS A DEMATERIALISED WORKPLACE ”  Anders Erlandsson Head of IndustryLab, Ericsson READ MORE

12

May 2021

THE ANCIENT ART OF SMALL CELL CAMOUFLAGE Goodbye giant fake cacti. The global 5G rollout is prompting a shift in tactics for the venerable industry of digital infrastructure concealment. READ MORE

BREAKING VERIZON AND AT&T’S “DEATH GRIP” ON INTERNET FOR ENTERPRISES T-Mobile is trying to snag a significant slice of the enterprise market as the idea of employers subsidizing their workers’ internet gets less crazy by the day. READ MORE


HOT TOPIC

5G? Europe Needs to Step It Up So here’s the thing, Europe’s taken a huge economic hit because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sounds nasty. It is. The EU’s Digital Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has said that 5G is the particular metaphorical donkey on which Europe will pin its hopes for a post-COVID economic recovery. She said that? Not in those exact words. Well that sounds hopeful. Doesn’t Europe already have 5G? Yes, but it isn’t anywhere near fast enough, resilient enough, or providing the kind of coverage that’s needed to actually make an impact. Oh dear. So now what? Vestager estimates that Europe needs to invest a further $355bn into telecom infrastructure by 2025, and a radical rethinking of how spectrum is being auctioned off to carriers, as well as how those carriers are then allowed to use, share and monetise those networks, if the 5G rollout is going to deliver the kind of results that they need.

 XIAOMI After years spent in Huawei’s shadow, Xiaomi is China’s new smartphone king. The company posted stellar 2020 results, with sales rising by 17.5%.

W A Y

 CYBERCRIME It’s been a staple headline during the pandemic, but the global spike in cyber attacks shows no sign of slowing down, so we’re going to keep calling attention to it.

U P

 IOT REVENUES Despite the number of connections growing at a “healthy rate” of 20%, IoT manufacturers and solutions providers didn’t see that translate into the kind of astronomic revenue growth they might have hoped for over the past year.  5G PHONE PRICES The average price of a 5G smartphone continues to drop as new models enter the market. In the US, the average 5G handset cost over $1,000 in Q2 of 2019, and now hovers somewhere around the $600 mark.

MAY 21

W A Y D O W N

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GLOBAL NEWS 1

SCOTLAND, UK

Scottish councils get their hands on free smart city IoT trials IoT specialist North has handed out a sweeping series of one year free trials to 32 local authorities across Scotland, which aim to help them to find technologybased solutions to social and environmental issues facing their jurisdictions.

4

UNITED STATES

Verizon and AT&T throw down almost $69bn in 5G auction The much anticipated Auction 108 - also known as the C-Band Auction - has finally come and gone. The bidding war was fierce, with the total sum collected by the FCC in exchange for the 5,684 midband 5G spectrum licenses on offer exceeding $81bn.

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May 2021


2

CHINA

McAfee uncovers cyber espionage campaign targeting telcos The series of attacks, dubbed Operation Diànxùn, was caught by McAfee, who attributed it to two Chinese hacker groups, RedDelta and Mustang Panda. The attackers were supposedly trying to steal sensitive 5G secrets from telcos around the world.

5

3

SOUTH KOREA

SK, KT and LG Uplus face legal action over “spotty” 5G South Korea’s major telecom operators could be forced to pay out as much as KRW1bn ($890,000) to disgruntled customers who claim that their 5G services do not live up to promised standards.

SINGAPORE

IBM, Samsung and M1 unveil Singapore’s first 5G 4.0 studio By simulating operational use cases which demonstrate the extent to which businesses can harness the power of hybrid cloud, AI technologies and advanced 5G capacity, the studio aims to transform critical operations and drive new value using the collective power of 5G and Industry 4.0.on a commercial 5G network. mobile-magazine.com

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PEOPLE MOVES “I am honoured to take on the role of CEO for Indigo Telecom Group at such an exciting time in the company’s history”

IAN DUGGAN FROM: 4SITE TO: INDIGO TELECOM WAS: CEO NOW: CEO Indigo Telecom is expanding its global footprint once again. Founded in 2009, the carrier has developed a strong presence in Europe and beyond, with a presence in over 90 countries. Now, Indigo plans to grow even further, strengthening its position in German, APAC and the US. In order to support this expansion, Indigo has brought Ian Duggan on board as its new CEO. Duggan enters the role after an impressive 18 year stint as CEO of Indigo subsidiary 4site, and previously held various roles associated with his background in civil engineering. He joined Indigo in March with the expressed target of spearheading the next phase of Indigo’s global growth strategy. "I am honoured to take on the role of CEO for Indigo Telecom Group at such an exciting time in the company’s history. As well as establishing a stronger presence in Germany, APAC and the USA our ambition is to further expand and to become a telecom leader that commits to promoting a sustainable, inclusive and trusted workplace," he says.

16

May 2021


PAULA HODGINS FROM: HPE CANADA TO: VMWARE WAS: PRESIDENT NOW: SVP, WORLDWIDE ACCOUNTS AND TELCO SALES

VIKAS GROVER FROM: ONEWEB TO: AVANTI WAS: CIO NOW: CTO

A veteran of sales in the technology and telecom sector, Paula Hodgins joined US-based cloud computing and virtualisation software company VMware earlier this year following a period as HPE’s top executive in Canada. She also spent 13 years at Microsoft, leading the enterprise Azure Cloud sales segment for the company’s Canadian operations. She is a vocal advocate for women in technology. "So often, the concept of ‘ambition’ is perceived negatively when it is associated with women, but I learned through watching (my mother) to embrace my ambition,” she says.

From his latest role as the founding CIO at satellite broadband company OneWeb, Vikas Grover recently stepped into the CTO role at Avanti Communications Group, which is also working on using satellite networks in order to support terrestrial telecom networks. He was previously CIO and EVP of Planning at Vodafone India, and brings a wealth of experience specifically with mobile and satellite communications - to the position. mobile-magazine.com

17


TIMELINE SURVIVING THE POST-PANDEMIC WORKPLACE

1st While remote work was already on the rise, the COVID-19 crisis accelerated the process considerably, prompting many people to ask exactly what their jobs will look like in a postpandemic world. We’ve pulled together data and predictions from WeWork, Deloitte and McKinsey to identify the characteristics of companies already embracing the remote postpandemic workplace and turning it to their advantage. 18

May 2021

COMMUNICATION IS EVERYTHING The avenues through which we communicate with our colleagues and superiors are very different when working online. It seems obvious, but ensuring that clear and open lines of communication are established is the difference between sinking and swimming. Experts at McKinsey add that, for companies, establishing a clear purpose and communicating it to employees can make a big difference.


5th SUBSIDISE WORKERS’ CONNECTIVITY If employees working remotely do their work on an internet connection that they pay for, they are subsidising your company. In a remote work world, companies that subsidise their employees’ internet bills like they would provide a gym membership, work laptop, or a weekly breakfast for the office will attract better talent and stand out from the competition.

2nd SMALL TEAMS AND ACCOUNTABLE ROLES Organisations that created new forums and structures, or redesigned existing ones were also found to have done well over the past year. Daily catch-up sessions between immediate teams, rather than weekly departmental meetings, for example, help staff adapt and change tack on a dime.

4th USE THE RIGHT TOOLS As workforces go remote, it can be very tempting to integrate a handful of communication, productivity and sales tools.The result is often money down the drain and a confused or annoyed workforce. Choose the right tool, collect feedback from your employees, and learn to leverage it to its maximum potential.

3rd ENCOURAGING EMPLOYEES TO SET BOUNDARIES Finding the right work-life balance was already a nightmare, frankly, when our jobs were done in a different building to the one we slept in. Remote-native companies like Buffer have found that encouraging employees to set firm boundaries and take regular breaks results in higher motivation and less burnout. mobile-magazine.com

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LEGEND

The Un-Carrier Approach to Innovation From a distant third to a contender for the throne, T-Mobile’s rise can largely be traced back to the visionary strategic direction of Mike Sievert, the company’s new CEO.

T

his is a time of sweeping, generational change for the telecommunications sector. Time like these call for bold disruptive leadership if enterprises expect to grow, evolve and capitalise on a future that’s more connected than ever before. For T-Mobile, that leadership comes in the form of Mike Sievert, the man behind the rise of the US’ most dynamic and disruptive mobile operator from a distant third to the country’s second-largest mobile network operator, and the fastestgrowing company in the industry. Sievert made the step up from T-Mobile COO to the CEO role in May of last year, just a few months before the company’s wildly successful “un-carrier” approach and merger with Sprint, put it ahead of AT&T. Over the course of his eight year career at T-Mobile (he got his start 20

May 2021

Synergies created by Sprint Merger:

$43bn

at Procter & Gamble, before moving on to hold leadership roles at IBM and Clearwire) Sievert has been a relentless disruptor of the wireless industry status quo. Now, he’s leveraging the company’s merger with Sprint to carry the un-carrier forward into the 5G era. T-Mobile’s 5G network is the largest 5G carrier in the US, with a low and mid-band-focused network that covers more than 280mn people - a fact which prompted AT&T and Verizon to throw down almost $69bn between them at the latest 5G spectrum auction in hopes of catching up. Sievert is in no way content to rest on those laurels, however. In an interview with CNBC last year, he made it clear that, “We intend to cover 99% of the country. Not just with low band 5G like standalone T-Mobile but with broad and rich 5G that’s transformational.”


“There is no doubt that we are the leading growth company in wireless.” mobile-magazine.com

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FIVE MINS WITH...

VASSILIS SEFERIDIS THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF ZEETTA NETWORKS, AND A LEADING PARTNER OF 5G-ENCODE, GIVES US HIS TAKE ON THE CURRENT STATE OF

THE GLOBAL 5G SECTOR ROLLOUT.

22

May 2021


Q. HOW DO YOU THINK THE ONGOING PANDEMIC IS GOING TO AFFECT THE 5G ROLLOUT AND NETWORK MANAGEMENT THIS YEAR?

» We have already started to see signs of recovery, especially in the UK thanks to the progress of the vaccination roll out. The deployment of public 5G networks has slowed down due to telco supply chain issues and lockdowns, but work on developing private 5G networks for sectors such as industrial and manufacturing applications, rural communities and transport and logistics have continued to progress.

Q. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS WE CAN USE 5G TO FIX RURAL CONNECTIVITY ISSUES?

» The development of new business models and legislation such as shared spectrum and neutral hosting will play a huge role in helping telcos overcome the economic challenges they currently face in providing connectivity to rural areas. Network slicing and splicing, which private 5G networks support, will enable enterprises to create networks customised to specific needs. This will enable the correct level of connectivity to be directed towards demand within rural areas in a far more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective way.

“5G PROVIDES NEW TOOLS TO SATISFY THE EVER-INCREASING DEMAND FOR DATA IN A SUSTAINABLE AND EFFICIENT WAY.”

“THE APPLICATION OF 5G TECHNOLOGY HAS THE POWER TO DRIVE POSITIVE CHANGE ACROSS ALMOST EVERY INDUSTRY IN THE WORLD.” Q. HOW CAN NETWORK OPERATORS ENSURE THAT 5G IS A SUPPORTER OF SUSTAINABILITY, NOT A DRIVER OF CARBON EMISSIONS?

» The 5G network is a more controlled

network. 5G connectivity will enable organisations’ supply chains to work far more efficiently. From a sustainability standpoint, this is transformative. Additionally, new deployment models and legislation, mentioned above, encourage a more efficient utilisation of finite natural resources, which results in considerable energy savings.

Q. WHAT SHAPE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY BEING IN BY 2022?

» The application of 5G technology

has the power to drive positive change across almost every industry in the world. Looking to the future, the economic impact that 5G will have on our global economy is monumental. In the year ahead, we expect to see the frameworks for this new market opportunity established, especially as the world adapts digitally to combat the economic impact of COVID-19. mobile-magazine.com

23


VERIZON BUSINESS

BRINGING IN THE 5G REVOLUTION WRITTEN BY: WILLIAM SMITH 24

May 2021

PRODUCED BY: GLEN WHITE & CAITLYN COLE


VERIZON BUSINESS

mobile-magazine.com

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VERIZON BUSINESS

26

May 2021


VERIZON BUSINESS

Verizon Business’ SVP and Chief Product Officer Aamir Hussain discusses the role of 5G in the company’s digital transformation offering

T

elecommunications giant Verizon’s Business division was restructured in 2019 in order to provide better services for its enterprise public sector and business customers, which range from SMBs to wholesale customers. As Aamir Hussain, the company’s SVP and Chief Product Officer explains: “We combine both wireless and wireline entities, products, and customer sets together for business, and in 2020 we generated around $31bn of revenue.” The company’s success rests on its extensive investments in its own networks. “We've gone through a major transformation,” says Hussain. “We are making a huge amount of strategic investment in our network platform, solutions, people and processes. It’s now a place where partners and employees are innovating hugely on behalf of our customers. We are building a 21st century network, which is there for mobility or fixed networks. And we call that Broadband Anywhere.” On top of that, the company is spearheading the 5G revolution. “In terms of 5G, we’re making massive investments in the 160 megahertz nationwide C-band spectrum. We’re building that out to enhance our millimeter wave 5G investments and to give us the ability to provide fiber-like services to our customers.” mobile-magazine.com

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Nokia and Verizon’s Transformative Private 5G Solution Nokia’s David de Lancellotti, Vice President, Global Verizon Sales, discusses the close partnership with Verizon and the private 5G offering that has resulted. Nokia is a key technology partner of Verizon’s, with the two companies teaming up to offer a 5G Private Wireless Network solution, a highperformance, end-to-end enterprise network and edge computing platform. “The Nokia Verizon Private 5G Solution gives enterprises the power to manage critical assets through a simple web portal, eliminating the need for complex management systems,” says David de Lancellotti, Vice President,Global Verizon Sales at Nokia. “The Nokia Verizon 5G solution is critical for our customers because it provides them with a single, reliable, secure 5G data network.”

The utility of a private network in particular is to enable the agile connection of enterprise assets over wireless networks, enabling new possibilities and applications. “Over 260 enterprise customers have deployed Nokia private wireless solution globally in a variety of vertical segments,” says de Lancellotti. “Nokia’s 5G ‘factory of the future’ in Oulu, Finland utilises a private network that drives an 80% reduction in the time it takes to send out a specific product line.” The Verizon partnership sees both sides combining their individual strengths for the benefit of customers. “The partnership with Verizon is really the critical piece that brings this entire solution together. We excel in the technology that drives industrial-grade private wireless and brings it to the cloud, while Verizon brings deep experience in the design, building and operation of mobile networks and extensive industry experience.

“5G is more than just the next generation of products” — David de Lancellotti, Vice President, Nokia, Global Verizon Sales

Watch David De Lancellotti discuss 5G and Verizon

Looking to the future, de Lancellotti sees Nokia and Verizon continuing to lead private 5G transformation. “5G is more than just the next generation of products - It’s really about a fifth generation for people and for enterprise. We’ve been focused on private wireless for several years and have led the move to Industry 4.0. That and our end-to-end capabilities uniquely positions us to manage really every piece of a customer’s network.”

Discover Nokia Industrial-grade Private Wireless


VERIZON BUSINESS

It’s thanks to this combined offering that the company is a leader in enabling digitalisation. “We are very well positioned to be the digital transformation partner of choice for our customers,” says Hussain. “We enable the digital economy through our services, connectivity platform and solutions and we are totally focused on enabling customer digital transformation. That's what we do every day - enabling experiences and making them predictable so that our customers know what outcome they'll achieve. That means they can focus on their business while we focus on their communications suite.” The possibilities of 5G are hard to overstate, and Verizon Business is dedicated 30

May 2021

to enabling its customers to take full advantage. “We see an immense opportunity to help our customers on their journey towards the fourth industrial revolution. Everybody is wanting to connect to the cloud and build innovative applications and connectivity is a cornerstone for everything. I believe that 5G is the mechanism that helps them get there.” There are a number of concrete capabilities connected to 5G. “What we call the ‘currencies’ of 5G, a set of performance attributes for this next generation of wireless connectivity include high-speed mobility, reliability, network energy efficiency, higher bandwidth, very low latency and the ability to connect a significantly larger number of devices to


VERIZON BUSINESS

AAMIR HUSSAIN TITLE: SVP AND CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER INDUSTRY: TELECOMMUNICATIONS

the network. Imagine having all that in a technology that you can use to innovate in your own business.” With its mm wave 5G network, available in parts of more than 65 US cities, customers are already experiencing speeds that reach beyond a gigabit per second. “We are well positioned as the 21st century platform for innovation and growth thanks to our 5G ecosystem. That’s not only in terms of connectivity, but also providing applications through partnerships on top of that platform.” But 5G is not just a technology for the future, and Verizon Business is already working on transformative realworld use cases. “We’re involved in the automation of inventory replenishment to

EXECUTIVE BIO

LOCATION: UNITED STATES Aamir Hussain is senior vice president of business products, joining Verizon in December 2019. Aamir has nearly three decades of experience implementing global technology operations, innovation, complex infrastructures, consumer and business solutions and digital transformation. He is responsible for Verizon Business Groups holistic enterprise product families - including IoT and 5G services, networking solutions, security, advanced communications services, and managed and professional services - and will lead product management across all customer segments. A veteran international technology executive with experience in operations and technology functions within the cable and telecom industry, he is an investor, advisor and board member with a focus on the consumer and financial enterprise, wireless industry, technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) sector. Aamir has also held senior leadership roles at Liberty Global, Covad, TELUS and Qwest. Aamir sits on several startup and non-profit boards, is technical advisor to technology companies and holds 11 patents in telecommunications.


Copyright © 2021 Genesys. All rights reserved.


All-in-one cloud contact centER solutions Providing valued interactions to build a great customer experience with trust and empathy

Watch: Using Empathy to provide Personalisation

"We also have integration with major tech partners, including Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, Adobe, Zoom and Amazon." Bruce Rosen, SVP, Genesys Great customer service improves brand loyalty; valuable interactions build the trust to facilitate that. “At Genesys we provide our customers with a way to manage and implement the qualities of empathy into their customer experience,” explains SVP Bruce Rosen. “We can drive a new level of personalization; our Experience As a ServiceSM offering allows every company, big or small, to deliver that personalization at scale.”

Genesys Cloud

Cloud accounts for 65% of the Genesys customer base with 85% of its business operating on a SaaS model with the flexibility to meet developing customer needs. “Our technology transformation highlights a cloud -first strategy,” says Rosen. “Our digital marketplace AppFoundry offers 400 applications that can be integrated to enhance Genesys solutions. We also have integration with major technology

partners, including Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, Adobe, Zoom and Amazon.”

Hyper Personalised Experience

Built for mission critical reliability and redundancy, the enterprise grade solutions Genesys deploy help companies like Verizon in their quest for the agility to be available for customers 24/7. Reacting to changing market conditions with the ability to add new features in real time is key. “We’re also seeing a rise in digital self-service,” notes Rosen. “Genesys chatbots driven by AI and Machine Learning, as well as our predictive engagement, support companies with the ability to deliver a hyper-personalized experience for their customers with every interaction. And as we've all seen and experienced during this past year, the support of remote working from home and customer experience is now becoming the new normal.”


VERIZON BUSINESS

“W e are well positioned as the 21st century platform for innovation and growth thanks to our 5G ecosystem” AAMIR HUSSAIN

SVP AND CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER, VERIZON BUSINESS

34

May 2021

ensure planogram compliance, and we’re adding tremendous value to manufacturing and logistics by helping large businesses streamline their operations with realtime machine vision applications. We also provide gaming companies with a platform that enables a rich, console-like experience on smartphones.” Existing trends in digital transformation have only been supercharged by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and Verizon Business has risen to the challenge. “I really have seen five years worth of transformation in the last year, quite literally. That has also changed the behavior of our customers, our employees, and ourselves in terms of how we show up on behalf of society.” Customers are now urgently looking at how they can transform their networks,


VERIZON BUSINESS

Verizon Business’s Technology Solutions in a Digital World

as Hussain explains: “De-centralisation of resources, the densification of the network, adoption of mobility and cloud security, and virtualisation are just a few of the trends we’re seeing. Businesses now want to use more advanced communications technologies. They want to use home networks and still remain secure and they want access to all of their corporate infrastructure in the cloud. We are helping provide all of those capabilities.” Verizon Business’ work is enabled by the support of a number of key partners, slotting into the company’s conception of three product layers: connectivity, platform and solutions. “We're seeing a lot of customers move to the cloud,” says Hussain. “They're using the cloud for their communications needs. We, as a global services provider, have

the opportunity to work with partners such as Genesys for our end customer contact center needs. We also work with Cisco across our portfolio to provide networking, collaboration and calling solutions to our customers as they migrate their businesses to the cloud – taking them out of IT closet and towards the edge.” Partners are also a vital part of the company’s 5G provision, as Hussain explains. “Nokia, Samsung, and Ericsson are part of our 4G and 5G networks, and we continue to build with them. We are also building private networks with them, which will help enable 5G’s industrial automation capabilities.” On the solutions side, partners include the likes of IBM and SAP. “IBM has obviously their cloud offering. They also have AI and ML platforms, and we are working with them very closely mobile-magazine.com

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Deploy services your customers want, when and where they need them Meet your customer’s needs and create new revenue. The open, flexible, software-defined Cisco 5G architecture will help you maximize 5G profitability and create premium connected experiences.

