Mobile Magazine - January 2023

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Entrusting the cloud – the SME perspective

Cloud adoption has firmly established itself as a top priority of the world’s business leaders. And now, SMEs are beginning to follow suit

According to research conducted by IONOS, the pandemic in particular proved a key instigator for the shift to the cloud. In fact, nearly seven-in-ten SMEs told the survey they are using more cloud services than pre-pandemic, while 42% say they’ve invested in the cloud since March 2020.

In this month’s mag, I spoke to Lisa Schwartz, the Senior Director of Product Marketing at Oracle NetSuite, about how SMEs are approaching cloud transitions. She said that, although the pandemic evidenced the necessity of such digital transformation initiatives, trusting the cloud remains a big ask for smaller, independently-run, time-honoured enterprises.

“To take those existing processes and put them into something you don't see – you're entrusting it all to this entity, and that's a big leap of faith,” Schwartz explains.

And IONOS’ report clearly corroborates this: 44% of SME IT leaders are still worried that data protection is compromised when using cloud services, while 54% are concerned that security threats are increased by cloud services.

So, one of the leading topics in this edition has been exploring the strategies underpinning cloud adoption and the best practices to follow when undertaking this transformative step.

“Everyone’s talking about the cloud. But trusting this intangible technology remains a challenge for many”
Our Regular Upfront Section: 8 Big Picture 10 The Brief 12 Timeline: The use of the word 'data' 14 Trailblazer: Julie Fedele 18 Five Minutes With: Helena Nimmo 6G Industry predictions 76 TMT Managing the Metaverse: Cybersecurity on a new plane 40 Procurement Company Vodafone Procurement Company leads way on strategy and ESG T-Mobile Bridging gaps for a more inclusive tech industry 24 CONTENTS
APWireless Infrastructure Laying the groundwork for more efficient telecoms expansion 86 Vodafone Procurement Company Reshaping Vodafone’s supply chain for network equipment 110 Tech & AI How smart cities are set to transform the events sector 102 Technology The holistic value of cloud automation for SMEs 124 Middle East Broadcasting Networks On a mission to counter media bias for the MENA region 132 NEC Corporation Open RAN – a new milestone in 100 years of telecoms 160 Telco CEOs in MENA 148


The Green Planet AR experience London, UK

The Green Planet experience transported viewers from the heart of London’s Piccadilly Circus to five digital biomes: Rainforest, Freshwater, Saltwater, Desert and Seasonal – all through the power of 5G.

The immersive experience was created by Factory 42 in collaboration with BBC Studios, taking inspiration from the hugely influential Green Planet series. The 5G technology itself was powered by EE’s network.

Through the combination of 5G, AR, sound, visuals and storytelling (by David Attenborough himself) this immersive experience provided viewers with a deeply personal, utterly unique, and fresh insight into the natural world.

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All they have to do is come at the end and hang their equipment. We provide that solution to make it very seamless and easy for them to roll out those networks

READ MORE 10 January 2023



Although 71% of SMEs believe cloud services will be a central part of their business in the next five years, 54% are concerned that security threats are increased by the cloud.


TM Forum released an industry-agreed score for diversity and inclusion – the first of its kind in the world. It is hoped that, through the tool, digital service businesses will be able to ‘win the war on talent’.


As part of the Innovate UK-funded ‘Robot Highways’ project, BT is using robots and IoT to illustrate how key agricultural processes can be optimised, and how essential farm processes can be undertaken more sustainably by utilising renewable energy.



The WBA Annual Industry Report 2023’s key findings revealed that 33% of service providers, technology vendors, and enterprises have plans to deploy WiFi 7 by the end of the year.


Nokia will lead the Hexa-X-II project, the second phase of the European 6G initiative.


TIP has launched its new MetaverseReady Networks Project Group, with co-chairs including Meta Platforms, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Telefónica and Sparkle.


A new report revealed that an average day of filming generates more than one person’s annual carbon footprint.


A study revealed that, while 69.3% of video games feature a standalone male protagonist, only 6% feature a female character in the lead role.

P D O W N JAN 11



Today, data forms the essential building blocks of our digital society. It acts as the foundations for almost all of our digital operations, and the technologies that so much of our society depends on.

It’s surprising, then, to discover that the etymology of the word ‘data’ is by no means synonymous with technology.

In fact, the first use of the word far predates our computer technologies, and its history spans almost four centuries…



The 1640s marks the first English use of the word. ‘Data’ derives from the Latin word datum, "(thing) given", and is the neutral past participle of dare, which means "to give".




In classical use, the word ‘data’ originally meant “a fact given as the basis for calculation in mathematical problems”.

But, from 1897, its meaning shifted to “numerical facts collected for future reference”.

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For the first time, data’s meaning is recorded as being linked to computer technologies.

At this point in time, its meaning expands to “transmittable and storable information by which computer operations are performed”.


1954 marks the first instance of the use of the word ‘data processing’.

This is shortly followed by the first use of ‘database’ (a "structured collection of data in a computer") in 1962, and ‘data entry’ in 1970.

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Julie Fedele

Alongside her role at the forefront of one of the world’s largest telcos, Julie Fedele is a board member of Women in Cable Telecommunications and the Founder of influential self-growth platform Twofeetin.

TRAILBLAZER 14 January 2023
Vice President of Emerging Business Activation at Liberty Global

Liberty Global is one of the world’s largest converged video, broadband and telecommunication companies. It has a network of 20,000 employees serving 11 million global customers and achieving annual revenues of US$11bn. And at the helm of this enterprise is Julie Fedele, the Vice President of Emerging Business Activation.

Under the headline brand of Liberty Global sits some of Europe’s most instantly recognisable telecoms names. These include the likes of Virgin Media, O2, UPC, Telenet and Vodafone Ziggo.

Fedele’s transition into telecoms Interestingly, despite her current position in one of the world’s leading telecoms players, Fedele had little direct experience in the sector before she joined Liberty Global. In fact, she took on this leadership role after a 10-yearcareer with the healthcare giant Bupa.

“I quickly saw the parallels with the healthcare industry, having worked inside across multiple roles during my 10 years at Bupa,” Fedele explains.

.“We look for Series B/C .partners and beyond. 15
.We want confirmed growth, .sound management and a clear path to scale”

“Both sectors have seen sustained growth and rapid disruption. This disruption means that traditional sources of growth become challenged and finding new sources is something that really excites me. There is a tremendous opportunity to reimagine capabilities and partnerships by leveraging our core assets like network, customer base and product platforms.”

“We are essentially an infrastructurebased, consumer business that monetises this infrastructure with

integrated services. As third parties evolve their services, we become a meta-aggregator, simplifying experiences for the consumer. Coming into this role, I asked: ‘how can we leverage our assets at pace to develop new value – and break long development cycles?’.”

As such, it was her proven track record of value activation that marked her out the role – a trait that proved to be an invaluable aid to the company’s direction.

Global by the numbers: 20K+ employees 11mn global customers US$11bn annual revenue
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.“I am deeply .we can create .home, based .safety and .aspect of peoples’ .our

Twofeetin: supporting corporate wellness and fostering personal growth

Alongside her role at Liberty Global, Fedele is a firm advocate of corporate wellness.

In fact, in 2021, she founded her own self-growth platform, Twofeetin.

Twofeetin is a curated platform, to help users ‘discover and demystify all things personal development’. This coaching method is designed to make personal roadmaps clearer and give users the tools that they need to create more fulfilling strategic goals.

“I have always been cosmically curious about anything to do with selfgrowth, but a few years ago, the tools and resources I had collected became a lifeline. I relocated to the UK for work and, whilst on the surface I was enjoying a successful career and a happy home, inside, I knew that I wasn’t living the life that was meant for me.”

“That’s when I decided to go two feet in – to my life and my journey of self. I invested deeply and learnt so much from incredible teachers across the worlds of science and spirituality. Through that journey, I finally reached a place where my power and purpose aligned – and now I want to help others do the same.”

Fedele’s belief in the importance of wellness is immediately evident, as she is an Angel Investor in a number of worthy causes, including the accessible coaching platform More Happi, the communitycurated producer of feminine hygiene products ohne, and the platform supporting female founders, Alma.

Since joining Liberty Global, Fedele has also been appointed as a Board Member for Women in Cable Telecommunications. 17
deeply interested in how an ecosystem in the based on peace of mind, and healthcare, in every peoples’ lives, through our enabling services”


Helena Nimmo

18 January 2023


» I was born in the UK and moved to Finland when I was young, meaning (bar a year spent at Strathclyde University for an MSc) my education took place in Finland.

I really wanted to be a florist and gardener but, living in a country that experienced winter for six months of the year, it wasn’t really viable. Though now it’s a hobby I make sure I always have time for.

Instead, I ended up doing a variety of business studies, starting at my home town’s university, Oulu University, and ending up in Strathclyde, Scotland.


» I worked for a number of years both before and during university, and the technology sector was not at the top of my mind when I started out. But I had always had access to technology at home and school.

Oulu was a very tech-heavy city, with Nokia dominating the employment market. And that’s how it started. I got fully and completely sucked into the world of technology, both as a product and business enabler.

Saying that, I have moved across different companies and sectors, which has been great in giving me a different, wider perspective on what works, and the why and the when for what doesn’t work.



» Personally, I am not a great fan of the term “digital transformation”.

It’s become one of those industry by-words that doesn’t feel like it needs to be explained, but in reality, isn’t actually true.

Digital transformation suggests starting from a point that doesn’t include any level of digital. Whereas, more often than not, it is about incremental improvements in existing systems.

Any successful change needs to be collaborative and inclusive. By that, I do not mean management by consensus. Rather, I mean making sure all the right people are involved and engaged.

Leadership should provide the sponsorship, and those impacted by the change need to be part of the design and implementation. Technology leaders are stakeholders and sponsors, just like any other functional leader. We often initiate the change, but to be successful, change needs to be inclusive and led by someone who has it as a full-time job.

20 January 2023


» My role is a global one, engaging across multiple time zones, cultures and varied user groups, which makes it enjoyably unpredictable.

Endava has signed up to the Race to Zero pledge, and we work with our partners to ensure sustainability in energy use, as well as in how the components for the devices and infrastructure are sourced. We maximise the life of the devices we use and ensure they are recycled appropriately. These are, however, only some of the actions we need to take.

The volume of data is something that needs to be addressed, namely copies of data. The more copies there are, the more storage and power is required to manage them. Managing the solution is going to require both behavioural changes and technological solutions.


» The role of a technology leader has changed dramatically over the years. Many of us struggled with the transition from technical leadership to business leadership.

Technology leaders are expected to understand how every part of the business operates, what the future trends will be, link the commercial and the operational, as well as retain the technical knowledge. Getting the balance between all these demands can be challenging, and I certainly do not get it right all the time.

Being able to recognise when a rebalance is required and acting on it is one of the biggest challenges I would identify with.





I 25

T-Mobile’s mission is to be the best in the world at connecting customers to their world. It’s at the heart of who we are, enabling more people in more places to have access to the connectivity, service and value they deserve - and making it our priority to not leave anyone behind.

As Edwige A. Robinson, Senior Vice President of Network Engineering and Operations for the Central Region at T-Mobile US, puts it:

“As the Un-carrier the company focused on solving customer pain points and changing the wireless industry for good, consumers and businesses across the US have benefitted from more accessibility and more choice thanks to T-Mobile’s continuing work to deliver more competition in both wireless and in-home broadband."

Delivering Connectivity to Underserved Students and Our Commitment to DE&I

A significant focus for T-Mobile has been helping to bridge the digital divide, ensuring that everyone has the ability to access the internet regardless of location or level of income. Today, that matters more than ever, especially when it comes to providing children with equal education opportunities.

That’s why the company launched Project 10Million in 2020, setting the audacious goal of providing ten million students with a free hotspot, free or highly subsidised data

Edwige A. Robinson, Senior Vice President of Network Engineering and Operations at T-Mobile, explains her passion for making technology more inclusive
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“Here at T-Mobile, in addition to being part of a team focused on driving innovation and network transformation, one of my passions is to help women enter into the tech field. Not just to come in, but to stay and to succeed” 27
T-MOBILE LEARN MORE A partner you can count on to deliver the service excellence you cannot live without. Warehousing, Transportation and Supply Chain Technology Solutions


using data to create the perfect supply chain

In a partnership with T-Mobile that’s lasted more than 15 years, Tellworks is removing inefficiencies from the supply chain using data and technology

Founded in 2005, Tellworks is a supply chain organisation which has a long-standing relationship with telecom giant T-Mobile.

“Our services enhance the supply chain of T-Mobile,” explains Christo Makrides, Managing Partner of Tellworks Logistics, AIMSPlus Software and Makt-Trans Freight & Brokerage.

Tellworks’ relationship with T-Mobile started back in 2007, Makrides explains, beginning with the telco’s reverse logistics. “Then around 2017 we began discussing a national contract for forward logistics, which we were awarded in 2018,” he says.

With the best interest of the customer at heart, the mantra of ‘service first’ is in Makrides’ DNA, which he sees as the key ingredient to success. The use of data and analytics is critical in supporting supply chain operations and enabling Tellworks to customise T-Mobile’s supply chain to their requirements. “The best technology wins the game,” Makrides comments. “The customisation of technology around the supply chain, specifically in

telecommunications, was the oxygen that T-Mobile needed and is something that we worked very hard to provide and tailor to their needs, rather than provide a platform that is off the shelf and difficult to change.”

For Makrides, it is important to build upon the two organisations’ relationship going forward. “My goal is to have a strategic approach to our relationship,” he says. “I would like to create the perfect warehouse, the perfect transportation solution, and the best software platform. And I believe when, at the end of the day, we complete the mission we are going to provide a lot of cost-effectiveness.”

“We’re going to take the inefficiencies out of the system, and that will translate into a more cost-effective programme within the partnership,” Makrides concludes. “I believe that will give us a long-term relationship. That is the goal for every vendor to be in partnership with such a huge organisation.”


plans and access to laptops and tablets. Through this nationwide program, T-Mobile has invested $3.65bn in services to connect more than 4.3 million students.

In addition to the important work of helping to bridge the digital divide, the company is also focused on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in our workforce and beyond.

We are working for and listening to our customers, as well as our team of experts, so that we can really cater to the need and curate different services and products of a need”
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At T-Mobile, people are at the heart and soul of the enterprise. The Un-carrier embeds DE&I in all that they do, from hiring and employee development, to award-winning culture and a five-year Equity in Action plan.

T-Mobile has already reached 84% of its goal to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2023. Additionally, its workforce comprises nearly 60% people of colour, and nearly half of its employees are women.



