Tuesday, June 18, 2024

    EDITORIAL How digital transformation and IaaS are resetting VAS in MENA

    Digital transformation in telecoms is vital for VAS – and that is especially true in Africa and Middle East. Here's why

    The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been a booming market for telemedia services for many years – and it shows little sign of slowing down. As fraud levels have been reduced by companies such as Evina, MCP and Empello, so the markets across the region have become the bedrock of many a company’s VAS offering.

    With Telecoms World Middle East taking place in Dubai this week, that it seems only fitting to take a look at the market in the region and how it is shaping up.

    Telecoms World Middle East is focussed on digital transformation for telcos, and that is of great importance in the MENA region, perhaps more so than anywhere else. Telecoms in Africa are undergoing a revolution, acting as the backbone for the continent’s digital transformation. This surge is driven by a rapidly growing mobile phone user base and the increasing demand for internet connectivity.

    Telecom operators are moving beyond just voice calls and texts. They’re investing in infrastructure like fibre optic networks and data centres to improve connectivity and affordability. This is crucial as Africa grapples with the challenge of making digital access equitable – a gap exists between coverage and actual usage.

    Mobile money, a prime example of this transformation, is flourishing. Services like M-Pesa in Kenya allow people without traditional bank accounts to make financial transactions. This financial inclusion is fuelling ecommerce, agriculture and healthcare across the continent.

    The journey isn’t without hurdles. Infrastructure development remains expensive, and regulations need to adapt to this evolving landscape. Yet, African telecoms are at the forefront of a digital leapfrog, playing a vital role in shaping a more connected and prosperous Africa.

    That is why deploying Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is increasingly important. IaaS refers to renting out the basic building blocks of computing – servers, storage, networking – over the internet. Imagine it like renting an apartment instead of buying a whole building.

    Companies in MENA can leverage IaaS for several reasons. For starters, IaaS eliminates the upfront cost of buying and maintaining physical servers. Businesses only pay for what they use, making it easier to scale operations up or down. This is a major benefit in Africa where access to capital can be limited.

    IaaS also allows businesses to quickly adjust their computing resources based on demand. This is crucial for startups and growing companies in Africa’s dynamic environment.

    Reputable IaaS providers can offer high uptime and data security, something that can be unreliable with on-premise IT infrastructure in Africa, while outsourcing infrastructure, allows businesses to free up resources to focus on their core competencies and developing innovative products and services.

    IaaS is a key driver of Africa’s digital transformation. It empowers businesses of all sizes to participate in the digital economy, fostering innovation and economic growth.

    CMC Networks, a global Tier 1 service provider, recognises this and has launched its CMC Cloud solution to deliver high-performance edge computing across Africa. CMC Cloud is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution designed to bring workloads closer to the end user and improve the performance of applications and services, without the need to invest in physical hardware.

    CMC Cloud provides a decentralised edge infrastructure to reduce latency and bandwidth use, helping to enhance the performance and reliability of digital services across Africa. This is essential for real-time applications using transactional data, video streaming, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The IaaS model provides businesses with access to virtual servers, storage, and networking infrastructure on a flexible, scalable and agile basis.

    This can be a game-changer for deploying VAS and entertainment services on telecom networks in Africa and elsewhere, because IaaS eliminates the need for telecom companies to invest heavily in upfront infrastructure for new services. This allows them to experiment with new VAS and entertainment offerings without a huge financial risk.

    This delivers a much faster time to market. With IaaS, telcos can quickly set up the infrastructure needed for new services. This allows them to capitalize on market trends and get innovative offerings to customers faster.

    IaaS also allows telecoms to easily scale their infrastructure up or down based on demand for a particular service. This is crucial for VAS and entertainment services that may experience fluctuating usage. For example, a music streaming service might see a surge in traffic during weekends. IaaS allows the telecom to readily adjust resources without needing additional physical hardware.

    Reputable IaaS providers have robust infrastructure with high uptime and performance. This translates to a smoother and more reliable experience for users accessing VAS and entertainment services on the telecom network.

    By outsourcing infrastructure to an IaaS provider, telecoms can free up their internal resources to focus on developing and marketing their VAS and entertainment offerings. This allows them to specialize in their core competencies and deliver a better overall service to their customers.

    In essence, IaaS acts as a springboard for African telecoms to become innovation hubs for VAS and entertainment. It empowers them to experiment, adapt, and deliver a wider range of engaging services to their customers, driving growth and user satisfaction in the digital entertainment landscape.

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