At Last, We Can Bid a Fond Farewell to Microsoft’s Troubled Skype for Business Online

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Starting on September 1, 2019, Microsoft will begin onboarding new Office 365 users directly into Microsoft Teams, in essence removing the option for customers to run both Teams and the soon-to-be-retired Skype for Business Online.
  • Though somewhat extreme, this migration plan has been coming on for some time now, frankly ever since Microsoft introduced Microsoft Teams in 2017.

Via blog post earlier this week, Microsoft made the wholly unsurprising announcement that it would officially retire its long-term messaging solution, Skype for Business Online, on July 31st, 2021. Unlike many similar migration plans, where rival products can linger for years after closure, Microsoft does not intend to let Skype for Business Online slowly fade away. Continue reading “At Last, We Can Bid a Fond Farewell to Microsoft’s Troubled Skype for Business Online”

Geopolitical Issues Roil IT Sector

S. Schuchart

Summary Bullets:

• Cost sharing between vendors/SPs and customers can strengthen relationships in a difficult time.

• Calm and deliberate planning by vendors/SPs and customers is key to minimizing impacts to business.

The new tariffs on imported goods in China and the U.S. will have a significant impact on pending and future deals, both for service providers, vendors, and customers. The technology industry has a complex and deeply international supply chain, with U.S. and Chinese companies both utilizing components and intellectual property. Component price increases will lead to sharp increases in product costs. These increases will slow or stall deals as customers may wait and see if the issues can be resolved in a short time frame.
Continue reading “Geopolitical Issues Roil IT Sector”

Huawei Analyst Day 2019: Addressing the 5G Challenge for Middle East CSPs

D. Kehoe

Summary Bullets:

  • Middle East telcos are taking a proactive approach in their 5G deployments, and Huawei is an active player in the region.
  • While standards are shaping up and roadmaps evolving, partner selection is happening now.

5G is an emerging technology that transforms underlying architecture in core networks and promotes virtualization, AI and automation. It changes the possibilities of networks, applications and underlying IT systems. It introduces several new technologies that are different from any previous technology, some of which include:

  • Ultra-low latency – opens up new possibilities to converge the performance of network and apps, as well as entirely new use cases for cloud-based AR/VR. The health sector, for example, highlights possibilities in areas such as remote surgery.
  • Network slicing – allows users to set their own QoS/CoS parameters around virtual networks; advances SD-WAN; addresses security differently and opens new possibilities in IT/OT security.
  • Massive bandwidth – an ability to support 10 Gbps potentially, offering a lot of capacity to the last mile and resolving many bottlenecks we have today.

Continue reading “Huawei Analyst Day 2019: Addressing the 5G Challenge for Middle East CSPs”

When Thinking About UC, Don’t Lose Your Voice

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Despite the growing popularity of video and messaging, voice remains a key communication tool for colleagues and customers.
  • ‘Voice’ now covers multiple platforms and technologies – all of which need managing.

Lost Voice

It is understandable that companies such as Google and Facebook will promote marketing lines suggesting text- and video-based forms of communication are the future while traditional and cloud/IP voice-only services are old hat. And, to a certain extent, they are correct. There is no doubt that as the millennial generation enters the workplace, the preferred methods of communication and collaboration are changing. The change is also not confined to the youngest people in the workplace. RingCentral Glip and Microsoft Teams groups are a standard part of many peoples’ daily work routines. But, this doesn’t mean that the humble voice call is a thing of the past. Continue reading “When Thinking About UC, Don’t Lose Your Voice”

WiFi 6 and Its Benefits to Enterprises

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • WiFi 6 is entering the market and will offer higher capacity, better security, and more efficient resource/device management.
  • As a successor to the current WiFi standard, it will be widely adopted in the mass market. There are also several benefits to enterprises.

What’s New

WiFi 6, which is based on the IEEE802.11ax standard, is a logical progression of the current WiFi technology (IEEE802.11ac). It comes with various new features and updated technologies to offer higher network capacity and security as well as better device management. WiFi 6 has a theoretical peak speed of 9.6 Gbps, almost triple that of its predecessor (WiFi 5). This is achieved through updated wireless technologies such as orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) and multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output (MU-MIMO) antenna systems. However, the gain in capacity is not just about offering a higher speed, but also about addressing the larger number of WiFi devices served by an access point (AP). Continue reading “WiFi 6 and Its Benefits to Enterprises”

NEC Collaborates with UniKL to Gain an Early Advantage in the Malaysia SD-WAN Market

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • NEC completed its SDWAN trial with UniKL and was selected as the technology partner for the university’s SDx Center of Excellence.
  • While the collaboration offers an early-mover advantage, NEC needs to expand its ecosystem of partners to grab the bigger market opportunity in the country.

NEC Corporation announced the completion of its SD-WAN trial with the University of Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in Malaysia on March 22, 2019. The initiative, which was funded by the Japanese government, used NEC’s own solution, ‘SD-WAN Security Common Platform,’ and covered several use cases such as virtualization and monitoring of end-to-end network traffic in multivendor environments, dynamic routing optimization based on application requirements, and central configuration of network switches across the university campuses. Following the successful collaboration, NEC has also been selected as the technology partner for UniKL’s newly launched SDx Center of Excellence, which brings together industry experts and researchers to co-develop solutions based on the latest networking technologies such as SDN, IoT, and 5G. Continue reading “NEC Collaborates with UniKL to Gain an Early Advantage in the Malaysia SD-WAN Market”

Singtel Collaborates with Microsoft to Enhance Its IoT Portfolio

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Singtel is strengthening its IoT portfolio through a partnership with Microsoft by integrating a range of Azure capabilities into its network.
  • Its service coverage is still limited in Singapore, China and Australia (Optus) compared to the global IoT networks offered by competitors.