Edwige is renowned Technologist with 25+ years of experience in the Technology & Leadership realm. She believes a more diverse & inclusive Tech world is possible and lends her expertise and her heart centered leadership approach, to her work and service to the Tech community every day. Described as the Translator of new innovations, she is a “Triple Minority” in tech - A native of Ivory Coast, West Africa - a foreigner, being female, and black, she is known for her unwavering courage and optimism. Despite countless obstacles to impede her success, she forged ahead and has succeeded in vital roles at major companies in the USA. Not only


“At T-Mobile, I lead a team that is focused on driving the innovation and transformation of our network. It’s a privilege to set a leadership example of what is possible, and one of my passions is to give back by helping women and minorities build and thrive in a technology career,” said Robinson.

A huge supporter of gender inclusivity in the workplace, Robinson sits on several Advisory Boards driving STEM education to underserved communities. She serves on the Board of Directors of A Little Bit of Hope and 4Girls 4Change with responsibility to drive strategy, programming and capacity building. Alongside this, her most-anticipated book is coming in Autumn 2023.

“For me personally, supporting gender inclusivity in the workplace and helping to bridge the digital divide are two important issues I’m passionate about supporting. I’m proud that T-Mobile is committed to continuing its DE&I work, and closing the digital equity gap so that future generations

have more equitable opportunities and are prepared with the education and skills needed for future careers.”

“It’s much more than just providing connectivity earlier. It’s about helping to change the trajectory of a lot of kids’ lives and improving their future,” explained Robinson.

According to a Harvard Center for Education Policy report, achievement growth in districts that taught remotely during the pandemic was lower for students attending high-poverty schools compared to those for students attending low-poverty schools. Closing the digital equity gap and recovering the learning loss carries serious weight, which is why T-Mobile is committed to helping students across the country access the internet, technology, and resources they need to receive an education and pursue opportunities.

To this aim, T-Mobile also works with a number of reputable youth networks, such as Big Brother Big Sisters of America,

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Bridging gaps for a more inclusive tech industry

to further expand its reach across 5,000 communities. We also support California’s Emerging Technology Fund and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation both of which focus on helping to bridge the digital divide.

Creating the 5G networks of the future T-Mobile was the first US wireless provider to launch 5G nationwide in 2019, the next generation of wireless network technology, designed to expand the scope of mobile technology beyond the capabilities of LTE.

In her current role, Robinson, who was appointed in 2020, is responsible for leading her team to design, build and maintain a cutting-edge 5G network and partnering with key stakeholders to deliver an outstanding 5G experience.

“We all know that 5G is super-fast and has more capacity. It is providing a tremendous

“The company will be utilising everything that 5G can offer, helping to bring to life all different types of technology and use cases for connected devices such as AI, drones, healthcare and more” 33

amount of benefits to our customers, but is it improving customer experience in general?”

“Yes! If the customer has the ability to have their home interconnected, then they are able to check on their home while away or track their dog, for example, which makes life a little bit easier and better,” said Robinson.

Another benefit of T-Mobile’s 5G, according to Robinson, is that their customers don’t have to choose between value and using the best network.

In recent findings from umlaut, an arm of Accenture, it found T-Mobile is the most reliable 5G network with the best 5G coverage and fastest active 5G download and upload speeds – for the third time in a row.

The study confirms that T-Mobile has maintained its lead over AT&T and Verizon for 5G reliability, download speed, upload speed and coverage. T-Mobile users also had 5G coverage significantly more often than Verizon customers, with download and upload speeds faster than both Verizon and AT&T, again.

The Un-carrier’s extended range 5G covers nearly everyone in the country – 323 million people across 1.9 million square

miles. 260 million people nationwide are covered with super-fast Ultra Capacity 5G, and T-Mobile expects this figure to reach 300 million next year.

With investment, T-Mobile continues to execute on its years-long strategy to build the highest-capacity, broadest network in US history.

Working in collaboration with strategic partners

The cornerstone of any relationship, especially at work, is radical collaboration, according to Robinson. It can make or break a team, and provides everyone with a sense of belonging, allowing them

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to feel heard and seen. Speaking on the importance of partnerships, Robinson explained how ‘nobody wins alone’.

“It doesn't matter who you are, you need your partners in order to succeed. So for me, it's taken amazing partners such as Nokia or Ericsson to really be at the cornerstone of a delivery machine. We are working with them in order for us to deliver our best network to our customers, so that we can connect our customers to their world. The partnerships, to me, are the baseline in connecting with your vendors and turning them into true strategic partners.”

One thing Robinson has learned throughout her career is that, when it comes

to having a long-term partnership, having a clear goal and mutual accountability are essential in order to succeed and meet the agreed upon commitments.

“I think it is about acknowledging what each other does best and then trying to maximise those inputs for the best business result. So, in terms of T-Mobile, we are on our way to becoming number one, and we are doing it with our partners. We are embracing all our vendors, not as vendors, but as strategic partners. We are working with and listening to our customers, as well as our team of experts, so that we can really cater to the need by curating different services and products accordingly.” 35

Veteran technology expertise coupled with a leading 5G wireless partner

Nokia’s Head of Mobile Network Services for T-Mobile,Rajan Vashisht and VP of Operations and Customer Delivery Manager, Chantal Tremblay detail the long-standing T-Mobile partnership and their future 5G ambitions.

A telecom industry veteran with over 24 years’ experience, Nokia’s Head of Services for T-Mobile Rajan Vashisht, spoke highly of the company’s partnership with T-Mobile, as an integral relationship that is helping Nokia to achieve its strategic mission—of creating the technology that helps the world act together.

“Our solutions enable service providers, industries and the public sector to create the critical networks that bring people, machines and devices together,” says Vashisht. “We are a trusted technology partner and leader across mobile, fixed, and cloud networks.”

Within the key strategic partnership, Vashisht alongside VP of Operations and Customer Delivery Manager, Chantal Tremblay, highlighted that a cornerstone of their successful relationship is their shared passion for putting the customer experience first.

Both organisations continue working to deliver next-generation wireless connectivity to everyone, everywhere. As Tremblay delves more into the partnership, she explains they are leveraging both company’s expertise to build a 5G network.

“At Nokia, we work to be a true strategic partner, not just a vendor. We listen closely to our customer’s needs and align fully with their vision, working as one team. Ultimately, our success is defined by the success of our customers.”

A partnership with a mobile veteran

As the partnership was formalised and has evolved over time, both organisations responded to their counterparts’ positioning against market trends, as well as sharing any growth opportunities.

“When T-Mobile ‘went all-in’ on 5G, so did Nokia, helping our partner advance the large-scale deployment of 5G services throughout the United States,” Tremblay says.

“Nokia’s 5G technology, software and services have supported the un-carrier in its efforts to bring its network to market, expand coverage, and deploy flexible and scalable 5G networks for enterprise.”

Vashisht believes there are exciting opportunities ahead as a key technology partner for T-Mobile. “We are honoured to have been by T-Mobile’s side during their fantastic 5G journey thus far, but our work together is not done yet.”

Learn more about our Mobile Networks ›

“It doesn't matter who you are, you need your partners in order for you to succeed”
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Embracing the ever-evolving changes in technology

As T-Mobile strives to achieve the status of the number one mobile network provider, customer centricity is a focus.

“For us to do that, we need to ensure that our teams and our leaders are able to quickly learn, experiment and implement so that we can provide the best product and the best services at all times.”

As the company enters into 2023, it wants to ensure that it is maximising the benefits of 5G, but, more importantly, that it continues to squash customer pain points and provide them with the highest quality network. To do so, it needs to continue to evolve in this changing world.

“The company will be utilising everything that 5G can offer, helping to bring to life all different types of technology and use cases from connected devices such as AI, drones, healthcare and more.” 39
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In recent years, the metaverse has risen from relative obscurity to become the big question mark in immersive technologies. Set to revolutionise not only entertainment, but also the world’s remote-working culture, it is also projected to impact the operations of finance, healthcare, education, and countless other industries, too.

But to implement the metaverse successfully, the new wave of cybersecurity risks that come hand-in-

hand with it need to be managed. And, as you’d probably expect, it’s an immense undertaking, challenging and requiring us to fend off threats that are only emerging with the dawn of the metaverse itself.

So, can we learn from the mistakes that we made with web 2.0 or are we doomed to repeat those mistakes once again?

The revolutionary potential of the metaverse The metaverse is a business opportunity that has already been valued in the billions, reaching a valuation

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of $46bn in 2020. Goldman Sachs has therefore predicted that the metaverse market size could grow to be worth anything between $1-12tn.

“The metaverse is an evolution of existing technologies, which could become a revolution. I think that's the tipping point we're at now,” explains Lisa O'Connor, Managing Director and Global Leader of Security Research and Development at Accenture.

The primary difference between the metaverse and the technologies

that have come before it lie in its new level of immersion.

“Interacting with web 3.0 is really going to give us a sense of place and ownership –both of which are different, because they are usually controlled by platforms or the environment,” O'Connor explains.

“But the aspiration in the full metaverse is that you can create communities; you have a sense of place that you can return to and experience; you also, potentially, have these self-governing organisations, and you create the 43

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community, the rules and the governance around that.”

The level of commercial, economic and societal opportunities that are expected to emerge from the metaverse are nothing short of extraordinary.

“The metaverse will have implications in a lot more ways than just commercial uses, and I think it's still yet to be explored,” explains Tony Kagoo, Head of Innovation,

Communication, Media and Information Services, UK and Europe at Tata Consultancy Services. “I would say that the metaverse is still in the ‘hype bubble’. But I come from an innovation background, so my job is to talk about the art of the possible.”

The potential for this technology is huge. But, equally, so is the level of risk involved, unless intuitive, nuanced and water-tight cybersecurity measures are implemented. 45 TMT

What are the risks of the metaverse, and what makes these risks unique?

“The psychological impact of people being in the metaverse is as real as the real world is. So, security in the metaverses is absolutely critical,” states Kagoo.

One of the biggest concerns of the metaverse, naturally, lies in the level of personal data that is being shared and stored on these platforms.

“We need to get it right, in terms of security, privacy and governance and how we're managing people's data. And that's so important in the metaverse, because we have so many different kinds of data,” O'Connor outlines.

“We're getting biometric data; we're getting eye movement; we're getting potential respiratory, cognitive, and all other kinds of behavioural biofeedback, which could create an incredibly personal digital fingerprint.”

For many users, this level of data collection will be seen as incredibly invasive. As a result, companies’ GDPR practices will be put under even more scrutiny.

“It's a balancing act of making sure that you’re doing what GDPR requires and disclose what you're collecting, to be transparent. That's a tall order for the metaverse. And, upon stepping into it, we really have to make sure that we understand what we're

collecting, why we're collecting it, how we're using it, and what's happening with that data,” O'Connor advises.

Furthermore, as this increase in data collection exposes users and companies to even higher risks, there is an urgent need for the security of our existing technologies to be improved, before they can be deployed in the metaverse.

“The problem with the metaverse is that it is being built on technologies that exist today –ones that already have a deep-rooted legacy of security vulnerabilities,” states Rick McElroy, Principal Cybersecurity Strategist at VMware.

“Before new cybersecurity strategies can be developed, existing defences for technologies vital to the metaverse, such as 5G, IoT, blockchain and artificial intelligence, need to be fortified. Only then can we ensure a solid foundation for this new virtual realm.”

In this way, one of the cruxes to a successful metaverse cybersecurity strategy lies in adopting a unified approach.

“One of the key things that we need to understand is that it's not just about bringing in different technologies. Since it has so many different stakeholders – like cybersecurity, innovation, government bodies and regulatory bodies – everybody needs to come together to create a safer, more regulated ecosystem,” Kagoo states.

There are a number of organisations and safety initiatives out there that are working to define a framework for these ‘best practice’ cybersecurity measures. These consortiums will prove critical in shaping what the web 3.0 experience will look like and the technologies that it will enable.

“We're at the point to influence some of those things and really figure out how we get the things right in Web 3.0 that we didn't get right in 2.0. And I think that's the exciting opportunity here,” says O'Connor. 47 TMT

Managing, protecting and guaranteeing digital identity in the metaverse

The metaverse’s distinguishing quality is the level of complete immersion that it achieves for users.

“Businesses have a different opportunity here, because it's not a binary journey. Being ‘out’ of the metaverse or ‘in’ the metaverse is not as clear cut,” O'Connor explains.

It’s precisely this level of immersion that gives the metaverse both its value and its highest area of risk. Nevertheless, experts also believe that it can also be utilised to achieve the rigid cybersecurity measures that such personal data necessitates.

“Digital identity will form a critical part of the metaverse. How we do it is something that we are exploring today. For example, Twitter is actually building a solution where they're trying to use facial recognition to identify the age of the person who's going to come into the metaverse,” Kagoo outlines.

“The technologies that we use in digital identity to date, like NFTs, will be combined together to help us to secure the identity crisis that we have today.”

In short, ensuring a secure metaverse will necessitate a harmonious network of technologies, sophisticated user access securities, and careful stewardship of the data that is collected.

“All these technologies need to come together to form that secure ecosystem in the metaverse. So blockchain will ringfence it and digital identity will be our passports in the virtual world,” Kagoo recommends.

“There's tonnes of data that can be collected, but we should only be collecting what we need for the experience, and then act as good stewards and custodians of what happens next with that. I think those are the questions we should be asking as we put our feet in the water,” O'Connor advises.

48 January 2023 TMT


Vodafone was among the first organisations to see procurement as something more than a mere cost control centre – eleven years before the supply chain shocks of the pandemic prompted organisations the world over to follow suit.

It was back in 2008 that Vodafone established Vodafone Procurement Company (VPC) in Luxembourg, aiming to service the procurement needs of all Vodafone entities across the group. The motive for the move was to bring the company’s scale to bear.

“Prior to VPC, Vodafone’s supplier partners had to negotiate with every single operating company and tell them that they had the best procurement deal on the planet,” says Ninian Wilson, who is both CEO of VPC and also Vodafone Director of Supply Chain Management. “They don't do that anymore. Now, they negotiate once for our suppliers, and we hold the price books for the whole company.”

Today, Ninian Wilson and his team manage a spend of around €24bn across the company, and, as well as marshalling spending with suppliers worldwide, it supports the needs of its operating companies and group functions, in addition to selling procurement services to third parties.

