Category: Blog

Land & Expland in the Middle East


The Middle East is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing digital economies in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for service providers and enterprises delivering on global digital transformation. Connecting users internationally requires the delivery of consistent application experience and quality of service across a global footprint. The vast majority of digital transformation requirements are no longer about connecting A to B or simple point-to-point connections and instead, they require the ability to offer platforms which enable organisations to seamlessly deploy new applications and services on a real-time basis as and when they are required.

The global appetite for digital transformation is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. IDC forecasts global digital transformation investments to hit $3.4 trillion by 2026. Within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the digital economy is predicted to hit $400 billion by 2030 according to research conducted by Redseer Strategy Consultants. This represents a huge opportunity for service providers and enterprises.

Enterprises and service providers continue to look for a one-stop-shop partner to help them enter the region as effortlessly as possible, whilst ensuring they can achieve success and scale.

New market, new processes

The Middle East can be a complicated and complex market to navigate. Understanding the local operational environment, regulations, best practices, and digital infrastructure can be challenging to say the least. Added to this, enterprises and service providers find themselves having to manage multiple partners across the region as they enter new countries and new markets.

Each market has its own nuances which can be complex for service providers from outside of the region to navigate. A common misconception is that the telecom landscape is homogenous throughout. In reality, each country has its own incumbent operators and unique ways of doing business. Navigating inter-regional requirements can be daunting and can impact both growth and profitability. Significant time and resource investment are required for any service provider or enterprise wishing to enter a new market, let alone the highly complex and fragmented Middle Eastern landscapes. Thus, preventing those entities who need to focus on serving their customers as well as the needs of their own unique business requirements.

Agility in connecting the cloud

When connecting to the cloud, service providers and enterprises must move with new levels of agility to not fall behind their competitors. Organisations cannot afford to be encumbered by the need to negotiate deals with each country individually as they grow. The nature of the cloud means a much faster way of doing business is required to meet market expectations.

According to Capifly, MENA cloud services revenue grew to $3 billion in 2020, an increase of 21% from the previous year, and this trajectory continues to build which is in turn driving the adoption of Software-as-a-Service in the region.In 2023 Gartner predicts IT spending in the region will grow 2% from $171.9 billion in 2022

To overcome the complexities of expanding into the Middle East, European service providers and enterprises need a robust ‘land and expand’ strategy that includes the right regional networking partner. The partner should be able to understand the business objectives of the enterprise or service provider and provide a single platform that enables the newcomer to have just one single contract to provide a seamless customer experience across the entire region.

The partner should be able to offer adaptability and agility to enable service providers and enterprise businesses to scale up across the region whenever and wherever opportunities arise.

As well as the above, the right partner will also enable the service provider to provide consistent application support and customer experience across markets to avoid a disconnect. This will enable both service providers and enterprises to realise new opportunities and monetise investments in the region in a quick and successful manner.

By streamlining all requirements into the partners’ single, unified network, the need for multiple contracts, technical integrations, and compliance regulations is eliminated, thereby reducing the volume of resources required. Risk is also significantly reduced if the infrastructure is wholly owned by the partner, eliminating the possibility of interference from other parties. The partner, therefore, removes barriers to growth and enables businesses to deliver global digital transformation.

With a one-stop shop partner, enterprises and service providers can expect faster and more reliable connectivity across the region. It should be able to leverage long-standing, established local relationships, resilient infrastructure and to bypass traditional roadblocks. All these factors provide a competitive edge.

Article by
Veer Passi
Group CEO, Kalaam Telecom


Diversification of Digital Hubs


The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has emerged as a center of digital innovation, with various hubs striving to become the go-to destinations for carriers, hyperscalers, and content players. However, as the region diversifies, it is crucial for market participants to develop a multi-market connectivity strategy that leverages the unique advantages offered by different hubs. Explore the changing dynamics of the MENA region, the importance of seamless cross-border connectivity, and the role of strategic partnerships in driving digital transformation.

Tapping Into The Growing Digital Transformation Market

aGovernments across the MENA region have launched digital transformation strategies that are boosting local digital infrastructure development while encouraging digital innovation. In September 2023, Bahrain’s government approved a digital economy sector strategy, building on Bahrain’s leadership in cloud-first strategies that were implemented more than five years ago.

Bahrain Economic Development Board attracted $295 million in direct investments within the ICT sector as part of a total projected direct investment worth $1.4 billion, during the first nine months of 2023. Similarly, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce released a report estimating that the UAE’s national digital economy will grow from $38 billion to over $140 billion by 2031. Public cloud regions are popping up across a range of markets and destinations with Amazon Web Services, Alibaba, Microsoft and Oracle all growing their presence in the region.

