Kandy, GENBAND’s award-winning communications Platform as a Service (cPaaS), announced that it has received the “Best Cloud Provider of the Year (Vendor)” award from Telecom Review.

The award was accepted by Ashraf Hassan, VP Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, GENBAND at the annual Telecom Review Summit event, a high-level ICT executive gathering held in Dubai every year.

“We are highly committed to the ICT industry and these awards are a way for us to help celebrate our industry’s leaders,” said Toni Eid, CEO of Trace Media International. “This year’s winners represent the absolute best in our industry and we are very proud to honor them with this distinguished award.”

An independent panel of 15 industry veterans evaluated 167 submissions to select the winners of the 2016 Telecom Review Excellence Awards.

“We’re thrilled that Kandy has been recognized for its ability to make communications more human: contextual, embedded, and real-time,” said Paul Pluschkell, Kandy founder and CEO. “Just slightly more than two years old, Kandy has evolved to be more than just a cPaaS – it’s an enabler for operators and enterprises seeking to build new revenue streams quickly and simply, with minimal risk. We’re looking forward to continued innovation and industry leadership in 2017.”

Communications Service Providers and global enterprises around the world are leveraging Kandy to deliver proven, high-performance embedded communications including managed OTT mobility solutions for consumers and Business Solutions for enterprise from a private, hybrid or public cloud. 

Commenting on the gathering of Industry Leaders, Jeff Seal, Managing Partner of Telecom Review North America added: “Once again Telecom Review has brought together the leaders of the ICT/telecom industry. We were pleased to have GENBAND / Kandy join us in Dubai, a key region for the growth of today and tomorrow’s new technology solutions.”

GENBAND provides its leading solutions and technology to the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan region through its regional office strategically located at the heart of Dubai, UAE in Dubai Silicon Oasis. The office was launched to cater to the company’s regional customer base with advanced real-time communications solutions.

Telecom Review continued its dedication & commitment to the ICT industry and exceeded all expectations with holding the best and largest high level executives of ICT gathering. These awards recognize industry leaders for their efficiency and hard work in 2016, and are a special way for Telecom Review to help celebrate the winner’s success.

This year there were 167 nominations for the Telecom Review Excellence Awards. We want to thank all of the judges who worked tirelessly on reviewing and judging the nominees.

Winners were chosen based on recognized and demonstrated capabilities in their specific sector by an independent panel of 15 experienced industry veterans.

“This year’s award winners represent the absolute best in our industry and we are very proud to honor these winners with such a distinguished award,” said Toni Eid, CEO of Trace Media International.

Etisalat, winners of the ‘Best Middle Eastern Operator’ currently has operations in 17 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, providing 162m customers with high quality services and is the largest operator in the Middle East, by market cap. 4G services are already available in 11 of the countries where it operates, enabling 790 million people potential access to its latest network services, while in 2016 Etisalat was the first in the region to run live trials of the next gen 5G network. Investment in an advanced network infrastructure has enabled the UAE to remain a global leader in fiber optic connectivity.

Commenting on the gathering of Industry Leaders, Jeff Seal, Managing Partner of Telecom Review North America noted: “Once again Telecom Review has brought together the leaders of the ICT/telecom industry.”

About Telecom REVIEW

Telecom Review is a leading publisher of English, Arabic and French magazines that cover a broad spectrum of issues that interest the modern and educated reader. Building on the expertise and skills of its management team, reporters, contributors and media professionals, Telecom Review strives to provide its readers with quality reporting through research, analysis and insightful articles rich in content and style.

Telecom Review hosted its 7th successful annual Summit on December 13, 2016, held under the recurring theme: ‘It’s All About SMART Networking’. Once again, the Summit gathered the best telecom and ICT industry leaders under one roof at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, to share knowledge and insights about transitions happening within the telecom and ICT industry. This year’s event focused on ICT as being the heart of a ‘Smart City’. Esteemed guests included His Excellency Mr. Yasser El Kady, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Arab Republic of Egypt, who delivered an inspiring keynote speech.

The 2016 Telecom Review Summit marked another milestone of success, bringing delegates together to learn and debate about developments in the regional and worldwide telecommunications community. The Summit delivered interesting keynotes and panel discussions throughout the day, moderated by experts in the fields of telecommunications, government, smart cities, regulation, consulting. Telecom Review’s very own Jeff Seal, Managing Partner, Telecom Review North America, moderated the panel discussion: ‘Data Traffic Growth: Security, Network & Solutions – Role of Operators and Wholesale Carriers’.