Ninian Wilson, Global Supply Chain Director & CEO of Vodafone Procurement Company, on why problems are an opportunity to create competitive advantage

Innovative Energy Solutions Enable Telcos to Building Green, Low-Carbon Networks

Huawei green energy solutions aim to drive technology revolution for a better, greener future. Together with global customers and partners, by end of Jun 2022 Huawei energy solution has achieved:

Green Energy Generation: 588.5 billion kWh

CO2 Emission Reduction: 290 million tons

Equivalent to Plant: 390 million trees

Learn More

Huawei: Using innovative technology to cut carbon emissions

Huawei is using innovative solutions, including the development of solar panels and energy storage solutions, to help significantly reduce carbon emissions

With the help and support of Huawei, Vodafone has been a pioneer in implementing its net zero strategy.

To support its ambitious goals, Huawei has used a number of innovative solutions, including the development of solar panels and energy storage solutions in a number of countries, including Egypt and South Africa, in a move to significantly reduce Vodafone’s carbon emissions.

“Apart from its European networks achieving 100% electricity supply from renewable sources in 2021, Vodafone is also committed to making all its African networks 100% powered by renewable energy by 2025,” says Huawei’s Senior Vice President, Vincent Pang.

“The current energy crisis in Europe has resulted in sharp increase in electricity bills and energy shortage, which is severely impacting telcos’ operations,” adds Pang. “To overcome the challenge, we have developed innovative solutions at the equipment, site, and network levels to

support telcos reducing energy consumption throughout the life cycles of their networks.”

Huawei has been continuously working with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and has achieved industry-leading scores for consecutive years in scope 3 carbon emissions: indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain. And with the globalisation of supply chains in recent years, Huawei has managed key supply chain issues to support Vodafone’s requirements, maintaining steady operations and remained determined to invest for the future.

To maintain supply chain resilience against pressure and to ensure both business continuity and cost advantages, Huawei works closely with suppliers and partners, Pang says.“We do not rely on any single country or supplier, and all of our key products have alternative sources within our supply chain,” he adds. “Vodafone and Huawei are long-term strategic partners,” Pang concludes. “We are absolutely confident in our ability to continue providing Vodafone with high-quality products and services.”

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Wind River helping Vodafone deliver on

Wind River discusses its work with Vodafone, to help in its efforts to build Europe’s first commercial Open Radio Access Networks.

Wind River – a global leader in intelligent edge software – is in the vanguard of businesses driving the digital transformation of mission-critical systems and advancing the new intelligent machine economy.

One of the areas where the company is helping usher customers into an everchanging future is telecommunications. “We’re constantly strategising operations for the future,” says Kevin Dallas, Wind River President and CEO.

An important area for Wind River in telecoms is its work with Open RAN (O-RAN). This is a new approach to building mobile networks. Traditional RAN solutions required telecoms operators to work with single suppliers, an approach that works against smaller vendors, who lack the financial muscle to build and manage RAN solutions.

Wind River is embracing O-RAN in its work with telecoms customers, and as a result of its contributions to O-RAN including the contribution of key open-source technology, the company has been selected by customers such as Vodafone for production deployment of 5G.

O-RAN future

“We were thrilled to be selected by Vodafone, to help in its efforts to build Europe’s first commercial O-RAN, which will be one of the largest in the world,” says Dallas. “Vodafone believes this will be the catalyst for other large-scale O-RAN deployments, and spearhead the next wave of digital transformation across Europe.”

But as well as opportunities, new technologies also bring challenges, most of which concern system integration. Vodafone recently published a white paper on the challenges of O-RAN system integration, with a call to action for ecosystem providers to integrate much earlier.

“Instead of buying a single box from a traditional vendor multiple vendors in the ecosystem need to work together,” Dallas explains.

“Distributed networks are complex,” adds Dallas. “This is why our focus is on “providing ease of deployment, increased levels of automation and operational efficiency.”

Learn More »

VPC is also a joint partner (with the Luxembourg government) in Tomorrow Street, a technology incubator with which it shares the same office and whose successes help grow the Vodafone tech ecosystem with scale-up businesses on the leading edge of telecoms tech solutions.

VPC helps Vodafone leverage scale on procurement “The rationale of VPC was strong from the outset,” Ninian Wilson adds. “Not only did it save vendors money because they no longer had as many account managers, but it also leveraged our scale as a company and provided a focal point for the whole of Vodafone.”

The Vodafone Procurement Company’s team operates across four areas, including IT, Networks, Commercial & Services, and Devices. “In all of these we leverage scale

and hands-on expertise,” Ninian Wilson says. “The vision is to create the future of procurement with digital and pioneering practices, connected to experts worldwide.”

VPC not only saves vendors money, but it also leverages our scale as a company”

58 January 2023





Ninian Wilson is CEO of Vodafone Procurement Company and Director of Supply Chain Management. He joined Vodafone on 1 June 2009 as IT procurement director and was appointed to the board of Vodafone Procurement Company in November 2009. From 2014 to 2016 he held the role of SCM Technology Director and was responsible for all technology sourcing in the company, including Networks, IT and new product development. In March 2016, he was appointed director of group SCM and CEO of Vodafone Procurement Company.


MarketPlace brings structural change to the way telecom operators SOURCE & MAINTAIN their networks by putting the CIRCULAR ECONOMY at the core of their business, resulting in efficiencies, cost savings & planet benefits. Our MarketPlace technology moves networks towards NET ZERO.

Shields MarketPlace helps operators fight climate change

Shields CEO Daniel Jones explains how his company’s MarketPlace software platform helps telecom operators of all sizes save money - and the planet

The global telecoms industry faces critical challenges in the fight against climate change and the drive to introduce a more circular economy. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has become a global goal to mitigate climate change, and telecom operators have an important role to play.

Drawing on four decades of experience working in the telecoms sector, UKheadquartered Shields has developed MarketPlace, a cloud-based platform which allows telecom operators to realise financial, environmental and social benefits.

“The telecoms world is now only 8.6 per cent circular,” says Shields CEO Daniel Jones. “The contribution network equipment can make to achieve a circular economy is enormous.”

MarketPlace has been adopted by the leading international telecom operator Vodafone, active in more than 25 local markets. To date, the Shields platform has enabled at least €30 million of CAPEX saving from reusing refurbished equipment and more than €5 million of additional revenue generated from the resale of surplus network equipment. It has also saved more than 7,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions during the process.

Shields had been offering circular economy services for a range of operators when they were first introduced to Vodafone UK in 1998.

The telecom giant was in the process of modernising network equipment, and Shields formed a relationship with Vodafone UK that enabled them to introduce a 3R principle: 1) optimise Reuse back to Vodafone UK,

2) Resell surplus Vodafone UK assets globally and 3) Recycle the delta with a zero landfill policy. This 3R policy adopted with Vodafone UK is the foundation of MarketPlace which has introduced a fourth ‘R’ and explores Group Reuse after local needs have been catered for.

“MarketPlace creates significant financial savings (avoidance) and generates new revenue streams, whilst at the same time reducing long lead times compared to new equipment. There is a positive business case that also saves the planet. It is a win-win-win for all telecom operators that embrace our MarketPlace solution, which they need in this highly competitive market,” says Jones.

Find out more

Procuring Open Networks

NEC learnings to define the way forward Contact Us

Addressing the “Openness” within Open RAN

Open RAN provides an exciting opportunity for Operators and Vendors to collaborate in a more harmonious manner. While Operators get an opportunity to pick the sub-system components from different vendors aiming towards efficient technology, cost modelling and operability, vendors see this as an area to enhance their individual products or components, instead of building end-to-end traditional RAN models.

While Open RAN has led to a more open environment and expansion across vendors and ecosystems, it also has certain challenges, such as procurement. There are different models that operators are using to procure networks; the single-vendor model, in which all the risk is managed by a single entity that manages all the risks of multiple eco-system vendors, is one such model. The other model is procuring individual sub-systems, taking the responsibility to stitch the solution together and procuring professional services with limited liability. Each model has different implications on accountability, risk profile and commercial/ contractual conditions. From the seller’s

perspective, a risk premium is often defined to manage unknowns depending on the model. However, this can lead to Open RAN losing out as comparisons are often made with traditional RAN procurement models –a comparison that unfairly de-emphasizes the enormous benefits of Open RAN.

NEC has collaborated closely with Vodafone to contribute in the field of Open RAN; together we will build one of the largest commercial Open RAN networks in the world. The future of Open RAN is promising and challenging at the same time. To allow innovation to foster, we need to move forward steadfastly and with patience. In the short term, an investment led approach needs to be taken that doesn’t measure TCO on Day 0 and that doesn’t default to the vertically integrated solutions the market is accustomed to. This will give time for the benefits of virtualisation and cloudification to be realized, which will be the basis of building next generation networks.

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Internally, its job is to support Vodafone, and, in so doing, it is also indirectly supporting Vodafone’s consumer and business customers around the world, whether these be large corporates or small companies.

Ninian Wilson says the Vodafone Procurement Company also has external customers to whom it provides procurement services.

“This is through what we call our Partner Markets Division,” he explains, adding that this team sells Vodafone products and services, including third-party procurement and supply chain support. “Our primary role is to make Vodafone successful and to provide it with competitive advantage,” Ninian Wilson goes on to remind us.

Ninian Wilson helps deliver competitive advantage to Vodafone Part of that competitive advantage is ensuring it works with the kind of suppliers who not only help the company mitigate

against supply disruption, but who also perform strongly on ESG requirements.

Before rubber-stamping suppliers to provide Vodafone with products or services, VPC vets them closely, assessing their commitment and performance on diversity and inclusion, the environment, and health and safety in areas where there is risk.

On ESG, Ninian Wilson says VPC has taken “a very strong and forward-looking position”, adding that Vodafone doesn’t just recognise diversity “but celebrates it”.

“We take every opportunity to ensure we create an inclusive environment for all and provide opportunities for thousands more across our supplier base,” he says.

“Diverse suppliers bring a huge positive impact to our businesses and, ultimately, to our customers. This is why we identify partners who embrace diversity in their workforce, and who influence companies in their supply chain to do the same.”

64 January 2023

A better digital future for people is Vodafone goal

As a company, Vodafone says it believes that “the promise of a better digital future should be accessible to all” and is committed to “ensuring the more vulnerable are not left behind on that journey”.

“We help support Vodafone in this,” says Ninian Wilson. “We help it use technology to bridge divides in society, and to ensure people can contribute equally and fully to society. Our employees come from 50 nations, and we employ 36,500 women globally, so we understand what it means to have a diverse workforce.”

Prior to Vodafone, Ninian Wilson was Chief Procurement Officer with Cable and Wireless, as well as also being Operations Director at Royal Mail.

doesn’t just recognise diversity, but celebrates it”

How did those challenging positions help shape him professionally?

“I learned a lot in the Cable and Wireless role,” he says. “It was my introduction not only to telecoms, but also to international procurement.” He enjoyed some of the

locations, too. “Most of our operations were in the Caribbean, so it was clearly a good job to have.”

At Royal Mail, Ninian Wilson says he had 158,000 people working with him or for him. “I learned a lot about what it takes to work with a huge workforce. It showed me the pros of my management style, but also the limitations.”

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Netcracker Accelerates Digital Transformation

As a key partner of Vodafone Procurement Company, Netcracker is preparing the supply chain for a digital world.

etcracker’s portfolio of digital products is designed to help businesses, like Vodafone Procurement Company, innovate and automate their operations. By tracking data such as inventory levels and client payment history, companies can better understand their operational needs and ensure they are running as efficiently as possible.

Netcracker Digital Platform is made for the transformation to a digital world. With Netcracker Digital Platform, an open, modular digital-native solution, businesses can adapt quickly to changes in the market, stimulate innovation internally and maximize profitability from their investments.

“As we see an increasingly digital society, Netcracker is proud to be on the front lines of development for products that help businesses achieve automation,” said Bob Titus, CTO of Netcracker. “We want to enable Vodafone Procurement Company to fulfill its goals of autonomous procurement and reducing its carbon footprint as it takes the next step of its digital transformation.”

With cutting-edge data and analytics, Netcracker provides Vodafone Procurement Company with a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Netcracker Digital Platform automates every aspect of the operations environment within and across domains with embedded intelligence for zero-touch and self-management.

Netcracker addresses the digital transformation through:




cloud operations

“In summary, Netcracker Digital Platform provides the tools and practices needed to deliver the digital future,” Titus said. “Our software accelerates business agility and stimulates innovation, enabling our customers to succeed in their automation goals.”

• KPI-based
• Network
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• Secure

“I like to be on first-name terms with everyone though, obviously, it's difficult to remember everybody's name. But you meet some wonderful people from very diverse backgrounds; I think you bring all that knowledge and those experiences with you when you take on a role like mine at a multinational company like Vodafone.”

Vodafone Procurement Company has seen many changes Ninian Wilson joined Vodafone in June 2009, and he has seen many changes in the years since. “Back then, the procurement team in

“Diverse suppliers bring a huge positive impact to our businesses and, ultimately, to our customers”

Luxembourg numbered 150 people, whereas today it is more than 400 people,” he says. “We've scaled operations in that time, but I also think its role is now more than being about just managing procurement activity. We're also managing physical logistics activity, such as warehousing distribution and supply chain for our network equipment. Obviously, we're also managing risk and building a more-resilient supply chain.”

The focus of VPC may have shifted over the years but the core of the business remains procurement, “making sure we get the right requirements from our

internal clients and that we have the right engagement with our supply partners”, Ninian Wilson says. “The core is the same but everything else around it, in terms of context, has changed.”

When asked what is his biggest challenge currently, Ninian Wilson replies by saying he sees challenges as opportunities, and adds with a wry grin: “Let’s just say there have been far more opportunities over the past three years than I expected.”

He adds: “But certainly I'm hugely proud of the work the team has done to get us through two years of pandemic. I think


“I'm hugely proud of the work the team has done to get us through two years of pandemic”

the pandemic for us has been a defining moment for teamwork, collaboration, and getting things done together. Although, during that time we had never been physically further apart from one another, we had never felt closer. I felt it pooled the entire company together.”

It also changed the way VPC works, with hybrid working now the norm – something Ninian Wilson feels is “good for our people and good for our company”.

The pandemic also saw Vodafone offer staff the ability to work abroad for periods of time “which a number of our employees and colleagues have taken advantage of this year” according to Ninian Wilson, who then states how it has “changed the dynamic of working”. He does admit that, as part of this changing dynamic, hybrid working asks different questions of his managerial style.

“Managing people remotely is different to bumping into them at the coffee machine and having an informal chit chat,” he says. “I do miss that, but we're working hard to make sure we make hybrid working as productive for both the person and the company as possible. We've just about got the balance right but we're still learning.”

The Vodafone Procurement Company’s team has done ‘amazing work’

around chip shortage

As well as his team’s sterling efforts during lockdown, Ninian Wilson says that his team has done “amazing work” battling microchip shortages across Vodafone’s operations, in the face of demand for microprocessors massively outstripping supply.

