Cybersecurity leader Palo Alto Networks showcased some of its latest offerings at GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, where Telecom Review sat down with Ercan Aydin, the firm’s Regional Vice President, Middle East and Africa. In the interview, Aydin talked about the cybersecurity landscape of the region and what the future of the industry holds with regards to artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics.

Read more: Ercan Aydin from Palo Alto Networks comments on the future of cybersecurity

Atmail is an email platform solution company from Australia. With 20 years of email expertise serving telecommunications and hosting providers across every continent, Atmail currently powers more than 170 million mailboxes worldwide. In an interview with Telecom Review, Atmail’s Chief Sales Officer, Erik Jan Rijnders, explains why telcos should move their customer email platform to the cloud.

Read more: Atmail’s CSO outlines why telcos should move email to the cloud

In order to know more about PCCW Global’s  latest projects, namely the trilateral agreement related to the Pakistan & East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) cable system’s development, Telecom Review spoke to Sameh Sobhy, vice president, Middle East, Turkey, Africa, PCCW Global, who explained in depth the progress achieved thus far in the project. We were also eager to know how PCCW Global can intervene when natural disasters hit a certain country, just like it did in Mozambique not so long ago. Sobhy wrapped up the discussion by highlighting his aspirations for the remainder of 2019 and what the company aims to achieve next.

Read more: PCCW Global’s technology makes a difference in natural disaster situations

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neXgen Group has garnered a reputation for being one of the top smart city consultants in the region - a thought leader in the domains of smart cities and next generation technology innovation. The company has since evolved from its consultancy status and added smart city managed services through its cloud-based smart city as a service platform. Telecom Review caught up with Ghazi Atallah, neXgen Group's CEO.

As a leading smart city consultant, what would you say are the essential components that make up a smart city?
In our view, it's first and foremost about the masterplan roadmap - having a concise plan in place for smart city implementation - which includes initiatives and services that will be rolled out to meet the city goals. The second important aspect is policies, regulations and governance around smart cities to enhance the position of a city in becoming smarter. The third component is smart technology infrastructure - including the smart city platform, data and so on. The smart city platform enables the roadmap and is supported by the policy and governance work.

What highlights can you share about neXgen's strategic collaboration with Zain Group?
The strategic collaboration and investment with Zain Group is essentially about taking our expertise of smart cities and extending that into a smart city as a service capability - extending the capability from advisory services to managed services around smart cities - and taking that to all of Zain's footprint.

How will neXgen's smart city as a service platform facilitate the deployment of smart city solutions?
The smart city platform is essentially us investing ahead of time based on our customers needs in the capability to deliver smart city services such as smart energy, smart security, smart districts and all the other smart services that we are going to market with, which includes all the technology stack, the operational and service capabilities to deliver.

This will allow us to take the complexity out of smart city development for our customers by providing smart city as a service in a managed service format. Our offering is a service-based approach rather than a technology-based approach. We are not going to sell the technology that will allow you to deliver smart city functionality to our customers, but instead we are selling them a service. We are doing all the legwork on their behalf. In fact, much of the legwork is already done thanks to our implemented platform and capabilities.

What's missing is connecting our platform to the customer's premises so that we can deliver the service. In essence, we take care of 70 percent of the work, and what's left is 30 percent of the work that is connecting the platform to the customer's environment and allowing us to deliver smart services. The way we go to market is very beneficial to our customers because the time to market for them to get up and running from a service standpoint is shortened dramatically, because a lot of the work has already been done on their behalf. They can benefit from a service-based model, which removes the barrier of worrying about technology, and who is going to implement and service it.

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