Learn more


Getting up to speed with Cisco's 5G architecture

Watch: Cisco - 5G Pioneers

Cisco's Bob Everson, Senior Director of 5G Architecture talks about what it's like being one of the pioneers of 5G technology and Verizon's trusted partner Founded in 1984 in San Francisco, it is the worldwide leader in technology that powers the internet. Cisco is a market leader in advanced technology solutions for Enterprise, Service Providers and Cloud, helping their customers and partners to achieve their intended business outcomes. As Verizon builds its 5G network, Cisco continues to act as a trusted partner. However, before anything further is said about the benefits of 5G for telecom, it is important to understand what the 5G architecture encompasses. Speaking on the extent of implementation, Bob Everson, Cisco’s Senior Director of 5G Architecture says “5G is not a singular technology. For us, it's really important that we take a systems approach on the components that deliver a 5G system, but then also look at the whole ecosystem of the applications and the users, and how all that ties together.” Being a pioneer in 5G technology and applications, Cisco focuses on maximising the use of technology to improve business operations for its customers in order to

deliver tangible results. Everson states that although 5G is the future, it also makes systems vulnerable to threat. Owing to the deep-rooted nature of 5G integration, one of Cisco’s key tasks is developing a holistic approach in understanding these operations and providing solutions that predict and prevent any threat. Speaking in conclusion on the application of 5G across different operations, Everson adds that organizations will see an increasing overlap in environments between enterprise and direct consumers, so having a protected connection and an infrastructure built to last will and should be any organization’s top objective. As organisations look to the future of work and move to a more hybrid work model, service providers must ensure that their customers are well-connected with multiple levels of security and have a seamless environment to operate within.

Learn more today


VERIZON BUSINESS

“I really have seen five years worth of transformation in the last year, quite literally” AAMIR HUSSAIN

SVP AND CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER, VERIZON BUSINESS

to create the revolutionary industry of the future that allows our customers to be nimble and really helps them in their digital journey. We bring the network, we bring our security, advanced communications, IoT, and other things, and IBM provides the applications. We do the same thing with SAP. SAP has some fundamental vertical solutions in the retail and manufacturing segments that we combine as part of our 5G network and provide really innovative solutions to our customers.” 38

May 2021

Another trusted partner is Mutualink. “Working together, Verizon and Mutualink can instantly provide interoperability to any public safety stakeholder and bridge voice, video systems, data, alarms and sensors (including body cameras and fixed sensors) to enable real time collaboration and 360 degree situational awareness to


VERIZON BUSINESS

support our Verizon Frontline Responders,” says Hussain. “Verizon recently announced Verizon Frontline as a continuation of our commitment to public safety - Verizon has supported first responders for our entire 21 year history, leading the way on priority voice calls, virtual segmentation and network reliability. With well

over 10 years of commitment to first responders, Mutualink has led the public safety communications industry in the innovation of solutions for interoperable communications, and created the only platform available today that allows for the instant sharing of voice, video and data regardless of device or network.” mobile-magazine.com

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VERIZON BUSINESS

MUTUA

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VERIZON BUSINESS

“We enable the digital economy through our services, connectivity platform and solutions” AAMIR HUSSAIN

SVP AND CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER, VERIZON BUSINESS

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Aside from assisting its customers with COVID-19 disruption, Verizon Business has also embraced the changes it has wrought internally. “I started in Verizon in December of 2019, says Hussain. “And we went to work 100% from home in March of 2020. I haven't been back to the office since. Despite that being unthinkable a year or two ago, we've been very effective and have learned how

to carry on with advanced communications and virtual meetings. We’ve figured out how to be much more effective working from home. That means additional communications with employees, and making sure that we are doubling down on emotional intelligence.” That experience has informed the solutions it offers customers. “We’ve begun to offer all kinds of secure mobile-magazine.com

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5G: partnering to innovate Ericsson’s 5G technology and your networks deliver unprecedented speed and flexibility, carrying more data than ever before. Our 5G is made for innovation.


VERIZON BUSINESS

work from home solutions. If we had taken that solution to a customer two years ago, they would have thought long and hard about adopting it. Now, our customers are driving us to create more and more solutions.” Looking to the future, the company will continue to be guided by a number of key and unchanging principles. “The first is digital experience and putting the customer first. Second is simplification. The third is about focusing on life cycle, managing what's out there, not just building it and sending it out, but also enhancing it over time. Last is 5G leadership. 5G is our future. It helps us create leadership on many fronts - not only providing high-speed connectivity, but also creating new applications and experiences

that can use the capabilities of 5G.” Hussain emphasises that even despite its successes, Verizon Business is only at the middle point of a continuing journey. “We’ve built a great network. We have a great team, we have great processes, and now we need to enable others to come use us as a platform to innovate for their own businesses and their own solutions. That is key to our success. We are forging large partnerships, and we feel that we have the assets, we have the tools, we have the capabilities and the platform for us to innovate together with our partners and customers.”

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TELECOMS & SUSTAINABILITY

DEMATERIALISATION

and the future of work. Anders Erlandsson from Ericsson talks dematerialisation and connectivity as a perk, a necessity and a basic worker’s right. WRITTEN BY: HARRY MENEAR

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he COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that the ways in which we work, socialise and connect will never be the same. The past year saw a globalscale, involuntary experiment with remote work-, the likes of which had never been contemplated before. The exact ramifications this year will have for the future of the enterprise have yet to be fully understood. Simultaneously, enterprises are grappling with increased need for sustainable practice throughout their operations and, at a time when the demand for digital connectivity has never been higher, reconciling these seemingly disparate goals presents a unique and timely challenge. “Over the last couple of years, we've seen an increase in the realisation that sustainability is going to be increasingly important,” says Anders Erlandsson, Head of Ericsson’s IndustryLab. “Of course, whether we see that understanding and realisation translate into real action, well, that's where we'll have to wait and see.” Ensuring that modern enterprises find ways in order to increasingly digitalise


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“The most important question is: ‘will people even go to the office at all going forward?’” ANDERS ERLANDSSON HEAD OF INDUSTRYLAB, ERICSSON

their operations, while driving increased commitments to sustainable practice is essential and, according to Erlandsson (backed up by an extensive report released by Ericsson), the two goals are more aligned than they might initially appear. The Future of Work “I think the most important question is: ‘will people even go to the office at all going forward?’” asks Erlandsson. According to new data gathered by Ericsson, the answer is probably “no”. The report, which was released back in March, points to a rapidly accelerating trend of “dematerialisation” taking hold across the modern enterprise. It all sounds very Star Trek, I know, but Erlandsson explains that the reality is not only very simple, but the process 48

May 2021

is already underway. In short, dematerialisation means that enterprises are adjusting their physical assets and infrastructures to better reflect a world in which almost 60% of (white collar) work will be done remotely by 2030 and, according to 40% of decision-makers surveyed, the centralised physical office will no longer exist. “I think what we've learned during the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in some markets where there has been a very strongly established culture of employers being against working from home, that it is very much feasible to work from outside the office,” Erlandsson adds. “Companies have shifted their attitudes towards working from home, and are really looking ahead to a situation where a significant portion of the workforce is


TELECOMS & SUSTAINABILITY

Things like the need to heat offices – which is one of the major energy consumption factors for a modern enterprise – for example, will be dramatically reduced by the dematerialisation process, as more and more people work remotely.” The global shift to remote work that Ericsson predicts will be a big contributor to dematerialisation, says Erlandsson, insofar that enterprises will, at a fundamental level, need less office space going forward – which also reduces the need for everything from heating, cooling and ICT infrastructure, to espresso machines and new ping pong paddles for the break room. “As we've seen over the past year, technology really is enabling a significant shift towards a dematerialised workplace,” Erlandsson explains. “However, connectivity is a must.” Essential Connectivity The past 12 months have already been an effective demonstration of just how essential connectivity – and the mobile network operators (MNOs) that provide it – not going into the office on a daily basis.” have become to a world where hundreds of By removing the majority (or even all) of millions of people need the internet to work, the demand for enterprises to have a physical not from their offices, but from their spare presence, digitalisation – along with the bedrooms, home offices and (in the case of increasing shift towards using renewable our editorial director) the shed at the bottom energy and several other factors – becomes a of their garden. powerful tool for reducing a business’ carbon impact. “Due to the shift to the public cloud, If the dematerialisation of the modern enterprise continues, then the demands we're not seeing a linear increase in power placed upon enterprises, MNOs and consumption tied to IT services. Enterprises individuals are also about to undergo a are getting more out of every kilowatt fundamental shift. hour due to the economies of scale that are created by the public Erlandsson, talking to me via Microsoft Teams, explains that, cloud,” Erlandsson explains, adding “Right now, I'm talking to you on that, “the movement of things dematerialisation front-runners who behalf of Ericsson using a private like devices to home use will not expect to use allfibre connection that I pay for have much more than a marginal renewable energy by 2030 effect on power consumption. myself. I'm effectively subsidising

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TELECOMS & SUSTAINABILITY

Outside company premises At company premises

2019

2030 42% White-collar employees’ estimated share of work time across locations during 2019 and expectations for 2030 (Ericsson)

“Technology really is enabling a significant shift towards a dematerialised workplace. However, connectivity is a must” ANDERS ERLANDSSON HEAD OF INDUSTRYLAB, ERICSSON

59% my company's need for my services.” For Erlandsson, a high-speed fibre connection is something he wanted, had available to him, and paid to have long before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he notes, a near-universal shift towards remote working highlights not only the increased need for high-speed internet in places where it wasn’t a necessity before, but also the increasing digital divide between those who have access to these services and those who do not. “Making sure employees have a space in which they can work from home is one of the most important things that needs to be addressed as this work from home revolution happens, because doing your job from your kitchen table on a slow or unstable internet connection isn't a long-term solution,” he adds. “We're going to see a lot more working from home in the future, but it would be sad if this too became an issue of class or income.” mobile-magazine.com

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An intro to the Industrial 5G Accelerator with Digital Catapult and Ericsson

“The pandemic pushed the fast forward button on the future of work, giving us a decade’s worth of progress in a year’s time. And it’s clear that work will never be the same” MIKE SIEVERT CEO, T-MOBILE

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The pandemic – among other things – threw into stark relief issues of internet inequality between urban and affluent areas and rural or otherwise marginalised communities. Malcolm Johnson, Deputy Secretary General of the ITU – the United Nations’ agency responsible for all its dealings with the telecommunications sector – explained to us back in January that during the pandemic, “Overall, telecommunication networks exhibited consistent resilience … despite huge increases in traffic … Ultra-broadband technologies such as fibre to-the-home were better able to respond to spikes in broadband traffic. So, countries with large deployments of ultra-broadband have exhibited less slowdown in latency and download speed.” However, he continued, “it became clear that the digital divide is a critical barrier for many. Populations unserved or partially served by


broadband have suffered disproportionately throughout the pandemic.” A future in which working from home makes the leap from exception to the norm has the worrying potential to exacerbate this state of affairs. The “Right” Thing to do Solving these issues of digital inequality is a foundational step that needs to be taken if a dematerialised workplace – with all the sustainability and cost-saving benefits to companies that it entails – is to be made a reality. The solution, Erlandsson speculates, “doesn't lie exclusively with the service providers, or exclusively with the enterprises themselves, but rather with both.” On the service provider side, MNOs need to work harder to deliver connectivity that is not

only fast and affordable, but ubiquitously available from anywhere someone might need to work remotely. In the UK, MNOs have been making concerted efforts to broaden their network coverage and reduce “not-spots”. In February, EE announced plans to increase its 4G coverage across more than 500 areas throughout the country by the end of 2021, and 5G programs like the government’s SONIC initiative (who we’re speaking to later in this issue) are doing a lot to drive the kind of coverage that a dematerialised economy requires. This is only half the battle, however, as Erlandsson notes that, in order to draw in enterprises to help solve this problem, service providers need to start offering the right kind of product. “Service providers and MNOs could develop offerings to solve connectivity problems with products like in-home base stations, 5G fixed access wireless, and so on, but this is where the enterprises need to come in, because it's not the sort of service that the employee would ever buy,” he explains. “So, this is something that the enterprises should make sure their employees get access to.” He likens it to the fact of employees that many companies prefer working make it a priority to fully remote make sure they secure parking spaces for their employees, even going of employees don’t want to so far as to build their return to the own car parks to meet office full time demand. “If people

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What 2030 holds for enterprises . . .

02 01 Dematerialisation could make going green profitable As cloud and mobile technology allows enterprises to become more agile, we can expect to see the average enterprise become increasingly dematerialised as the decade continues.

Almost 60% of (white collar) work will be done remotely by 2030 The COVID-19 crisis may have accelerated the migration away from on-premises work significantly. By the end of the decade, 44% of decision-makers believe that there won’t be an office to go into.

05

04 Here comes the gig economy? The darker side of dematerialisation is that many workers are worried that a shift of remote work will invite a corresponding shift to more temporary employment, a la Uber Eats and Upwork.

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International growth isn’t slowing down Over 50% of domestic enterprises believe that they will have an international presence by the end of the decade. Crises like COVID-19 and the US-China trade war might slow international growth down, but they’re not stopping it.


TELECOMS & SUSTAINABILITY

03 VR and XR to the rescue To compensate for more disparate, remote-enabled workplaces, enterprises are looking more and more to technology like mixed and virtual reality to help bring people closer together, no matter how far apart they are.

06 Going green all the way Just under 75% of enterprises expect to be using mostly renewable electricity by 2030 which, combined with the shift towards the centralised public cloud, will also result in some pivotal energy savings.

couldn't drive their cars to the office, they couldn't work for the company. More recently, with more and more people driving electric cars, more and more companies are installing charging stations to let their employees charge those vehicles. Companies realised that, if they want to attract the employees they need to be successful, they need to do things like that to support the relationship,” Erlandsson continues. “I think we'll see the same realisation regarding connectivity in the future. It'll be a matter of competition between leading enterprises, which will light a fire under the rest of the industry.” So far, however, he notes that the demand from the enterprise side, and the subsequent supply from the service provider side, just haven’t materialised. “We've looked at a lot of markets and seen very few operators offering this kind of service. There are several in the fixed wireless access business, but these offerings are almost universally targeted towards the end-user, not the enterprise,” he adds. T-Mobile. A Blueprint for Dematerialisation? Within three minutes of my call with Anders being over, I opened my RSS feed to find that US MNO T-Mobile had launched the exact thing we’d been talking about, more or less at the exact time we were talking about it. In early March, the company made a big – slightly combative – announcement about a new revenue stream it intended to pursue: three new products aimed at enterprises looking to support their remote workforces: T-Mobile Enterprise Unlimited, a wireless plans with unlimited 5G on T-Mobile’s network for the same price as its competitors’ shared, pooled rate plans; T-Mobile Home Office Internet, a home broadband package designed to give remote employees the bandwidth and security needed to work mobile-magazine.com

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“Populations unserved or partially served by broadband have suffered disproportionately throughout the pandemic” MALCOLM JOHNSON

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL, ITU

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remotely; and T-Mobile Collaborate, a the butts of the competition – then it suite of mobile-first, cloud-based tools for might provide the necessary pull that business calling, messaging and conferencing enterprises need in order to start thinking from virtually any device, anywhere. about the subsidisation of their employees’ “The pandemic pushed the fast forward connectivity as being just as necessary button on the future of work, giving us a as heating their offices in the wintertime, decade’s worth of progress in or validating parking tickets. a year’s time. And it’s clear that Erlandsson reflects in closing work will never be the same,” that, “Nothing is straightforward, commented T-Mobile CEO, and nothing is easy, but this is the Mike Sievert. “Tomorrow’s direction of where we're headed. of professionals believe that workplace won’t be anything It's always easy, when you look at it remote work is like the old work from office from the company's point of view “the new normal” world, and it won’t be like to ask how to save a buck here and today’s work from home world. It’ll be a buck there. But it's important to look at something new: the work from anywhere the ramifications and make an effort to (WFX) world. understand the effect that these sort of If T-Mobile can lead the charge, – changes can have on employees' quality of lighting, as Erlandsson put it, a fire beneath life and society as a whole.”

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VODAFONE PROCUREMENT COMPANY

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VODAFONE PROCUREMENT:

READY FOR AN EXCITING

FUTURE WRITTEN BY: SCOTT BIRCH PRODUCED BY: GLEN WHITE & CAITLYN COLE


VODAFONE PROCUREMENT COMPANY


VODAFONE PROCUREMENT COMPANY

Ninian Wilson, Group Procurement Director of Vodafone and CEO of the Vodafone Procurement Company, prepares for an exciting future fuelled by AI, ML and predictive analytics

T

Ninian Wilson, CEO of the Vodafone Procurement Company

here is nothing like chatting to a procurement leader with a 30-year career under his belt who still gets infectiously excited by the industry. That’s Ninian Wilson, Group Procurement Director of Vodafone and CEO of its subsidiary, the Vodafone Procurement Company, who visibly lights up when talking about procurement being in the spotlight and the technology that is shaping its ongoing transformation. Or, maybe, he’s in a particularly good mood because his beloved Scotland just beat old rivals England at rugby – the first time that has happened in England for 38 years. Of Scottish origin, Wilson is speaking to us from his home office in Luxembourg. Home working is just one aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic that has impacted Vodafone, from both a business and customer perspective. And where there is disruption, there is opportunity. And when you’re Ninian Wilson with €24 billion to spend on behalf of Vodafone, and also responsible for all supply chain operations, opportunity is around every corner. “I'm overall responsible for our procurement activity across four categories of spend,” says Wilson. “The total spend is about €24 billion euros and that's split across networks, indirect spend, content, and obviously devices. “We always think about the cost savings we've made and, and the spend value coming down as we do more and more work with our internal clients, but also we've made a number of acquisitions. So that spend base has been broadly stable over the last few years, even with buying and selling of companies.” mobile-magazine.com

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The spend may not have changed significantly in recent years – Wilson joined Vodafone 12 years ago – but the manner of the procurement process certainly has. That digital transformation story started around 5 years ago and, like many great developments, was born of frustration. Wilson is the first to admit he was trying to get data and information which was not as simple then as it may now sound. kind of hard to get. Out to showcase the digital opportunity to his then boss Nick Reed (now the Group Chief Executive), Wilson and his team set about digitalising the supplier performance scorecard. “From that initial scorecarding, we then worked really hard on some of our P2P processes and digitising all that work and creating scorecards and dashboards in near real time for all of that activity,” says Wilson. “So we started around, strategically, how are we doing? And then we digitised the back 64

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and now our focus has shifted to what we call ‘autonomous sourcing’, which is going to be the next sort of quantum leap in procurement – procurement that runs itself with almost no human intervention.”

“You've got to have a digital first mentality – you've got to really think about how you can digitise what we do” NINIAN WILSON

CEO, VODAFONE PROCUREMENT


VODAFONE PROCUREMENT COMPANY

NINIAN WILSON TITLE: SUPPLY CHAIN DIRECTOR & CEO INDUSTRY: TELECOMMUNICATIONS

EXECUTIVE BIO

LOCATION: LUXEMBOURG Ninian joined Vodafone in June 2009 as SCM IT Director, and was appointed to the board of Vodafone Procurement Company in November 2009. From 2014–2016 Ninian held the role of SCM Technology Director, responsible for all Technology sourcing in Vodafone including Networks, IT and new product development. March 2016 he was appointed Director of Group SCM and CEO of the Vodafone Procurement Company. Prior to joining Vodafone, Ninian held the position of Operations Director for

Royal Mail, where he managed the largest workforce in the UK with full accountability for the delivery of its transformation programme. Previously Ninian held senior positions in Cable & Wireless, and was a member of the board of the Caribbean business unit and Trustee of the Pension Scheme. Ninian is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply and a life member of the Institute of Directors. He lives in Luxembourg with his wife, Philippa.


VODAFONE PROCUREMENT COMPANY

NINIAN WILSON CV

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DID YOU KNOW...

“My name is Ninian Wilson, and I'm the CEO of the Vodafone Procurement Company here in Luxembourg. I also run all supply chain operations for Vodafone. I started my career in a company called British Gas in 1990 in the department called supplies and transport. I worked in various roles in British Gas through the 1990s until 2000 and then I joined a telecommunications company called Cable & Wireless, becoming chief procurement officer, and chief property officer. In 2006, I joined Royal Mail as CPO then became Operation Director. And then, in 2009, I joined Vodafone.”