And supply problems continue apace, with geopolitical turbulence and inflation compounding pandemic woes.

“We've now got the impact of the Ukraine War, and yet more uncertainty in supply chains,” Ninian Wilson says. “I would say the biggest challenge we face today is creating more agile supply chains, which can flex as they meet ongoing challenges.”

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Wilson CEO, Vodafone Procurement Company “ 74 January 2023

“Supply as a sector takes a long time to change and ways of working tend to be quite embedded. So, making them more agile is certainly a challenge, but it also provides us with opportunity if we get it right.”

Asked what he feels VPC’s defining strategy is, Ninian Wilson says that no procurement or supply chain team can have a separate approach to the overriding company strategy.

“As a company, Vodafone’s strategy is to help society digitise, to be a more inclusive employer and to work really hard on sustainability,” he says. “This is a very

purpose-driven approach, and we’re strongly aligned to this, in that we’re adopting and driving a purpose-driven approach as a procurement organisation.”

Achieving this, he says, comes down to “how VPC builds relationships” with key partners and key suppliers “as well as how we transform our physical logistics and supply chain activity, and how we utilise all our great people to bring that strategy to life over the coming years”.

76 January 2023 6G

Although the 5G hype is only just beginning, there’s even more to anticipate from the dawn of 6G and its wealth of futuristic, network-enabled technologies 77

According to predictions from the University of Sydney, we could see 6G achieve speeds that are up to 100 times faster than 5G – even reaching speeds of 1tb-per-second. But, while network speeds will, naturally, improve markedly with the deployment of 6G, this new era of connectivity also promises to usher in a wealth of new technologies.

“New technology evolves by leveraging learning from the previous generation of the device or infrastructure, setting additional expectations for future iterations and use cases,” explains Manish Vyas, the President of Communications Business and CEO of Network Services at Tech Mahindra.

What can we expect 6G to look like?

Although there are no guarantees for what exactly 6G will be able to achieve, we can use our knowledge of previous network evolutions to create reliable guesses.

“It’s hard to predict what 6G will look like, but from our learnings of 5G and open-RAN networks, we know 6G is going to be AI-based, super intelligent, and fully integrated, with ultra-low latency systems and large ecosystems utilising open interfaces,” outlines Vyas.

“AI will be an important service and application in 6G. As mobile networks become complex, larger and multi-vendor, optimisation tasks become harder and often impossible to envision as ‘rules’,” adds Shamik Mishra, CTO of Connectivity at Capgemini Engineering. “6G will leverage

AI/ML at scale for better radio/network design, improved network management, orchestration and resource management.”

Then, alongside the opportunities to deploy new technologies, 6G’s neural network capability can create entirely new connectivity solutions, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

“6G will go beyond communications by creating a distributed neural network with the ability to integrate physical, biological and cyber systems,” explains Victor Holmin, Director of Discovery and Innovation at World Wide Technology.

“This will be done through establishing

78 January 2023 6G

a bridge between cognitive computing, communications and sensing technologies. 6G will mark the beginning of a new era: the Internet of Behaviours and Intelligence of Everything.”

Through these network capabilities, near real-time detection of moving objects, robots, autonomous mobile devices, immersive digital twins and more will become mainstream.

“6G will allow new and exciting possibilities in the future, including holographic communications, a tactile internet, intelligent network operations, networking and computing convergence,” Vyas adds. 79 6G

Learn more now

Remarkable outcomes start with a remarkable network. Powering remarkable telecom

How will the world’s industries benefit from 6G?

This new wave of edge computing and AI-driven applications, coupled with the sensor network and increase of connectivity speeds, will enable a wide variety of new intelligent industry use cases.

If the predictions above become a reality, the deployment of 6G has the potential to dramatically increase capabilities, across the full spectrum of global industries.

For instance, if we take the broader example of the world’s office environments, 6G’s rapid speeds and new technologies could completely transform the way that teams collaborate.

“With 6G supporting virtual environments and haptic technology, the virtual world will be closer to the in-person experience than ever before. It could be possible to no longer need to spend time commuting into the office, as the office could virtually come to us in a matter of seconds through VR and AR applications. Virtual meetings would feel almost as real as in-person ones without us having to leave our home,” explains Holmin.

In the same vein, these capabilities also offer a wealth of opportunities to the events industry. 81 6G

“6G may even support realistic ‘teleportation’, bringing people to completely different places. A Wimbledon tennis match could be ‘teleported’ to Trafalgar Square with fans watching it live from central London,” Holmin predicts.

After the rapid shifts that the pandemic necessitated, it’s hardly surprising that remote-working technologies continue to be such trending topics. And, even with the next wave of 5G, the remote solutions remain a key industry priority.

But, thanks to the new powers achieved by 6G, this virtual connectivity could extend even further, reaching previously

82 January 2023 6G

unattainable industries like healthcare and manufacturing.

According to Holmin, 6G could push these existing trends even further and industrialise entirely new activities, like performing surgeries remotely.

“The added capacity of 6G has the potential to give workers the ability to control and interact with industrial machinery in real time from the safety of their home office. Haptic sensory suits, fuelled by the ease of quickly moving data across the network, could allow workers to maintain full control from the safety of a desk through a controller and headset while still communicating with colleagues.”

In fact, the potential capabilities are so advanced that, if we could create devices with brain-machine interfaces, thoughts and sensations would be possible to share in real time, and the so-called ‘Internet of Behaviour’ would become a reality.

“With 6G, the network itself will no longer be a constraint but instead ensure that almost any use case can be easily deployed. With a network as flexible as 6G is set to be, service providers will need to be flexible themselves, working collaboratively across the telecoms ecosystem and with customers to deliver solutions,” Holmin envisions. 83 6G

How will 6G support the world’s sustainability drive?

While sustainability might not have been set as a priority in the deployment of 3G or 4G, in the years since, it has become absolutely paramount. Not only does 6G need to be made and used sustainably, but one of the core goals for this new network is that it will be able to assist us in achieving the global UN sustainability targets.

“6G networks will deliver infrastructure which is highly capable of supporting sustainable industrial use cases, intelligent decision-making, and fast and efficient digitalisation,” Vyas predicts.

“6G is expected to have sustainability as its prime focus, using features and functionalities such as energy-aware resource scheduling, the widespread use of AI, MEC, cloud and blockchain technologies, and several other emerging technologies that can be leveraged to promote sustainability across different industry verticals.”

In these ways, there are almost endless possibilities for the ways in which 6G can enhance the energy efficiency of our cities, businesses and technologies.

“Firstly, 6G introduces the ability to do wireless power transfers, giving rise to zero-energy IoT endpoints, radically reducing the power requirements for the billions of sensors deployed,” explains Ian Goetz, Global Lead for RAN Systems Architect 5G at Dell Technologies.

Then, there’s 6G’s introduction of intelligent reflective surfaces.

“When mounted on walls or street infrastructure, these can allow a city or suburb to become software that’s defined in terms of interference patterns, reducing

84 January 2023 6G

the number of transmitters that require energy and power,” Goetz outlines.

In fact, with the advent of 6G, the world’s operators are aiming to create zero-carbon-footprint networks, where every aspect has been streamlined to completely minimise emissions.

For instance, “not only will 6G enable lower costs per bit and faster connectivity, but it will also analyse collected data to

turn off components and scale down capacity when the demand is low,” explains Volker Ziegler, Senior Technology Advisor and Chief Architect at Nokia.

“That is why we look at 6G sustainability through two lenses: first, the sustainability of the 6G network infrastructure; and, second, the sustainability impact of the 6G network platform serving all industries, enterprises and consumers alike.” 85 6G

Laying the groundwork for more efficient telecoms expansion


86 January 2023 87 APWIRELESS
88 January 2023

Leading global telecom and digital infrastructure investment company APWireless has an asset portfolio of around 9,000 acquisitions and investments of over $1.7bn to foster the growth of the marketplace.

“All you have to do is take your cell phone out of your pocket and you can see how the telecoms industry has evolved,” remarks Dan Hasselman, the Co-CEO and Co-Founder of APWireless.

“We've gone from flip phones that were only capable of voice and text messages to smartphones that do just about everything you depend on in your daily life, from reading the news, streaming videos and accessing every social network platform to making purchases, both online and in person. The industry has evolved tremendously, and the same is true for our business.”

The main assets the company acquires are ground leases underneath towers/masts, or leases associated with rooftop installation, and APWireless provides capital to the landowners that have these installations on their property. Alongside this, the other assets they invest in comprise critical infrastructure required by telecoms operators to run their networks, including fibre aggregation points and distributed antenna systems. In addition, the company has invested in data centres and other critical infrastructure assets, including their newest business line: building new cell towers on behalf of the operators. 89 APWIRELESS
Helping operators match the pace of 5G, APWireless is providing a one-stop solution to fulfil telecoms’ expansion plans and meet their infrastructure needs

Thanks to this wide breadth of avenues, and a series of successful manoeuvres in line with broader industry trends, APWireless has achieved a remarkable growth trajectory from 2010 to where it is today.

“When we started the company in June of 2010, our business model was to acquire a couple of thousand assets in the United States only. But, after six months, and after exceeding all expectations, we decided to take the business model international. In the United States, we faced a tremendous amount of competition in the market. On any given transaction there could be five or more competitors negotiating for the same deal. What we realised was nobody was doing this internationally.”

Although APWireless initially saw a lot of competition in this field, Hasselman explains how this influenced the company’s decision to move outside of the busy American market and set its sights abroad.

“In 2011, due to competition and an untapped marketplace abroad, we took our business international. That opened a lot more opportunities for us because we were a first mover and there wasn’t any competition there.”

“We acquired our first international lease at the end of 2011 in the UK, and from there we continued to expand, year after year, and we're now operating in 21 countries, and still growing.”

90 January 2023 APWIRELESS
“When we started the company in June of 2010, we had a business model to acquire a couple of thousand leased rent streams in the United States only”





Mr. Hasselman became co-CEO of APWireless in December 2019. Previously, Mr. Hasselman had been President of APWireless since 2011, in charge of both U.S. and international operations. Prior to that he was Managing Director of the business since co-founding it in 2010. All told Mr. Hasselman has more than 20 years of experience as an executive in the real estate and wireless infrastructure industries. In May 2007, Mr. Hasselman co-founded Vertical Capital Group, LLC, which originated investments in telecommunications infrastructure assets on behalf of RFS Capital, LLC, for which he served as President until co-founding the APWireless business.

APWireless' asset portfolio: 9K+ acquisitions $1.7bn+ investments 91
92 January 2023 APWIRELESS
Laying the groundwork for more efficient telecoms expansion

Taking the company public & the consequent pace of growth

The nature of APWireless is that it is a highly capital-intensive business. As a result, when the company made the decision to go public, the opportunity was created for it to extend its outreach and enter a period of rapid growth.

“When we went public, it created a big opportunity because of the inflow of new capital,” Hasselman explains.

“It provided us with an opportunity with additional capital to go out and invest in related asset classes. The core business model, which is acquiring ground and rooftop leases, is a very predictable business

from a CapEx investment perspective, so with an influx of new capital we started investing in alternative assets to deploy the capital quicker.”

“We expanded our investment criteria and found critical infrastructure assets that closely mirror our ground and rooftop lease assets, which is, simply put, a triple-net, passive real-estate investment. Essentially, it’s any type of lease underlying critical infrastructure of the telecom operators. We started to buy telecoms switches or fibre aggregation points, as well as acquiring distributed antenna systems. In addition, we started investing in data centres as a complement to the same type of critical

“After six months, we had exceeded all expectations, even though there was much more competition coming into the market” 93







Scott Langeland became co-CEO of APWireless in December 2019. Previously, Mr. Langeland had been an Executive Vice President and senior counsel for APWireless, overseeing the legal and underwriting functions within the AP Wireless business, including leading the efforts to enter, and to formulate asset acquisition structures in, new jurisdictions. Mr. Langeland joined APWireless in October 2010. His legal experience covers areas such as structured finance, commercial real estate, and civil litigation. Mr. Langeland is a Cum Laude graduate of Thomas Jefferson School of Law and holds a B.S. in Economics from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

infrastructure we are buying in the telecoms space. The only non-passive investments we are now investing in is building towers on behalf of the telecom operators,” Hasselman explained.

From that first step to going public, APWireless has continued at this same pace of expansion. These initial

94 January 2023 APWIRELESS

seeing the business evolve, in that our investments are expanding as the operators are trying to get their 5G networks rolled out”

investments, coupled with the wider breadth of its services, have meant that the company is successfully growing across multiple service planes.

“We're seeing tremendous growth, not only in our core business, but also in the alternative assets we're acquiring and the towers we're building. We see growth in

multiple areas. Firstly, by expanding our existing markets. Secondly, by opening up new markets. Thirdly, in acquiring more alternative assets like fibre aggregation points and distributed antenna systems (DAS), both from individual landlords, as well as through sale leasebacks with the operators. Finally, we see a tremendous opportunity in building towers through BTS agreements with the operators.”

Alongside this, APWireless is remaining firmly on top of industry trends, continuing to evolve its services based on the needs of operators. This has proven particularly critical during the 5G rollout.

“We're 95

To support operators as they continue to roll out their networks, APWireless is building towers in conjunction with its clients, offering a bespoke, comprehensive service.

“So, we're seeing the business evolve due to operators' desire to get their 5G networks rolled out. And we can be a partner for them to do that. We are now a one-stop solution for the operators, from partnering with them

on ground lease buyouts to providing saleleasebacks on core infrastructure, to building towers through BTS agreements.”

‘A benefitter, collaborator and partner’ One of the qualities that distinguishes APWireless’ services is the way it operates as a ‘collaborator’. For Hasselman, this is about creating a flexible service that gives

96 January 2023 APWIRELESS

operators a future-proof, readily scalable solution to fit their requirements.

“For the first ten years, we were buying these assets independently. Each one of the lease streams are assignable, which means we're able to go in and offer a lump sum payment to the landowner, in exchange for collecting the rents for a certain period of time. Instead of that landowner receiving the rents, we then take over that rental stream and provide the landlord with a large one-time payment.”

“What we have realised is the operators have a desire to gain operating efficiencies as they continue to roll out their 5G networks, and we can provide those operational efficiencies by giving them rent reductions and favourable lease terms, in exchange for acquiring leases on their behalf,” Hasselman outlined.

“We realised that the operators have a desire to go out and create efficiencies” 97

From that point onwards, APWireless’ goal became to forge a new way of working with operators. Critically, these services give operators new revenue options, while also supporting their infrastructure needs.