One of the most anticipated panels was the ‘Visionary Debate’ between Mr. Hatem Dowidar, CEO, Etisalat International and Mr. Scott Gegenheimer, CEO, Zain Group, who discussed challenges facing the industry, as well as opportunities, and how telecom operators can differentiate themselves. The ‘Telecom Leaders Panel’ was also highly recognized, featuring a discussion between esteemed speakers including Mr. Marc Halbfinger, CEO, PCCW Global; Mr. Ahmad Farroukh, CEO, Mobily KSA; Mr. Jay Srage, president, Qualcomm International, MEAE; Mr. Husein Rifai, CEO, MDIC; and Mr. Gary Heffernan, senior managing director, Communications, Media and Technology, EALA, Accenture.

In his opening speech, Mr. Toni Eid, CEO of Trace Media International and Editor in Chief of Telecom Review, expressed his gratitude to the esteemed guests for gathering at the Summit: “I’d like to extend to you all a warm welcome to Dubai, the most dynamic city in the world, which also promises to be the happiest,” he said. “We are gathered here today at the 7th Telecom Review Summit as we believe there is no Smart City without smart technology – which is well served by smart telcos and regulated by the best government practices.”

Mr. Eid noted that smart technology was on top of the agenda, as the Summit gathered smart city decision makers, smart city stakeholders, telecom operators, technology vendors and smart city consultants to discuss the best developments and planning of future cities. He shared plans for the event and topics to be discussed, such as telco and city infrastructure, looking toward 5G, network deployment, transport of the future, and data traffic. Looking ahead to a full day of presentations, Mr. Eid said: “As usual, our summit is about sharing ideas, knowledge and opinions in order to help shape the future together.”

Representing Dubai’s Smart City transformation, Mr. Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment, gave a keynote speech in which he discussed some of the key initiatives Smart Dubai has launched. He stressed the fact that everyone’s voice counts in Dubai and its transformation, and that the Smart Dubai Government Establishment strives to give citizens and residents a stronger voice. He said the government should work for people, not against them, and that the government needs people’s help in order to do so.

“Let me ask you a question: How many of you like taking surveys? Would many of you be willing to take a ten minute survey every time you interact with the government?” Mr. Lootah asked the crowd. Only one person raised their hand. “Your response – or lack of I should say – is what I expected. If the survey took two seconds I’m sure you would all interact and that’s why we’ve launched the happiness meter.”

The happiness meter, he explained, is a device that “gives everyone in the city a voice.” It lets the government know what citizens are thinking. This feedback is imperative for the government because it doesn’t always get things right, just like anywhere in the world, and it can then learn from mistakes. The happiness meter enables everybody in the city to let the government know what it can improve on. It’s a very simple interface, he said. It has been deployed across all channels: service centers, mobile phone applications, and on government websites.

“We have spent the last eighteen months collecting over four million votes and now this has been deployed in thirty-eight government entities,” said Mr. Lootah. “The private sector is now taking it up with 133 service centers adopting it. What’s the difference between this and a survey you might ask? Surveys are good, and they go deep and give you a large volume of information. However, it may take 3-6 months to do a survey. The difference here is that you get real-time information. City leaders and city managers can actually judge in real time if changes in their services are having the right impact.”

His Excellency Mr. Yasser El Kady, who later received the award for ‘Non Profit Organizations' Telecom Leader of the Year’ at the Telecom Review awards ceremony, also gave a keynote speech at the Summit, in which he said he was “very happy” to be at the event and extended his gratitude to Mr. Toni Eid for inviting him to the “fantastic” forum. Mr. El Kady began his speech by “exploring how we can link the Smart Dubai vision with our government’s [Egypt’s] plans for sustainable development.”

“In Egypt, and in other regions, governments are now executing plans for sustainable developments. We have recently developed 20-30 sustainable projects and we have other strategies in place for our country,” said His Excellency Mr. El Kady. “ICT is becoming – or has become – one of the most important pillars when it comes to implementing sustainable developments – and you will find that ICT in all its dimensions features prominently in our 2030 strategic development plan towards Egypt.”