Before any procurement professionals drop their mugs of coffee and reach for something a tad stronger, Wilson is not suggesting for one minute that the human role and input will become obsolete – far from it. However, what we will see is a streamlining of processes, leaning on data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate certain tasks to provide the best outcomes. “Our jobs all change over time when we get new tools and it wouldn't apply to everything we do,” says Wilson. “But if we think of the vendor selection piece, a tool or a capability that looks at the internet can bring in some suppliers, probably picks a few common ones, create the tender document, send it out, do the balanced scorecard evaluation at the end. “This'll be a cool bit if we get it to do the negotiation, then put it into a contract, and uploads pricing information into our ERP system. That's what we're calling autonomous sourcing. We're currently building that to go live with our POC at the end of April.” It’s certainly an exciting time to be working in supply chain and procurement right now. Can anyone remember a time when supply chain in particular may be leading the news agenda? And while nobody would have wished for the causes of this particular focus (the global shutdown and inevitable pivot caused by the pandemic), it’s good to see that the people responsible for ensuring that everything ran so magnificently for years are now being recognised. Just as scientists are once again trusted experts and key workers applauded from our doorsteps, supply chain specialists are here to solve our fundamental needs – from food to Pfizer-BioNTech. Is 2021 procurement’s time to shine? “It's probably the second S curve that we've been on as a function, with the first around e-procurement in the 2000s,” says Wilson. “I think we're genuinely on the second S curve


VODAFONE PROCUREMENT COMPANY

Ninian Wilson describes Vodafone Procurement's Digital Transformation

due to probably three drivers. We mentioned autonomous sourcing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence becoming real and deployable in business as usual activities. “And yes, supply chains have come into very sharp relief through the pandemic because,

“We will be making some more digital investments to make sure that we maintain that resilience NINIAN WILSON

CEO, VODAFONE PROCUREMENT

you know, does your supply chain work? Does it work in a pandemic? Is it resilient? Will it continue to be resilient? And I, for one, I've never had more airtime with the executive team here at Vodafone – you are high profile as a supply chain function right now. I think it’s a tremendously exciting time, a lot of risk to manage, but a lot of new things coming as well.” The Vodafone Procurement Company -VPC - was well prepared for the pandemic when it really hit home. A lot of digitisation work had already been done. Within three weeks of the company experiencing its first case close to the business, they moved 98,000 working from home. So one of the big learnings was their investment in digital was how that helped them continue. Wilson also recalls back in December 2019 that some Chinese partners mentioned, during a coffee break in London, that something ‘really bad was happening’ in a place called Wuhan. mobile-magazine.com

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Cyber Security & Technical Professional Service Global Field Engineering LEARN MORE

Sustainability / Green Credentials – Ricoh Company limited has received an “A” score rating for the Climate Change 2020 Programme – CDP*1 2020 Supplier Engagement Leaderboard


Ricoh: Empowering Vodafone’s digital capabilities

Watch Ricoh supporting Vodafone with their global services Joanna Parker, Business Development Director at Ricoh UK Ltd on delivering vital IT services directly into Vodafone UK & Group A global organisation historically known for its print services, Ricoh is also recognised today for IT services in its own right – empowering digital workplaces using innovative technologies and services to enterprise organisations around the world. Joanna Parker, Business Development Director at Ricoh UK Ltd, is responsible for delivering cyber security and field services into Vodafone. “Ricoh has worked in partnership with Vodafone since 2004,” says Parker, “supporting their mobile and, more recently, their fixed network with solutions and professional services around security infrastructure, cyber security services, and cloud infrastructure.” When it comes to cyber security, for instance, Ricoh has a dedicated engineering team working with Vodafone’s own highly skilled security engineers, providing design, implementation and support for Vodafone’s critical security infrastructure.

“We support implementation, rationalisation and consolidation, as well as specific programmes to manage increased demand and generate more efficiencies across the Vodafone cellular network,” says Parker. Ricoh has over 90,000 employees, giving the company significant capability to support field services and field engineering globally. Boosting their capabilities even further, Ricoh has also recently acquired MTI Technology – specialising in data and cyber security, data centre modernisation, IT managed services and IT transformation services. MTI provide a range of professional and managed services designed to help customers accelerate and de-risk their IT transformation projects. Such capability allows Ricoh to not only support Vodafone but also Vodafone's customers who are looking at cloud-based and secure managed security infrastructures.

LEARN MORE


VODAFONE PROCUREMENT COMPANY

VPC set up a crisis team in early January to start managing the supply chain, especially for consumer products. “While we had a few blips in the supply chain, we've managed that as a company really well,” says Wilson. “One of the key learnings is really understanding your supply chain and how resilient your supply chain is.” Which brings us around nicely to Procurement With A Purpose – an initiative introduced to place purpose at the centre of how Vodafone runs the business. This means making it central to investment decisions, how they operate and how they engage with stakeholders, whether they're customers, NGOs, or governments. “Our purpose strategy for the company is based on three pillars,” explains Wilson. “One is helping society become more digital 70

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“You should be doing machine learning, you should be doing artificial intelligence, but predictive is kind of cool if we can get there” NINIAN WILSON

CEO, VODAFONE PROCUREMENT


“It's not a magic bullet, but our partners will learn that if they do more on these pillars, they will score higher and win more business. And that allows us to translate that purpose vision during the supply chain.”

– everybody can see during the pandemic that's a good thing to do. The second pillar is around diversity and inclusion, both in the workplace but also in our supply chain. And then the third pillar is around planning. And we think there's a fundamental opportunity for both our company Vodafone, but also for supply chains to really reinforce the point that we've only got one planet. “I think if you're in supply chain and there's an opportunity to drive some real systematic change, then I think we should take it – and we've taken that opportunity. Our tender documents now have 20% of the scoring based around purpose. So we're not just talking about it, we're actually putting it into tenders because we know if we do that then over time it will change behaviours.

Key Partners Being a global telecommunications giant means Vodafone inevitably works with householdnames from the consumer technology world. That obviously means Google, Facebook, Apple, while Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Oracle are “key partners for Vodafone”. The company also works with infrastructure partners including Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and Cisco. On top of those, Wilson estimates Vodafone works with around 11,500 suppliers across the group. However, when considering organisations that are helping Vodafone to transform supply chain, then Wilson highlights some strategic partners that are of particular significance. “There's probably four or five partners who are really important to us,” he says. “First of all, we have a real strategic relationship with SAP and SAP has become the backbone for a lot of our digital enablement within supply chain – whether it's inventory management, PO processing, or actually helping us work through awarding tenders. So SAP Ariba is there. Above that, we're using S/4HANA, which holds all of our data, but then what we've done is built niche products on top of that, to make sure that we could really capitalise on tools that help us visualise performance. “We pull that data from S/4HANA and we then visualise it with a tool called Celonis – a German unicorn. It's a fantastic company to work with. And they've really helped us visualise all of our key metrics and scores, both on compliance and efficiency. “The second to the company we've worked with is SirionLabs. They helped us with commercial contract management, capturing mobile-magazine.com

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the KPIs and making sure those are presented in the correct way. And also that we actually do manage the contract after the award, which is sometimes a bit of an Achilles heel for procurement. “We've also just resigned with Vizibl – an SRM tool. They provide information and data on your strategic relationships. So if we have a strategic relationship say with Microsoft then all of the data – what we buy from Microsoft, what we sell to Microsoft, what we do together – will be hosted in that tool and made visible to all key stakeholders. One of the challenges in, in distributed companies is keeping everybody joined up with where you are on key relationships, so Vizibl keeps everybody joined up, but also tracks progress against some key initiatives which we've got with each of those partners.” Smarter data analytics Vodafone uses a wealth of smart tools to provide unprecedented visibility, transparency and increased efficiencies based on data, but what if you could take that to the next level with predictive analytics? Having that historical database helps to look ahead to potential problems or to reduce inefficiencies. Wilson talks about getting to a point where he may even be able to predict contract failure. While admitting those advanced analytics are not quite there yet, disruption like Covid-19 highlighted the need to assess and mitigate risk in the supply chain. That not only means being wary of companies that may be at risk of failure, but also supporting those that need it most by perhaps purchasing more inventory or adjusting payment terms. And you've got 12,000 vendors. It's moderately difficult to answer. So I'd like to have all of that analytics in place where I can know, see I'm touching a button. 72

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“I think that becomes the new frontier for procurement,” says Wilson. “You should be doing machine learning, you should be doing artificial intelligence, but predictive is kind of cool if we can get there. Some companies are doing the cool bits of predictive. We saw some great work by Bob Murphy from IBM. I think there's a huge opportunity for us in predictive analytics, especially when you get into physical supply chain operations. “We will be making some more digital investments to make sure that we maintain that resilience and build upon it over the next two to three years.”


“I think it’s a tremendously exciting time, a lot of risk to manage, but a lot of new things coming as well” NINIAN WILSON

CEO, VODAFONE PROCUREMENT

All of this brings us nicely to Wilson’s ambition to make Vodafone the best procurement function in the world and create sustainable competitive advantage for the company. Our aim is to be the best procurement function in the World and create sustainable competitive advantage for Vodafone. But the billion-euro question is, how do you achieve that? And what does it actually look like? Wilson is modest in his assessment of current performance when it comes to where they ultimately want to be in terms of innovation. He says on a good day, his team are scoring 6.5 out of 10. On a bad day, that might be a straight 6.


VODAFONE PROCUREMENT COMPANY

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Adobe solutions empower Vodafone to digitally transform Geoff Pennells, Global Account Director at Adobe, on the collaborative relationship with Vodafone Procurement Company As the inventors of the PDF and pioneers of other smart technologies, Adobe empowers businesses to meet the challenges of digital transformation. Like Vodafone Procurement Company (VPC). Adobe provides it with a wide range of solutions that provide detailed data and insight, asset management, personalisation and data management. “Vodafone Procurement Company is a critical part of our global partnership with Vodafone which has been in place for over 10 years,” explains Geoff Pennells, Global Account Director at Adobe. “VPC is crucial to our ability to understand global demands for Adobe and we are in constant contact to ensure that we are responding to the needs of the business as they evolve over time.” VPC and Adobe are always on the lookout for ways to improve their working relationship. Through continual and open collaboration, both parties provoke their respective broader businesses with challenges on how they can achieve things never before thought possible. “The mindset of never settling for second best, always challenging the status quo where it doesn’t make sense and continuing to evolve our capabilities and value we deliver to Vodafone

with ever more flexible agreements – this is key to how we continue to drive innovation across all levels of our partnership with VPC,” says Pennells. Adobe prides itself on its ability to bring to market industry-leading products and services that can help its customers deliver exceptional experiences to their customers. VPC and Adobe work together to make sure they are sharing innovations and mapping those to better understand the requirements of Vodafone in their own transformation to becoming a digital-first business. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of digital solutions for businesses. “Overnight, we have transitioned to a global digital economy. The pandemic accelerated the need for digital transformation among businesses of all sizes,” says Pennells. “As the world begins to reopen, digital businesses will be the winners and only companies that can understand their customers’ preferences and personalise experiences will survive and thrive.”

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“More than anything, it's a mindset around excellence and wanting to be the best at what you do,” he says. “We try and get everybody in the team to be at their best and we try and develop tools and technologies to help support them. Are we there at the moment? No. Are there companies and sectors that are way ahead of us? Absolutely. So we've got a tremendous amount of work still to do. “You've got to have a digital first mentality – you've got to really think about how you can digitise what we do. One of the other technologies we use to sign contracts is DocuSign. It's really simple. You go in and you click it, you point and you put your signature right here. And I was sitting thinking this morning, we also have our compliance sheet on the front of it. So you look through the compliance sheet and see if you're happy. But I was thinking if I've got a compliance sheet and everything is positive, why am I actually spending time going and clicking and putting my signature on it and why isn't that completely AI and automated right through? And if that was automated and, given we sign off 3,500 contracts per annum at the Vodafone Procurement Company, how long does it take to do that? “So I'm trying to think of the productivity gain. And then I'm trying to think if I got that extra time for me or my direct reports could be running more workshops with some of our key partners around how we can add more revenue together. So that's how I'm trying to think of the operational excellence question. “I think you've got to be excellent in supply chain and you've got to have all of your processes really nailed because if you don't have that excellence at an operational level, how can you actually step up and add more value to the business?”

“If you think of what we spend to make Vodafone successful for both us and our customers, we have about €9 billion of spend in our network around about €3 billion of spend on IT, hardware, software and professional services. What I'd call the indirect spend accounts for about €5 billion. So that's everything from property facilities to fleet. On content, which is a new category for us, which we're bringing into the Vodafone procurement company, we spend about a billion. So that’s Spotify, Netflix, big deals with Discovery. And then the final one is devices spend. With great companies such as Samsung and Apple, we spent about €6 billion a year. It gets you to roughly €24 billion, give a give or take a bit of loose change.”

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“I think there's a huge opportunity for us in predictive analytics” NINIAN WILSON

CEO, VODAFONE PROCUREMENT

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VODAFONE PROCUREMENT COMPANY

Ninian Wilson describes Vodafone Procurement's Supply Chain

“So I think you'll never get me above 6.5 out of 10. The moment you think you're 8 or 9 is the moment you start going backwards.” Future of Procurement Throughout our interview, Wilson comes across as amiable, energised and a man who has a clear vision of his global operations – both now and in the immediate future. If events of the last 12 months have taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen, and probably will at some stage. So how do you plan for the future and try to use predictive analytics in times like these? For Wilson, it’s about setting out clear priorities and ambitions. “For us in supply chain for the next 12 to 18 months, there are three clear priorities,” he says. “Number one is the transformation of our physical logistics operation. So we're going to build a European platform, Sub-Saharan

platform and completely transform how we work with partners and how they supply product to us. “Number two is autonomous sourcing. We think that's coming, and we will have a POC up and running by the end of April and will invest in that. And then the third area for us is really thinking about how new buying models evolve. So I'm pretty convinced that the world's going to end up a number of different marketplaces and part of the CPO’s job or the category manager's job will be figuring out which marketplace they want to connect with to get best value, and then how their analytics platforms will help them actually make those decisions.” “It's not easy to do, but it must be doable to actually get to that position.”

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OPENRAN:

THE FUTURE OF

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5G NETWORKS

In order to increase competition, interoperability and innovation, the UK government is throwing its weight behind OpenRAN adoption in 2021. WRITTEN BY: HARRY MENEAR

I

n the wake of Brexit and during what are hopefully the waning months of the COVID-19 crisis, the importance of 5G adoption in the UK cannot be understated. According to data published by research firm Analysis Mason, 5G has the potential to add around £15bn of economic growth to the UK economy, if the country can “seize the full potential of 5G networks and implement advanced industrial use cases, over and above the substantial benefits expected from enhanced mobile broadband.” It’s a tall order. The importance of taking full advantage of everything 5G can provide isn’t lost on UK enterprises, or the current government. However, the UK - like many other countries pushing forward with their 5G strategies - has found itself faced with a problem. 5G networks, like other generations before them, are largely sold to network operators by a single company offering an end-to-end, proprietary solution. Everything, from the radio antennas and base stations to the software that sits behind the network’s physical infrastructure, is designed to function as a cohesive whole. And, as anyone who’s ever owned a macbook can attest, while closed and complete systems tend to run smoother than more opensourced alternatives, they rarely play well mobile-magazine.com

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“OpenRAN has the potential to fast forward innovation in the 5G network, accelerating the rate of production of new architectures and solutions” JOE BUTLER CTO, DIGITAL CATAPULT

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with third party integrations and hardware. The upshot of this is that, by and large, the world’s telecom operators have a very limited series of choices when it comes to swapping out and modifying different elements of their 5G networks. This wouldn’t be much of an issue if there were a lot of options to choose from. Sadly, however, this is not the case. Currently, most mobile operators looking to build a 5G network have a grand total of three choices when it comes to where to buy the infrastructure to underpin that network: Nokia, Ericsson or Huawei. In the UK (not to mention the US and a growing cohort of other nations) that grew even shorter in the past few years, with the Chinese technology giant incurring a blanket ban on selling 5G infrastructure


5G NETWORKS

The future of advanced digital technologies | Digital Catapult

to UK mobile network operators by two leading vendors, network (MNOs). The UK Government is infrastructure has largely so committed to ejecting Huawei been designed to be sold as from the UK’s telecom industry a proprietary, top-to-bottom OpenRAN that, back in November of last solution. The issue this causes market share in 2020 year, it passed a new law (aimed is that these networks lack at increasing the UK’s telecom interoperability with any third network security standards and party software or hardware, OpenRAN “removing the threat of high risk suppressing competition and market share vendors”) under which companies making it hard for smaller, more in 2025 in breach of the new regulations agile suppliers (who might make can face fines of up to 10% of their annual a single component of a 5G network very, turnover, or - if found to be in direct very well, but don’t have the scale to make violation - as much as £100,000 a day a whole network) to gain a foothold. for working with a “high-risk vendor.” The upshot: goodbye Huawei. The fallout for OpenRAN to the Rescue the UK’s MNOs: a very small pool of existing Meet OpenRAN, a methodology that’s options got even smaller. starting to gain some serious traction In a market overwhelmingly controlled in several markets, including the UK. In

>1%

10%

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5G NETWORKS

“In four to five years, we’d expect significant proliferation of 5G to have occurred across the UK” ADRIAN O’CONNOR CEO, BENETEL

short, OpenRAN is a way of building a network that emphasises standardisation and therefore interoperability between components sold by a range of third party suppliers. This means that carriers can send requests for proposals (RFPs) to multiple vendors, potentially choosing multiple suppliers to work across a single major project, something which is

increasingly popular due to the increased agility and resilience that accompany a diversified supply chain and partner ecosystem. On the supplier side, advocates for OpenRAN adoption believe that the approach will lower barriers to entry, foster collaboration and innovation, and ultimately accelerate the UK’s journey to fully embracing the potential of 5G. “OpenRAN has the potential to fast forward innovation in the 5G network, accelerating the rate of production of new architectures and solutions,” says Joe Butler, chief technology officer at Digital Catapult, the UK Government’s agency that advocates and organises on behalf of faster adoption in the technology space. He’s also one of the leading figures in the SONIC project, a collaboration between Digital Catapult and the UK’s mobile industry watchdog mobile-magazine.com

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Ofcom. Announced a few months ago, SONIC is shaping up to be one of the driving forces behind OpenRAN adoption in the UK. Adrian O’Connor, CEO of Irish telecom equipment manufacturer Benetel, agrees about the potential impact that OpenRAN could have on 5G in the UK. “In four to five years, we’d expect significant proliferation of 5G to have occurred across the UK, with a mix of public and private networks having been rolled out. In this 5G scenario, we would expect OpenRAN technologies to play a significant role,” he explains. “A key factor in the OpenRAN success is the government’s 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy, alongside specific initiatives such as SONIC, which all target to ensure a competitive and vibrant supply chain for the UK 5G ecosystem.” Meet SONIC The UK Government, in an attempt to speed the UK’s 5G adoption and unlock some of

“The chances of creating another Nokia in the UK are close to zero” IAN LIVINGSTON

CEO, BT (2008-2013)

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that valuable economic growth, launched a new partnership in December of last year. Led by Digital Catapult and Ofcom, the SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre (SONIC for short) has been tasked with exploring ways to increase one of the key factors needed for the success of widespread OpenRAN adoption: interoperability. “SONIC is funded by the UK government as part of the 5G Diversification Strategy to help achieve a vision of a more open, competitive and diverse telecoms supply chain,” explains Butler, adding that the barriers to entry for new network technology firms in the UK are “very high, especially when required to build an entire end-to-end mobile access solution and operation.”


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LET THE “BEST MAN WIN”? The messaging that surrounds the OpenRAN discussion sometimes runs into a degree of confusion and self-contradiction. Former BT CEO and OpenRAN advocate, Ian Livingston, gave a widely-publicised speech to UK politicians on the topic of OpenRAN adoption back in November of 2020, and seemed to frame OpenRAN adoption within the context of a more entertaining, Hunger Games-esque battle royale (or just a Battle Royale-esque battle royale if you prefer the original). "The chances of creating another Nokia in the UK are close to zero, and I'm not sure it would be the right thing anyway," he reflected on the UK’s position “at the mercy of the Nordic duopoly.” OpenRAN, he suggests, would go a long way towards creating a larger, more even, and bloodier playing field. "Let the best man win as long as there are a lot of them," he added. While the logic is understandable, some industry analysts - including Iain Morris, an editor at Light Reading - have painted the program as a step towards protectionism, something Morris notes “is clearly at odds with a pick-the-winners approach. Nor does protectionism typically result

in lower costs and greater efficiency,” adding that, “OpenRAN might conceivably support a larger number of equipment vendors than old-school technology. It would not allow every country to insist on homegrown technologies without inflating the service provider bill.” SONIC and its participants, however, frame OpenRAN in a much more collaborative light. It’s also worth noting that the technology isn’t some plot to protect UK businesses, with a significant portion of SONIC’s participants (like Foxconn and Mavenir) hailing from outside the UK. If a shift towards OpenRAN is guilty of protectionism, it’s within the context of scale rather than any kind of nationalist segregation.