For example, if an operator has a capital need to expand their 5G networks, APWireless can provide sale-leaseback opportunities by acquiring some of their core assets, like their telecom switches.

And then there’s the widespread need for operators to build new towers to launch their expansion plans. Right now, this is being done either by the operators themselves via their own capital or by using third-party service providers.

APWireless instead sought to bring a new approach to the market, giving operators access to a more complete – thus faster –solution to their expansion requirements.

“We can provide a one-stop solution to their tower needs where we come in and handle everything from A-to-Z, from site acquisition work to post-construction. All the operator has to do is hang their equipment once the tower is built, we do everything else. We provide that solution to make it very seamless and easy for them to roll out their networks.”

In this way, Hasselman predicts that tower developments will be one of the APWireless service sectors to experience the most growth over the next few years.

“One of the business lines we are focused on for continued expansion is tower development. We're currently building towers right now on behalf of operators and we seek to expand those relationships. We are very well positioned to continue expanding out tower development activities and will continue to look more like a tower company over the next five years.”

98 January 2023 APWIRELESS


“We're building towers right now
behalf of operators. We want to continue to expand those relationships” 99

“The operators are committed to ongoing 5G upgrades and expanding their network. So, for us, we're going to continue expanding our platform by working with the operators to do ground lease buyouts on their behalf, as well as helping them with their infrastructure needs.”

And, from APWireless’ perspective, this gives the company a more active involvement in the growth of the telecommunications sector.

“Typically, the assets we acquire are passive, real-estate investments. So, our tower initiatives will require us to be a little

“All they have to do is come at the end and hang their equipment. We provide that solution to make it very seamless and easy for them to roll out those networks”
100 January 2023 APWIRELESS

bit more active. We're actually managing the construction process and building the tower.”

As Hasselman puts it, for all players in the telecom industry, the game is far from over. “There's still so much more opportunity out there. We've been doing this now for 12 years. I remember around the third year in business, we said that we were probably at the 25-minute mark of a football match, or the third inning of a baseball game. And now, after 12 years, we're still saying the exact same thing. Technology is evolving and expanding rapidly, and with it, there are more opportunities for us to evolve and expand.” 101

How smart cities transform the

The rise of the smart city is far from a mere science fiction plot or a think-tank notion. It’s feasible, fast approaching, and set to completely revolutionise the operations of almost every industry.

“Smart cities are no longer a hypothetical concept – over 100 cities in the world have already implemented initiatives that warrant them as smart in some way or another,” explains Amr Houssein, the Managing Director of Mobilise.

Technology has the power to dramatically reduce our usage of energy, water and other key resources. As such, the rise of smart cities has largely been driven by targets to balance quality of living with more sustainable, future-proof solutions.

“A growing urban population with mass migration to urban areas means that, to handle the influx of people, cities must be well-oiled machines powered by carefully selected processes,” Houssein outlines.

Within a smart city, 5G and IoT technologies will be used by the full

We explore how the advent of smart cities – and the technologies that they unlock – are set to transform the way we enjoy events
102 January 2023 TECH & AI

cities are set to events sector 103

spectrum of industries to provide a more sophisticated, reactive, flexible and interconnected service.

“On a citywide scale, these technologies mean things like smart energy grids and intelligent traffic management systems, but also smart homes, too,” Houssein adds.

So, what could our sporting events look like in a smart city?

Connectivity across a city

The advent of 5G has made a huge variety of new IoT-enabled technologies possible. These, when linked, can achieve an entirely interconnected network, at a level of sophistication that has never been seen before.

“The backbone of a smart city, and any smart device, is Internet of Things (IoT) technology. From a telecoms perspective, it really is that perfect combination of IoT’s connectivity and 5G’s rich capacity of capabilities that have enabled automated systems and flows to be built across cities,” Houssein explains.

The capabilities of IoT present exceptional opportunities for almost all

industries, but events is one of the sectors set to undergo the greatest transformation amid the rise of smart cities.

This new level of interconnectivity represents a huge potential for event organisers. They can use these futuristic technologies to create an exceptional visitor experience, thereby preserving the value of in-person attendance in the face of ever-improving online streaming.

“Smart cities are all about using data and technology to drive efficiencies across city

“From a telecoms’ perspective, it really is that perfect combination of IoT’s connectivity and 5G’s rich capacity of capabilities that ha ve enabled automated systems and flows to be built across cities”
104 January 2023 TECH & AI

environments. As such, they have a key role to play in the future of the events sector,” predicts Daz Ahmed, the Regional Director UK&I at Extreme Networks.

“According to a PwC survey, 70% of sports leaders see gamification and connected technology as the greatest opportunity for physical sport. Technologies such as IoT, AI, and virtual reality – enabled by modern WiFi network capabilities –will therefore become bigger parts of the in-stadium offering,” Ahmed explains.

“This will open the door to immersive experiences that fans can’t get from watching the game at home, creating a compelling reason for fans to keep buying tickets to see their favourite team.”

Improving the efficiency, flexibility and elegance of event organisation

Then, alongside enhancing visitor experiences, these technologies will also give organisers a much greater level of datadriven insights, into a wealth of key metrics. 105

fan experience”

“Analytics will deliver deeper insights around fan behaviours, allowing operations teams to monitor and control network traffic in real-time. This will make it easier to quickly troubleshoot and resolve any issues so that the fan experience isn’t impacted,” Ahmed explains.

A key area that is set to be transformed by smart city connectivity is transportation. And, once implemented, these smart transport systems will seamlessly address some of events’ biggest pain points.

“Almost everyone has experienced times when public transport has been overwhelmed or roads have become gridlocked around high-profile events. Smart

cities will help minimise this disruption. For example, intelligent transportation networks can ease congestion through advanced traffic light systems and tube sensors that identify carriage capacities. Or smart parking solutions can make it easier for drivers to find free spaces and pay through apps,” Ahmed explains.

“The data and connectivity offered by smart city infrastructure will offer a lot of opportunities for event organisers to improve attendee experiences and minimise disruptions for the surrounding area; it will just be a matter of taking advantage of them.”

Uniting smart homes, smart devices and smart experiences

When predicting the value of our future smart cities, you could take the macro view of global industries and the operations of huge enterprises, or you could zoom in, and assess the impact that this technology will have on individual people.

“The future of in-venue sport is all about delivering a continuously connected 107 TECH & AI

This is where smart homes and smart devices come in, and where we begin to understand how smart city technology will shape residents’ day-to-day lives.

“Looking into the future, smart homes will become more sophisticated than the existing technologies – like smart meters –that are already found in most developed nations. There will be a shift in how we view smart devices – they will no longer just be nice-to-have add-ons, but integrated elements of a home,” Houssein explains.

“Rather than a collection of unconnected smart devices, homes in the smart cities of the future will use IoT to become an interconnected ecosystem that seeks to improve efficiency, reduce running costs, and make life easier and more comfortable for residents.”

Smart devices aren’t designed to just work in silo. In large venues, like stadiums, 5G can be coupled with next-generation WiFi technologies to enable superior in-venue experiences, while unlocking

108 January 2023 TECH & AI

significant capacity and new perform ance capabilities.

“For example, WiFi solutions give stadiums the bandwidth to better support connected fan devices, while also increasing the use of fan-facing technologies such as mobile ticketing or cashless transactions,” Ahmed outlines.

“At the same time, these wireless networks can deliver deeper insights about collective fan preferences and ways to improve operational efficiencies. Network analytics can be used to uncover patterns around things like app usage in the stadium, foot traffic and potential congestion spots – all helping to improve fan safety, optimise efficiencies, and deliver a memorable fan experience.”

And the experiences that these technologies unlock are only set to get more elaborate.

“Professional sports organisations are increasingly extending their reach and offering fans more experiences outside of the walls of the stadium, and this will only continue as smart cities build the infrastructure necessary to offer more digital fan engagements,” Ahmed asserts.

“Stadiums are already offering more connectivity in parking lots and outdoor spaces, enabling fans to get connected and share tailgating experiences or use the stadium app to make a game plan for getting from their favourite concession stand to their seats. This also creates new opportunities for public safety officials who are looking at how technologies can be leveraged to provide visibility and information into crowded events.”

And then, from there, the full power of smart cities’ interconnectivity can be realised, with fans engaged by the events’ providers throughout the surrounding areas, such as restaurants or retail spaces.

In short, the technologies of future smart cities present almost limitless potential and, if events teams remain creative and flexible, there is no end to the opportunities for the sector to tap into.

“When combined with a 5G network for seamless handoff, stadiums can ensure consistent connectivity for fans without skipping a beat” 109
110 January 2023

Reinhard Plaza Bartsch, Head of Supply Chain Transformation, on overhauling Vodafone’s global planning and logistics

Building on a successful digital procurement transformation that has made many headlines over the years and has become a reference point in the procurement industry, Vodafone is now working on a radical overhaul of its physical supply chain operations for network equipment.

Reinhard Plaza Bartsch leads Vodafone’s global network logistics transformation, a sizeable change programme that will reshape the way Vodafone manages demand and supply planning, as well as the logistics operations for its network infrastructure business globally. He is no stranger to big, company-wide transformations. Having been in supply chain roles at Vodafone for the past 15 years, he has been spearheading Vodafone’s digital procurement transformation, establishing the company’s procurement operations as a world-class industrial benchmark.

“The transformation of our planning and physical supply chain is just the next natural step for us in Vodafone. Building an ecosystem where we work with our partners to create end to end visibility and control of hardware deliveries and inventories across our whole infrastructure supply chain. This will enable us to proactively mitigate risk of disruption while allowing us to make much faster, accurate and cost-effective decisions to steer supply to support the growth of our network,” explains Plaza Bartsch, adding that he aims to underpin this transformation by blending the best of technology with people. “We will follow a ‘human-centric’ approach when embedding digital in the way we run our business”.




Reinhard is currently Head of Supply Chain at Vodafone, and is transforming its entire supply chain planning and logistics operations globally. He has also been spearheading the digital transformation of Vodafone’s supply chain by accelerating innovation and adoption of new technologies, driving operational excellent performance and unlocking new sources of value for the function. His career spans across a number of different industries with roles ranging from managing large scale

logistics operations to leading complex transformation programmes along the supply chain. At Vodafone, Reinhard has been pivotal in the establishment and operation of the Vodafone Procurement Company and the transformation of the global supply chain (which now oversees Vodafone’s €24 billion global spend). He has successfully delivered major transformation programmes that have delivered multimillion Euro in benefits for Vodafone and have also gained external recognition Reinhard is passionate about the role that technology can play in shaping the future of procurement, and is actively engaged in customer advisory boards for a number of procurement technology solution providers.

114 January 2023

“If I look across industries – market conditions are rapidly changing. Supply chains around the world are being constantly challenged in the face of more frequent risk of disruption. Therefore the ability to control and steer your physical supply chain has never been more important and has become in many industries a real competitive advantage.”

Running a world-class supply chain “Vodafone’s physical supply chain operations have been quite disparate over the years. We are now aiming to consolidate, standardise and digitise things end to end to allow Vodafone to have full visibility and control of kit moving across our supply chain,” says Plaza Bartsch. “We are aiming for full traceability and control, being able to see equipment leaving the manufacturing plant, arriving at our warehouses and up to the point of deployment. Enabling us also to redirect wherever we need to in a seamless fashion.”

Amid challenges in global supply chains, many companies have recognised the importance of controlling the flow of critical products or infrastructure to run their businesses.

Plaza Bartsch views Vodafone’s planning and logistics transformation roadmap as an essential part of managing these challenges. Over the years, Vodafone – and many other

“More agile and self-stabilising supply chains by blending human innovation and the best that technology can offer” 115 VODAFONE PROCUREMENT COMPANY

MarketPlace brings structural change to the way telecom operators

SOURCE & MAINTAIN their networks by putting the CIRCULAR ECONOMY at the core of their business, resulting in efficiencies, cost savings & planet benefits. Our MarketPlace technology moves networks towards NET ZERO.

Shields MarketPlace helps operators fight climate change

The global telecoms industry faces critical challenges in the fight against climate change and the drive to introduce a more circular economy. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has become a global goal to mitigate climate change, and telecom operators have an important role to play.

Drawing on four decades of experience working in the telecoms sector, UKheadquartered Shields has developed MarketPlace, a cloud-based platform which allows telecom operators to realise financial, environmental and social benefits.

“The telecoms world is now only 8.6 per cent circular,” says Shields CEO Daniel Jones. “The contribution network equipment can make to achieve a circular economy is enormous.”

MarketPlace has been adopted by the leading international telecom operator Vodafone, active in more than 25 local markets. To date, the Shields platform has enabled at least €30 million of CAPEX saving from reusing refurbished equipment and more than €5 million of additional revenue generated from the resale of surplus network equipment. It has also saved more than 7,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions during the process.

Shields had been offering circular economy services for a range of operators when they were first introduced to Vodafone UK in 1998. The telecom giant was in the process of modernising network equipment, and Shields formed a relationship with Vodafone UK that enabled them to introduce a 3R principle: 1) optimise Reuse back to Vodafone UK,

2) Resell surplus Vodafone UK assets globally and 3) Recycle the delta with a zero landfill policy. This 3R policy adopted with Vodafone UK is the foundation of MarketPlace which has introduced a fourth ‘R’ and explores Group Reuse after local needs have been catered for.

“MarketPlace creates significant financial savings (avoidance) and generates new revenue streams, whilst at the same time reducing long lead times compared to new equipment. There is a positive business case that also saves the planet. It is a win-win-win for all telecom operators that embrace our MarketPlace solution, which they need in this highly competitive market,” says Jones.

Find out more

Shields CEO Daniel Jones explains how his company’s MarketPlace software platform helps telecom operators of all sizes save money - and the planet
118 January 2023

businesses – have been regaining control on the physical flow of hardware required to run their businesses.

As part of its global logistics strategy, Vodafone is approaching its transformation in three phases.

“In the past we had multiple disparate logistics’ teams in the different markets in which we operate,” explains Plaza Bartsch. “The first part of our transformation has been quite simple: bringing everyone under one new vertical in our supply chain organisation. The key for us has been to align all our logistics teams towards a common operating model. Focusing on driving consistency in the way we run our logistics operations and warehouses so that no matter where you are in the world, our operations feel and look the same.”

Vodafone has also deployed a global network stock and warehouse management system, which provides full transparency to over 16 million pieces of equipment held by Vodafone across all warehouses world-wide.

“Implementing a common operating model and logistics system stack is foundational but also critical to enable us to drive our transformation at pace,” says Plaza Bartsch

Vodafone started with the first part of its logistics transformation back in 2019 and is continuously improving its physical logistics to optimise its inventory level, ageing and minimising obsolescence.

