Azz-Eddine Mansouri, General Manager at Ciena Middle East, talks about Ciena’s current focus in networking and telecom sectors, the latest study on energy-efficient, futuristic internet, and Ciena’s recent initiatives for digital transformation in an exclusive interview with Rabab Zehra, Executive Editor, TECHx.
TECHx: What is Ciena’s current focus in the MEA region, especially in the telecom and networking sectors?
Azz-Eddine: As a networking systems, services and software company, we are focused on helping regional service providers create networks that can adapt to changing user demands for more content and greater connectivity. We provide intelligent automation capabilities, guided by streaming telemetry, data-driven analytics and intent-based policies to help our customers create networks that can rapidly scale, self-configure, and self-optimize by constantly assessing network pressures and demands.
In order to support our customers to remain relevant and capitalize on new revenue opportunities, we are helping them get closer to the Edge, by enabling them to address the current pressures and inefficiencies of their metro and edge networks. It wasn’t that long ago that the only things at the edge of the network in the average home were an email client and a web browser. Today the average home, in terms of connectivity and the complexity of that connectivity, has more in common with a small business. Only Ciena provides an open, automated, and simple approach that puts our customers in the driver’s seat, empowering them to rethink their Metro and Edge networks, turning pressure into opportunity.
TECHx: What should be done on a wider scale to ensure a more sustainable environment, in light of Ciena’s latest study on energy-efficient, futuristic internet?
Azz-Eddine: Telecom Service Providers need to rethink the way networks are built and managed to support the growing digital landscape while also ensuring they reduce their carbon footprint by deploying networks that are more energy efficient.
Our study shows that customers want to be more sustainable and pursue greener initiatives and, in fact, 94% of people in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are considering doing more activities virtually to reduce their carbon footprint. It is clear that consumer experiences and expectations around the network are changing, as ultra-mobile users want the ability to access the cloud and consume high-definition content, video, and applications whenever and wherever they so choose. These market dynamics are placing new demands on metro and edge networks so there is a clear need to evolve the network to make it more efficient and reduce energy consumption.
At Ciena, we are committed to address this challenge and drive sustainability through our: exceptional engineering feats, impactful social programs, progressive people initiatives, and upstanding governance practices.
In fact, our WaveLogic™ coherent modems have yielded immense sustainable outcomes and have enabled network operators to avoid more than 3 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. That’s the equivalent of emissions from burning nearly 3.5 billion pounds of coal, or the carbon sequestered by more than 4 million acres of forest each year—roughly the size impacted by the 2020 California wildfires.
TECHx: How is Ciena assisting IT teams in updating their IT infrastructure in this highly competitive digital transformation era? Please tell us about some of your main initiatives.
Azz-Eddine: IT organisations are looking for digital experiences on the front end and they want to be able to have an on-demand cloud-based service that they can create and change in real time by themselves in an automated way. To achieve this, at Ciena we are helping service providers to create networks that can adapt to changing user demands to allow for more content and greater connectivity. We help service providers in owning the Edge of the network and addressing the current pressures and inefficiencies of their metro and edge networks. We provide an open, automated, and simple approach that puts the IT organisations in the driver’s seat, empowering them to own their connectivity and their cloud-based services to have a better digital experience.
TECHx: What are some of the most significant challenges you encounter in providing seamless technology to your clients today?
Azz-Eddine: One of the biggest challenges network providers in this region face is the need to satisfy subscribers’ voracious and often unpredictable appetite for bandwidth driven by cloud, HD video, 5G, IoT and more, while at the same time keep network costs down. As a reflection of this, our latest Future of Networks Research shows that three-fourths of adults in UAE and KSA are planning to upgrade their internet within the next 24 months in order to gain better network performance and speed. This increasing network demand is placing tremendous pressure on service providers to offer a seamless customer experience.
Additionally, due to rapidly changing market dynamics, service providers have and will continue to increase their investments in metro and edge networks. Driving this is the demand for more services, applications, and content at the network edge, where it’s created and consumed by end-users, both humans and machines.
Networks, for the most part, are holding up, and providers must continue to take steps to prepare their networks to adapt and adjust to meet the demand by increasing the internet speed and shifting traffic from wired networks to wireless networks where data is used extensively.