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Urban deployment and commercialisation • SONIC will combine lab integration and testing Open RAN in public indoor and outdoor locations • Once proven, vendors and operators can commercialise the new Open RAN products and vendors • Help foster growth of UK’s role in the telecoms supply chain

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Enabling open networks in the UK through SONIC • Open RAN standardises separate hardware, software and functions • New and smaller vendors can enter the market, including UK organisations • SONIC helps them integrate and prove their products in a lab or testbed alongside existing players

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Concentrating supply and evolving technology • Fewer mobile equipment vendors through consolidation and market exit • Vendors need scale to provide equipment, software, integration and support for a mobile site • Emergence of software centric networking and cloud technologies in telecoms

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Composition by Digital Catapult. Vector assets by Bukhavets Mikhail – from Shutterstock

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Now, SONIC hopes to find a solution to this problem, and then to the problems that this solution has the potential to create. “The development of open, disaggregated and software-centric networks such as OpenRAN has the potential to bring in many more products and vendors, increasing the rate of innovation, as they are now required to only provide a small part of the overall solution,” Butler continues. “However, this vision leads to more complexity, and a greater requirement for integration and interoperability, and SONIC has been developed to address these challenges for vendors and operators of all sizes.” As well as Digital Catapult and Ofcom, SONIC is assembling some of the world’s leading network technology companies with a vested interest in seeing OpenRAN succeed. In March, SONIC announced that it had brought eight OpenRAN leaders on board, including Benetel, Accelleran, Phluido, Effnet, Mavenir, Foxconn, NEC and Radisys. “The initial goal here is to undertake labbased testing on the OpenRAN solutions of different partners in relation to exactly how they interact with one another. The project will go live in late May 2021, with work focused on identifying and then ironing out any interoperability issues that might arise,” O’Connor explains. Benetel is contributing the OpenRAN radio units to the project, which will be tested for their potential to integrate with products supplied by the program’s other participants at SONIC’s lab in London. O’Connor adds that, even with all the participants’ goals squarely aligned, and the massive pool of talent they’ve assembled, the process isn’t likely to be an easy one. “Though each vendor will have made their solution compatible with the latest OpenRAN specification, that

“The development of open, disaggregated and softwarecentric networks such as OpenRAN has the potential to bring in many more products and vendors, increasing the rate of innovation” JOE BUTLER CTO, DIGITAL CATAPULT

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“ orthe theUK UK telecom “FFor telecom sector,we we hope sector, hope OpenRAN will mean OpenRAN will mean newentrants entrants - new new - new solution providers, solution providers, more more network network integrators and integrators and also also more collaboration more collaboration between suppliers” between suppliers” JOE BUTLER CTO, DIGITAL CATAPULT

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doesn’t mean that every feature within the specification will have been included. SONIC is bringing together various ecosystem players who are all trying to interoperate on the basis of a standard that is going to keep on evolving over time,” he says. More industry players are expected to join the project this month, further expanding the ecosystem of collaborators, as well as the number of offerings built to the same exacting standard. For participants in the program like Butler and O’Connor, OpenRAN represents a very bright spot in the future of the UK’s role as a potential 5G leader and economic beneficiary of the technology. “The success of OpenRAN, and the various different items of hardware and software relating to this that have now been introduced, will rely on assurance of interoperability and

solid integrations,” says O’Connor. “Access to a multi-vendor, end-to-end supply chain is going to be needed, and the work being done by SONIC will provide them with evidence that this supply chain is fit for purpose.” Butler expects that a future in which the UK manages to fully harness the potential of OpenRAN is also one in which the UK harnesses the full potential of 5G, something that might “mean driverless cars becoming a reality sooner, augmented reality advertising rolling out more quickly, or even more prosaic things like filling in in-building notspots through operator and neutral host deployments.” He concludes that, “For the UK telecom sector, we hope it will mean new entrants - new solution providers, more network integrators and also more collaboration between suppliers.” mobile-magazine.com

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TELIA INMICS - NEBULA

Shaping the Future of HR WRITTEN BY: JOANNA ENGLAND PRODUCED BY: STUART IRVING

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TELIA INMICS - NEBULA

Telia Inmics-Nebula’s HR Director, Kirsi Kantele discusses how HR has a pivotal and very active leading role within Telia Inmics-Nebula

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he past year has been a challenging one for companies globally. Not many enterprises could say the experience has been positive, as massive upheavals have seen numerous businesses struggle to ride the tidal wave of change. However, managing the digital transition, new technology and creating a culture of learning and transparency, is something that Kirsi Kantele, HR Director of Telia InmicsNebula, embraces. Despite the challenges due to COVID19, she believes the digital transformation of Telia Inmics-Nebula was not only, in her words, ‘surprisingly straightforward’ but has also brought benefits to staff, customers and the working environment. Kantele, who’s strong background in employment law and management has provided her with essential tools for her profession, explains, “I think that many lawyers are quite analytical and structured in their approach and I guess that applies to me as well. I have a strong background in legal HR which is how I started my career in Telia as an employment counsel - so I’m very familiar with the legal issues in the HR field.” It is this pragmatic and clear-headed stance that has contributed to the company’s digital transition being such a success, although Kantele points out that prior to the pandemic, Telia Inmics-Nebula Kirsi Kantele, was already well developed in terms of a HR Director, flexible working environment. Telia Inmics-Nebula

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TELIA INMICS - NEBULA

50%/50%

gender balance in top management is Telia Company’s aim by

2025

in terms of inclusion and diversity

She says, “In the new normal of working, innovation, social connections and communication can be viewed as a challenge, but I see that there is constant development in technology to help with these issues (for example Microsoft break out rooms) and changes in ways of working.” Technology, Kantele points out, has been massively instrumental in paving the way for remote and virtual working experiences. “Many of the things that we might have thought were not possible to do in a virtual setting, went surprisingly well this past year,” she says. “For example, the collaborative workshops and onboarding of employees (the kinds of things you usually do face-to-face) were handled very successfully virtually.” The day-to-day connections have been a tougher challenge, as innovation and 96

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creativity are often the result of dynamic working relationships in a socially connected setting. Though Kantele points out that these issues are far from insurmountable. “Of course, there are complications when you think about the social connections, innovations and collaborations. You really need to work harder to support them,” she says. “We adopted a practical hands-on approach by starting wellbeing breaks for employees. These are essentially 15 minute breaks so staff can get their exercise in the afternoons, and also teams can have social coffee breaks. These small changes enable the social connections with others to be maintained. Encouraging a sense of belonging and connection is very important but I also think technological developments are continually addressing these issues.”


TELIA INMICS - NEBULA

KIRSI KANTELE TITLE: HR DIRECTOR COMPANY: TELIA INMICS-NEBULA

EXECUTIVE BIO

Direction and leadership The importance of having the right people and partner assets in place to meet the future demands, but also to shape the future, are aspects that are essential to Kantele in her position as HR Director. Human capital, she says, is part of the value chain - and critical to customer satisfaction. “People function as part of the value chain in delivering the services or products to the customer, and even if we don’t usually have direct contact points with the customer, it's important that we envision that result in all our procedures. We must appreciate that added value to different stakeholders – the customer, as also to our people, owners and society.” She continues, “I try to be as open and transparent as possible in my leadership. It's essential to have openness and trust.

Kirsi Kantele leads the HR function in Telia Inmics-Nebula. Telia Inmics-Nebula employs over 500 people. Kirsi has over 10 years of experience in HR with a focus on change management as well as employment law and industrial relations. Kirsi’s passion is to help the business succeed through people agenda as well as to coach and empower people to succeed in their work and careers. Kirsi has been with Telia for ten years. Before joining Telia, Kirsi worked in the legal services sector and as a judge in a district court. Kirsi holds a Master’s degree in law from the University of Helsinki and an Executive Master’s in Management degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


TELIA INMICS - NEBULA

Introducing Surface Duo

https://www.martinrobertcook.com/

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Microsoft: inspiring women in tech Microsoft in Finland’s CMO Janina Backlund understands the value of diverse teams that represent the customers served and reflect audience needs Microsoft is partnering with Telia in Finland to deliver an evolving customer experience; one made up of rich H2H (human-to-human) interactions. “We need to stay relevant with our customers with the right message on the right channel and at the right moment,” says Microsoft Finland’s CMO Janina Backlund.

“We need to stay relevant with our customers with the right message on the right channel and at the right moment” —— Janina Backlund,CMO, Microsoft Finland

Value-Based Marketing How our values are communicated is key, says Backlund: “You can’t simply copy/paste value messages; they need to be authentic so you go to market in a way that matters to the audience you want to engage with.” Surface the Women Microsoft has been running its #SurfaceTheWomen campaign for three years now; in tune with Telia’s aim to have 40% of its leadership roles allocated to women by 2023. “Gender equality is a conversation that needs to progress. Diversity and inclusion are written into our DNA at Microsoft,” explains Backlund. “These are core values grounding the way we develop our technology which needs to be accessible for everybody. Microsoft’s offering needs to represent the diverse audiences we aim to serve. This extends all the way to the teams we recruit; which must represent those same customers. It’s difficult to create innovations that are actually meaningful for our end users if we don’t make sure the teams developing them are diverse and value inclusion.”

Watch: #SurfaceTheWomen 2021


TELIA INMICS - NEBULA

This is possibly an overhang from my legal background in that I like to keep an eye on the small details - and make sure there is always good consistency as much in leadership as there is in operations.” Kantele believes management roles have been challenged by the new work from home mandates, because hovering in the background is no longer an option. “In many ways working from home is more efficient because it allows for a better balance between work and social life. I think working remotely puts a positive pressure on leaders too. It means they must have good and efficient processes in place and it encourages transparency in terms of targets. It puts focus on leadership issues. That should be seen as a positive thing.” On digital transformation Kantele is a firm advocate of technology, and says in order to adopt digital practices successfully, companies must start with an open mind from the top level. “It's important to have the kind of culture that embraces digitalisation and different types of technologies,” she says. “And to create that kind of culture, it's essential that the top level management lead by example and be curious of the different possibilities technology can offer us. For example, HR can smooth the transition with training and capabilities. But the next stage is how digitalisation changes the way we work. That’s a big thing that really needs support and focus for teams.” She continues, “For example in Telia InmicsNebula, we have a process in terms of planning ahead - we ask what kinds of changes are we facing in the future through technology? When we move into a more digital world. In that way, we have planned well so we know what we will need and support required.” 100

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Shaping the future with HR

“Often, it's not only a technology change but a whole set of processes and ways of working that are changing” KIRSI KANTELE,

HR DIRECTOR | TELIA INMICS-NEBULA


TELIA INMICS - NEBULA

Paljon tehoa töihin. Kaikenkattavaa tietoturvaa.

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¹ Lähde: Gartner, Inc. A Comparison of Security Controls for Mobile Devices, tammikuu 2019. Tutkimuksessa oli käytössä Samsung Knox ja Knox Platform for Enterprise. ² Tuotteen elinkaari alkaa tuotteen maailmanlaajuisesta lanseerauksesta. ³ DeX toimii valikoiduissa PC-tietokoneissa ja käyttöjärjestelmän on oltava Windows 7, 10 tai Mac OS 10.13 tai uudempi. Microsoft-lisenssiä saatetaan vaatia.


TELIA INMICS - NEBULA

Communication, groundwork and teamwork are the keys to success, Kantele says. “Enquiries into how ways of working have changed and how we can plan ahead are critical. Often, it's not only a technology change but a whole set of processes and ways of working that are changing and of course competencies need to be gained, as well as other competencies where time is freed up by technology - so we need to plan ahead and decide where those changes happen.” Strategic partnerships Telia Inmics-Nebula is strategically partnered with both Microsoft and Samsung. Kantele describes both relationships as essential particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “They [Microsoft and Samsung] are very important to us. Microsoft and Samsung offer us a strong foundation for digital services and modern, digital workplace solutions and to our customers.” She says the level of support offered to both Telia Inmics-Nebula and its customers by its partners, has been critical to the company’s successes over the past year particularly.

DID YOU KNOW...

WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY

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Telia Inmics-Nebula is a company with a strong ethic when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Kirsi Kantele, who has worked in technology for the past decade, says many improvements have been made in the field of diversity, but that more work needs to be done. She says, “Diversity and inclusion are very important values for us. From Telia’s perspective, Telia Company has an ambition to have a 50/50 gender balance in top management by 2025 at the moment it is 40%.

May 2021

“When it comes to numbers, Telia Company has at the moment 40% women in leadership positions but there is still work to be done to promote equal opportunities for women in the fields of technology. When it comes to gender balance, we are going forward in a good way. But like I said, it’s important to continue to make these things visible. We must keep it on the agenda and make sure the opportunities continue to move forwards.”


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“People function as part of the value chain in delivering the services or products to the customer” KIRSI KANTELE,

HR DIRECTOR, TELIA INMICS-NEBULA

“Customer expectations in this kind of environment is one that supports employee productivity, employee satisfaction and has a focus on security. We are very focussed on data security and our IT assets. Microsoft workplace solutions combined with our services enables us to offer customers services that help them improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction. “The technology creates seamless communication across all locations and maintains better security of the data and the assets too.” The teleco’s strategy is to grow as a managed service provider, explains Kantele. “We are an enabler for modern work, with a strong focus also on end user support. The core of our strategy is valuing our people. Our aim is to be the home of experts in IT services. “It’s a very important part of how we provide the IT services to our customers – such as the end user support,” she says. “It is important to make things always a little bit smarter, simpler and key to this is digitalisation. I could use our HR change journey as an example because for us, becoming one company and being part of the Telia family has created a lot of possibilities. “We changed our HR systems to a common system used in Telia – this change contained a lot of synergies, possibilities to analyse data. We laid the groundwork for even better data-driven decision making. This enabled us to focus even more on transformational leadership issues such as performance management, leadership and competence development.” Customer-centric approach It is this strategy that has driven the Telia Inmics-Nebula customer journey. “This is something we aim to do for our customers also,” points out Kantele. mobile-magazine.com

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“Enabling them through technology is what matters for each business or function. I think that is the core of what we want to make possible for our customers. “The pandemic caused a huge change for us and for many of our customers. It meant working from home in order to keep safe. We were able to support our own employees as well as employees of our customers to make this transition. Our End User Support made great strides in supporting our customers, and our own employees. That was evident when they won the Service Desk of the year award in Finland for the second time. Our partners also played a key role in this success.” The question of security for customers as well as within Telia Inmics-Nebula is a priority for the company, which has created innovative solutions that monitor security. Kantele says, “Cyber security is part of our everyday life and the services we offer to our customers. Cyber security threats are rapidly growing due to Covid-19- related work changes. Company employees are working mostly remotely and devices and systems used are not always optimised for that purpose. The use of cloud systems has increased, but quite often these solutions are being used on basic settings. This opens up different kinds of security threats too. “We have developed a new offering to check customers' environments with several different kinds of health checks. This enables us to understand what must be fixed and also fix security related issues there may arise. We have also strong managed services offering to maintain and continuously develop our customers cloud systems. Working practices and COVID-19 The past 12 months has led to what are now seen as irreversible working practices globally. 106

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“I think working remotely puts a positive pressure on leaders too. It means they must have good and efficient processes in place and it encourages transparency in terms of targets” KIRSI KANTELE,

HR DIRECTOR, TELIA INMICS-NEBULA

Kantele believes the working from home mandate won’t change dramatically as the pandemic passes. “I think it's highly likely that we will resort to a hybrid way of working,” she says. “Part of our work will be carried out remotely, because it's efficient and preferred by many people. But there will also be occasions where face to face processes will occur. A combination of both these working realities will be very positive.” She adds that the pandemic will have lasting reverberations on the mindset of


TELIA INMICS - NEBULA

employees too, in their independence when it comes to work. “Self leadership has developed. And this will continue to increase. Working remotely has meant that people have had to find their own ways of being productive. They have had to create a balance between working from home and getting their job done. “I think that a big leap in digitalisation has occurred. We see a lot of possibilities regarding how we can run everyday activities

remotely. Sometimes these revelations can be quite small. “For me personally, I noticed how efficient and collaborative workshops can be when everyone attends via Microsoft teams. Or, in personal life how well yoga classes can be organised virtually. A sense of community can be achieved virtually as well.”

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CONNECTIVITY: GOING ABOVE & BEYOND (the Atmosphere)

With the growth of remote work, the ability for carriers to deliver connectivity to remote, rural and marginalised areas has never been more important. WRITTEN BY: HARRY MENEAR

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e’ve talked in can, and likely will, work from home, these this issue already disparities need to be addressed, before the about the growing benefits of the “new normal” become just importance of high another indicator of socio-economic and speed connectivity racial injustice. to a future in which the majority of Avanti: Breaking the Technical Barriers work is done outside the office. One of the UK-based com-munications firm Avanti may key lessons taught to us by the pandemic is present at least a piece of the puzzle when that, not only will universal, resilient, highit comes to solving rural connectivity issues. speed connectivity be an essential building Founded in 2002, Avanti has spent the past block of the next decade, but right now, 19 years growing into one of the global digital infrastructure is still a ways away from leaders in the race to deliver high-speed, meeting those needs. universal telecom coverage from space. The This is the digital divide. The idea refers to company’s vision has been to design, build a growing gap between and launch a network of the underprivileged satellites that augment members of society (like terrestrial telecom the poor, rural, elderly, connectivity, broadening and handicapped portion the reach of existing of the population) who networks and bringing live without access new generation tech (like to computers or the 5G) to more people that internet, and the wealthy, was previously possible. middle-class, and young During the pandemic, people living in urban Avanti CEO Kyle Whitehill and suburban areas who notes that, “there has have access to and been a push to ensure can afford it. satellite communications Around the world, the have a well-defined role digital divide between in 5G networks,” adding, affluent, urban, digitally “there is no doubt that KYLE WHITEHILL served communities and 2020 was a challenging CEO, AVANTI remote, marginalised year for many. The COMMUNICATIONS ones is threatening to get past year has taught bigger as carriers focus us that it’s important their 5G (and 4G LTE) efforts on delivering for the satellite communications sector to faster service to more populous markets. be flexible and adaptable, and now, more In many ways, it’s another reflection of the than ever, come together to connect those income and wealth equality that persists in rural and remote regions, keeping lines throughout multiple regions. However, if of communication open for government the world is going to pivot in the direction bodies and medical professionals in times of a post-COVID-19 world where people of crisis.”

“THE PAST YEAR HAS TAUGHT US THAT IT’S IMPORTANT FOR THE SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS SECTOR TO BE FLEXIBLE AND ADAPTABLE”

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“IN SPITE OF THE CHALLENGES THROWN UP BY COVID-19, WE HAVE ACHIEVED SOME GREAT OUTCOMES IN CONNECTING RURAL LOCATIONS” EVA COURT

DIRECTOR OF CARRIERS, AVANTI COMMUNICATIONS

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Supporting Vulnerable Communities From Above In a world where, according to Avanti’s group director of HR, Debbie Mavis, we can expect to see people travel less for work throughout all parts of the world, delivering stable internet connectivity wherever and whenever people need it is going to be crucial. “There are many ongoing projects that we are honoured to be a part of, and it is our aim to connect communities in areas where they don’t have access to good connection. We work directly with SINA (Social Innovation Academy) to provide refugees and host communities in Uganda with solar powered satellite broadband connectivity. This directly supports access to information, humanitarian and livelihood services within refugee settlements. The solution designed will also be installed into seven other sites across Ugandan Refugee settlements,” she explains. “Looking ahead at the shift we are seeing in people travelling less for work in all parts of the world, it’s important to be able to provide high stable connectivity in remote regions. Our collaboration with SINA (Social Innovation Academy) will see high-speed internet access introduced across some of the most remote areas of East Africa, enabling refugees to access tools to increase self-reliance and rebuild livelihoods, in addition to reconnecting people with their loved ones online.”

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CUSTOMER CENTRICITY

“LOOKING AHEAD AT THE SHIFT WE ARE SEEING IN PEOPLE TRAVELLING LESS FOR WORK IN ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD, IT’S IMPORTANT TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE HIGH STABLE CONNECTIVITY IN REMOTE REGIONS” DEBBIE MAVIS

GROUP HR DIRECTOR, AVANTI COMMUNICATIONS

In the UK, Avanti partnered with mobile operator EE (and fellow satellite communications company Gilat Satellite Networks) to develop a secondary network across the country to better support the needs of medical personnel and first responders. The leading role that satellite communications played in setting up this Emergency Services Network (ESN) could point the way forward for the role the technology could have in powering more resilient connectivity in rural and remote areas. Beyond the UK, Avanti has been leveraging its technology across Africa in order to better support rural communities mobile-magazine.com

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“THERE ARE A NUMBER OF KEY AND IMMEDIATE ROLES THAT SATELLITE CAN PLAY IN THE 5G ECOSYSTEM TO HELP IN THE SHIFT TOWARDS REMOTE WORKING” KYLE WHITEHILL

CEO, AVANTI COMMUNICATIONS

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for whom internet connectivity has gone from a luxury to a non-negotiable necessity during the past year. 4.2mbps Hyden, KY (4.2 “In spite of the Mbps): Rural area challenges thrown with the slowest up by COVID-19, we average internet speed in the US have achieved some great outcomes in 103.8mbps connecting rural Boardman, OR locations,” says (103.8 Mbps): Rural area with Eva Court, Avanti’s the fastest average director of carriers internet speed in for EMEA. “We the US are working with the largest Mobile Networks Operators across Middle East and Africa, supporting them to expand their networks to reach rural communities across sub-Saharan Africa. We are doing this by providing VSAT connections as part of a turnkey solution, across 2G, 3G and 4G (LTE) enabled sites in rural areas.” Court adds that the project is bringing connectivity to several locations which, “have never before been connected to the rest of the world in this way, ensuring inclusiveness of local communities.” Based on these projects, Whitehill believes that satellite can provide a huge leg up to mobile operators looking to expand both 5G and 4G LTE services into rural areas where terrestrial infrastructure is lacking. “There are a number of key and immediate roles that satellite can play in the 5G ecosystem to help in the shift towards remote working,” he says. “These include providing backhaul connections to remote and rural locations, as well as providing 5G services direct to homes and small businesses.” mobile-magazine.com

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NTT DOCOMO

UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF

WRITTEN BY: HARRY MENEAR E PRODUCED BY: CRAIG KILLINGBACK

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Hisakazu Tsuboya and Zaif Siddiqi of NTT DOCOMO discuss the Japanese telecom’s ambitious plans for 5G in Japan and overseas

T

he impact that the global 5G rollout will have across every region, industry and vertical cannot be understated. 5G connectivity will deliver ultralow latency connectivity and a generational leap in capacity, which in turn is delivering transformational innovations to enterprises, governments and the end consumer. In Japan, where the national 5G rollout is well underway, adoption is being driven by a joint effort stemming from the public and private sectors in order to meet the exacting standards of enterprise and individual customers. “5G is about delivering ultra-low latency and higher capacity than ever before. It's also about creating meaningful change in the industry,” says Zaif Siddiqi, Executive Director and Global Head of NTT DOCOMO’s 5G & IoT Business Department. NTT DOCOMO is positioning itself at the forefront of 5G innovation in Japan, and is currently in the process of taking the vital next step, when the kinds of proof of concept (POC) trials that demonstrated the potential of 5G give way to POCs demonstrating the technology’s commercial viability. “The POCs we have done in the past were about finding out how to launch 5G. The POCs we are doing now are finding out how to commercialise the technology in the enterprise sector, making 5G not only beneficial to our enterprise customers, but proving its potential as a tool to solve wider social issues as well,” Siddiqi elaborates.