Part two of Vodafone’s logistics’ strategy is to transform how it plans its demand and supply for network equipment.

“Between now and 2024 we're actually deploying a new demand-and-supply planning model within Vodafone. We have started in Europe this year and have gone live in three of our big markets. We are now extending into the rest of Europe and will then finally extend this capability next year into Africa,” says Plaza Bartsch.

Vodafone is complementing this business transformation with the deployment of an Integrated Business Planning platform, that will enable Vodafone to systematically balance its demand and supply plans.

“Strengthening our supply chain planning function through new technology and capabilities will not only enable us to work closer with our partners in managing our supply chain, but will also enable us to optimise our inventory levels, and give us more flexibility to steer supply to where we need it. In addition, it will also enable us to drive the re-use of our assets across our network.”

As part of its logistics strategy and broader purpose agenda, Vodafone has established a so-called Asset Marketplace, which enables Vodafone’s operating companies to re-use equipment across different markets. Therefore, extending the life of the equipment procured which helps the company to save money, but more importantly, contributes to a circular economy by ensuring that used equipment is only disposed when it cannot be used anywhere across the group (as part of its commitment to the planet, Vodafone also ensure that any obsolete equipment is being ethically disposed).

“The third step in our transformation is the creation of regional logistics hubs. This will help us to optimise our logistics network and build further resilience in our supply chain,” says Plaza Bartsch. “We want to optimise our logistics network and need to make sure we have warehouses in the most optimal location and with the required size. The nature of our business will of course require us to keep some stock close to the markets, therefore it is key for us to leverage technology to orchestrate the logistics network.”

Vodafone has already announced at its Arch event earlier this year that it is going to establish its Pan-European Hub to run all of its physical 119 VODAFONE PROCUREMENT COMPANY

Making an impact that matters: The future of Telco supply chain

Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) industry group brings together one of the world’s largest pools of industry experts – respected for helping shape some of the most recognised TMT brands and helping companies of all shapes and sizes thrive in a digital world

Delivering the Next Generation of Supply Chain

Why did you select Deloitte to partner with VPC on your logistics journey?

Reinhard Plaza-Bartsch: We are embarking on a complex transformation around how we do business within our markets, our supply base and VPC itself. This requires a new way of thinking, and we wanted a partner who could challenge us to ensure the results were ambitious but also practical. Deloitte was the only company that could bring Supply chain expertise, Pan-European analytics, tax specialists, technology implementation and transformation skills together in a single package. Deloitte were also the most diverse team we spoke to.

How was the programme structured and what capabilities were needed?

Anu Sekhri: VPC had a very clear vision of logistics that meant delivering against an ambitious triple bottom line of Sustainability, Operating Cost and Working Capital. This required VPC to control the end-to-end supply chain rather than simply being a buyer of network equipment. In response Deloitte mobilised three teams:

y A technology team that implemented an end-to-end leading forecasting and supply chain planning software solution

y A supply chain team that optimised the location of the new regional distribution hub and completed the warehouse design

y A programme management team that developed the overall business case and a three-year roadmap for delivery.

What are some of the key takeaways from the project so far?

Reinhard Plaza-Bartsch: Momentum is critical, keeping a successful programme moving forward means no pauses in delivery. The cost of delay is typically higher than the cost of optimising the solution.

Anu Sekhri: Sustainability is also at the heart of this transformation. At Deloitte we are proud to support changes to supply chain infrastructure and operations that have sustainability considerations at the core. This really is a ground-breaking supply chain transformation within the Telco industry and one that I’m pleased to be a part of.

Anu Sekhri, Supply Chain Partner at Deloitte UK, and Reinhard Plaza-Bartsch, Global Head of Supply Chain Management Development at Vodafone, discuss their collaboration on a transformative Telco supply chain project at Vodafone Procurement Company (VPC).

supply chain activities for Europe out of Luxembourg.

“We’re building what we want to be the greenest logistics operation in Europe as well as the most automated warehouse leveraging 5G to automate activities in the warehouse,” says Plaza Bartsch.

Vodafone currently employs around 400 people in Luxembourg, a country where it has had a presence for 22 years. Its local activities include procurement, roaming, financing and digital capability operations.

But how does Vodafone measure the success of its transformation? For Plaza Bartsch, it is all about driving operational excellence in the way Vodafone runs planning and logistics. “Whether it is supporting faster deployment of the network by securing on-time and in-full delivery of materials, driving inventory levels down, minimising the risk of obsolescence and maximising the return of capital invested by extending the lifecycle of assets through re-use, we want to be cost-effective and world-class… and we want to get there fast,” says Plaza Bartsch.

Blending technology with human innovation

The speed at which technology develops has been generally doubling every two years since the 1960s. This has not been different in the supply chain space, and many businesses have been striving to keep up with technological advancement without leaving customers or employee’s behind.

“This is not different for our transformation, we rely on new platforms and technology that will augment the capability of our people and enable them to do more, better and faster. No matter whether it is in planning and coordinating supply, automating warehouse operations or running simulations to mitigate supply chain risk, technology is and will be everywhere.” says Plaza Bartsch.

“Implementing these new systems in a timely fashion, ensuring that they deliver the right user experience is paramount in this change.”

Increasing supply chain visibility

For Vodafone’s logistics team, the next 12 to 18 months will involve increasing visibility across the supply chain and ensuring that change in ways of working gets well embedded in the organisation.

“This is a significant change programme and we are keen to get everyone on board. We want to make this change live and fluid for our people and ensure that everyone can personally grow as a result of this transformation,” says Plaza Bartsch. “I see already with excitement how we start running demand and supply planning reviews.

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Our key supply partners are also actively engaging and becoming part of this new ecosystem.” says Plaza Bartsch.

Vodafone’s network suppliers will also benefit from this transformation, they will gain much better visibility across Vodafone’s supply plans and will be able feed into Vodafone planning system to ensure any supply risks are proactively mitigated.

“Developing into roles that have much closer interaction with our partners and are driving robust and mature supply planning for Vodafone is a great development opportunity for our team. I think everyone in our logistics team is as excited as I am about the future.” says Plaza Bartsch.

Plaza Bartsch’s perspective on future industry trends include the rising need for a more agile and self-stabilising supply chain.

He believes this is only going to be possible by blending human innovation and the best that technology can offer.

As part of its transformation Plaza Bartsch aims to develop a control tower to connect all of its physical supply chain and manage the end-to-end flow of goods from manufacturing down to final installation. In addition, he foresees already in his plans to invest in a digital twin for the supply chain in order to model scenarios for the future, and render Vodafone more resilient to supply chain risks.

“It is quite an exciting time to be with Vodafone and working to shape the future of our supply chain,” says Plaza Bartsch. 123 VODAFONE PROCUREMENT COMPANY

The pace of cloud adoption among the world’s businesses is increasing rapidly. So, how can SMEs ensure that they don’t get left behind?

124 January 2023 TECHNOLOGY

For a globalised enterprise with hundreds of employees, the transition to the cloud has been largely perceived as an ‘obvious’ next step in tech progression.

And, when you’ve got a team of IT specialists to assist you, the shift will naturally be infinitely less daunting.

However, the situation is entirely different for small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Not only are they approaching this digital transformation

initiative without the knowledge of a dedicated team, but it’s highly likely that this change would be a lot more dramatic.

So, to get an insight into the specific cloud automation challenges faced by SMEs, we spoke to Lisa Schwarz, the Senior Director of Product Marketing at Oracle NetSuite. She shared her advice about how SMEs can best adopt cloud technologies, successfully achieving a seamless, future-proof transition to cloudenabled processes. 125

Reäl end-to-end.

A leap of faith - entrusting your business to the cloud Trusting the cloud with the applications that you use to run your business is a monumental transition for the majority of smaller enterprises, many of whom have been used to more informal, time-honoured solutions.

“To take those existing processes and put them into something you don't see – you're entrusting it all to this entity, and that's a big leap of faith,” Schwarz explains.

Interestingly, although cloud automation has long been on the agenda, Schwarz believes that the pandemic proved instrumental in increasing the pace of this shift.

“I think what happened with the pandemic and the office shutting down was that people finally started to see what the cloud’s availability and accessibility really means.”

“It's really forced people to rethink how they're deploying their technologies, and what types of technologies they're using in their business.”


Implementing change management strategies

One of the core pieces of advice that Schwarz stressed was the importance of change management strategies, chiefly involving the team in this transition to the cloud.

“It's one thing to look on paper and say that, ‘Okay, this application has more functionality than what I'm using today’, and see that it’s ticked all the boxes, bells and whistles. But it's of no use to the company if your users don't adopt it. So, as important as it is to make sure that the application meets your needs for a business, it's just as important to have change management processes in place throughout the implementation,” Schwarz explains.

“It's about involving people from the start, helping them to understand what their business processes are, how they do things today, and how that's going to map out in the future. Then, people feel more like they are a part of a solution. That change management process is, I feel, just as important to successfully achieving a good adoption rate of the new cloud application.”

As much as the cloud promises a wealth of new capabilities, efficiencies and advanced applications, in the context of an SME, the transition to the cloud needs to be undertaken in a transparent and informative way. Otherwise, the initiative could risk alienating employees or creating anxieties within the workplace.

“Everybody has some apprehension to change, right? There's always some anxiety or apprehension to change – that's just our human nature. But then, in this case, apply that to somebody's salary or how they're making a living.”

Schwarz advises that, to ensure success, a cloud adoption process should help

employees feel confident of, and secure in, the technologies themselves.

“It’s just like in management more broadly: I don't want to be a manager who is just barking down orders; I want my employees to be empowered, make their decisions and come up with solutions.”

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foranySMEs considering cloud automation


Future-proofing and flexibility

Firstly, get a sense of the time that your key processes currently take. Ascertain what the biggest pain points are in your business, and assign them some quantifiable time. Then, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your current processes.

“Look at what your growth is, where you want to take your company, and ask yourself whether your current systems and processes can support that. Then, if not, you need to devise a business system that can support your business.”

“Think about where you want your business to go. Identify where it’s growing and ask yourself, ‘can my system support that?’. If not, then you need to put something in place that not only supports where you want to go in the next two years, but even further than that, because you don't want to be changing business systems every two or three years. So look at the pain points you have today, but also, more importantly, where you want to take your business.”

In this way, once you pinpoint what you want to achieve, you can use the cloud’s huge arsenal of technologies to improve efficiencies across your entire operations.

Pointing to NetSuite’s latest updates as an example, Schwarz outlines the exceptional breadth of the cloud’s digital transformation potential.

“The big announcements that we made were around the launch of AP Automation, the SuitePeople Workforce Management, the Ship Central, and the CPQ; even though those seem like pretty disparate features,

they all are about automation and efficiency,” Schwarz explains.

“Providing your sales team with more efficiencies in the configured price to quote, providing your accounting team with more efficiencies when processing accounts payable, and ensuring you have some wiggle room, as every business is trying to do more with less.”

“And that's what this is all about –providing those efficiencies in the various processes. Because every business has thousands and thousands of processes, whether it's payroll, financial, HR, in your warehouse, in your supply chain, and so on. It's about going in and trying to get even more efficiency out of processes that are already beneficial.”

This quality is integral to the benefits of the cloud – it lifts that score of operational management off your plate. Although that’s not to say that you’ll never have to think about it again, it does mean that your priorities can return to the parts of your process that are your strengths.

“For any small business approaching the cloud, no business should feel like they're being pushed into a solution. Really, it all comes back to, ‘what are the pain points as a business that I'm trying to solve’, and going back to understanding what your processes are, where you want to take your business, and asking whether you have the systems and people to support that?”

“As a business owner, you should, I think, be looking at these things holistically, if you're seriously into growing your business for the long haul.” 131 TECHNOLOGY



Northern Virginia may seem like an unusual location for the HQ of a Middle Eastern and North African-focused broadcasting network, what with its quaint, colonial streets in certain parts and distinctly Georgian ‘Old Town’ vibes in others.

For Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. (MBN), though, it makes perfect sense.

Just a stone’s throw away is Washington DC, the capital city of the USA, which also happens to be the home of some iconic institutions: the Capitol, the White House and the Supreme Court. MBN, as a grantee of the US government and part of the US Agency for Global Media, therefore situated close to the centre of government while also sitting at the lip of the nation’s rim, pouring its influence into the Atlantic ocean and beyond.

Though headquartered in the US, the primary recipients of MBN’s television and radio programming and news sites live in the MENA region – the Middle East and North Africa – the very people for whom Middle East Broadcasting Networks was created, with the purpose of sharing honest, accurate and unbiased news about their own countries and the US.

In addition to the entirety of the Middle East, the North African region that forms part of MBN’s broadcast remit consists of the following countries: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara.

MBN’s CTO Mike Marno shares the broadcasting network’s overarching mission, the tech changes enabling it, and pivoting for a new generation of media

Middle East Broadcasting Networks

“MBN is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, live news service. We are the only one within the USA and our target market is specifically the MENA region, across 22 countries. And when I say North Africa, I mean the seven African countries in the north of the region, all the way over through Egypt, the northern coast from the ocean over across the Mediterranean,” explains MBN’s Chief Technology Officer, Mike Marno, who’s a veteran of the media entertainment industry, having worked in it for around 33 years.

A wholly-owned, not-for-profit service, MBN currently comprises two television networks, a radio station, and several digital news sites, each providing an insight into the reality of Americana and American politics, which are often misrepresented the further afield you go. These media outlets also focus on in-depth analysis of topics otherwise maligned by traditional Arab media outlets, for the purpose of encouraging transparency and democracy.

And the creation of Radio Sawa back in 2002, followed by the television station Alhurra in 2004, was nothing short of revolutionary.

Middle East Broadcasting Networks’ media mission

The Millennium arrived with a bang – as did a new technological dawn.

And with this came increasingly sour relations between much of the West and Middle East, which, while fluctuating over the previous two decades, had reached a new low. This culminated in the catastrophic events of September 11th, 2001, and the consequent US-led coalition’s occupation of Afghanistan that same year and Iraq in 2003, only a decade or so after the Gulf War had liberated Kuwait from Iraq.

As you can imagine, there were simmering tensions on both sides that contributed to fear, lies, and nationalist or religious propaganda via news services and media outlets; counteracting these narratives was essential.


Marno therefore summarises MBN’s mission as being “to provide accurate and objective coverage on, and to, the MENA region about Americans and American policy, with in-depth analysis focusing on topics not covered by other Arab media and providing an alternate viewpoint”.

The aim was – and still is – to counter perceived anti-American bias peddled by leading Arab and international networks, while giving those living in the Middle East and North Africa a voice.