The digital transformation market in MENA is expected to rise from $38.4 billion in 2022 to $298.2 billion in 2032, according to Future Market Insights. The rise in remote working, driven by the pandemic, has accelerated global digitalization while advances in technology have transformed end-user industries such as healthcare, IT and telecoms. Carriers, and in turn, their enterprise customers want to rollout applications and services with the same user experience and performance across the entire region. When they can do that, they gain an immediate competitive advantage and can move with greater agility when delivering their digital strategies. Digitalization is rapidly expanding across the MENA region, providing carriers with a golden opportunity to drive growth in these new markets.

The Need For A Unified Approach

Unlike previous years, being present in a single hub is no longer sufficient. To effectively serve the region and gain a competitive advantage, carriers must ensure a consistent user experience and performance across the entire MENA region. The next decade will witness the decentralization of the region, emphasizing the importance of seamless cross-border connectivity. Carriers that can offer unified, multi-market connectivity will emerge as critical enablers for digital transformation.

Overcoming Challenges Through Strategic Partnerships

To expand their presence rapidly and efficiently across the Middle East, carriers face significant challenges. Customer expectations for improved connectivity have skyrocketed, while each market in the MENA region has its own unique regulations and business practices. Diversifying with a multi-market approach is key to meeting growing customer demands while conforming to local regulations.

Streamlining Network Expansion With Cloud Connectivity

Cloud connectivity provides carriers with a cost-effective and efficient solution for network expansion. By leveraging a cloud network and partnering with a one-stop-shop provider, carriers can bypass the need for on-premises hardware investments, saving resources that can be redirected to other growth channels. Additionally, cloud connectivity eliminates the need for negotiating individual deals with each country, accelerating the process of achieving pan-regional connectivity.

The Power Of A Comprehensive Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Platform Towards Digitizing The Wholesale Ecosystem

To cover the entire customer journey and streamline operational processes, carriers can leverage a partner with a comprehensive CPQ platform. An API-based CPQ platform offers dynamic pricing, real-time inventory management, and automated billing workflows, driving significant efficiencies in the quoting process and optimizing operations across the board.

This eliminates the need for manual data entry and enables real-time information sharing across various departments, enhancing overall operational efficiency. As carriers evolve and grow, a CPQ platform can scale and adapt to changing business needs. It can handle increasing quote volumes, support new product offerings, and accommodate pricing changes or promotions. The platform’s flexibility allows carriers to customize workflows, pricing rules, and user interfaces to align with their specific requirements. This enables carriers to enhance their agility and responsiveness, supporting their digital transformation initiatives.

Seizing The Opportunity: Accelerating Access In 2024

As we enter 2024, the MENA digital landscape presents abundant opportunities. Carriers must move beyond a single presence and seamlessly connect customers across the Middle East as the new standard. By partnering with the right provider, this goal becomes more achievable than ever. Embracing de-centralization and establishing digital hubs across the globe will allow organizations to grow on a global scale. The time to act is now.

The MENA region is witnessing a remarkable digital transformation journey, presenting carriers with immense potential for growth. To capitalize on this opportunity, a unified approach to network expansion is crucial. By leveraging strategic partnerships, cloud connectivity, and comprehensive CPQ platforms, carriers can overcome challenges, streamline operations, and provide a seamless digital experience across the region. Embracing these strategies will empower carriers to become critical enablers of digital transformation in the MENA region and beyond.


Driving Growth with Low Latency Networks


In todays interconnected world, the accelerating digital environment and real-time communication is becoming an essential requirement of everyday life. The Middle east region is readily embracing more and more technologies and increasingly recognising the pivotal role that low latency networks play in driving growth and enhancing user experience. Consumers now expect carriers to deliver low latency routes, even when using the most demanding applications and services. It is not enough to simply provide a connection.

According to Future Market Insights, the digital transformation market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is expected to reach a massive $298.2 billion in 2032. The challenge is to provide uninterrupted connectivity while maintaining a consistent global experience.

Low latency networks are primarily characterised by maintaining a minimum delay in data transmission which is a key essential for applications that require real-time interaction and high bandwidth capabilities. Some of them include cloud computing, gaming, financial trading etc. In the context of the Middle East, where sectors like finance, logistics, and e-commerce are experiencing rapid growth, low latency networks can catalyse innovation, enhance productivity, and unlock new opportunities for businesses to compete on a global scale.