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Hisakazu Tsuboya (right), Senior Vice President and General Manager (NTT DOCOMO’s 5G & IoT Business Department) Zaif Siddiqi (left), Executive Director and Global Head (NTT DOCOMO’s 5G & IoT Business Department)


NTT DOCOMO

Why 5G Matters

From the Mass Market to the Enterprise Hisakazu Tsuboya, Senior Vice President and General Manager of NTT DOCOMO’s 5G & IoT Business Department, notes that, while most of the development of the technology has so far been focused on the mass market sector, there is huge potential for 5G to have a transformative effect on the enterprise space. “5G is a very cutting edge technology. Currently, much of the focus has been on the mass market, delivering smartphone solutions to end customers, but we need to think about how best to expand in the enterprise market as well,” he says. “5G has a very big impact on the progress of companies' digital transformation.” The roles of both Tsuboya and Siddiqi share the similar goal, of exploring and expanding NTT DOCOMO’s reach within the enterprise 5G segment. However, while Tsuboya is focused on the domestic Japanese market - where NTT DOCOMO does the majority of its business - Siddiqi 120

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is responsible for the company’s overseas ambitions, an area where he explains there is immense potential to grow and better serve NTT DOCOMO’s customers. “So far, DOCOMO has really focused on the Japanese market. We do around $43bn worth of business annually as DOCOMO, and the whole NTT Group does around $100bn. We're a significant revenue generator for the Group, but pretty much all of that money is earned in Japan, and largely in the consumer market,” Siddiqi explains. “We want to globalise our product portfolio and make it clear that our services are not only for Japan, but also for our customers overseas. This may take time but we will make it happen.” Globalising the 5G Business During the COVID-19 crisis, Siddiqi explains that NTT DOCOMO has already made great strides towards expanding NTT DOCOMO’s operational scope overseas, demonstrating several ways in which 5G can not only help


NTT DOCOMO

businesses overcome the challenges of the pandemic, but fully embrace the potential of Industry 4.0. During the past year, when specialised labourers from Japan were unable to leave the country, NTT DOCOMO used 5G powered virtual reality (VR) headsets in order to support a partner in Thailand. “Using our AceReal for DOCOMO AR headsets, skilled waterproof roof painters from Japan who couldn't travel to Thailand to do a job were able to give instructions to unskilled workers on site in real-time over a 5G connection with utilisation of DOCOMO Open Innovation Cloud, an MEC platform that directly connects to NTT DOCOMO's secure and lowlatency network,” he explains. Partnerships like this, Siddiqi continues, are key to NTT DOCOMO’s efforts to integrate 5G technologies into the modern enterprise. He explains: “When you're approaching digital transformation, there's more to it than just leveraging cutting edge technologies into new customer experiences.” Unless the needs of the customer, and the underlying market forces at play, can be truly understood, “5G doesn’t mean anything,” says Siddiqi, adding that in order to find the right contexts for deployment, “Selection of the right partners is extremely important to delivering on the potential value of 5G.”

HISAKAZU TSUBOYA

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, NTT DOCOMO, INC.

TITLE: SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER OF NTT DOCOMO’S 5G & IOT BUSINESS DEPARTMENT LOCATION: JAPAN Academic history Completed the master's course of the Graduate School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo in March 1992. 2003 Completed the MIT Sloan School Management of Technology (Master of Engineering Management)

EXECUTIVE BIO

“We have 3,600 partners in Japan, who we are working with to develop new 5G solutions”

HISAKAZU TSUBOYA

Career • Apr. 1992 Joined Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) • July 1992 Joined NTT Mobile Communications Network, Inc. (The current NTT DOCOMO, INC.) Oct. 2005 Director, International Business Department (technical planning) and Director, Ubiquitous Services Department • July 2008 Director, Frontier Service Department • Feb. 2015 President of DOCOMO BIKE SHARE, Inc. • July 2017 General Manager, Chiba Branch, NTT DOCOMO, INC. • June 2019 General Manager of Solution Service Department • July 2020 Senior Vice President, General Manager of 5G & IoT Business Department


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realization of regional distributed data management and processing responsiveness in MEC. Various security features of Oracle Database protect your data with fine-grained security controls. MEC, which is expected to be highly safe, can provide a more secure environment from the user’s point of view. Oracle’s Converged Database strategy is evolving to support many data formats and various workloads with a single DBMS (Database Management System). As a data format, it supports JSON, Graph, Spatial, Text, XML, etc. in addition to the conventional relational, and handles workloads such as data analysis, IoT, streaming, blockchain in addition to transactions. Since Oracle Database can handle many data formats and workloads with one technology, it is possible to aggregate the skills required of administrators and developers and perform application development, operation, and maintenance in a simple environment. It will be like. This makes it possible to obtain extremely high productivity in data utilization. Oracle’s mission is to help people see data in new ways, discover insights, unlock endless possibilities. As network technology evolves, Oracle will continue to support the provision of an environment where data can be used in a highly productive manner.

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NTT DOCOMO

“We want to globalise our product and make it clear that our services are not just for Japan, but also for our customers overseas”

ZAIF SIDDIQI TITLE: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND GLOBAL HEAD OF NTT DOCOMO’S 5G & IOT BUSINESS DEPARTMENT LOCATION: JAPAN

ZAIF SIDDIQI

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND GLOBAL HEAD, NTT DOCOMO, INC.

EXECUTIVE BIO

Siddiqi was assigned as an Executive Director of Corporate Sales & Marketing Division at NTT DOCOMO, INC. to develop and lead the global enterprise business. His responsibilities were extended in July 2018, where he was appointed to serve as a Board Member of NTT DOCOMO USA, China, Asia, Europe and Brazil to strategise the enterprise ICT business. In July 2020, he assumed the role of Global Head of 5G IoT to address the needs of enterprise clients. Prior to the current assignment, his professional contributions were at Vodafone Global Enterprise, Microsoft and Verizon Business. Zaif Siddiqi earned his bachelor’s degree from International Islamic University, Malaysia, in the faculty of Economics and Management Sciences with a minor in Business Administration. He speaks native Japanese, English and Urdu/Hindi and has over 44 years of living experience in Japan.

For example, NTT DOCOMO, together with EDGEMATRIX, launched a worldfirst edge AI platform for intelligent video analytics, enabling high resolution, high security, and real-time video using AI. Using the EDGEMATRIX platform, customers can select and purchase AI applications and download them to an edge AI box remotely. This is the best state-of-the-art solution deployed in Japanese market, and NTT DOCOMO, along with EDGEMATRIX, is working to offer it to overseas markets as well. Another key partner for NTT DOCOMO is LANDLOG. The firm was founded in 2017 by multiple companies including NTT DOCOMO. LANDLOG aims to build an ecosystem through partnering not only with companies involved in the construction process but also with various stakeholders surrounding the construction industry. LANDLOG provides an open platform


NTT DOCOMO

DOCOMO's global expansion

where various application providers can easily participate. The platform improves the productivity at the construction site by enabling the collection and processing of data obtained from all things related to construction production such as construction machinery, terrain, materials, and staff. Contributing to Society 5.0 At home, NTT DOCOMO benefits from an established mass market customer base, a cutting edge 5G and 4G LTE network, and long-standing relationships with a diverse network of partners. “We have 3,600 partners in Japan, who we are working with to develop new 5G solutions,” says Tsuboya, adding that NTT DOCOMO has done numerous 5G trials in Japan - including one with Japan’s bullet train, the Shinkansen, and another with leading construction company, Komatsu. “We have a very close relationship


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with Komatsu,” says Tsuboya, explaining that the 5G trial with the firm exploited the benefits of 5G in order to support the remote controlling of heavy machinery from a distance of up to 800 kilometers, a powerful solution to an increasingly common pain point in an industry where Tsuboya notes that “the market faces a severe shortage of skilled laborers. With LANDLOG, for example, NTT DOCOMO provides an open platform to create new values and solve issues related to the construction industry.” Using 5G as the connective tissue between other transformative technologies is a key application for the technology. Tsuboya explains that, “coupling technologies of AI, IoT, XR and cloud with the network will yield data that we never

“5G is about delivering ultra-low latency and higher capacity than ever before. It's also about creating meaningful change in the industry” ZAIF SIDDIQI

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND GLOBAL HEAD, NTT DOCOMO, INC. mobile-magazine.com

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expected before for new monetisation.” By unifying all the technologies that exist within 5G’s orbit, using a comprehensive 5G network, the possibilities start to become the stuff of science fiction. “By leveraging our network and the technologies that are available throughout the NTT Group and our partners, we bring 5G together with backend infrastructure, AI engine, XR capabilities and cloud services,” Siddiqi explains. “It’s a very complex undertaking but, if we can unite all these technologies successfully, you have everything you need to create a smart city. For example, NTT DOCOMO is working with Oracle on backend database servers that are highly interoperable with 5G architecture. The backend infrastructure is vital to enable fast and flexible deployments of the 5G mobile network,” says Siddiqi. 128

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THE 5GEC: ENTERPRISE 5G IN SOUTHEAST ASIA In order to globalise its 5G business, Siddiqi explains that NTT DOCOMO is leveraging the considerable expertise of the NTT group as a whole and of its partners. “NTT DOCOMO, and the Group as a whole, are working on memorandums of understanding with various governments and cities, which play a vital role in the promotion of new technologies,” explains Siddiqi. Announced in February of this year, one of the key collaborative efforts between NTT DOCOMO, the rest of the NTT Group, and key partners from throughout the ICT industry, is the 5G Global Enterprise solution Consortium (5GEC). Siddiqi explains that, “The consortium’s mission is to provide overseas companies with professional consultation regarding 5G solutions, especially flexible and highly secure private 5G networks that function independently of public networks offered by local telecommunications operators by coordinating each member’s strength such as advantages in network technologies or sales and marketing networks.” Between the consortium’s 13 member companies, Siddiqi adds that it possesses “strengths and assets in varied fields capable of implementing and providing a one-stop shop for provision of private 5G services, which can be extremely beneficial to enterprises that are considering upgrading their manufacturing facilities and executing their smart factory initiatives.” The decision to target the Thai market initially makes sense for NTT DOCOMO, due to the long-standing relations between Thailand and Japan which, Siddiqi explains,

provides not only the potential governmental support for the project, but a broad customer base. “There are more than 5,000 Japanese enterprise customers that currently operate in Thailand, so the amount of manufacturing and processing infrastructure that's present in the market makes it very attractive,” he explains. “Japan and Thailand have over 130 years of friendship, which means that companies from Japan and Thailand are very accustomed to working together, and the affinity between the Japanese and Thai governments definitely contributes to this state of affairs.” The consortium’s target for the coming fiscal year is to launch several successful POCs with companies operating in Thailand. Then, once those are successful, Siddiqi expects those POCs to develop into opportunities for commercialisation. Once that has been achieved, he adds that “we want to develop out into other countries in the region, as well as other continents further down the line.”

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TIMELINE: NTT DOCOMO’S 5G ROLLOUT

1

2

3

2014-2019:

2019:

March 2020:

NTT DOCOMO carries out extensive and comprehensive 5G technology verification tests across Japan.

Experimental 5G services are launched, including trials of audience experience enhancement at international sports events such as the Rugby World Cup 2019.

NTT DOCOMO launches commercial NSA 5G services across Japan.

The open platform that transforms construction sites. The open platform brings value and allows us to work closely with customers. By collaborative creation, we contribute to the productivity of the construction industry.

LEARN MORE

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NTT DOCOMO

4

5

6

7

September 2020:

2021:

March 2022:

March 2023:

NTT DOCOMO’s 5G network achieves max download speeds of 4.1 Gbps.

NTT DOCOMO launches standalone 5G services and begins the transition away from its NSA network.

NTT DOCOMO achieves 55% population coverage with its 5G services.

NTT DOCOMO achieves 70% population coverage.

Siddiqi gestures to the window behind him, through which the last rays of evening sunlight are being replaced by the neon and LED constellation of downtown Tokyo. Less than a quarter mile from his office, Tokyo Tower glows against the darkening sky. “The city behind me was built immediately after World War Two. The technology that was used to build it is 40 to 50 years old now,” he says. “What we have to do now is be ready for a new era of infrastructure. And that's where the NTT Group's technology becomes extremely important to solving the question of how a smart city in this new era operates.” Backed by the Japanese Government, Society 5.0 is an initiative that focuses on the unification of digital and physical space, and 5G is the essential stepping stone between them. “Society 5.0 is about achieving a high degree of convergence between the physical world and cyberspace. The way to achieve that convergence is to use a 5G network in between the two,” Siddiqi explains.

“Currently, much of the focus has been on the mass market, but we need to think about how best to expand 5G in the enterprise market as well” HISAKAZU TSUBOYA

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, NTT DOCOMO, INC.

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Siddiqi shows a 5G portable base station which is used for immediate 5G coverage at bespoke events

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NTT DOCOMO

“Selection of the right partners is extremely important to delivering on the potential value of 5G” ZAIF SIDDIQI

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND GLOBAL HEAD, NTT DOCOMO, INC.

Tsuboya adds that, “Innovation has its value when social issues are resolved, and new values are created. For example, with the help of universities and hospitals, DOCOMO is working to provide ultralow-latency connectivity to run mission critical telemedicine applications. We aim to allow patients that are unable to transport themselves to be served by mobile hospitals equipped with state-ofart equipment that will be connected to a 5G network that allows patients to be diagnosed in real-time by medical experts located remotely.” In Society 5.0, vast amounts of information gathered by sensors in physical space is then accumulated in cyberspace. The data is then analysed by AI, and the results are fed back to humans in physical space in various forms, contrary to the past, when humans were the ones doing the analysis. In Society 5.0, people, things, and systems are all interconnected in cyberspace and optimal results obtained by AI exceeding the capabilities of humans are fed back to physical space to support better decision making and understanding of our world. “This process brings new value to industry and society in ways not previously possible,” Hisakazu says.

The Road Ahead Both Tsuboya and Siddiqi have an exciting, challenging journey ahead of them. At home in Japan, NTT DOCOMO’s 5G rollout continues, and finding the ways in which the technology can solve enterprise problems, and advance digital transformations throughout the country, is key to making sure NTT DOCOMO plays a central role in creating Society 5.0. Overseas, they face the challenge of building something new, in markets where overall connectivity and development are less mature, and yet customers still expect flawless service. “The Japanese market is extremely demanding, and Japanese customers expect that same level of service to be provided overseas, which can be challenging,” says Siddiqi. Nevertheless, he is optimistic about NTT DOCOMO’s future as a globalised business. “We have set very ambitious targets for our solution business. We are aiming to have the solution segment hit revenues of $1.2bn in 2021 and to grow still further over the next few years. To achieve those big numbers, we are going to need to work closely with our customers, help them understand the benefits of 5G and what the technology means for their industry.”

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BECOMING MORE HUMAN IN A HYPER-CONNECTED WORLD

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IOT

Telia’s Pernilla Wikman wants to use diversity and technology to fuel curiosity, creativity and innovation in the modern workplace WRITTEN BY: HARRY MENEAR

Pernilla Wikman, VP and head of global business at Swedish multinational telecom company Telia

I

t’s no great secret that the past year has, and will continue to have, a profound effect on the ways in which we work, learn and socialise. Already, we’re starting to understand how the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic catalysed are shaping the future of the workplace. From remote conferencing and mixed reality to increasingly intelligent forms of automation, our dependence on technology to facilitate work has become exponentially more apparent. “We’re becoming a hyper-connected society,” says Pernilla Wikman, VP and head of global business at Swedish multinational telecom company Telia. “Technology is a great enabler, as long as it embodies values. And digitalisation means nothing if we don't use it to deliver on those values.” Wikman has made a 20 year career out of fighting to ensure that technology isn’t used in a vacuum, but as a tool in concert with people, processes and partners to create a world that “is better than the one we live in today.” She adds that, “The more technologically advanced we get, the more human we need to become.” As the modern workplace becomes increasingly digitised, and our collective relationship to it changes, people like Wikman are going to be essential to ensuring that cutting-edge technology is deployed in the right way, for the right reasons. Technology, Wikman believes, is only a piece of the puzzle. mobile-magazine.com

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IOT

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IOT

“Technology is a great enabler, as long as it embodies values. And digitalisation means nothing if we don't use it to deliver on those values” PERNILLA WIKMAN

VP & HEAD OF GLOBAL BUSINESS, TELIA

First, she explains, enterprises and technology leaders need to create “a mixture of different perspectives and figure out how to cultivate diversity in a way that produces a great result. Because, when you look at the industry as a whole with regard to the ways in which technology is evolving, there needs to be this continuing innovation. And that means finding ways to include people, processes and partners, not just new technologies.” The right mandate for innovation Wikman’s philosophy centres on the idea that, if you give people the space to be themselves, approaching problems in diverse and unique ways, creativity, curiosity and innovation will flourish. She’s already put the approach into practice at Telia itself and, as she explains, it all starts by giving people the right mandate. “A mandate isn't only the act of giving people the power to make decisions; mobile-magazine.com

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for me, it's also about creating an environment in which they can truly be themselves,” she explains. “When you create an environment where people have that mandate to really be themselves and to utilise their own diverse strengths, then you will also create diversity,” as

well as encourage creativity. For Wikman, “innovation is nothing more or less than creativity. And, if you can put people in an environment where they feel like they're free to be themselves, the creativity and innovation will follow.” She adds that she also works to close the gaps associated with the more traditional concept of diversity but adds that, “For me, diversity is so much more than a question of gender or ethnicity. When I think about diversity, I think about each individual person's background and personality.” The key to her approach, and the driving goal behind

“The more technologically advanced we get, the more human we need to become” PERNILLA WIKMAN

VP & HEAD OF GLOBAL BUSINESS, TELIA

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The COVID-19 Survivor and Thriver Characteristics

her entire approach to diversity, is to create an environment which empowers people “to truly be themselves.” Going leaderless This idea of creating accepting, diverse spaces is something Wikman insists is absolutely key. At Telia, her methods are already producing results. “We are a really good example of a company looking within itself and working to create these kinds of environments,” says Wikman. “We have created autonomous teams, even taking the concept to the extent where those teams are run leaderless, meaning that we've removed the management layer.” The program, called the learning platform, has passed beyond the trial stage at Telia and has been welcomed

Throughout the crisis, it’s been well documented that companies practicing agile methodology have fared better than those that did not. It’s worth noting, however, that not all agile adoptions are created equal. Over the last year, McKinsey and Company tracked various metrics comparing agile and non-agile companies, and their relative successes during the crisis. One of the more interesting results was the five identifiable characteristics displayed by the agile companies that outperformed not only legacy competitors, but other agile adopters as well. The companies that best use agile: 1. Establish a common purpose and clear lines of communication. 2. Set up structures to allow for rapid decision making. 3. Create networks of local teams with clear, accountable roles. 4. Develop a culture that empowers people (as Wikman so emphatically suggests). 5. Provide people with the technology they need. Source: Mckinsey mobile-magazine.com

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We are Telia

“We need to bring curiosity and creativity into our daily workdays. And to do that we need to break down existing silos and create engagement” PERNILLA WIKMAN

VP & HEAD OF GLOBAL BUSINESS, TELIA

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by its team as a step towards fostering greater creativity and innovation. “It's a completely new mindset where we're giving people the space and the flexibility to learn as they go,” Wikman explains. “We don't have roles; we're sharing perspective, and people can make informed decisions for themselves by seeking advice. Learning is essential to innovation, so we need to bring curiosity and creativity into our daily workdays. And to do that we need to break down existing silos and create engagement.” The project has been a huge success, with almost 80% of the participants believing that they were creating more value for the company and its customers than before. “We've received really great


IOT

feedback from the teams,” says Wikman. “We said to them that, ‘once we've tried things this way, if you all want a leader to come back and oversee you, then we'll put things back the way they were’. And of course no one wanted that.” In a future where research by Ericsson estimates that 60% of white collar work will take place outside the company office, it’s easy to see how the pseudo-military, hierarchical structure that has existed at the heart of enterprise organisation for over a hundred years has outlived its usefulness. In November of last year, consulting and analytics firm McKinsey released a report on the need for agility in the post-COVID workplace. Report authors Quentin Jadoul, André Nascimento, Olli

Salo, and Renato Willi note that, “Never have companies of all sizes felt so much pressure to make their business models fit changing requirements. And the need for speed won’t be temporary—digitisation, globalisation, automation, analytics, and the other forces of change will go on accelerating too.” Agile, innovative, creative, and better than we used to be. As we adjust to the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for meaningful and lasting organisational change has never been felt more keenly. McKinsey’s report shows a clear advantage gained by companies practising agile strategy during the pandemic over their mobile-magazine.com

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“If you can put people in an environment where they feel like they're free to be themselves, the creativity and innovation will follow” PERNILLA WIKMAN

VP & HEAD OF GLOBAL BUSINESS, TELIA

traditionalist rivals. For Wikman, new and agile ways of working are an imperative step to not only ensure that enterprises can adapt to this new, hyper-connected world, but have the creative space in which to use the technology that is increasingly saturating our lives to make this new world better than the one we live in today. “There needs to be much more discussion around how to use technology to create a more sustainable world, environmentally and socially,” she says. “We need to build something better than what exists today and technology is the tool that will be used to create that future. When you take that into consideration, the telecommunications industry has a huge responsibility as a digital enabler, due to the fact that we're the ones building the digital infrastructure that's necessary to create inclusiveness and a society that’s better for everyone in it.” mobile-magazine.com

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DIALOG AXIATA

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WRITTEN BY: HARRY MENEAR PRODUCED BY: CRAIG KILLINGBACK

Dialog Axiata: Customer-focused digital transformation WRITTEN BY: HARRY MENEAR PRODUCED BY: CRAIG KILLINGBACK mobile-magazine.com

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Sandra De Zoysa Group Chief Customer Officer, Dialog Axiata

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Sandra De Zoysa of Dialog Axiata is presiding over an ongoing digital transformation to better understand, serve, digitise and delight the customer

S

ince its foundation in 1993, Sri Lankan mobile operator Dialog has gone from upstart underdog to the country’s leading communications brand. Dialog– a part of the Axiata Group, a panAsian telecommunications conglomerate operating in seven countries– grew its position throughout the decades by outperforming the competition in a few key areas which have formed the keystone values underpinning everything the company does. “People come first, but technology is a close second,” says Sandra De Zoysa, Group Chief Customer Officer at Dialog Axiata. “We believe that people come first– our customers and employees and regardless of what area of the business you are involved in– be it engineering, legal, marketing, or any other – all employees need to find a way to connect back to the customers we serve.”