“A lot of Arab folks that are in a competitive position to us are actually state entities. And, being in that media space, a lot of them are told what to say, as well as when and where,” Marno says. “On one digital platform, we actually have something called ‘Raise Your Voice’, which is an Iraq-specific programme and piece of content where people can post their own opinions; Iraqis themselves say it's one of the only places that they can freely express their opinion.

“So, in that respect, that's an example of what we do: we provide accurate and objective information – and, unfortunately, I say ‘accurate and objective’ because a lot of other media here isn't.

“We have a firewall between us and our government, which is not necessarily the case with a lot of our competition. And we like having an alternative opinion, because much of the Middle East’s media is very selfserving, in that they give you the message that they want as opposed to having alternative viewpoints.”

In addition to the ‘Raise Your Voice’ programme, MBN invests time and money into cultivating programmes that provide an honest depiction of life in some of these far-flung countries, while offering inhabitants the opportunity to engage with uncensored media.




Michael Angelo Marno began his television and technical career as a bench technician repairing professional video tape machines and cameras. It was through that experience that he decided to make broadcasting his vocation marking the start of a very long career touching every facet of the industry.

Witnessing the evolution of technology from the inception of Sony’s professional Betacam “SP” format in 1986 through todays SMPTE 2110 standard, cloud and streaming technology as well as the evolution of the broadcast facility from a traditional linear signal chain into what now looks more like a data center.

Having launched several television channels and commercial streaming platforms, Today as CTO of Middle East Broadcast Networks Michael is at work morphing the network’s brands into a truly IP and cloud based international news network.


Rohde & Schwarz clears the picture for client broadcasters

Headquartered in Munich, Germany, the Rohde & Schwarz technology group is a global trailblazer when it comes to paving the way for a safer and connected world with its leading solutions. Founded in 1933, the group develops, produces and markets a wide range of electronic capital goods. In the broadcast and media market, the company has been a leading technology innovator for more than 80 years and provides technology for live studio production, premium post-production, playout delivery and distribution.

Erik Balladares is Vice President, Broadcast & Media Division at Rohde & Schwarz, and manages the company’s media business across the globe and its broadcast and media business for North America. He explains every project is assessed so that

Rohde & Schwarz can fully understand the customer’s goals and the best way to meet these with the right combination of technology and services.

“It makes sense to have on-premises hardware in some cases,” says Balladares. “Typically, when we have high-performance environments with uncompressed workflows - at 4k or even sometimes 8k resolution - it can be quite difficult to move that content back and forth to the cloud, especially if they want a quick turnaround. So in those cases, an on-prem solution really makes sense. But in other scenarios where we’re dealing with compressed workflows, then it really makes sense to deploy into the cloud where possible. So we work very closely with our customers during the initial process and project discussions and really determine what makes sense for their project.”

Contact Us

“At the minute, our main office in the area we serve is our Dubai office in Dubai Media City,” Marno establishes. “It’s the Reuters building, where Roadie Shorts is located, too.”

“Due to the depth and number of projects that we have going on, retooling a global organisation for us is happening in four phases. Now, actually, we're doing the second, third, and fourth phases simultaneously.

“We're building in Springfield, we're building in Jerusalem, and we're moving to an MBN-owned leasehold in Beirut, all simultaneously, while also doing a global 2110 project, which we call the technical infrastructure upgrades.

“As well as doing a massive UPS upgrade in the Springfield office, we’re building an IP-based OB vehicle, and building about 300 nodes of virtualised desktop infrastructure. We’re in the planning phases for that currently, in support of a post-pandemic remote workflow, as well as making us a much more agile organisation, from a news gathering point of view.

“And that's not even in holistic terms. We just got a new facility in New York that needs to be stood up, and we're moving the facility in Washington DC, which is in the 400 North Capitol building, right across from where NBC, c span, and Fox are.”


“MBN is a 24-hour, seven-daysa-week, live news service. We are the only one within the USA and our target market is specifically the MENA region, across 22 countries”

“We have the Lebanese scene, which is a show that talks about Lebanon and life in Lebanon. We have the North Africa show, a show on the grid currently that will probably expand once we rebuild the Tunis bureau. We're also creating a US unit that will be multimedia journalists giving Arabs globally a view not only of Americans, but of the Arab experience in America,” Marno says.

Changing world required MBN’s threefold transformation

Prior to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, many companies, organisations, charities and not-for-profits had started to become aware of the necessity to overhaul company tech and digital processes, making moves to incorporate new digital pathways. For MBN, which began its own digital transformation around four years ago, the process consisted of more than one strand.

“MBN’s evolution is threefold. One is taking legacy technologies, which, four years ago, still included analogue, and bringing them all the way up to current states, meaning that ubiquitous technologies –like IP and network infrastructure, bonded cellular, cloud-based, (whether hybrid or completely cloud-based), and virtualised desktop infrastructure – are future-facing, 141 MIDDLE EAST BROADCASTING NETWORKS

scalable and possess more of a predictable operational model than a hardwarebased model,” Marno begins, outlining the technological infrastructure required to cascade through the entire organisation to enable a full digital transformation.

“The second is realigning the people organisation, in terms of both the content requirement as well as the skill sets required for those technologies. And third is taking a look at how news is actually consumed, how people watch news – demographics are part of that. Now, in excess of 50% of the MENA region is under 40 years of age.”

Across the globe, the result of a “diminishing older, traditional broadcast viewer demographic” has meant that the audiences consuming news are increasingly searching for news soundbites instead of long-form content – with this movement led primarily by Millennials and Gen-Zers, whom Marno dubs as “very vignette-centric, very snippet-centric, and very social media-centric”.

“The news consumption audience is getting younger and, as a result, they're consuming it in a different way. So, we did the technical organisation, then the people organisation,

“We actually have something called ‘Raise Your Voice’, an Iraq-specific programme where people can post their own opinions; Iraqis themselves say it's one of the only places that they can freely express their opinion”

and the final part of that is to have a ‘digital media first’ approach to all of our buildings. Network infrastructure is everywhere and requires a very widespread skill set, leveraging both the efficiency and low latency of those technologies to deliver content.

“And being able to simultaneously deliver that content to all the different platforms, as well as to a much younger audience, while encapsulating and formatting that material in a way that's meant to cater to this audience, is essential to MBN remaining competitive,” he explains.

Expanding foothold and digitalfirst manifestation

A core part of MBN’s transformation process has been extending its outreach as “an audience growth strategy”, which means establishing offices and broadcast hubs in other MENA-based countries, as well as in Europe.

“We're in Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Cairo, Beirut, Jerusalem, Dubai, Springfield, New York, and Washington DC, and that's just our own hard locations, a list that doesn't include all of the countries – Paris, Brussels, London, as examples – in which we have crews or utilise third-party resources to do coverage,” Marno outlines, hinting at just a fraction of the broad reach MBN has across the globe.

Ultimately, this reach should enable MBN to challenge and outperform its industry counterparts, most of which are stateowned subsidies, thus subject to restriction and censorship.

“We will still offer the traditional broadcast medium for the traditional viewer while ensuring our new technology platforms are agile – this goes for both radio and broadcast,” says Marno.

“As an example, we're building a digital radio platform to replace the FM 143 MIDDLE EAST BROADCASTING NETWORKS

Though true across many industries, it’s particularly so that, in the media entertainment and broadcasting industry, building strong partnerships is essential. Not only does it help open doors to potential projects and collaborations, it enables the dissemination of vital equipment and tech to stand out of the crowd and receive new opportunities to expand reach.

Marno says: “Partnerships offer expertise and global support, as well as the particular solutions that we need to be future-facing and scalable. They offer the ability to adapt and change, and then make all of those things work together.

“They have to work with each other as well as work with us to make sure all of that stuff plays well in the sandbox together, if you will.”

In other words, it can be the difference between success and failure.

infrastructure for Radio Sawa. Additionally, we're making sure that all of our broadcast platforms can now publish to all social media platforms simultaneously as we publish the broadcast product to news.”

Though Marno states that MBN will continue to offer traditional broadcasts for traditional consumers, he is acutely aware of the importance placed on proffering alternative, censor-free media to tightlycontrolled countries via a digital-first mandate. This not only guarantees that fewer in the MENA region will be regularly subject to sensationalist, factually incorrect information about the US as well as their own governments, but it will also equip MBN with “the technologies and the modalities”

that give it an all-important competitive edge over “those whom it chooses to position itself against”.

“And, by ‘those we choose to position ourselves against’, I mean those who we consider our competition in the Middle East media and news space – the Al Jazeeras of the world, AMIN, Middle East Media Network, Arabian Gazette, Sky News Arabia, CNN…and that actually includes some state entities, as well,” Marno establishes.

Digitalisation has so far consisted of MBN migrating slowly onto cloud-based technologies, “going from a traditional base band broadcast modality to adopting IP workflows and file-based workflows on a phased-in basis” as it builds, “utilising


the facility and capability of cloud-based services to be a more agile, more real-time news organisation”.

To put this aim into action, MBN decided to utilise Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) cloud capabilities, partially due to the large suite of products it has available.

“When we started this process, AWS also had the best existing integration, meaning they had current existing integrations with folks like Dell. They were furthest along at the time, in my view, for IP-based media services. And they were very easy to work with to create what's known as a VPC – virtual private cloud – within the AWS ecosystem, such that it allowed MBN to build a global, internallymanaged network on the AWS backbone.

“AWS did that by carving out space for us in a lot of their data centres, using the physical hardware that they have to create virtual environments. We had a very large account team that basically ‘shepherded us over the shoulder’ to allow us to understand how those VPCs were created, how to build them, how to maintain them, and so forth. They also had availability zones in the regions where we were, so they had the best geographic availability for our needs at the time.”

Taking on next generation broadcast and media trends

As older audiences diminish in number, it’s critical to simultaneously “capture and build younger audiences” so that they can grow with you, direct your output, and remain loyal. A core element of this relates to streaming, the use of social media and digitised media organisations, all of which are on the rise.

“As an old guy, what I know of that has been the broadcast industry – in terms of equipment and workflow, as well as skillsets – is in its sunset. Broadcasting will be much

“We will have digitalcentric programming that's not available on the traditional broadcast product: vignettes, podcasts, long-form content, and short-form headline-type news” 145 MIDDLE EAST BROADCASTING NETWORKS

more short-form and social-media-centric, so it will be much more influencer-based. There will still be a component of live television, though that will not be the primary focus, but the primary focus will be on content for social media platforms and that style of consumption.

“So, everything that we're building now is in support of being able to deliver content in a non-traditional way, meaning via satellite to a subscription service or receiver and specific channels to multiple outlets that are social media-based or radio-based, all on digital platforms.”

Existing platforms such as Twitch (traditionally gaming-based), Discord, Facebook and YouTube have already preempted these trends by pivoting to integrate live, short-form content that can be news, entertainment, or education-based. Traditional media companies now need to follow suit to remain relevant – so it’s a good job MBN began this process a few years ago, before competition had clocked on.

“What we eventually would want to do is have a reporter out in the field, reporting live to multiple social media platforms at the same time as a news service. That's what we're gravitating towards, which means the tool sets can be as simple as an iPhone all the way up to very expensive, high-res equipment, depending on what we're doing.

“The visceral impact for people is that it sets us apart, so it’s where the virtual and extended reality technology is coming in,” Marno says with enthusiasm, acknowledging the ways in which MBN can now hook audiences’ attention.

What the future holds for Middle East Broadcasting Networks

As previously noted, part of MBN’s ongoing digitalisation strategy is to have more

than just Dubai as an additional point-oforigination for programming.

“So we'll be doing live content in all of the bureaus that we're building, and we're working on a new leasehold in Jerusalem to move and rebuild that bureau.

“I have a bunch of travel coming up in November, where I’ll go and evaluate each of those locations, creating requirement documents so that we can procure the architect, the construction, and the integrative services needed. All of that will be part of the 2023 and 2024 calendar year.

“Eventually, we'll get to adding those additional locations – we currently have three studios in Springfield and the main news studio for the Pan-Arab feed, which has a primary and secondary news set.”

Aside from new technology and locations from which to work, what else is on the agenda for MBN’s future success?

“Well, much like some of the cable outlets, we will offer up our 24-hour, seven-days-aweek broadcast streams to the website and to social media.

“But we will also have digital-centric programming that's not available on the traditional broadcast product, which will be published live as vignettes, podcasts, longform content, and short-form, headline-type news, as well as giving people in the region that we serve the ability to freely express themselves, much like with ‘Raise Your Voice’,” Marno concludes, remembering the core philosophy behind MBN: the freedom to see, hear and challenge unfiltered points-of-view and opinions from a range of perspectives.

And, in our contentious world always on the cusp of some conflict or another, there’s little that’s more essential to personal freedom. 147 MIDDLE EAST BROADCASTING NETWORKS

Telco CEOs in MENA

As MENA telecoms markets achieve growth and development at an exceptional pace, we explore the region’s top 10 CEOs leading the charge

148 January 2023
TOP 10 149

Olayan M. Alwetaid stc

Saudi Arabia

Alwetaid has been working with stc for the last four years, holding the role of CEO since 2021.

The Saudi telecoms giant has a revenue of US$15.7bn and a network of 17,000 employees. It offers a range of connectivity services, including mobile, broadband and cloud computing solutions.

Abdulla Al Thani is the CEO of Ooredoo Qatar, and Deputy CEO of the Ooredoo Group. He has held the lead role at Ooredoo Qatar since March 2020, after initially joining the company in 2009.

He has over 16 years of experience in the communications, digital transformation, finance and accounting sectors, and was awarded a Master’s Degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Cardiff.

TOP 10
150 January 2023

Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi Zain Group


In 2017 – and after becoming Vice Chairman in 2014 – Al-Kharafi took on the role of the Zain Group’s CEO.

The Zain Group currently has operations spanning seven countries across the MEA region and a customer network of around 50.9 million.

Al-Kharafi is deeply invested in a number of social causes and is a member of the board for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Fahad Al Hassawi du United Arab Emirates

Al Hassawi became du’s CEO in June 2021, after working at the company for over a decade.

As of 2022, du has 7.5 million mobile subscribers and has launched its new 5G Home Wireless service across the UAE. Prior to joining du, Al Hassawi held a number of leading roles at Emirates Airline, including the VP of Human Resources.

TOP 10 151

Talal Said Al Mamari Omantel Oman Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Badran Mobily Saudi Arabia

Al Mamari has been leading Omantel since 2014 and has over 26 years working in the telecoms sector under the Omantel brand. During this time, he played a pivotal role in many of the company’s key initiatives – including the merger of Oman Mobile with Omantel. Al Mamari also sits on the board of numerous other telecom companies and investment funds, such as Zain Group, Oman Corporate Governance & Sustainability Centre, and the Al Amal Fund.