Users increasingly depend on low latency for anything from video conferencing to online gaming, so it’s crucial that carriers provide fast communication speeds to remain competitive in 2024. Carriers that prioritise low latency networks with the right partner will drive profitability and capture local and global growth.

A Streamlined Route to Connectivity

One of the key drivers of low latency network development in the Middle East is the region’s strategic position as a gateway between East and West. With its central location and proximity to major global markets, the Middle East serves as a critical hub large enterprise. By investing in low latency network infrastructure, countries in the region can strengthen their connectivity links with key trading partners in Europe, Asia, and Africa, enabling faster and more efficient exchange of goods, services, and information.

One of the biggest causes of high latency is distance. As digitalisation spreads, consumers need to communicate with servers either locally or internationally. The round trip delay (RTD) data takes to reach a client after they make a request can be significantly increased depending on how far the data travels. This time must be as short as possible, however, delays can be caused as travelling data needs to cross multiple networks. The more networks the data needs to pass through, the higher the chance for a delay to occur. This means the physical paths between point A and B should be as direct as possible or should follow a linear path. The right partner can provide customers with end-to-end low latency routes.

A network optimised for ultra-low latency can process a very high volume of data with minimal delays. They are specifically designed to provide organisations with real-time access and response to their data while streamlining communications. With a low latency solution, carriers can operate bandwidth-hungry applications with improved efficiency and reduced latency.

Navigating Political Shifts

Amid ongoing geopolitical shifts and regional uncertainties, the significance of transit telecom infrastructure in the Middle East has surged, representing a strategic imperative for connectivity and stability. While submarine cables have traditionally dominated discussions around international connectivity, the focus is now expanding to include terrestrial low latency transit infrastructure, which offers resilience and agility in navigating political complexities without relying solely on undersea networks. This paradigm shift underscores the growing importance of diversification and strategic planning in the region’s telecom landscape as it triggers a linear path that allows a better user experience for the applications.

The development of such low latency transit telecom infrastructure in the Middle East comes with its own set of challenges. Issues such as regulatory barriers, cross-border cooperation, and investment constraints pose significant hurdles to the expansion and optimisation of transit networks in the region. Addressing these challenges requires coordinated efforts from governments, regulatory bodies, telecom operators, and international stakeholders to create a conducive environment for investment, innovation, and collaboration in the transit telecom sector.

The Demand for Instant Communication

Immersive and high-definition (HD) video have become integral to users’ communications experiences. Post Covid, there has been a significant rise across MENA that have permanently embraced remote or hybrid working models, driving demand for consistent connections across different territories.

All of these factors have led to surging internet traffic, increasing the emphasis on low latency networks to ensure consumers don’t experience significant delays. Lag and down time create inefficiencies, which in turn leads to negative customer experiences.

Avoiding latency issues is essential for carriers to retain their competitive edge and flourish in a growing digital market. To achieve this, it is more important than ever that they focus on maximising user experience, enriching innovation efforts and enabling seamless communication between multiple locations. Deploying the right partner makes it simple for carriers to streamline communication and provide an enhanced user experience.

Creating a global connectivity development strategy centred around low latency networks presents a significant opportunity for driving growth and innovation in the Middle East. Telecom operators needs focus on investments in latency enhancing infrastructure, fostering regulatory environments, promoting collaboration and partnerships, developing talent, and prioritising cybersecurity. This will help countries in the region position themselves as leading hubs for digital connectivity and propel economic development in the years to come.




Can Software-Defined WAN replace MPLS?


Can Software-Defined WAN replace MPLS?

Let’s say, if you are managing a sizeable financial institution network, or a real-time broadcasting company that requires high-quality live video streaming via CDN (Content Data Network). It demands a high quality of service along with high-grade security. Sure, you are not going to use broadband. Instead, you will need to use a deep, powerful connection with reliable service levels, which is MPLS.

Traditionally, enterprises that have many locations have not typically wanted to rely on public networks. Because of this, MPLS networks is put into place in support of enterprises and their branches. But now, with the ever-increasing move to cloud-based applications, MPLS has proven sometimes to be insufficient to handle all the WAN requirements of today. Cloud applications, which sit in data centers outside of a company’s private network, must at some point pass through the public network before they reach the application. Hence, the value of an MPLS network is insufficient when cloud applications become critical to a company’s business.

What is the play of SD-WAN technology here?