“People come first, but technology is a close second” SANDRA DE ZOYSA

CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER, DIALOG AXIATA

De Zoysa, who has been a part of the team at Dialog Axiata since 1997, has played an instrumental role in delivering on that ethos for more than two decades. We sat down with her to discuss her insights into leveraging the latest technologies, strategies and operational practices into a customer experience that will ensure Dialog Axiata continues “to be not only the most valuable brand, but the most loved brand in Sri Lanka.” Digital Transformation from Top to Bottom “Our digital transformation journey started over five years ago. This initiative was envisioned by Axiata and then passed down across the whole subsidiary group,” explains De Zoysa. Axiata gathered together the senior leadership teams responsible for its brands in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal, for a series of workshops and seminars that not only laid out a roadmap for the coming years, but helped to instill a unified digital mindset that its executive teams are continuing to disseminate throughout their organisations. “Looking back on those workshops five years later, they helped us so much,” recalls De Zoysa. “As a team, we had a cohesive vision and tackled the project in sync. We all knew what we were supposed to mobile-magazine.com

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Sandra De Zoysa | Dialog Axiata

“We're really in sync with Axiata in terms of our goals and approach… We all learn from one another’s challenges and failures, because we're all part of the same ecosystem, which is really wonderful” SANDRA DE ZOYSA

CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER, DIALOG AXIATA

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do. We all knew what we had to achieve. We understood our budgets and how to spend it. And we all had the same level of understanding and knowledge of how to set about the process.” Throughout Dialog’s own digital transformation, De Zoysa reflects that both Axiata and the other brands within the family have been an immensely valuable resource, as they have learned from one another’s failures and challenges, shared information and technology, and collaborated on creating market leading standards for customer experience. “We're really in sync with Axiata in terms of our goals and approach. The relationship between Dialog, Axiata and the other companies within our organisation is so close that sometimes you forget you're talking and working with people in other countries and markets because it all feels so collaborative and cooperative,” De Zoysa says. “We share innovations and technologies throughout Axiata. If something


DIALOG AXIATA

works at Dialog, it will likely be tweaked a little bit and then implemented somewhere else in the group. It is as good as plug-andplay, which reduces the workload and time to market. At the same time, we all learn from one another’s challenges and failures, because we're all part of the same ecosystem, which is really wonderful.”

SANDRA DE ZOYSA TITLE: GROUP CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER INDUSTRY: TELECOMMUNICATIONS LOCATION: SRI LANKA

1993

Year founded

$120.1 bn Revenue

2,717 Number of employees

EXECUTIVE BIO

Service From the Heart At the core of Dialog Axiata’s approach to delivering truly seamless, enjoyable customer experiences is the company’s core ethos of “Service From the Heart”. “It stands for approaching every customer interaction with passion. It stands for being sincere and putting the customer first, not just paying lip service to the idea,” says De Zoysa. “We've really worked hard over the years on this culture transformation initiative.” The idea of not only talking the talk, but walking the walk, is one that’s deeply important to De Zoysa. One of the more unique ways in which she and the whole Dialog leadership team are backing up this commitment can be found in the “Contact Us” section of their site. “If you go on our website, you can find the contact information for our CEO, the CMO, many of the people on our leadership team,

Sandra De Zoysa is the Group Chief Customer Officer of Dialog and the Chairperson of the Digital Customer Experience Expert Working Group for Axiata. She serves on the board of Dialog Business Services in the capacity of a Director. She is a Founding member and a Director of SLASSCOM, the national IT-BPO chamber of Sri Lanka and a founding member and past Vice President of Sri Lanka Institute of Service Management. She is also on the Customer Advisory Board of CX Network, IQPC UK. Sandra’s experience spans over 30 years in the Mobile Industry during which she has been the recipient of AX50– Ambient Experience Leader 2020, CX Leader of the Year 2019 & CXPA Global CX Impact Award Winner 2015. She is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a visiting lecturer at the University of Colombo School of Computing since 2009 and a Mentor and Keynote Speaker/ Presenter/ Panelist and Juror at Global CE/DX/Telco Forums/ Conferences & Awards


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DIALOG AXIATA

“Service From the Heart means approaching every customer interaction with passion and sincerity” SANDRA DE ZOYSA

CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER, DIALOG AXIATA

and me,” De Zoysa says. “My mobile number can be accessed. You can call and, if I'm not sleeping, there's a good chance I will answer and be able to talk to you about whatever is troubling you in case there is a lapse in service. It's our way of putting our money where our mouth is, and really walking the walk. I don't think there's much point in saying that you're a customer-centric business if your customers can't actually reach you.” Dialog has invested heavily over the years in training staff throughout the business to fully embody the ethos of Service From the Heart, constantly reworking and developing processes in order to “cut away barriers mobile-magazine.com

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DIALOG AXIATA

Dialog 5G

between us and our customers, and work to find solutions– even when there are difficulties and trouble.” De Zoysa adds that, “There's a lot of education involved, focused on instilling cultural change, rewiring our employees to really embrace the Service From the Heart ethos, as well as bringing them along with us on our journey as we digitally transform the business and Sri Lanka through our technology and processes.” Leveraging Technology Technology is a powerful tool at Dialog Axiata, one that De Zoysa stresses must work in tandem with and in support of the core of the business: people. “Technology plays a very vital role for us,” she explains. “We are leveraging a multitude of technologies to support our staff to work better and more efficiently. We want to use these technologies to

make life easier for the people within our organisation. If we can make the employee experience frictionless, they can get on with better serving the customer.”

“We work to gently educate our customers and nudge them towards more efficient digital and social channels” SANDRA DE ZOYSA

CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER, DIALOG AXIATA mobile-magazine.com

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DID YOU KNOW...

PARTNERING FOR SUCCESS

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Partnerships are also of paramount importance to De Zoysa and Dialog as a whole. “We have very strong ties with our long term business partners who together with us ensure our business success,” she explains. “They are all part of our wider Dialog family, who help in managing our customer channels efficiently.” Dialog manages its contact center in collaboration with its key partner, Startek. “They ensure that our customers are connected to our brand,” says De Zoysa, adding that, “Locobuzz is our social media contact management solution provider. They help us manage all our social channels on a 24/7 basis. Zilione is a Sri Lankan company that Dialog has worked with for well over two decades, and their Customer point of sale management keeps the customer experience across the country connected efficiently in order to handle all our customer experience transactions with ease. Dialog has worked with Verint in the contact management space for over two decades and helps Dialog Business Services with voice logging and associate quality management as well as a robust workforce management solution.” During COVID, Dialog is first to deploy Verint Speech Analytics to process and analyze customer interactions to drive CX and Operational Efficiency. Together with its extensive network of partners, Dialog continues to grow and improve the range of digital channels it uses to connect with its millions-strong customer base.

May 2021


DIALOG AXIATA

“In this post-COVID, work-from-home era, data is like oxygen. Without connectivity, you're in deep trouble” SANDRA DE ZOYSA

CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER, DIALOG AXIATA

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Dialog Axiata’s Customer Engagement transformed by ZILLIONe

SRI LANKA

|

MALDIVES

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FIJI

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USTRY EXPE

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AUSTRALIA | SINGAPORE

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DIALOG AXIATA

From an external point of view, Dialog employs a wide range of customer channels to ensure that people can access the services they need, whenever, wherever, and however they prefer. Though a lot of these preferences are linked across generational lines, with “millennial customers preferring self service and digital channels, as opposed to older customers who would rather speak to someone on the phone or face to face,” De Zoysa adds that “more and more, we're seeing people from older generations realise that it is in fact faster to use a self-service channel to pay your bill. We try to make sure


DIALOG AXIATA

Boundless Customer Engagement for Telecommunication Firms: Lower Costs & Improve CX

Dialog Axiata is the first in Sri Lanka to deploy Verint Speech Analytics, driving CX and operational efficiency. Are you listening and responding to your customers’ interactions? verint.com

Contact us about Speech Analytics now

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that, whatever channel you want to use, is available to you. And then of course we work to gently educate our customers and nudge them towards more efficient social and digital channels.” These digital channels have proven to be particularly essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, but De Zyosa adds that, as the crisis passes, she expects its effect on the digitalisation of Sri Lankan society to remain. “In this post-COVID, work-from-home era, data is like oxygen. Without connectivity, you're in deep trouble,” she says. “During the pandemic, the program has been all about engagement, looking at how we continuously build engagement between our employees and our customers– looking at how we keep that flame alive during times like these when physical engagement is no longer an option.”

Staying on Top As Dialog Axiata enters Q2 of 2021, De Zoysa is excited to continue building on the company’s relationship with over 16mn Sri Lankans as part of her role as the company’s “custodian of customers,” concluding that, “We want to continue helping our customers adapt to a digital lifestyle and help them carry on experiencing those benefits long after the pandemic has passed.”

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SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURERS From Seoul to Boise, Idaho, we take a look at 10 of the top semiconductor manufacturers supporting the smartphone and technology sectors 160

May 2021

WRITTEN BY: HARRY MENEAR


TOP TOPTEN 10

F

rom tablets and smartphones to connected refrigerators and fighter jets, the modern world is built on nearmicroscopic wafers of silicon. As the ongoing exponential expansion of the Internet of Things accelerates the need for microprocessors, and supply chain pain points continue to create shortages and disruptions around the

world, the semiconductor industry has never had a more vital role to play. Between 2019 and 2027, the global semiconductor market is expected to grow from just over $513bn to almost $727bn, at a CAGR of 4.7%. This month, Mobile Magazine brings you our breakdown of 10 of the top semiconductor manufacturers around the world. mobile-magazine.com

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TOP 10

10 NVIDIA

HQ: Santa Clara, California CEO: Jensen Huang Revenue: $10.9bn First up, we have NVIDIA. Best recognised for its highperformance computer GPUs and video cards widely used throughout the gaming industry, the company’s recent purchase of UK-based semiconductor giant ARM has put it in a uniquely powerful position to grow its business beyond the gaming space - like the creation and impressive growth of its scalable AI car platform. Next year, expect to see NVIDIA higher up this list.

“NVIDIA's recent purchase of UK-based semiconductor giant ARM has put it in a uniquely powerful position” 162

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09

Texas Instruments HQ: Dallas, Texas CEO: Rich Templeton Revenue: $14.1bn

Perhaps best known (in the US at least) for their de facto monopoly on the graphing calculators used in high school trigonometry and calculus classes, Texas Instruments is a firm with hidden depths. The company’s product portfolio runs the gamut, not just of digital, but also of analog semiconductors for use in the industrial, automotive, consumer, communications and enterprise systems sectors. Texas Instruments operates 14 fabrication facilities worldwide and its annual output in terms of chips is comfortably in the tens of billions.


TOP 10

“Applied Materials has accumulated a uniquely diverse portfolio of products over the past 50+ years”

08

Applied Materials

HQ: Santa Clara, California CEO: Gary E. Dickerson Revenue: $15bn Silicon Valley-based technology component manufacturer Applied Materials was founded in 1967 and has accumulated a uniquely diverse portfolio of products over the past 50+ years. In addition to making semiconductors and solutions that support the manufacturing process for huge portions of the rest of the semiconductor manufacturing sector, Applied Materials has also diversified into manufacturing everything from solar panels to flat screen TVs.

07

Broadcom

HQ: San Jose, California CEO: Hock E. Tan Revenue: $17.1bn One of the biggest names in networking hardware, Broadcom was originally founded in 1991, and was acquired in a 2016 merger by Avago Technologies. The company’s executive team owes a lot of its heritage to the engineers and technology innovators that worked at Bell Labs in the earliest days of computing and the internet. In addition to its infrastructure software solutions, Broadcom manufactures semiconductor components (like radio-frequency and front-end modules) for clients like Apple. mobile-magazine.com

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TOP 10

06

Micron Technology HQ: Boise, Idaho CEO: Sanjay Mehrotra Revenue: $21.4bn

Founded in 1978, Micron Technology’s products are some of the world’s most widely-used solutions for memory and storage, with applications ranging from the automotive and industrial IoT sectors to mobile devices and 5G connectivity. Its chief areas of focus include DRAM and flash memory solutions, and its consumer products are marketed under the Crucial and Ballistix Gaming brands. Micron Technology employs approximately 40,000 people.

“Micron Technology’s products are some of the world’s most widely-used solutions for memory and storage”

05

SK Hynix

HQ: Icheon, South Korea CEO: Lee Seok-Hee Revenue: $23.2bn South Korea’s second-largest semiconductor manufacturer exists under the umbrella of SK Corp, which also owns one of the country’s largest telecom operators. SK Hynix manufacturers its chips across four production sites in Korea and China (including its headquarters in Icheon). Back in 1984, the company was responsible for the production of Korea’s first ever 6Kb SRAM, and has maintained a stated focus on cutting-edge R&D ever since. Currently, the company focuses on three key areas: DRAM, NAND Flash (it recently announced plans to purchase Intel’s NAND Flash division) and image sensors for smartphone cameras. mobile-magazine.com

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04

Qualcomm

HQ: San Diego, California CEO: Steve Mollenkopf Revenue: $24.7bn Founded in 1985, US chipmaker Qualcomm has grown into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of microprocessors and systems on a chip (SoC). The company’s line of Snapdragon SoCs is one of the most widely-used foundations for Android devices in the market, supplying leading brands like Samsung, Xiaomi, LG and OnePlus. The company employs more than 37,000 people in more than 30 countries around the globe. "We’re fascinated by technology and always working to push it forward. Our job is to be impatient. That’s our role in the industry, and our future,” says the company’s CEO, Steve Mollenkopf.

“TSMC doesn’t design its own chips, but rather outfits itself to meet orders to the specification of its customers”

03

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co HQ: Taiwan CEO: Dr CC Wei Revenue: $45.4bn

The world’s third-largest manufacturer of semiconductors, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) was founded in 1987 and is one of the originators of the “pure-play” manufacturing model. This means that TSMC doesn’t design its own chips, but rather outfits itself to meet orders to the specification of its customers. Today, the company manufactures 10,761 different products using 272 distinct technologies for 499 different customers every year. The company’s capacity in 2019 was more than 12mn units of 12-inch microprocessor wafers, a feat which requires the employment of over 51,000 people.


02

TOP 10

Samsung

HQ: Suwon, South Korea CEOs: Kim Hyun Suk, Koh Dong-Jin, Kim Ki Nam Revenue: $52.2bn

As the largest electronics company in the world, South Korean giant, Samsung, casts a long shadow, which also touches on the semiconductor market. While a number of its own devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S series, often use Snapdragon chipsets procured from Qualcomm, Samsung also manufactures its own brand of flagship SoCs, the Exynos series. Outside the smartphone space, Samsung makes semiconductors for HPC data centre applications, tablets, wearables and smart home devices.

“As the largest electronics company in the world, South Korean giant, Samsung, casts a long shadow” mobile-magazine.com

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TOP 10

Intel

HQ: Santa Clara, California CEO: Patrick P. Gelsinger Revenue: $73.9bn Founded in 1968, Intel has spent more than 50 years at the leading edge of microprocessor and semiconductor innovation. While the company made several attempts throughout its history to break into the smartphone market, its Atom chips stopped being included in handsets back in 2018. The company is, however, one of the world’s leading suppliers of processors for laptops, desktops and tablets, and its innovations reach deep into the fields of AI, 5G and automation. Intel has a market capitalisation of more than $203.5bn and employs more than 110,800 people.

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“Intel has spent more than 50 years at the leading edge of microprocessor and semiconductor innovation”

From Sand to Silicon: The Making of a Microchip | Intel

mobile-magazine.com

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CELLCARD CAMBODIA

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CELLCARD CAMBODIA

THE CAMBODIAN TELCO PLAYING THE GAME Cambodia’s only locally owned telco, Cellcard, is pushing into esports and 5G. CEO Ian Watson gives us the rundown on the company’s latest progress

C

WRITTEN BY: PADDY SMITH PRODUCED BY: CRAIG KILLINGBACK

ellcard is the only telco in Cambodia that’s 100% Cambodian owned. Not only is it proud of its homegrown heritage, it’s part of the company’s identity, outlook and market position. “The Cambodian set of family values is at the core of everything we do,” says Cellcard’s CEO Ian Watson. “The European companies have strong brand association, but we always say you can’t be selfgoverned on the outside unless you’ve got Cellcard DNA on the inside. And every year we give a lot back to the customers. We’re approaching millions of dollars in promotion, prizes and giveaways over the past couple of years, and we’ve signed Cambodian talent to endorse Cellcard, and we’ve installed 5G telemedicine – free voice and data calls to doctors, nurses and medical staff – to help with Covid.” mobile-magazine.com

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“We’re stronger together, encouraging joy and the main thing is pride” IAN WATSON

CEO, CELLCARD CAMBODIA

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And Covid isn’t the only adversity to have struck Cambodia in 2020. The country also suffered fatal floods. Yet Cellcard is committed to youth engagement. “We’ve suffered a lot this year in terms of the flooding and we’ve produced a new song celebrating the strength and resilience of the people out there. We’re stronger together, encouraging joy and the main thing is pride.” That youth engagement goes beyond marketing, though. Watson admits Cellcard was late to market with 4G LTE, but is determined it will be first to achieve full 5G coverage in Cambodia. And that’s not all, because the company has spotted a new opportunity: e-sports.


CELLCARD CAMBODIA

IAN WATSON TITLE: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER COMPANY: CELLCARD CAMBODIA

EXECUTIVE BIO

INDUSTRY: TELECOMMUNICATION Ian Watson is widely known in the telecommunications industry as a leading evangelist and thought leader for 5G and Digitalisation. He was awarded for 5G Asia CEO of the Year in 2018 and is regulary featured in major business and ICT industry publications including The CEO Magazine, Asia Outlook, The Silicon Review, Global Brands Magazine, and others. He is also a regular keynote speaker at major industry events such as Mobile World Congress, Telecom World Asia, 5G Asia, and TM Forum. Ian has been CEO of Cellcard and CEO of the Royal Group ICT Division since 2012 following his successful turnaround of Cambodia’s leading specialised bank, Wing Money.

He actively drives collaboration and synergies across the ICT operations in readiness for a digitalised economy. The ICT Division consists of Telecom, Specialised Banking, an Internet Service Provider, Cambodia’s leading Broadcasting company, and a Digital TV Platform all of which has enormous potential for transformation and growth. Prior to his leadership role at Wing Money, Ian had located to Cambodia to establish Refresh Mobile, the first provider of virtual commerce platforms. This was after a successful career in telecommunications, including being Chief Operating Officer of Iris Wireless for five years and senior leadership roles with Orange in global markets for six years. Ian is an MBA graduate and resides both in Cambodia and the UK.


