The rapid development of smart technology, combined with increased reliance on cloud services and the impact of big data and IoT, has redefined the way people interact and how companies do business. Unsurprisingly, the enterprise sector in the region is experiencing widespread digital disruption and is faced with the opportunity to rethink its data infrastructure and look at interconnection as a critical business requirement.
IDC predicts that by 2020, 60% of all enterprises will embrace an organization-wide digital transformation platform strategy. This means that we are in an era of fierce change that is being powered by digital transformation, bringing in competitive opportunities. Further, established legacy systems are facing increased scrutiny as cloud-powered products and services revolutionize longstanding processes and enable businesses in all industries to refocus on customer experience and innovation.
Amidst economic uncertainties and disruptions in market dynamics, a number of businesses had a satisfying 2017 with an optimistic approach to what this year will bring to the table. Whether this happened through increased exposure at regional ICT events, networking through partner conferences, new product launches, opening knowledge centres etc, 2017 spurred the IT community into action, to review their methods, bring true ‘value’ to the table and build better strategies going forward.
Jeroen Schlosser, Managing Director, Equinix MENA recaps that the company saw strong uptake to Equinix’s messages on interconnection and received great responses to its ICT exhibition participation. “For instance, the 30-min clinics with Equinix’s Global Solutions Architect on ‘how to re-architect your IT’ were hugely insightful. We’ve had a good all-round engagement in 2017, across all industry sectors,” he adds.
For HP, 2017 paved the way for a stronger upcoming year. By staying at the forefront of creating and delivering disruptive, innovative technologies, HP closed the year by mobilizing its team and reinforcing its position in this constantly evolving market landscape.
“HP will continue delivering on its financial commitments, reinventing personal systems, revitalizing our entire print portfolio, outperforming the market and reinventing our go-to-market strategies. We’ll keep innovating ourselves and our technologies so that industries, communities and individuals can keep improving how they operate and create what matters most to them,” explains Mathew Thomas, Managing Director – Middle East, Turkey and East Africa, HP.
Virtual Reality (VR) also made great leaps forward in 2017 in all the aspects of hardware and software. During the year, we saw big players like Apple, Google, Intel entering heavily into the VR spectrum and investing not only resources but placing their focus towards this new ‘screen’ category. Predictably HTC also enjoyed stable growth in MEA region in hardware sales and on software side through Viveport, its VR app store hosting more than 250 VR titles.
The gaming industry is growing globally especially in the Middle East mainly due to AR and VR technologies. In the next few years, both hardware and software for virtual reality is expected to evolve dramatically. Many Fortune 500 companies, such as UPS, Jaguar, Volkswagen, and Walmart, are embracing VR as a means for training and education. Such applications display the strong influence that VR could have within the enterprise sector in 2018.
Nikitas Glykas, President, HTC MEA, claims that on the technology side, one of the game changers in 2018 will be Vive X—HTC’s $100 million global VR accelerator which is designed to help advance innovation in VR and support the whole ecosystem.
Mobile storage solutions are also expected to gain further momentum in 2018, considering the accelerated consumption, generation and sharing of content, which all takes up an abundant amount of space.
For WD, the year’s highlights revolved around the exciting launches of the WD My Cloud Home, the SanDisk iXpand Base, SanDisk 400 GB and WD Gold Drive. “We also participated in the region’s most popular technology and gaming exhibitions and conferences to provide consumers an easy access to our latest products portfolio and innovations,” states Tareq Husseini, Regional Sales Director MEA, Western Digital Corporation.
A recent research conducted by Epson on the ‘Workplace of Tomorrow’, concluded that in the future business and technology will be inseparable. The research encompassed inputs from employees and experts across sectors such as healthcare, education, manufacturing and the corporate world in general. The findings reveal that technology developments in the workplace should not be something for businesses, consumers or the workforce to fear: technology has a positive role to play in our future, not only by creating more efficient businesses, but by creating a more sustainable society.
“Imagine an office space where virtual meetings with full size, 3D projections of your colleagues are commonplace. Or a working day that involves small collaborative groups, tailored working spaces, augmented reality and wearable technology. Imagine a manufacturing process where people and robots coexist to alleviate labour shortages. This may seem a world away from the workplace we attend day-to-day, but these workplace trends are a very possible reality. Until the workplace of tomorrow becomes our new reality, there are steps that we can all take to support the transition, and choosing sustainable technology for your business should certainly be one of the first on your list,” explains Khalil El Dalu, Regional Sales and Marketing Manager, Epson.
As connected devices multiply, the computation needs at the heart of the Internet of Things (IoT) will increasingly shift to the digital edge in 2018. Digital transformation platform companies will invest more in open application programming interfaces (APIs) and customer/partner-facing development portals in 2018. Technology will integrate further in the business and provide services to the end customer and provide ease of scalability and availability for the users.
“Users will experience increase in feature availability such as voice, instant messaging, audio, video and extend these services to the business applications which will allow always available functionality for the end customers,” says Rui Silva, Distribution Channel Manager MEA, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE).
In industries such as healthcare this will mean that patient can reach out to the nearest support staff in case of the emergency, at the airport this will mean that passenger can reach out to the airport services or help on the click of the button without paying to the high international call charges, at the hotel this will mean that guests can make local and international calls within the hotel and in the city without worrying about the international call charges and roaming. Technology will ease overall operations and simplify it, increasing the efficiency and profitability of business.
Technology is advancing and evolving so rapidly that one can make numerous predictions; some will still be true by the end of the year while others may have changed completely. However, what remains true is that technologies like AR, VR and artificial intelligence will continue making deeper inroads into the mainstream in 2018 and blockchain technology may lead to a reformation of entire industries.
Industry leaders today are in the unique position to reduce costs and tap into new revenue streams thanks to new technologies such as IoT and new business models. What remains is the need for companies to rethink the digital tools they use – and how they use them to encourage collaboration and innovation.