Referring to the presentation by Mr. Wesam Lootah, Mr. El Kady discussed the important role of the government highlighted in the keynote speech, which “illustrated clearly the importance of political support.” This is very important, he said, adding that, “If you have a plan, and you have a strategy without a real high level of political support, then of course the plan can be executed, but not in a very strong way.”

“Having that support from a political point of view gives you a lot of support. In Egypt, the president of our nation has extended his full support to ICT. He looks to ICT and recognizes it as the real transformation for the country, and he has committed to building multiple entrepreneur centers to encourage innovation across the region,” said Mr. El Kady. “In Egypt, we have a population of 92 million and we have 27 governorates, but we are now in the process of constructing technology and innovation centers in each and every one of the governorates. This is designed to fully focus on innovation, enterprises and ICT.”

His Excellency Mr. El Kady elaborated on how the Egyptian government is constructing technology parks across seven governorates and has already integrated two in one year. In Cairo, he said the government has established a smart village, but “again it’s a matter of building the infrastructure and the platform towards real country transformation.” This is a “great initiative” he said, especially when considering the journey to smart city transformation. It’s not just an initiative here in Dubai, said Mr. El Kady, but an initiative that can be executed anywhere with the right planning and execution.

“As part of the plan for Egypt in relation to smart cities, we want to embrace this vision. The new capital of Egypt will be a smart capital, and a smart city. We are going to leverage all the expertise we have learned from Dubai and beyond in order to implement our vision. It’s important to share these ideas at events like these in order to deliver the proper services required to keep a population of 92 million happy.”

During another inspiring keynote speech, the charismatic CEO of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du), Mr. Osman Sultan, took a different approach to expressing his amazement at the rapid transformation of the ICT industry. When Mr. Toni Eid reached out to Mr. Sultan, he said he knew “it would be a challenge and a responsibility,” because Mr. Eid asked him to present a subject that would stimulate conversation during the day. After some consideration, Mr. Sultan decided to share some points that he thinks are “changing the world in which we live.”

“We only need to be looking around us to see that being connected is becoming a basic human right,” said Mr. Sultan. “When I had the privilege of chairing the ITU group for Arab World in the early 2000’s, I remember we were talking about mobility, and I made a daring statement that we could put a mobile in the hands of everyone. Some thought that this was over-promising.”

At that time, Mr. Sultan suggested that this would eventually become a basic human need. After the current revolution of social networking, he has since upgraded his statement to say that being connected is a basic human right. We can simply look to children for proof, he said. The first thing young people ask when they go to a restaurant is for the Wi-Fi password – this has become the “new reality that we live in.”

Mr. Sultan also spoke about the “abundance model” that we live under in modern society. “The evolution of technology is adding more and more speed to our lives, and is allowing the transportation of more and more volume, more and more data. Just to give you an idea, in 2015, if you wanted to watch one second of old videos on the networks, it would take you five years to watch this one second,” he said.

“In 2017, there will be 3x connected devices than the number of the entire population of the earth. It’s an abundance model, constructed not only through technology – yes, there has been the development of 2G to 3G and then 4G, and now some people are even talking about 4.9G waiting for 5G because we’re impatient – but this is not the full story.”

Mr. Sultan explained that when society started on its “internet journey” most people in the mid-90’s used to use the internet as a library of sorts. The key names in the industry at the time were Google and Yahoo. Then when early 2000 came around, he said people started using the internet for shopping because the commercial industry starting to become established online. For example, people started booking airline tickets, shopping for clothing from overseas, etc.

“There has since been an evolution of the ecosystem around the internet, and the real transformation came about in the mid-2000’s when people started going to the internet like they go to a café – to socialize,” said Mr. Sultan. “People now go on the internet simply to see what their friends are doing, which restaurant they are at, or what they are eating. Today, my kids don’t get information from going through various articles, but by interacting with their online social networks.”

Volker Held, Innovation Marketing, Networks, MCA NM Networks Marketing, Nokia Networks, sat with Telecom Review at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, to offer an insight about the development of 5G and the Internet of Things.

What is the significance of Mobile World Congress to Nokia Networks?
At MWC we are able to show what is possible with our new technologies and showcase new possibilities and applications. We are living in very interesting times with the development of IoT, and also 5G in a few years. There will be a lot of new applications and new possibilities far beyond smartphones and far beyond the apps we see today, which will make consumer lives much better, which is what we are showcasing here today.

