Convergence of technologies to bring simplicity for enterprises, says Nokia India CTO Randeep Raina

This interview abstract is from a qualitative questionnaire administered as part of market survey for GoldBook 2017. GoldBook is a resource guide for communications infra buyers. It is published as March 2017 issue of the Voice&Data monthly magazine.

 Randeep Raina, CTO, Nokia India

 On redefining to align with demand for the digital:

We are operating in an industry that is characterized by rapid technological development and continuous disruption. With digitization no longer a hype, we see the following key trends within our industry and are weaving our offering to address the opportunities and challenges arising out of the new business arenas:

  • Consumer behavior continues to drive an unprecedented data explosion especially through uni-cast video, social networking and other cloud services. Mobility is an increasingly important part of this data consumption.
  • The data explosion is being accelerated by a new wave of digitization linking cloud services with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). For consumers, this includes to bring more of our everyday life into the digital world, from fitness tracking with wearables to connecting appliances in our home (thermostats, etc.). Enterprises have understood that the digitalization of their value chain and processes is a key competitive advantage to create value, and IoT further extends that reach with vertical specific analytics playing an increasingly important role.
  • With the increased volume and variety of this data, there is a correspondingly strong demand for stricter security and privacy rules to protect individuals as well as national, regional and business interests.
  • We are witnessing a convergence of technologies (fixed/mobile, telco/IT, IP/optical) to bring increased performance and simplicity to end-to-end networking services.
  • Enterprises and service providers are responding to the data explosion with an increased emphasis on cloud adoption, which in turn demands more dynamic and flexible networking technologies (SDN and NFV architectures). Networks are becoming clouds and clouds are becoming networks.
  • For players in our industry, the convergence of technologies is resulting in continued momentum for industry consolidation. This includes large scale M&A, strategic partnerships, and the continued ingestion of smaller companies specializing in niches of the value chain.

The increasing digitization of enterprises offers growth opportunities for Nokia beyond its main customer base of telco operators. Nokia is leveraging the telco-IT convergence and its current IP/Optical assets to have a strong networking presence in the enterprise and drive for growth with webscale players, tech centric fortune 500 enterprises and public sector players. Optical is aimed to grow in specific vertical applications, e.g., for utilities, transport. In mobile networks, Nokia is targeting the Public Safety market with LTE-based public safety solutions.

On digital technologies that are most immediately relevant for Indian enterprises:

In fact, all of them are of utmost importance as India is at the centerstage of adopting this change. Now is a time of massive technology disruption, and India is one of the key markets driving extreme innovation in how networks are designed, deployed, managed, and utilized. Today, we face dramatic shifts in technology and how it impacts our lives; how businesses work and connect with customers; how industries and public services run; and how we benefit from technology in our own daily lives.

A few key points are:

  1. Network, compute and storage: Broadband everywhere: a distributed cloud, near infinite storage, and a supercomputer in everyone’s pocket is increasingly becoming a reality.
  2. Internet of Things: More than a trillion sensors will mean that almost all “things” are connected and that, in turn, will drive huge benefits for both individuals and businesses.
  3. Augmented intelligence: New tools will transform how decisions get made in businesses, governments and by individuals, and will allow knowledge workers of all types to focus on highest-return activities. Human assistance and task automation will happen at machine scale.
  4. Human and machine interaction: Virtual and augmented reality, new interfaces based on voice and gestures, implantable chips, and “smart” things of many kinds – such as clothing – with reshape how we interact with machines, just as touch screens did in the recent past.
  5. Social and trust economics: The sharing economy (think Uber and AirBNB) will continue to expand and even the nature of money will be further disrupted by digital currencies making trust and security essential.
  6. Digitalization and ecosystems: Businesses will continue to digitize their operations wherever possible and that digitization will expand into the worlds of consumer and biology, with radical new technologies such as 3D printing of organs for transplant.

However, the networks of today simply cannot meet the performance requirements of the future, and a transformation – in scale and in kind – is needed: a new system that is more efficient, more agile, and more secure.

It will involve significant new technology demands – intelligent, adaptive, and with security deeply and dynamically embedded. Access will be on a massive scale: ultra-local, converged, and with imperceptible latency. Creating this will require many breakthroughs – of technologies and of network architectures.

On digitization framework for a smooth transition:

We’ve seen that the networks of the programmable world will involve serious new technology demands. They will be cognitive, adaptive, with security deeply embedded. Their access will be at a massive scale, ultra-local, converged, and with dramatically low latency – meaning one millisecond compared to today’s 30 milliseconds. It will require many breakthroughs, of technologies and of architectures, to create what we think of as the global nervous system.

At Nokia, we are innovating the global nervous system, weaving together the different technologies to create a seamless web of interconnected intelligence that underpins and enables our digital lives, to enhance how we live and work.

On effectiveness of off-the-shelf tools for digitization:

With effort towards standardized interfaces for interworking, the intent has been to make the digital transformation in an off-the-shelf manner. But most these interfaces still maintain a certain level of protected interface that inhibits smooth transition.

On NFV and SDN roadmaps for enterprises:

Virtualization and Cloudification are still evolving to be mainstream offering across IT segments. Interoperability and security across multi-vendor cloud components remains area that inhibits smooth transition.

On relevance of emerging technologies like AI and IoT vis-à-vis cloud, big data, et al:

Machine Learning and Artificial intelligence is still an area of research. There are applications around with automated contextual computing, but large-scale deployment with automation is yet be realized.

Internet of Things (IoT) is another area of interest for the enterprises from the energy efficiency and productivity perspective. Starting from smart lights, smart thermostats or connected devices, the IoT has a broad range of applications. Connected devices accelerate the existing trend of employee mobility, allowing workers to be far more productive.

On adoption of social media as part of enterprise Unified Communications & Collaboration strategies:

Use of social media in the enterprises, allows for better collaboration among employees through document sharing, presence and more. Apart from Social software, enterprises must integrate the existing UC tools to enhance productivity through social media strategy.

On leveraging big data for strategic business benefits and competitive advantages:

Big data analytics primarily involves collection of data and analyzing it using statistical and predictive modeling to enable better, smarter, real-time, data-driven decisions. Businesses need to know what decisions should be made, when to act and how these decisions will impact on financial results and operational performance. Demand for this type of insight has fueled the growth of big data analytics.

Big data analytics will change the way businesses compete and operate. Corporates that invest in and derive value from their data will have a distinct advantage over their competitors. In most industries, established competitors and new entrants alike leverage data-driven strategies to innovate, compete, and capture value.

(This interview abstract is from a qualitative questionnaire administered as part of market survey for GoldBook 2017. GoldBook is a resource guide for communications infra buyers. It is published as March 2017 issue of the Voice&Data monthly magazine)

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