Osama Al-Zoubi, CTO, Cisco Middle East and Africa, speaks exclusively to Channel Post MEA about emerging technology trends of 2022 and various solutions offered by CISCO to power today’s hybrid work in a sustainable way.
How has Cisco performed in the MEA region over the past year and outlook for 2022 for MEA?
Definitely, we are very excited that we are back in the Gitex 2021. What has happened over the past couple of years is we’ve seen organizations, government sectors and companies, they had to innovate at a much higher speed, and much bigger scale. There is no doubt that we have seen an increase on the demand of technology to bridge the gap that was created due to the pandemic. According to Gartner, the demand for technology has risen by around four and a half percent in the MENA region between 2020 and 2021 and approximately around $170 billion is spent in the ICT area. So, we believe that’s really because of the critical role technology solutions have played in terms of bridging the gap and allowing for business continuity.
What are the emerging key technology trends of 2022, according to Cisco?
We at Cisco are customer-centric, we believe part of our success is really due to the reason that we listen to our customers. Our strategy is built around four pillars, which are, what we believe are the customer’s priorities.
Number one is transforming the network. The network is becoming more important than ever. Cisco has accelerated the innovation and we have delivered solutions around Wi Fi 6 that provides the right bandwidth requirement, performance requirement, low latency requirements in a secure way for mission-critical applications.
Furthermore, on the infrastructure, we have delivered solutions around 5G and private 5G that allows for unleashing innovation around brand-new use cases as well as application. The second part is around security. Today, security continues to be the single most important challenge that organizations around the globe are facing. And we at Cisco take that extremely serious, we have put massive investment in our R&D to deliver that. And today we have successfully built a zero-trust architecture. When it comes to security, you cannot compromise, trust must be earned, it cannot be granted. And therefore, we deliver those solutions all the way from the application to the user. We believe security must be delivered in a layered approach.
The third part is around powering the hybrid work. With the hybrid work here to stay, we at Cisco, believe we have the right solutions and the right capability to deliver that. For instance, in WebEx over the past year or so, we have introduced more than 800 new features that allow for the inclusivity, no matter where the employees are they will be able to use this virtual platform to have almost similar experience as the in-person experience. At Gitex, we are also demonstrating the hologram technology.
The last and the final one is around re-imagining the application. In the post pandemic-era, the application has become very critical for an organization. And it’s becoming the brand, the solutions and technologies that we provide enable the application visibility, application performance, application monitoring, not only at one layer, but, all the way from the user layer to the network layer with the full stack observability. It not only provides the visibility we need but also provides actionable insights by correlating the information that are collected at every layer of the stack. This is more crucial than ever since application is really the business. And no organization can afford to have downtime even for a moment.
So, in summary, we believe that we must meet our customers where they are. And our strategy is built around those customers priority, transforming the network security, the enterprise, powering the hybrid work and imagining the application.
With data becoming the ‘new oil’, How are Cisco’s products helping in improving customer experience?
We at Cisco have realized the value of data for quite some time. Some of the innovations I described earlier around those pertaining to customers priorities are primarily built on utilizing and using cutting edge technologies such as the artificial intelligence, machine learning.
For example, the reason that we have great success in security is because we use artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms that allow us to correlate and collect publicly available data to mitigate and deal with those issues at the security level.
Furthermore, with the application now becoming very crucial to the business, artificial intelligence, machine learning algorithm will allow you to deal with the massive data at speed and scale reliably.
Data is definitely the new oil and potentially even beyond because through data, we will be able to not only solve today’s problem but also predict the future.
With digitization gaining pace, how has Cisco equipped its partner ecosystem to raise up to this surge?
We at Cisco, believe 100% in partnership, as a matter of fact, we believe that partnership is the only way to sustain the business and ensure growth. So, wherever we go, whichever country that we operate in, the first thing that we do is to build those partnerships, whether it is through our channel partners, through whom the majority of our business goes, or our ecosystem partners. We work extremely closely with our partners in the region, as well as globally, thereby building those global alliances to help at the end of the day, deliver on those customer requirements.
How is Cisco positioned to address the sustainability factor?
At Cisco, our purpose today is to power an inclusive future. We believe talent is distributed across the globe, yet opportunity is not. And therefore, technology can bridge that gap. And when you look at our purpose, which is to power an inclusive future, the underlying pillar that enables that is sustainability. Because while we want to do a lot of good things, we want to make sure that we do not break things in the process. And as a part of that, we strive constantly to make sure that our equipment is using the smallest footprint possible. we build them to recycle. So, sustainability is really a purpose more than anything else.