Becoming a road builder of the digital economy


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CELLCARD CAMBODIA

Cellcard Mobile World Congress 2021

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CELLCARD CAMBODIA

“Sixty per cent of the Cambodian population is under 30,” Watson says. “So you have this segment that can drive a lot of revenue for telcos. We realised from the research and industry trends that esports was becoming a huge phenomenon in Cambodia. So we said, what can we do to bring this to the youth? And the answer is in the network: consistency, low latency. It’s not just about the price: it’s about the consistency, quality and everything else.” Cellcard has launched Play Game, an online gaming platform. “And we’re getting it right. We want to say: we’ve got this. Is it relevant to you? And if it’s not, we go back to the teardown. Bring it down and build it back up. Did Watson look to other territories before launching Play Game on home soil? “Yeah, we looked at competitive benchmarking, and what worked in other markets around the world. But really the key for us was to undertake very detailed market research: what do they do, where do they eat, what do they eat, who do they eat with. Who is who in the gaming community. And what we tried to do was build a community of esports and gamers and make that relevant to their current

“We’re getting it right. We want to say: we’ve got this. Is it relevant to you?” IAN WATSON

CEO, CELLCARD CAMBODIA mobile-magazine.com

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1997

Year Cellcard was founded

600

Approximate number of employes currently working for Cellcard

4G LTE

In 2017 Cellcard rolled out the country's fastest and widest 4G LTE network

5G

In 2020, Cellcard rolled out Cambodia's first 5G use case - a telemedicine service across four key health facilities in Phnom Penh to help cope with the Covid-19 pandemic

IAN WATSON ON CULTURE GROUP We’ve been working with Culture Group out of Singapore for about 18 months now. It’s a strong fruitful partnership where they can really focus on what’s new and trending in other markets and help bring it to Cambodia. There is so much potential, we are only limited by our imaginations and resource capacity to implement. We have an amazing youth strategy and a massive set of programmes to deliver with Culture this year and next.

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lifestyle. So when they come home at night they’ve got a consistent network, a good choice of games and it’s easy to pay. “And we’re looking at venues, we’re looking at special venues, forums, building gaming arenas and everything else, but also we’re looking at the mental health awareness. You can’t just game for 24 hours, you’ve got to have a break, go and have a cup of tea. I’m a big gamer myself and sometimes you get sucked into these big gaming tournaments. So it’s very important to us to be part of the lifestyle but it’s more important to understand how gaming fits into someone’s overall lifestyle.” And what about hardware? Watson says there are territory-specific reasons why mobile gaming is at the forefront of Cambodia’s esports scene. “One of the benefits with mobile gaming is you haven’t got to buy a huge PS5 or Xbox. These things were trading at about $1,200 before Christmas Eve. And the iPhone is about the same price, but it’s got so much more functionality. So we need to make sure people can rely on Cellcard to be a trusted partner. It’s all about the trust and relevance.” That means security is “critical”. “The mobile phone is becoming an intrinsic part of your life. It’s the custodian of all your records, your photos. It’s the way you communicate through email, the way you pay your bills. So data privacy and data security is paramount to us. Even though there are no data privacy laws in Cambodia, we give people assurance that we won’t share their data with any third parties.” What about partnerships? “We engage with all the big players – people like Tencent – right down to the boutique mobile-magazine.com

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Your Trusted Research Partner in Cambodia Since 2002, Indochina Research is one of the MOST PREFERRED research partners in Cambodia by providing innovative and best-in-class quality research insights and outputs Learn more

#IReallyLuv #37ABC, Street 271, Sangkat Phsar Doeum Thkov, Khan Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia

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“We engage with all the big players – people like Tencent – right down to the boutique places” IAN WATSON

CEO, CELLCARD CAMBODIA

places coming up with new games and content. We’re not part of some huge group so we have to work twice as hard to get these big players to deal with us because our competitors are in a number of countries around the world and we’re not.

But the way we engage with the youth and the gaming sector is what makes them want to work with us. Because our approach is based around the brand values and it’s a breath of fresh air for these people to deal with us on a dayto-day basis. They know we’re going to drive engagement. The quality of our network is very important to us, so in terms of latency and everything else, when people do come on the network to play games it’s a very very good experience.

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EDZCOM

Solutions driven by edge connectivity WRITTEN BY: JANET BRICE PRODUCED BY: STUART IRVING

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Mikko Uusitalo, CEO, EDZCOM

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Seamless connectivity is the cornerstone to driving digitalisation and building smart industries of the future, says Mikko Uusitalo CEO of Edzcom

E

dzcom is a pioneer in edge connectivity, offering solutions for the enterprise sector and is now entering an exciting new era following its acquisition by Cellnex Telecom. Seven years after Edzcom was founded by CEO Mikko Uusitalo, the European-based company, which designs, builds and operates private 4G and 5G networks for local coverage, looks set to accelerate its expansion. According to Uusitalo edge connectivity is forecast to be a multi-billion dollar market which Edzcom can now leverage with Cellnex on board and their decision to only work with the best-in-breed technology partners which include Intel, Athonet, Nokia, Streamwide and Signify. “We have the experience and real references, which is very important for customers in this emerging multi-billion

“We help enterprises do things in a smarter way and provide technology solutions to drive innovation” MIKKO UUSITALO CEO, EDZCOM

dollar market,” said Uusitalo speaking from his office in Barcelona. “Seamless connectivity is the cornerstone to driving digitalisation and building smart industries of the future.” Uusitalo pointed out this is the ideal moment to accelerate towards Industry 4.0 as telcoms are again in the ‘S-curve’ which is forcing mobile operators to address change particularly in the areas of safety, improved efficiency and enable new revenue streams. “We have the competitive edge in this market as we have picked the best partners to be part of our ecosystem and we are now part of Cellnex which is considered a sustainable, viable partner in the global telecoms business and will be here for the long term,” he said. “We currently employ around 30-40 people at the moment but this is growing very rapidly because we are investing for growth in 13 different countries in Europe – mostly in France, UK, Spain, Netherlands and Northern Europe where we built the business. “We are building the sales capabilities across the different countries where Cellnex is present as we are now part of this leading telecom infrastructure company in Europe with a market cap of more than €30 billion,” said Uusitalo who pointed out being part of Cellnex allows him to focus on growing the business through flexible and as a service business models. mobile-magazine.com

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Providing edge connectivity solutions to enterprise and public sector | Mikko Uusitalo | Edzcom

Solutions from edge connectivity Since its launch in 2014 Edzcom’s Edge Connectivity solutions offer highperformance wireless connectivity for enterprise resource planning, automation, robotics and real-time remote monitoring. Edzcom brings a single point of contact to designing, building and operating a tailored private network, deploying best practices and technologies to become the long-term partner of each enterprise and help them achieve their digitalisation goals.​ According to Uusitalo, edge connectivity helps industries from manufacturing to mining, utilities and logistics and energy generation to unlock productivity and growth, by offering continuity and security for business-critical operations. Network performance is monitored by the customer via Edzcom dashboard, ensuring 100 per cent customer control. Some of their high profile customers are Konecranes and KymiRing. 188

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It was announced in April that Edzcom will deploy a 5G SA private wireless network to support Konecranes’ advanced R&D work. The 5G network will enable Konecranes to research and develop digitalised factory and port solutions that leverage 5G’s high bandwidth and low latency for increased productivity, improved efficiency, and enhanced safety.

“We have the experience and real references, which is very important for customers in this emerging multi-billion dollar market” MIKKO UUSITALO CEO, EDZCOM


EDZCOM

MIKKO UUSITALO

For Kymiring motorsports and events venue, private wireless network will enable motorsport audiences around the world to get to enjoy an entirely new kind of spectator experience with KymiRing’s first-class network services. The capacity and speed of the network will enable unprecedented televising techniques for motorsport.

TITLE: CEO INDUSTRY: TELECOMMUNICATIONS LOCATION: BARCELONA Mikko Uusitalo, CEO of Edzcom, is a highly progressive, dynamic, and results oriented leader with strong track record of increasing revenues, profits and market share through generating customer focused solutions, marketing, turnarounds and increased organisational performance. Excellent networking and crossorganizational collaboration skills. Capable of resolving multiple and complex (leadership, management, strategy, sales and business development, marketing, operational, financial, and legal) challenges, and motivating teams to achieve peak performance through collaboration.

Edzcom is focused on building solutions for enterprises which include: • Logistics (ports and airports) Enabling higher productivity, improved situational awareness and safety while creating new revenue streams. • Manufacturing Connecting an unprecedented volume of machines, IoT sensors and data to drive cost-efficiency and improve quality. • Mining Connecting assets in open-pit and underground mines to enable automation and accelerate productivity.

2014 Year founded

40

Number of employees

EXECUTIVE BIO

• Utilities and Energy Providing connectivity to boost situational awareness and predictive maintenance for safer and efficient operations.


EDZCOM

Athonet Private 5G Wi-Fi-like Simplicity. Wire-like Reliability.

Is your Private 5G technology vendor trusted by the world’s major governments, utilities, ports and airports? With over 10 years of experience and over 500K private SIMs deployed, Athonet is the established market leader in Private LTE &5G Core Network technology.

For Private 5G as simple as Wi-Fi Open5G@athonet.com


EDZCOM

“Not technology first, but business and customers first” MIKKO UUSITALO

He gives an example that if connectivity goes down at a mine for more than 20 minutes work has to stop – costing the enterprise millions of dollars per day. “We can avoid this by designing, building and operating the network to provide as much uptime as customer requires.

CEO, EDZCOM

Uusitalo points out there are three advantages to an enterprise investing in a private network closer to the site, including: • Improving safety Ensuring 24/7 communications and enabling automatisation of hazardous operations • Accelerating efficiency Securing 24/7/365 continuity of business critical operations and increasing productivity

WHAT IS EDGE CONNECTIVITY? Edge connectivity is a private network solution, connecting assets, equipment and people in the field that is designed, built and operated at the edge – meaning the local coverage site.​ Network design ensures full autonomy and reliability for business-critical operations by ensuring all network components are at the edge:

“We help enterprises do things in a smarter way and provide technology solutions to drive innovation. We do that by providing a high-performance next generation wireless connectivity environment for enterprise customers to work smarter which drives growth and revenue streams,” he said. Commenting on the benefits of a tailored private network compared to Wifi, Uusitalo said: “What we bring on board is the 4G and 5G radio components that ensure highperformance connectivity with very low latency and high uptime which is always available and designed for the customer use cases.”

DID YOU KNOW...

• New revenue streams Enabling micro-operator opportunities and enabling new revenue streams through innovative product development

• Private, geo-redundant network architecture • Dedicated spectrum • Interconnection to the existing architecture • Data stays on site • Network performance dashboard and control • Connection for all assets with seamless handover

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“What we bring on board is the 4G and 5G radio components that ensure highperformance connectivity with very low latency and high uptime which is always available and designed for the customer use cases” MIKKO UUSITALO CEO, EDZCOM

We do this by duplicating the components, adding battery and backup generators which will make the network always available.” Competitive edge Edzcom may be known for its edge connectivity but when it comes to their competitive edge, Uusitalo cites the following factors: • Provide leading network experience with superior connectivity and communications solutions • Unbeatable experience from 32 network deployments • World-class team to deploy your network “We are the market leader and have the most references in Europe for these kinds of solutions. We now have 32 live networks that we've designed, built and operate,” he said. Customer solutions over technology “Our key message is it's not just about the technology but about how we can help the customer solve the challenges they have and how we can help them to make their calls. Not technology first, but business and customers first. 192

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32

private 4G/5G networks deployed

13

covered countries in Europe and expanding

7

years of experience and market leaders in Edge Connectivity

15

years of experience in mission critical communications

100%

owned by Cellnex Telecom

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ADVERT PAGE GOLD


EDZCOM

QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS...

What top 3 benefits will 5G bring your clients? “The implementation of 5G will bring incredible benefits for our clients as it will enable a new set of use cases as you can operate in a different way when you have a connectivity that's always on, that's mobile and is low latency. That should improve your bottom line by saving and being more efficient or by actually constantly innovating. Another bonus is the increased safety of employees.” What future technology trend are you most excited about? “I'm very excited about the trend of everything moving towards edge – meaning that edge connectivity and computing are at the

customer side – at the edge. In the past years we've mainly focused on cloud, which is of course also a very important trend, but now the trend is moving back to the edge. What message would you give an enterprise hesitant about moving to edge connectivity with Edzcom? “My message to prospective customers is to look at our track record and talk to us as we can share use cases from other, or similar, industries which will inspire you to move to edge connectivity. Talk to us and we can figure out the best result. I can guarantee the outcome will be positive, I think our proposition should get any business person excited. We are able to do some very cool things with edge.”

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EDZCOM

ADVERT SILVER

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“We believe the solutions we offer are valuable to our customers as edge connectivity close to a site is vital for a successful future” MIKKO UUSITALO CEO, EDZCOM

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CELLNEX TELECOM

DID YOU KNOW...

Cellnex Telecom is Europe’s leading Title of the video operator of wireless telecommunications and broadcasting infrastructures with a portfolio of more than 128,000 sites. The Company operates in Spain, Italy, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Poland. “Cellnex is a very interesting growth story because they have transformed from a local Spanish company in a PanEuropean player in just six years mainly to M&A and long term as a service based business model,” commented CEO of Edzcom Mikko Uusitalo. “From starting in Spain they are now present in 13 countries and they provide their main business to provide the telecom infrastructure which powers the mobile operators. They have now diversified into the enterprise sector which Edzcom is now part of.” Cellnex provides the infrastructure for voice and data in broadcasting serving more than 200 million people in Europe.

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INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

DID YOU KNOW...

Associations: At a corporate level Cellnex is a member of the EWIA (www.ewia.org) association. Tobias Martinez (Cellnex CEO) is currently the Chairman of the Association.

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Events: The most significant international event we participate in is the Mobile World Congress. There is also the Meetup Europe organised by TowerXchange. In terms of Private Networks, we participate at several industry events like Private networks in a 5G world by Informa, UPTIME by Athonet and the Critical Communications World by TCCA.

May 2021

“The world is constantly changing and in order to continue to be viable and sustainable one, has to look at the new base of doing things and new technologies. We believe the solutions we offer are valuable to our customers as edge connectivity close to a site is vital for a successful future.” Best-of-breed technology partners Uusitalo highlights the importance of their best-of-breed technology partnerships with Intel, Athonet and Nokia to drive forward their growth. “No-one can do this alone. If you want to be really valued by the customer – who are investing capital in you – then bring the best you can. Our philosophy and strategy is to work with the best companies in the industry where we don’t have the competence to do it ourselves. “We work with leaders in the market like Athonet that provides critical components in


EDZCOM

Meet EDZCOM

the mobile cellular network which is kind of the brain of the network called core network. This is an Italian company which we believe is the market leader and innovator in this space. They deployed one of the the world’s first private LTE core networks over a decade ago and are a very affordable but reliable partner for the most critical component – the core network.” Uusitalo also points out the importance of Edzom’s partnership with Intel which he describes as having “tremendous innovation capabilities”. Focusing on Intel he said they work to ensure the hardware partners use that technology and more importantly are investing in innovation. “For example, in the new use cases it means they just don’t have the connectivity part, but also the computing power on site close to the customer. This brings a lot of insight, innovation and technical competence for us to make sure we design our solutions that are innovative and state-of-the-art.”

Focus on the future Looking ahead, Uusitalo says the aim for the coming year will be to grow which means acquiring more customers. “It is a challenging environment, but what we have to do is find the customers who need the solutions offered by edge connectivity. We are investing in marketing to become more well known and try to deploy our solutions to customers in areas where there might be a lockdown or restrictions in their country. “But when we are able to travel and meet customers it's very rewarding to help them with new ideas and innovation that will help them to be more efficient or provide a safer environment in the future,” he said.

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Hannah Ashiokai Akrong, Vodafone Ghana’s HR

Director, provides an insight into the ‘Spirit of Vodafone’ and how she keeps employee engagement riding high

WRITTEN BY: JANET BRICE

Hannah Ashiokai Akrong, HR Director Vodafone Ghana

T

he ‘Spirit of Vodafone’ shines brightly in Ghana for both its employees and customers who are both navigating the ‘new normal’ brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Hannah Ashiokai Akrong’s role as Human Resources Director of Vodafone Ghana finds her at the centre of keeping employees and clients connected as they all learn to work and live in a new landscape shaped by the pandemic and driven by digital technology. Communication lies at the core of Vodafone Ghana which was launched 12 years ago and is the operating company of Vodafone Group Plc - one of the world’s leading technology communications companies. Ashiokai said the digital transformation that Vodafone Ghana had been putting in place before the pandemic is now a ‘lifesaver’ for the company and its customers. “When we started our transformation journey, it was about looking at our technology, our people, our systems, our processes so a lot of the things that we started putting in place have now been a lifesaver,” she said. mobile-magazine.com

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Vodafone Ghana talks about the power of Human Resources

Vodafone is the only total communications mobile financial services to both individuals solutions provider offering mobile, fixed lines, and business customers,” said Ashiokai from internet, voice and data and is currently the the company’s headquarters in Accra. telecom company of choice for Ghanaians. It “We're a very purpose-led, driven is the second-ranked operator organisation. Our business in terms of market share in the strategy includes a clear “THERE IS sector and acquired 70 per commitment to removing DEFINITELY cent shares in Ghana telecom the barriers SOMETHING with the government retaining to digital access across the TO BE SAID 30 per of the shares. country and leveraging the As a corporate body, power of technology through ABOUT FEMALE the company is constantly our networks and services to LEADERSHIP IN A building key relationships contribute to the achievement TIME OF CRISIS” with the private sector, such of the Sustainable as Glico Healthcare, and Development Goals (SDGs), as HANNAH ASHIOKAI AKRONG HR DIRECTOR government as it continues well as our strategic priorities. VODAFONE GHANA to build the kind of innovative “We have a very strong band and responsive service for for diversity and inclusion which the Vodafone Group is and celebrated International recognised worldwide. Women’s Day with a week of celebrations. “We're a fully fledged technology Vodafone Ghana is very inclusive, especially communications company that provides towards giving women opportunities. fixed lines, mobile voice, data, internet and “To encourage more women into the 204

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“I think it's very important that a leader is able to set the strategy and clearly outline the vision…” HANNAH ASHIOKAI AKRONG HR DIRECTOR VODAFONE GHANA

and give them the opportunity to learn and grow in a really fast paced environment as innovation is a game changer. “Employee engagement is extremely important for us. Our employee engagement scores continue to be above industry standards. That is because we take a very active interest in what our employees tell us. We do employee engagement surveys often and we act on them. “We have this program called #YouSaidWeDid. I think that helps a lot in getting employees constantly to voice their thoughts knowing that something is going to be done about it.

industry we have an initiative called the Female Engineering Students Sponsorship Program (FESSP). Every year we partner with various universities across Ghana and to support young girls studying science and engineering programs in their third year. We pay the tuition and provide mentors within Vodafone Ghana and then give them an internship before they return for their final year. “Through programs like that we're able to ensure that we have a healthy pipeline of female engineers who are coming into the organisation,” she said.

TITLE: HR DIRECTOR LOCATION: AFRICA

EXECUTIVE BIO

Employee engagement As an experienced HR Director, Ashiokai, who oversees a team of 28 and the welfare of more than 2,000 employees, recognises that your ‘employees are truly your greatest assets’. “First of all, we hire the best in terms of fit and purpose and then we provide that enabling environment where they can develop their career and then thrive. We do that by providing a workplace where everyone can be themselves, a very inclusive culture. We constantly challenge our people

HANNAH ASHIOKAI AKRONG

Hannah Ashiokai Akrong joined Vodafone in April 2016 as director of Human Resources. Ashiokai started her career with Multimedia Broadcasting Company, Ghana and went on to Ernst & Young, where she worked in a consulting capacity with the HR Advisory team. She has also worked with Medtronic, a world leader in medical technology. Ashiokai has a BSc in Marketing from the University of Ghana and a Masters in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, USA and the IAG School of Business, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium.


VODAFONE GHANA

Quick fire-questions with Hannah Ashiokai Akrong How would you sum up life for an HR expert before and after the COVID-19 pandemic? “I would say the opportunities and challenges that having the majority of your workforce working remotely bring. That's something we're dealing with now and need to address concretely as well post-COVID.” A company is only as good as its employees. Could you sum this up from your experience at Vodafone Ghana? “I believe it was Richard Branson, owner of Virgin, who said this. If employees are 100 per cent proud of the work they're doing, the developmental opportunities that you give them and if you give them the necessary tools to do their work, they will be proud of the brand which will ultimately impact revenue and growth.” What advice would you give a prospective HR Director in the new normal? “HR is at the centre of organisational change - so the agenda is led by us. Looking at the employee journey from hire to retire, we need to look at our systems and processes and make them more agile to improve the employee experience. “We need to simplify a lot of our HR practices such as recruiting, onboarding, performance management and compensation and rewards and use the current digital tools that are available to bring a really rewarding employee and ultimately customer experience.”

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“We're a very purpose led, driven organisation with a vision to be the leading technology communications company” HANNAH ASHIOKAI AKRONG HR DIRECTOR VODAFONE GHANA

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A one-stop-shop of affordable and quality healthcare and insurance services is offered to clients in Ghana by GLICO Healthcare and GLICO Group.

Affordable, quality healthcare with quick claim payments is what GLICO Healthcare has been offering the people of Ghana for over 16 years. As a subsidiary company of GLICO Group, the health insurer offers a one-stop-shop of services for its corporate and private clients. GLICO Healthcare offers a comprehensive scheme that provides cover through a network of over 700 service providers. The scheme provides a choice of flexible benefit packages from choice of clinic along with a top-up plan to address some of the areas not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme. Commenting on what gives GLICO Healthcare its competitive edge, Edward Forkuo Kyei, Chief Executive Officer of GLICO Group, said it can capitalise on the synergies of being part of a bigger group. “The agenda is to become a one-stop-shop as clients can also access other services offered by other subsidiaries within the GLICO Group,” he said.

“GLICO Group started as a single company with a vision to become a world-class company, we now have six companies,” said Mr. Forkuo Kyei. “We provide comprehensive healthcare services and only work with service providers that meet our quality standards,” said Maame Afriyie Boachie, Chief Executive Officer of GLICO Healthcare.