What has Nokia showcased at MWC so far in relation to 5G and IoT?
We have made a lot of announcements related to 5G, such as new partnerships with operators because it's very important to us to collaborate and work together with operators to find the best 5G technology and also trial 5G technology in real environments to make sure that the technology meets the requirements of operators.

We also made an announcement about a bunch of new 5G applications to showcase the abilities of 5G which go beyond what you see today. We were able to show that we are already able to run pre-standard 5G live on our new commercial radio base station. It means that our current base station is already able to run 5G, which was a major announcement for us.

Regarding IoT, which is already a reality today, we have been able to show people our IoT ecosystem which we are currently building up. We are able to provide all the necessary platforms from the connectivity up to the application layer that are necessary to enable IoT to work seamlessly.

What expertise does Nokia bring to 5G and IoT?
We bring a heritage to the business with our mobile technology experience. This is not only about mobile, but also about the whole network architecture. It means you also have to bring in fixed expertise for example, and we bring this altogether with our service expertise to implement it in real networks. This makes our expertise quite unique in the industry.

Is the development of 5G dependent on the development of IoT?
The Internet of Things doesn't need to wait for 5G. This is something that is already happening now. We have shown here at MWC everything you need to run a successful IoT business today. It's about dedicated connectivity solutions, and we are busy tailoring current LTE technology which has been built for smartphone connectivity and for multi-media; we have tailored it to the needs of IoT. We are bringing it to a point where customers will have better battery-life which is a big problem with devices today.

It's also about device management, and also connectivity management because we need to be able to manage the high number of devices around today. It's a whole stack that you need to cover with IoT, and all of this is something we're providing. We're also thinking ahead: with 5G, low latency has become a possibility, as well as autonomous driving operated by a 5G network, and also virtual reality and robots. IoT is here now, and at Nokia we are looking beyond.

With 2020 set as the target date for the release of 5G, how realistic do you think this date is? And will Nokia be ready for it?
2020 is absolutely realistic. This is according to our current plan. As an industry, we are figuring out what 5G is supposed to deliver, what the key technologies are, and what the standards are. This should all be done by 2019. Even before 2020, we will already be able to pre-standard 5G technology to the market which enables specific use cases. We are not just waiting for 2020, but are slowly making pieces available beforehand. Japan and South Korea are countries that will likely see the first 5G in society, but also the United States and countries in Europe are interested.

What is Nokia's role with artificial intelligence and drone technology which is related to IoT?
This is a big topic for Nokia. We need to have artificial intelligence built into the networks in the future, because when it comes to the use cases, networks are becoming more complex. You need to have a network that manages smart meters, connected cars for example. People are becoming more mobile, and they do not accept any kind of loss of quality experience. You cannot manage this manually anymore, and you also cannot just pre-program the network. The network needs to be able to optimize itself; and not only the network as a whole, but each and every connection. We have started building artificial intelligence to make sure that the network is able to optimize different situations by itself, and also able to learn from previous actions it took and analyze the results those actions generated for future actions.

Can you tell us about the improved downloading times we can expect from 5G?
5G will be able to provide more than 20 gigabits-per-second to the end user, but will be able to go even higher. What does this mean for the end user? It means that they can basically download an entire HD movie within about six seconds.

How will Nokia take"difficult and time-consuming" out of managing the connectivity of myriad people and things?
We are adopting the concept of "network slicing". It means we have one physical network, but we can slice it into different virtual networks. All of those networks are configured in a different way, and tailored to the specific requirements of certain use cases. This requires some new capabilities in the network, such as the ability to virtualize your network, and orchestrate the slices. There needs to be intelligence in the network that is able to configure those slices. We have also demonstrated this live here at MWC. It's a smart way to be able to handle this complexity, and it also opens up new business partners for operators.

How will Nokia eliminate "slow and complex" from creating IoT applications?
I think it's important that you are able to offer the whole stack of platforms that are needed. You need to have an application enablement platform, where you know that the applications can use certain capabilities. You also need to have device management in-built so that you know that the devices connect properly to the application and lastly you need to have connectivity management in-built so that it's clear how the device can communicate with the network. We have an end-to-end full stack of these capabilities that means all the applications can make use of that, which I think simplifies the process of developing and introducing applications.

Having an IoT ecosystem, which consists of many application developers, by working together with them, it makes it easier to make use of our platforms, so that we can provide the whole package to our customers.

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