After a ten-year run as the CEO of stc, Al Badran took the same leadership role with Mobily in 2019.

Mobily was recently named as the ninth most valuable brand in Saudi Arabia by Brand Finance, an independent London-based brand valuation consultancy.

“The Brand Finance ranking testifies to our company’s hard work and steadfast achievements over the past period. Our efforts at all levels and across all departments over the past years translated into more satisfied customers due to ongoing enhancements in the quality of our services, and thus all indicators followed suit.”

TOP 10
06 05 153

As the culmination of an impressive 24 years at Telecom Egypt, Hamad took the CEO title in 2019. Over the course of two decades, Hamad worked his way up the company structure, rising from one of Telecom Egypt’s Network Engineers to become one of the biggest names in the region’s telecom industry.


Mikkel Vinter Batelco Bahrain

In addition to his current role of Batelco CEO – which generated over US$1bn in 2021 – Vinter is also the founder of Virgin Mobile, Middle East and Africa. After founding the organisation in 2006, he continued to work as its CEO for ten years, until 2016.

Vinter is also a Directors’ Board member for a number of the region’s other most influential telecoms, including Sure Limited, Dhiraagu and the Umniah Mobile Company.

04 TOP 10 154 January 2023
Adel Hamad Telecom Egypt Egypt

Mohamed AbdAllah

Vodafone Egypt Egypt

AbdAllah has been working with Vodafone Egypt since 1998, during which time he has held the positions of Consumer Business Unit Director, Head of Enterprise Corporate Sales, and CEO – the latter a title that he received in 2020.

Mohamed holds a Bachelor’s in Commerce from Ain Shams University 1998, and he is also a Board Member for the Vodafone Egypt Foundation as well as the British Egyptian Business Association.

“The telecoms industry has evolved dramatically from solely providing voice services to becoming a data provider and now becoming a full connectivity provider. The telecoms industry – and Vodafone, specifically – is responsible for digitising societies. This is the purpose behind our work: we make sure to deliver the highest quality connectivity products.”

TOP 10 155

0 0 0 0 1 1

A BizClik Brand
OUT NOW Read now 10 0 0 0 1 LEADERS2022 • LE A D SRE 2202 • SREDAEL2202 • EL A D ERS2022 • Creating Digital Communities Don’t miss this Issue! The most influential people in Technology

Hatem Dowidar e&

Group UAE

Hatem Dowidar first joined e& – formerly the Etisalat Group – in 2015, as the Group’s Chief Operating Officer. Then, just a year later, he was appointed to the CEO role. Since taking the helm, Dowidar has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth across all 16 of its markets, establishing e&’s reputation as one of the strongest telecom brands in the MEA.

In fact, from 2020 to 2022, the Group’s market value has increased by a staggering 150.3%, from $33.2bn in April 2020 to $83.1bn two years later.

Dowidar is currently on the boards of numerous other telecoms leaders, including the Etihad Etisalat Company (Mobily), the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Maroc Telecom.

"I thought, why are we satisfied with just being a telco? We can do so much more."

"If we want to give amazing returns to the shareholders, to the countries where we operate, and really grow the business, we need a bold vision to do things differently.”

TOP 10
01 158 January 2023 159
“I thought, why are we satisfied with just being a telco? We can do so much more”
160 January 2023
Open RAN – a new
telecoms 161
milestone in 100 years of

Not only is the telecoms industry constantly evolving, but it is transforming at a pace that very few of the world’s sectors can come close to rivalling.

The growth of the cloud, the rise of 5G, and the perma-innovators creating disruptive technologies all keep telecom operators firmly on their toes.

To get a sense of telecoms’ transformation – both what has been already achieved and the advancements that we’re soon to see –we spoke to one of the world’s connectivity leaders, NEC Corporation.

Disruptive technologies necessitating consistent evolution

“I think the biggest change in this industry has been the evolution from a purely telecoms-oriented connectivity to the cloud. The emergence of cloud computing as a technology, and then cloud providers as a global provider of services, has changed so much in our industry,” explains Patrick Lopez, Global VP Product Management, 5G, at NEC.

“I know I'm old enough to remember when we had to pay on our phone for every single text we sent or received, for every minute of calls, and we paid for data per byte. And then the smartphone came in, the app revolution came in and then, all of a sudden, giant cloud providers emerged and were able to provide a variety of digital services globally, for free.”

After 100 years at the forefront of Japan’s telecoms industry, NEC Corporation now has its sights firmly set on the global deployment of Open RAN networks 163 NEC CORPORATION

Alongside the introduction of the cloud came a wave of disruptive technologies, which completely changed the payment model of these services.

“One of the first was Skype, through which people could essentially video call each other for free. So that broke down the idea that you had to pay for every minute. And then there was WhatsApp: people figured out they could send unlimited texts, for free. So that killed that model,” Lopez explains.

“What's remarkable is that all those innovations have come from outside of the telecom world, but they have had a deep impact on the telecom world. And I think we're back on the same swing of the pendulum.”

And, as we look towards the advent of 5G and 6G, such innovations are only set to accelerate.

Over the last couple of years, basically, anybody who's been looking at Open RAN ends up working with NEC in one way, shape, or form”
164 January 2023 NEC CORPORATION
Open RAN – a new milestone in 100 years of telecoms

“Now is an amazing time for the telecoms industry and telecoms operators to create innovative services, because, with the next wave of innovative services, they're not going to rely on fixed broadband like our WiFi; they're going to rely on 5G and 6G,” Lopez asserts.

“So we're all dreaming of augmented reality, the metaverse and autonomous robots, and all these new services and devices are going to need to be mobile. I think there’s a big opportunity there, and I think it's a fantastic time, because it provides a great opportunity for operators to change how they want to participate in the industry.”

While, yes, the telecoms industry fulfils the world’s entertainment needs, Lopez asserts that it’s also important to take a step back and recognise how much of a pivotal role these technologies play across the world.

“I mean, obviously a part of what we do is enable people to go on TikTok to post silly dance videos, but another part is providing services that are crucial for health, the economy and for the security of the countries that we work in. It's good, every now and then, to remind ourselves of what it is that we can enable and how we can contribute to the community,” says Lopez.





Patrick Lopez is Global VP of product management for 5G products at NEC, where he supports the product strategy and planning, partnership, and growth of the Open RAN, 5G Core, and 5G monetization services.

He has over 20 years of experience building, launching, and operating telecoms businesses in startups, midsized and tier-one multinationals. Before NEC, Patrick was the Global VP of networks innovation at Telefonica group and CEO at {Core Analysis}, the leading industry analyst practice at the intersection of telco and cloud. He also was the exclusive advisor to Opera software in its acquisition of Skyfire for $155 million.

Year founded 117,000+

Number of employees

OpenRAN Radio Unit Solutions for NR and LTE MTI making OpenRAN partnerships successful Learn More
Industry leading

From 100,000 employees to 120 years at the forefront of electronics innovation

NEC Corporation is an end-to-end, full spectrum supplier of advanced electronics technology and solutions, headquartered in Japan. With over 100,000 employees located around the world, NEC contributes to a wide array of different industries and sectors.

“I was in Japan just two weeks ago, and the first thing I saw at the airport was the facial recognition technology at immigration. And that facial recognition is made by NEC. There are cameras and computers, and they're all NEC. And that's the first thing you see,” Lopez describes.

“You see NEC everywhere throughout Japan, from electronics to appliances to services. And NEC is involved in retail, manufacturing, healthcare and telecoms –even within just telecoms, we say that we're involved in everything ‘from the seafloor to outer space’, because NEC is one of the world’s leading manufacturing vendors of both submarine cables and satellites.”

The rising value of Open RAN solutions

One of the things that sets NEC apart is the fact that, on top of being a vendor of products and technology in the telecoms space, it is also a systems integrator.

This is key for the company as, when technologies emerge – Open RAN being a key example – the opportunities have to be weighed by network operators against complexity, and the added cost for operators to onboard a new vendor. The ability to take on this additional complexity is a key decision point for wireless telecom operators.

“So one way to reduce that risk, reduce the cost and be able to hit the ground running is to use a system integrator. That's where we shine, because we don't just integrate our products, but we have launched NEC Open Networks,” explains Lopez.

NEC Open Networks – for the specific domain of telecoms that they are interested in – is a suite of solutions that provides operators with access to not only NEC’s specialist products, but also to products from 167 NEC CORPORATION





David Cohen is the Head of Marketing for NEC’s 5G Solutions business. In this role, David is responsible for all marketing activities related to NEC Open Networks, an umbrella brand for the products and solutions the company offers to mobile network operators looking to leverage the advantages of 5G using Open RAN technology and other open standards.

He has been a marketing leader in the world of technology for over 20 years, having spent more than 15 years working in media technology where he developed go-to-market and messaging strategies for suppliers to the television industry.

its partners, while integrating these solutions end-to-end.

“We make that journey easy, so that all you have to do is select the technology that you want from the vendors, and we'll bring it, package it together, install it and deploy it for you,” Lopez says.

“We provide open and disaggregated solutions, which means they're made of different elements from different vendors. There’s a standardised interface between each of these elements, so you can swap, replace and complement, which then provides you with a much faster innovation rate, as well as more resilience in your network end-to-end.”

This is because, with Open RAN, operators are less reliant on a single vendor. The introduction of interoperable, multi-vendor

168 January 2023 NEC CORPORATION

ecosystems means that innovations can be introduced throughout the ecosystem by any vendor, at any time, provided the solution is compliant with the open standards.

For NEC, the benefits of this approach are most clearly demonstrated by its global commitment to openness.

“I think this element of openness enables us to bring something unique to the ecosystem, because we’ve had the experience of working with the earliest adopters of Open RAN, providing our customers with the advantages of our learnings,” asserts David Cohen, NEC’s Head of Marketing for 5G Solutions.

As more and more operators decide to take the leap into Open RAN, the unrivalled experience of NEC in this field is invaluable.

“In the last 18 months, NEC has dived headfirst into the Open RAN waters, providing leadership to the industry and working with operators around the world who are interested in exploring the benefits of Open RAN. This includes many proofs

We are the ones who will have all eyes on us, and we relish that opportunity” 169

18 months

Blue Danube & Aspire Technologies

of concept, localised tests and, ultimately, deploying solutions within live networks. These customers are among the first to commit to multi-vendor ecosystems, freedom of choice, and the ability to take technologies from a new entrant into the market and innovate while allowing flexibility to continue innovating as technology moves forward,” Cohen adds.

For NEC, its partnerships play a pivotal role in its successes. And, in the case of Open RAN, its collaboration with MTI has proven critical.

“We don't think any company could or should do it alone. We think that for open

and disaggregated networks to work, there has to be an ecosystem. So we have grown our focus on partnerships a great deal,” Lopez explains.

“MTI is a manufacturer of radio units and they have very innovative capabilities in launching Open RAN radios, with form factors that are very desirable for the market. And they complement our product portfolio very well.”

acquired two major companies
has launched
Over the last
18 new Open RAN radio
170 January 2023

“Part of the NEC Open Networks’ strategy is developing an ecosystem of partners, and MTI is a perfect illustration of what a great partnership can be. They bring innovation, they bring mature product capabilities, and we've been able to introduce them to a number of our customers and work together hand-in-hand, co-creating solutions and products that meet customers’ expectations.”

Running in parallel to telecoms’ evolution

Interestingly, although NEC has long asserted itself as a telecoms’ leader in Japan, it has only been in the last few years that it has emerged on the international stage.

“What was a hidden gem and a little secret in Japan is becoming more and more known amongst the people who want to create innovative networks, who want to change the way those networks are architected, the cost structure of those networks, and want to introduce more innovation in their networks. More and more, they're reaching out to NEC to help them on that journey,” says Lopez.

“We were not really thought of as a member of the global wireless community. And these deals that we're now working on, predominantly in Europe, are attracting a lot of attention,” asserts Cohen.

Cohen outlines how, although many of the operators in the world have expressed their interest in Open RAN, they are still hesitant to launch any immediate plans for deployment. So the deployments that have been initiated are being watched very closely.

“In particular, our work with Telefonica – a project in which we are the prime integrator – is going to be deployed on multiple continents and in half a dozen countries,” Cohen explains.

“At least one major global operator has already indicated that they are watching Telefonica to see it work and to validate whether Open RAN is indeed something that can be deployed at scale. We are the ones who will have all eyes on us, and we relish that opportunity, because it's a great way for us to demonstrate our abilities and to show that deploying an Open RAN network with multiple vendors using disaggregated solutions is the way of the future.”

In this time, we’ve really emerged as a global vendor, with very mature products and solutions”
“ We want our reputation outside of Japan to be what it is inside Japan”
172 January 2023 NEC CORPORATION

Expansion at pace – a period of exceptional achievement for NEC

Over the last 18 months alone, NEC has implemented some vast changes. These include the acquisition of two major companies: Blue Danube, now NEC Advanced Networks, to aid NEC’s development of radio products, and, more recently, Aspire Technologies, a network consulting and integration firm based in Dublin.

“So the changes there, organisationally, have been to add on those capabilities and integrate them within our product and our services portfolio, making sure that we make the best of those synergies,” says Lopez.

Alongside this, NEC has invested heavily in expanding its product line.

“Over the last 18 months, NEC has launched 18 new radio products – all of which are Open RAN, all high performance, and high capacity – also RAN software that has some of the most advanced capabilities in the world in that space, and a converged core that is infinitely scalable and cloudnative,” Lopez outlines.

“So, taking all those products that were cutting-edge in Japan, we’ve adapted and launched them internationally. In this time, we’ve really emerged as a global vendor with very mature products and solutions. Seemingly overnight, for people looking from the outside,” Lopez states.

“There has been significant change in our posture globally,” Cohen adds.

“And, in order to service the global market, you need to have boots on the ground everywhere that you hope to serve customers. So, our team in North America has grown from basically zero to more than 30 people in a year-and-a-half. Patrick has built a robust product line management team globally, and I was hired within the

last year to establish a 5G-centric global marketing organisation. All of these changes are geared towards making Open RAN real for everyone around the globe.”

So, as NEC launches its global growth strategy, there are high hopes that it can replicate the same success internationally that it has achieved in its home market.

“We want to take our success in Japan and bring the same high quality solutions and service to everyone, everywhere. We want to be an iconic brand that is recognisable and be an irreplaceable partner to our customers,” says Lopez.

“Our goal is to earn the distinction of being a globally recognised vendor of choice because of our ability to deliver high performance, high-quality products, which are also blazingly innovative and radically open.” 173
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