“We are number one when it comes to prompt claim payment and in instances where individuals also make claims for out-of-pocket payments, we deliver." Maame Afriyie Boachie, Chief Executive Officer, of GLICO Healthcare. “We are number one when it comes to prompt claim payment and in instances where individuals also make claims for out-of-pocket payments, we deliver. We also offer tailor-made packages, add-on services and our staff are committed.” Vodafone Ghana has been one of GLICO Healthcare’s key clients since 2014. GLICO has served as their primary healthcare provider and partner to enhance the well-being of their stakeholders including Vodafone Healthline. “We also use Vodafone Cash services to pay our client claims,” commented Ms. Boachie. “We offer Vodafone staff health insurance and life insurance and we patronise their services,” added Mr. Kyei.

Learn more today


“When we started our transformation journey, it was about looking at our technology, our people, our systems, our processes so a lot of the things that we started putting in place have now been a lifesaver” HANNAH ASHIOKAI AKRONG HR DIRECTOR VODAFONE GHANA

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corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of the company, and known for really worldclass programs such as Instant Schools and Healthline TV program. “We have an initiative we call Kindred Month in which employees can bring a project from their communities that they want to support,” said Ashiokai who is sponsoring a maternity ward which has had the same beds for 33 years. “One of the employees was actually born on one of those beds,” she said. “I truly believe this rallies our employees around our culture, spirit and provides a real sense of pride at belonging to the organisation.”

“We have some of the best employee benefits including a four months parental leave policy for both males and females. This policy, which is first of its kind in the country, was rolled out in the past year. We also have a domestic violence policy, which gives employees who are in domestic violence type situations the right to take up to two weeks paid leave to seek help or deal with the situation.” Ashiokai also pointed out that they also have the Vodafone Foundation, which is the

Connecting with employees during COVID-19 Vodafone Ghana acted fast to ensure their employees worked remotely when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country in February 2020. Staff were equipped with all the necessary tools to carry out their jobs and managers were trained in ‘deliberate check-ins’ to ensure the employees understood their weekly and monthly goals. “We provided constant check-ins just to make sure that everybody was on track and stepped in when they needed help,” said Ashiokai. “Mental wellbeing has become a key issue with employees working remotely. We put in place various webinars where a psychologist would talk to our employees and answer their questions. “Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has been very important during this time, a confidential resource that employees can get the help they need.. To let our hair down, we have a virtual social hour where we enjoy comedy nights, virtual parties, cookery lessons or movie nights.” mobile-magazine.com

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Digital transformation According to Ashiokai the accelerated digital journey triggered by the pandemic created opportunities to use more innovative software. “From an HR perspective, one of the transformations was the sourcing, interviewing and hiring of staff through HireVue which is a video hiring software tool which basically cuts down the process by about a half,” she said. We implemented that a few years back and it has been so useful during the pandemic. “For me, it's all about making the employee experience and the candidates experience as smooth as possible, commented Ashiokai who has also used

“We constantly challenge our people and give them the opportunity to learn and grow in a really fast paced environment as innovation is a game changer” HANNAH ASHIOKAI AKRONG HR DIRECTOR VODAFONE GHANA

Microsoft Teams, Skype and Facebook Workplace as collaborative tools. Another excellent platform is Vodafone University which is a virtual university offering courses for employees development on everything from HR to Supply Chain. “I think all the technology that we put in place initially has now come together and is helping our employees work seamlessly from home or remotely. “Vodafone, I am very proud to say, is a multi-award-winning organisation. We picked 21 awards last year including the Telecoms Company of the Year, and Brand mobile-magazine.com

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2,000

employees at Vodafone Ghana

28

people in the HR team at Vodafone Ghana

50%

rise in Vodafone Ghana data during the pandemic

2009

the year Vodafone Ghana was founded

70

local and international awards - making it the most awarded telecoms company in Ghana

of the Year at the Ghana Business Awards (GBA). Our CEO also emerged the Telecom CEO of Year at the Ghana Information Technology and Telecommunications Awards (GITTA). Support for the community Although Ashiokai mostly focuses on the internal HR side of Vodafone Ghana she is keen to highlight how the company has externally supported the community during the pandemic. Vodafone was involved in the government contact tracing initiative and waived transfer charges for cashless payments through 214

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Vodafone cash at a time when people could not move due to lockdown. “We haven't brought back those charges a lot of work has been industry first which I am very proud of,” she said. “Very early on, we set about looking at how we could support the communities in which we operate. We've done a lot of expansion and future-proofing of our network infrastructure and increased the network capacity to support that as there was a 50 per cent rise in data with people working from home and children doing virtual school from home. “We also accelerated support for e-education by providing lots of free learning platforms and zero rated a lot of access to educational sites to give opportunities for the less privileged. We also promoted a widespread digital adoption for small and medium scale businesses.” Partnership with Glico Healthcare As employees faced the physical and mental challenges of working remotely during the pandemic, Ashiokai said the partnership

“Our business strategy includes a clear commitment to removing the barriers to digital access across the country and leveraging the power of technology through our networks and services” HANNAH ASHIOKAI AKRONG HR DIRECTOR VODAFONE GHANA

with Glico Healthcare had become more important than ever. “In the beginning everyone had so many questions about COVID-19 so Glico Healthcare sent their doctors to give a weekly talk including Q&A’s sessions to our employees which was really helpful and helped ease anxiety. “We also sought their help in developing our corporate protocols and then when we had some employees who were affected by COVID, they helped us navigate the healthcare system and national protocols that had been put into place. “We still periodically call on them to provide their expertise for what we call our HR Learning Series. That's a quarterly session with our employees on various topics from dealing with stress to other mental health mobile-magazine.com

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“We have this program called #YouSaidWeDid. I think that helps a lot in getting employees constantly to voice their thoughts, knowing that something is going to be done about it” HANNAH ASHIOKAI AKRONG HR DIRECTOR VODAFONE GHANA

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and physical wellbeing issues. We really couldn't have asked for better partners at this difficult time and we appreciate their tremendous support.” Future of the physical workplace Vodafone Ghana is now focusing on the future of work and maneuvering the opportunities and challenges that it poses. “It will be especially challenging for new employees who haven't had the opportunity to be in the office and see how employees interact and engage around our culture,” said Ashiokai.

“We see post-COVID as not fully going back to what we saw as normal, the majority of the time spent in the office. We are looking at the office more for collaboration, engagement activities and for new employees who need more supervision. It will also be used for teams to innovate as being face-to-face helps us better bounce ideas off each other. For us the future will probably be a combination of working from the office and remotely.”

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BT GLOBAL SERVICES INDIA

DELIVERING THROUGH DISRUPTION WRITTEN BY: RHYS THOMAS PRODUCED BY: GLEN WHITE & CAITLYN COLE


COMPANY BT GLOBALNAME SERVICES INDIA

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Harnessing the power of digital is key to delivering on expectations through procurement, says BT Global Procurement Manager, Vanitha Prabhu

I

Vanitha Prabhu Global Procurement Manager, BT Global Services India

n a year defined by the disruption of the biggest global health crisis in living memory, the focus for Vanitha Prabhu, Global Procurement Manager, IT and IT Services at BT Global Services India, remains relatively unchanged. Based in India, Prabhu oversees IT indirect sourcing for Asia Pacific and globally, as a captive unit of the telecoms giant. The company offers managed telecom and IT services for a broad range of customers across the healthcare, finance and contact centre sectors. At a time when communicating remotely is at the heart of both professional and personal life, the company’s services are arguably more vital than ever. Prabhu’s teams have been forced to overcome the same challenges all companies have faced during the past 12 or so months. But the fundamentals of her job, she says, remain the same: delivering value to stakeholders and suppliers inline with the group business objectives of BT. Creating stability and minimising disruption has been key to business continuity, and is built upon the core tenets of strategic sourcing, a critical process which Prabhu defines as the application of group-wide data, paired with consolidated purchasing power to find the best possible value in the marketplace. mobile-magazine.com

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BT GLOBAL SERVICES INDIA

BT India’s Procurement Transformation

“Our goals are to achieve lowest cost of ownership along with minimal supply chain risk”

Value, in this instance, understand what their does not necessarily strategy is and what mean most costtheir expectations are. efficient upfront; value Then we spend time can be measured by with our suppliers, to many metrics, and for understand how they're Prabhu that means going to fit into our delivering ecosystems, deliver the a “win-win proposition” services, come up with to BT, stakeholders and new plans and ideas, suppliers alike. Alongside and how they are going VANITHA PRABHU cost, procurement to improve efficiencies. GLOBAL PROCUREMENT MANAGER leaders are now tasked That's where we try to BT GLOBAL SERVICES INDIA with combatting the evaluate our supply base most pressing issues threatening supply and our business stakeholders, and we try chains, namely risk-mitigation, agility and to collaborate with all of them to ensure we resilience. provide the best possible services.” “Our goals are to achieve lowest cost of So how does one successfully deliver on ownership along with minimal supply chain these objectives? The answer in Prabhu’s risk,” Prabhu says. “To do this we spend a experience is leading with a collaborative lot of time speaking with stakeholders to mindset, and spending the time to explore 222

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BT GLOBAL SERVICES INDIA

how each and every business within the ecosystem can improve and grow. “We always believe in a win-win position for both suppliers and BT,” Prabhu says. “When we onboard a new thirdparty supplier, we work with them in collaboration, because ultimately we are reselling the supplier’s products to our end customers. That means suppliers have to be very collaborative, they need to understand the BT ecosystem and the customer so that they can deliver upon our expectations, as well as our customers’ expectations.” Keeping lines of communication open and maintaining these relationships is an ongoing process that goes far beyond onboarding, Prabhu explains: “It’s also how you manage the relationship throughout the lifetime of that contract.” BT conduct quarterly reviews to understand how all

VANITHA PRABHU TITLE: GLOBAL PROCUREMENT MANAGER INDUSTRY: CONSUMER SERVICES LOCATION: INDIA A keen leader ensuring accomplishment of functional objectives through effective team contribution by breaking down objectives into operational activities. Working with & guiding team members in executing activities with required means, knowledge, or opportunities. 16+ years of qualitative operational delivery experience in: •

Strategic Sourcing, Contract Management and Procurement Operations

Managerial Level Operational Reporting

Procurement Tools & Systems management

Exposure of managing all commercial aspects of complex contracts involving liaison with various departments for smooth operations of contracts.

Adept in handling a gamut of activities pertaining to opening/ evaluation of bids and negotiation, award &

EXECUTIVE BIO

review of contracts as per contract regimes, bridging contract agreement, settlement of contract claims and disputes •

An effective communicator with excellent leadership, planning, team management and relationship management skills and abilities in managing simultaneous projects.

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BT GLOBAL SERVICES INDIA

ADVERT PAGE GOLD parties are delivering on the contract, and hold meetings with suppliers to discuss how and where improvements can be made. Auditors, meanwhile, investigate security and data handling compliance; it’s a process of continued orientation. “We identify whether any mitigation plan is required, and if so collaborative work towards that,” Prabhu says. “We also work on amendments and contract variations as and when required, so that they meet up to our expectations, as well as minimise and mitigate the risk to BT and our customers.” 224

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“We spend more time on the value-add jobs rather than just a mechanical task” VANITHA PRABHU

GLOBAL PROCUREMENT MANAGER, BT GLOBAL SERVICES INDIA


BT GLOBAL SERVICES INDIA

In many ways the direction of Prabhu’s attention remains unchanged by the pandemic. The means the organisation uses to navigate the increasingly choppy waters of global procurement, however, are undergoing a dramatic digital transformation journey, equipping BT’s procurement professionals with the modern tools and resources to react to the ever shifting landscape. "We believe in new ways of working,” Prabhu says. “We have been focusing more on artificial intelligence (AI), machine

learning (ML) and many more emerging technologies. The focus is on simplifying the actual process and minimising the time we are investing in these tasks. We have introduced many tools within procurement to ensure the life of our procurement personnel is simple but brilliant. We now have all the information, data, and everything else we require available in one click. We have also started a digital garage, which will help us to please an order and get what we want in one click. That is a power of digitisation.” mobile-magazine.com

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BT GLOBAL SERVICES INDIA

“We always believe in a win-win position for both suppliers and BT” VANITHA PRABHU

GLOBAL PROCUREMENT MANAGER, BT GLOBAL SERVICES INDIA

The result is a virtuous circle: greater levels of digitisation place more power in the hands of Prabhu and her teams to focus on meeting customer expectations and adding value. “We are driving new projects and implementing strategic tools like designed-to-cost, design-to-value, and teardown analysis. And the more we invest in digital, the more time we can dedicate to strategic sourcing, meeting with our suppliers, understanding new techniques and innovations,” she says. “We spend more time on the value-add jobs rather than just a mechanical task. It is really helping us to leverage our expertise to commit to the things that matter, rather than wasting our time on those unproductive jobs.” mobile-magazine.com

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“The more we invest in digital, the more time we can dedicate to strategic sourcing, meeting with our suppliers, understanding new techniques and innovations” VANITHA PRABHU

GLOBAL PROCUREMENT MANAGER, BT GLOBAL SERVICES INDIA

Though COVID-19 placed further pressures on even the most basic procurement functions, Prabhu believes the outbreak was an energising testing ground for the unit’s new capabilities, and how procurement organisations can lead from the front in risk-mitigation. “We took a very proactive approach and we never waited long to act,” she says. “We started monitoring the performance of our suppliers, how they're doing, what the impact might be, and then ensuring there is business continuity so there is no impact to the supply chain.” As the pandemic took hold of countries around the world, Prabhu’s teams were forced to wrestle not only with how quickly they reacted, but “how swiftly you are able to make decisions”. She uses the example of a supplier in China, which was unable to fulfil its obligations due to restrictions imposed in response to the virus. “Now you see the supply chain is getting impacted, so you have to ask what are the other sources of suppliers? Do you have in-country sourcing, or are there local country sourcing where 228

May 2021

you can quickly procure the services so that your supply chain is not disrupted? I don't want that experience again in future,” she jokes. “But we are prepared for those now.” For Prabhu, the future holds vast opportunity. As a leader in India, she is something of an outlier: a woman in a senior leadership role in a country she says is more broadly prone to rewarding braggadocio above merit and experience. “Procurement is a very male dominated area; there are very few women employees in the sector,” she says. “Oftentimes you find many capable women will think they


BT GLOBAL SERVICES INDIA

are not ready for a promotion when an opportunity comes up. Men are more likely to think they can take on the role, even if they are not yet ready. But BT does a lot to support women in the workplace. The BT TechWomen programme, which I joined about two years ago, really helped me to develop my professional self, build my brand and develop my career.” Prabhu hopes to extend that professional develop to the rest of her team, regardless of gender. Using the new digital tools at their fingertips, she believes in empowering employees. “Once the job is given to them,

they need to own it end to end. I trust them, and I ensure that they get all the trainings, support and motivation they need from me so that they can deliver up to that expectation,” she says. “They always come up with new ideas, challenges, and I always entertain people who want to come and challenge me, too. That helps me to understand what my team expects from me, and help me to learn and grow along with my team.”

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TUENTI ECUADOR

GROWTH THROUGH MARKET DISRUPTION WRITTEN BY: WILLIAM SMITH

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PRODUCED BY: CRAIG KILLINGBACK


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Chief Executive Officer of Tuenti Ecuador, Gerardo Suarez Napolitano, on how the company’s startup culture and COVID-19 resilience is delivering growth

G

erardo Suarez Napolitano is Chief Executive Officer of Tuenti Ecuador, a subsidiary of telecommunications giant Telefonica. He took the role in 2014 before it launched as a separate business unit of Telefonica in June 2015. “Tuenti was launched as a result of the company’s need to create a digital unit focusing on millennials and centennials,” says Suarez Napolitano. “We assembled a team of highly skilled young professionals with mixed backgrounds, bringing them together in a start-uplike environment.” The brand had a strong sense of purpose since the start. “Since day one, our value propositions have centered around being easy to understand, easy to purchase, and easy to use. One of our key assets was to build strong, simple, data-centric offers that add key value for our customers. That includes music through Spotify, Data roll over, Free voice chat, and an instant prize roulette when you buy a combo.” The company’s culture matches its youthful and dynamic customer base. “Ever since we launched Tuenti, we made sure that every member of our team knew exactly where we were, and most importantly where we wanted to be,” enthuses Suarez Napolitano. “Tuenti was

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created as a startup culture - everyone takes care of their own business and everyone must be two steps ahead of their boss.” Suarez Napolitano encapsulates that ideal in his motto: “Perfection is the enemy of progress. We strongly encourage a collaborative approach among the different teams, making it easier to receive feedback, support, and quick responses when any team member needs it.” In line with its innovative startup culture, the company’s mobile app serves as the principle gateway through which it interacts with users. “App Tuenti is the main touchpoint between the brand and our customers, with an active user base amounting to 55% of our clients,” says Suarez Napolitano.” In late 2020, the

“PERFECTION IS THE ENEMY OF PROGRESS” GERARDO SUAREZ NAPOLITANO CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TUENTI ECUADOR


TUENTI ECUADOR

Gerardo Suarez Napolitano mobile-magazine.com

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Discover Tuenti: Ecuador’s simple but powerful Telco solution

“WE ASSEMBLED A TEAM OF HIGHLY SKILLED YOUNG PROFESSIONALS WITH MIXED BACKGROUNDS” GERARDO SUAREZ NAPOLITANO CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TUENTI ECUADOR

app was relaunched with a completely redesigned user experience and interface. “This new experience tailors to our customer’s every need. Its main features include an easy to visualise product layout, a brand-new intuitive subscription model, 234

May 2021

as well as multi-functional self-care services that bring it all together.” It’s via initiatives such as the app that the company has achieved huge success in the Ecuadorian market. “We rely on four main pillars in order to successfully maintain a high-paced growth rate. Product market fit, irreverent communication, a millennial-to-millennial sales force, and a completely digital customer service. This in turn has led us to go from 0 clients in June of 2015, to an outstanding 65% CAGR, reaching 1.3 million clients a little over 5 years later - awarding us 11% of the Prepaid Market Share in Ecuador.“ Supporting its work are trusted partners such as Amdocs. “Amdocs provides us with a comprehensive cloud-based business/operations support systemas-a-service solution,” says Suarez Napolitano. “They serve as a single point of accountability, relieving Tuenti from the


TUENTI ECUADOR

need to manage complex cross-vendor integrations and ongoing operations and seamlessly scaling up to support our rapid growth.” Amdocs’ solution is the perfect match for the needs of an agile, digitalfirst brand such as Tuenti. “For example, following a major earthquake a couple of years ago, we needed to respond with free usage to support our community. Amdocs

was able to promptly implement the necessary promotions.” Like all companies worldwide, Tuenti’s operations have been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to its digital basis, the company was well positioned to weather the storm. “Since before the pandemic, Tuenti’s operation model was far ahead of the industries’ mobile-magazine.com

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TUENTI ECUADOR

GERARDO SUAREZ NAPOLITANO TITLE: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER INDUSTRY: TELECOMMUNICATIONS LOCATION: ECUADOR Gerardo Suárez Napolitano is an executive with over 25 years experience in several commercial assignments in Latin America. He worked in massive consumer product companies like Procter & Gamble in Venezuela, Argentina and Empresas Polar in Venezuela. Over the last 15 years, he has been working in the telecommunications business with Telefónica where he was Commercial Director in Venezuela, Sales Director of Telesp in Brazil and Commercial VP in Ecuador. In October 2014, he was appointed as Ecuador Tuenti CEO launching the brand in June 2015 as a separate business unit of Telefónica. Gerardo is an Industrial Engineer by UCAB - Venezuela, Finance Magister by Unimet - Venezuela and Telecom Business Master by Catalunya University in Spain.

“WE STRIVE TO BECOME THE LEADING TELCO BRAND FOR THE YOUNGER GENERATIONS” GERARDO SUAREZ NAPOLITANO CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TUENTI ECUADOR

EXECUTIVE BIO

standards. With flexible schedules, international relations, optional WFH days, and family fridays, we learned to collaborate in a semi-remote environment from early on. This made the new normal not seem so new to us, as we were able to quickly adapt and maintain operations at all times.” So effective has the company’s response to the pandemic been, that it plans to maintain some of the changes COVID-19 has forced. “One of our biggest


“WITH FLEXIBLE SCHEDULES, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, OPTIONAL WFH DAYS, AND FAMILY FRIDAYS, WE LEARNED TO COLLABORATE IN A SEMI-REMOTE ENVIRONMENT FROM EARLY ON” GERARDO SUAREZ NAPOLITANO CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TUENTI ECUADOR

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2015

Year Founded

$40.3 M Revenue

23

Number of Staff

66%

CAGR Sustained growth between 2015 - 2020

11%

Prepaid Market Share


TUENTI ECUADOR

Tuenti Talks 29 de octubre Transformación Digital

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accomplishments through the pandemic was being able to quickly coordinate and transfer all of our customer service staff out of the office and into their homes. As the global crisis comes to an end, we are certain that we will not fully transition back to our office spaces, but rather follow in the footsteps of leading innovative companies with a work from anywhere model.” Looking to the future, Suarez Napolitano is clear that the company is not resting on its laurels. “There is no slowing down for Tuenti. We strive to become the leading telco brand for the younger generations, maintain our current growth rate, and strengthen our market position as the third biggest telco brand in Ecuador.” Accomplishing those ambitions requires

continuing down its customer-centric path. “We must continue to digest our customers’ needs, and prepare new and better features that best fit our client base - both during and after the pandemic.”

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