SD-WAN is application and user aware, which allows it to direct traffic over the most effective route for high performance and low latency in near real-time. Real-time data or Mission -critical data will still be sent through MPLS, while other lower-priority apps like web traffic, emails can be sent over the public internet. Also, SD-WAN can reroute your data through alternative channels when your MPLS goes down, giving you the failover, you need without the cost of maintaining redundant connections.

When you think of network security, MPLS is a private network, which means that it isn’t exposed to outside hackers via the internet. Meanwhile, SD-WAN encrypts data to provide a secure overlay that is independent of medium. Together with traditional MPLS network security capabilities like secure web gateway services and next-gen firewalls, MPLS and SD-WAN work together to help keep data safe and sound.

If you are thinking of MPLS costs vs SD-WAN, remember that SD-WAN will help you cut some of your traditional MPLS costs, but not all of them. It will not help you eliminate MPLS; you still need that reliability. What SD-WAN can do is help you identify the need to scale your costy MPLS to meet your critical needs by instead letting software help maximize your current investment.

So, Can Software-Defined WAN replace MPLS?

Ultimately, it is not especially useful to compare SD-WAN vs. MPLS one-to-one—they are complementing to each other: that is, one is not an alternative for the other. And more precisely, one is not going to cannibalize or replace the other.

SD-WAN does let you use less expensive connections for some business applications. But in most circumstances, you are not going to replace all your MPLS connections once you switch to SD-WAN.

Srinivasan Arumugam


Cybersecurity Essentials: Advice for Small Business Owners


Protecting your small business against cyber-attacks can feel overwhelming. You might feel like there’s a new daily hacking scandal and worry that it’s only a matter of time before your small business gets hit. From leaked data and stolen credit card numbers to invasive viruses and malware, protecting your small business is a 24/7 job. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities, remember the following six cybersecurity essential tips for small business owners. You will feel more at ease and confident in your abilities to protect your business against malicious attacks.

1) Train your Employees. Employees are often one of the weakest points of entry for cyber-criminals. Especially in small businesses with high staff turnover rates, employees can unwittingly allow hackers to gain access to sensitive data. Educate your employees on your BYOD policy (bring your own device) and teach them their responsibilities when it comes to protecting your small business’ data. Ensure your team knows not to click on attachments in business emails, open links from unknown email senders, and give out passwords to over the phone to anyone, as they could be cyber-crooks.

2) Keep your Softwares Updated. It is your responsibility as a small business owner to ensure all company software is kept up-to-date. These include updates for SaaS products (software as a service) and mobile applications too. Whether you are using a Windows-based computer system or inventory-tracking software to monitor your products on-hand, all software patches and updates should be applied the moment they become available.

3) Make it a habit of reading Cybersecurity Blog. Phishing attacks are one of the most common ways cyber-fraudsters gain access to sensitive small business data. Understand the latest tricks hackers are using and inform your staff members of trending tricks cyber-criminals are using. Staying up-to-date on the newest cybersecurity trends is hard work, but not doing so can be disastrous for your small business. Make it a habit of reading cybersecurity blogs and follow some top cybersecurity pages at LinkedIn and Add RSS feeds to your daily reading feed.

4) Be smart by subscribing to a managed security packages. One of the smartest moves you can make as a small business owner is to identify a cybersecurity managed service provider and invest in a basic cybersecurity subscription. Work with a trusted managed security service partner and a cybersecurity expert to determine the best strategy for your type of business. The peace of mind you’ll acquire by merely knowing your small business has protection against cybersecurity losses and lawsuits is worth every penny of your monthly managed security subscription.

5) Learn to encrypt your data. Data encryption is essential for small business owners. From the sales receipts, you email to your e-commerce customers to the customer data you store on your company’s servers, every piece of your small business’ data should be encrypted to guard against data hacks. When you work with a cybersecurity adviser, they can assist you with understanding how your data is encrypted and what methods are being taken to ensure hackers can’t easily gain access to your business’ records.

6) Cyber-thieves look for data records even if you are a small business. Another crucial mistake many small businesses make is thinking they are too small for hackers to attack. The credit card data of your customers is all the motivation an online hacker needs to attempt to access your small business’ records. Cyber-thieves don’t only go after large corporations with millions of customer data records. They will attack a small business too if your cybersecurity measures aren’t kept up-to-date.

Remember these cybersecurity essentials for small business, and you have an increased chance of warding off hackers. Enlist the services of a cybersecurity company to perform a small-business security audit and then take action on any recommendations presented to you. With ongoing effort and attention to detail, you can protect your company against unwanted online intrusions that might jeopardize the future of your business.

Protecting your customer data is protecting your small business.

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