NexNet Solutions, a leading telecommunications solutions and consulting firm in conjunction with its regional partner M800 Limited, has announced that its strategic alliance with Hong Kong based company aims to help and support operators to build their own OTT services and enable them to extended these services to B2B customers effectively.
NexNet Solutions has established a stellar reputation for itself over the years by providing best of breed technologies from all around the world to the Middle East. Telecom Review managed to secure an exclusive interview with the charismatic President & CEO of NexNet Solutions, Amer Salem.
In what was a highly engaging, fascinating and informative interview, Mr. Salem clearly illustrated what differentiates his company from his competitors, whilst highlighted the benefits of its partnership with Hong Kong’s M800 Limited and the key role it plays in the Smart City & IoT sector in the UAE in particular and Europe, Middle East, and South Asia in general.
NexNet Solutions recently announced in conjunction with M800 Limited that it had agreed to enter into a strategic alliance partnership with Viahub. Can you firstly outline the details of your partnership with M800 Limited, and what are the primary objectives and goals of the strategic alliance?
Our strategic alliance with M800 is to expand the market to the EMEA and South East Asia. What NexNet does is bring the best of breed technologies from around the world to the Middle East region, and one of them is M800. We consider them to be our premier strategic global alliance partner. They help operators to compete with other OTTs by offering a white label OTT. In other words, you hear how telecommunication operators around the region are challenged by applications such as WhatsApp and Skype. However, what M800 did was construct a telco network around the world which was a highly secure private network that provided high quality services and extended it to the operators. So instead of competing with the operators, they’re on the same side. M800 will also allow them to extend their service to B2B. If you look at airlines and banks they’ve all got great mobile applications, but the suite of communication is not there. You can’t pick up the phone and contact major airlines and call them through their mobile app or use file sharing effectively and easily, so that’s how M800 platform will allow the operators to extend that service by offering their SDK to the enterprise customers seamlessly. In relation to the strategic alliance, what NexNet Solutions, M800 and Viahub have agreed to enter into is basically allowing Viahub to white label, which subsequently enables them to create their own application which allows them to resell this service to a vast number of customers around the region to extend that reach.
NexNet Solutions plays a key role in the development of smart sustainable cities. Can you highlight some of the smart city projects your organization has been involved in?
NexNet fundamentally focuses on three main pillars which are Telcos, Smart City & IoT and Software Development. All of them are intertwined in a sense. We help telcos converge their network, and drive telecom transformation and digitalization. One of the examples was when H.H. Sheikh Mohammed announced that he wanted Dubai to become the world’s smartest city. One of the main enablers of a smart city is Wi-Fi. NexNet Solutions and its partner are instrumental in participating in the core and backend of the Wi-Fi UAE with one of the major telecom operator. When we talk about smart city in generic terms, we’re really looking at it and saying what functional items can we integrate into this, and Wi-Fi is a key. Wi-Fi UAE is one of the fundamentals in this because it allows people to be connected wherever they are in the city. In addition to this, developing smart sustainable buildings is also a key component in the makeup of a smart city. So we’re also advising developers and architects how to improve the sustainability of a city. Sustainability can’t be done only by IT. It’s also done by implementing energy efficiency which allows buildings to be constructed in a much more integrated way. So in other words, what we do is mix the engineering from the environmental side and the IT side to offer a holistic solution that is coherent to the market.
NexNet Solutions offers consulting services in order to facilitate the development of integrated smart communities. Can you outline the role your organization plays in developing an integrated smart community?
We participate in the smart city sector in different forms. I’ve already provided some examples of the role we play in relation to the development of Wi-Fi UAE, and the consultation we give architects and developers in order to help them build smart sustainable buildings. That’s what makes NexNet Solutions unique - our ability to get involved in the environmental aspect of constructing smart cities. The building can be smart but it doesn’t mean it is sustainable. However, if it’s sustainable then there has to be some level of intelligence to be able to control the air conditioning, the lighting and the efficiency in the building to be able to manage all the aspects of the building by looking from the inside out rather that the outside in. These are the solutions we’re offering an integrated smart community from the technological and environmental aspects. We view what we’re doing as a coherent approach, and the flexibility of our solutions is what makes us a major player in the smart city sector.
Internet of Things is seen as our greatest opportunity, but also viewed by many as our biggest weakness. What do you see as the greatest opportunities within IoT, and what are the biggest challenges in terms of implementing it?
In relation to the Internet of Things, we see a lot of opportunities because it is being driven by the government. The Internet of Things is an enabler of sustainable and smart cities and is not a particular company’s policy or a private sector policy, it is a government policy and what is happening here in Dubai and the UAE at large is a great example of a government driving a strategic plan from the top down. Internet of Things is driving smart applications, and these applications reside in smart buildings, smart hospitals, smart airports, smart schools, smart governments, smart utilities which basically form a smart community. To achieve all of this, there has to be an underlying connectivity offered majorly by the telco. When you’re dealing with a smart airport, the transaction that happens inside an airport is different to what happens inside a hospital. So we’re looking at it from the Internet of Things within the application that applies to it. The greatest weakness of IoT is going to be the fragmentation. When you’re driving IoT it needs to have a good business and market attraction for the consumer to be able to adapt to it and the business. Educating consumers and businesses in order to create a market is where I see the greatest challenge in IoT.
Looking ahead to 2018, can you tell us what are the primary objectives and aims for NexNet Solutions?
Looking ahead to next year, as I explained earlier, NexNet Solutions is a consulting and solution integrator that brings best of breed technology from around the world to Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia. So we try to adopt and align ourselves with government policy and the direction it’s going. Why are we here? Because we see the government embarking on a great vision, it is trying to drive the Internet of Things and the development of smart cities. We’ve been at the forefront of the development of smart cities for the last ten years. We don’t try to do it from consulting only - we try to do it from a practical standpoint, because if I just consult, and don’t implement it, then it doesn’t matter. I can be consulting about a smart interconnected UAE, but if I don’t implement it and bring the complexity and simplicity to the telco and deploy it so people can use it, then what’s the point? That’s our philosophy. What we consult we build. We believe in a consultative solution approach to the problem. So we’re going to continue that strategic approach next year, and solidify the relationships we have with our existing customers and partners in order to help accelerate Dubai’s efforts to become the world’s smartest city.