Singtel announced its partnership with Microsoft in February 2019 to launch an AI-powered IoT network over Microsoft Azure. This is achieved through integration of Singtel’s IoT network into Microsoft Azure cloud capabilities, including IoT Hub, IoT Edge, and other machine learning and cognitive services. Singtel has a comprehensive IoT portfolio with software-defined network capabilities, a range of technologies including LPWAN standards, a private IoT network for added security (‘IoTConnect+’), competitive pricing (as low as SGD1 per month for 10 MB on NB-IoT) and various solutions across industry verticals. The additional capability gained from the partnership with Microsoft complements the carrier’s IoT portfolio. The AI capabilities enable the carrier to deliver more efficient services, especially in the orchestration and automation of applications and workloads across IoT stacks (e.g., devices, network and clouds), thus accelerating enterprises’ business outcomes and the ROI. The cloud services offer scalable deployments, addressing the high upfront investments required by enterprises to implement IoT use cases. It also enables Singtel to retain its IoT leadership in Singapore and address the increasing demand in the key Asian hub. GlobalData research shows that 62% of 1,664 global enterprises interviewed (including 65% of 57 in Singapore) are making major or large investments in IoT in the next three years. The access to Microsoft’s vast range of development tools, developers and other packaged solutions enables the carrier to further strengthen its own IoT platform capabilities, while IoT Hub offers an additional platform option to its customers in addressing diverse market demands. Continue reading “Singtel Collaborates with Microsoft to Enhance Its IoT Portfolio”

Will Maxis’ New Enterprise Strategy Work?

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Maxis redefined its enterprise strategy to grow its business in the managed services market.
  • The provider needs to tackle the real needs of enterprises instead of just replicating best practices.

The practice of consumer telcos entering the enterprise managed service market is not uncommon, especially for telcos playing in a mature market. Telcos are looking to expand their revenue streams, as business from the traditional services (e.g., data, broadband, voice) is no longer growing. Maxis, a leading consumer mobile provider in Malaysia, started this journey as early as 2010, although the consumer mobile market was still growing at that time and there was no critical need for the service provider to look for new business areas. The move was mainly driven by technology leadership, following ‘best practice’ from other global leaders at that time. Today, while the provider is still playing in the enterprise managed service market, the driver has shifted from technology leadership/innovation to a real need to grow revenue in the segment and hence the overall business. Without much success in the past (with only 1.4% growth in 2017 and 3.1% decline in 2018), Maxis recently shared its new strategy to grow its enterprise service (managed services, cloud and IoT) by threefold in five years, focusing on leveraging connectivity assets and replicating industry best practice. While the strategy looks promising, will it work for Maxis in the Malaysia market? Continue reading “Will Maxis’ New Enterprise Strategy Work?”

Regulation Change Did Not Impact Telekom Malaysia’s Overall 2018 Business Performance, but Pushed TM to Accelerate Its Transformation

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Telekom Malaysia (TM) survived a challenging 2018 with stable business performance despite a huge decline in net profit.
  • TM is expected to bounce back in 2019 with growth in enterprise, driven by PIP 2019 and a vertical focus.

2018 was a challenging year for telcos in Malaysia. The Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP), set by the new government, has pushed down connectivity prices in the country. As the domestic fixed-line market leader with a connection share of 66% (source: GlobalData Malaysia Telecom Forecast Q4 2018), Telekom Malaysia was heavily impacted by this new regulation. The provider had to reduce its connectivity service price by around 40% whilst offering up to 10 times the speed for some of its packages in order to meet the new regulation. As a result, credit rating agencies such as Fitch revised the company’s outlook from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’ and the S&P changed TM’s profile from ‘intermediate’ to ‘modest’ last year. Its share price went down by 57.0%, from RM6.18 (at the beginning of 2018) to only RM2.66 at the end of the year. (It has gone back up since November and closed at RM3.18 on March 8, 2019.) Continue reading “Regulation Change Did Not Impact Telekom Malaysia’s Overall 2018 Business Performance, but Pushed TM to Accelerate Its Transformation”

TM Forum Digital Transformation Asia 2018: No Longer Optional for Asian Carriers

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Digital transformation is no longer an option for emerging market carriers today.
  • It is not just about adopting new technologies. Carriers must also transform to drive sustainable change.

This year’s TM Forum Asia event took place in Malaysia on November 13-15 with ‘digital transformation’ as the main theme. While the topic is not new in the industry, it is actually the right time in Asia. For many years, carriers have been offering enterprise solutions such as cloud, mobility, UC&C, and IoT and positioning themselves as digital transformation enablers in the market. However, many carriers in the emerging Asia markets are still quite behind with their internal journeys. These carriers are still stuck with their legacy infrastructures, processes, and mindset. Continue reading “TM Forum Digital Transformation Asia 2018: No Longer Optional for Asian Carriers”