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In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review during the Telecom Review Leaders’ Summit 2021 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, Marc Halbfinger, CEO, PCCW Global shared his insights on NAAS, automation, and forging stronger strategic relations with stakeholders in the MENA region.

How is PCCW Global transforming traditional ICT business models through automation and cloud?

PCCW Global’s automation brand Console Connect is facilitating end-to-end user automation. Console Connect represents software-defined cloud interconnection which allows any user to leverage the fabric of the platform to interconnect with clouds, data centers and with other users, and any application on an on-demand basis. That means, from here forward,  a user only needs to provide a port on the Console Connect platform and they can use what they need, only when they need it and that means to pay only for what they need, when they need it. That shift in behaviour around ordering, on-demand provisioning, and the ability for users to interconnect with one another is bringing about a very significant transformation.

What are PCCW Global’s latest offerings in IoT and blockchain for enterprise business?

PCCW Global and Console Connect are automating IoT delivery platforms. IoT means that a user, particularly an application that needs to deliver large scale numbers of SIMs, can leverage the automated Console Connect platform to automate the activation and delivery of those SIMs throughout the native cloud or physical network infrastructure, and that's very meaningful. In addition, Console Connect and PCCW Global technology community is increasingly using distributed ledger or blockchain technology as the unit of value to determine inventory, settlement, and management of infrastructure through clear identity. Having an immutable distributed ledger allows us to leverage blockchain to work with partners and establish a more seamless, interoperable, and interconnected ICT community.

Please tell us about the role of interconnect and network-as-a-service (NAAS) for a smart and scalable data center.

The question around network-as-a-service is quite critical. To provide network as a service, we need to focus on the last three letters – ‘as a service’, and that means being able to offer something on an on-demand basis. We don't need order forms anymore with the Console Connect environment. The user can simply open a profile and develop their environment on an on-demand basis. This is exactly what network as a service means - the user takes the network only for the time that they require. To do that, we need as many relationships as possible worldwide with data centers. Today, we have over 500 data centers that are interoperable on the Console Connect platform with plans in 2022 to grow that number significantly. Having a large number of on-ramps and off-ramps in the data center world facilitates interoperability and makes the network-as-a-service ever more meaningful. For instance, any enterprise user that wants to access its cloud in one zone from another zone can do that through the network as a service interoperated through an interconnected data center.  The combination of having a well-distributed fabric and automated platform and as many data centers as possible as well as a front end that allows a user to take network services on demand, means utility, efficiency, and flexibility.

How is PCCW Global collaborating with partners and stakeholders in expanding its operations in MENA region?

PCCW Global and Console Connect have always taken a strong view that interoperability with local service providers in any jurisdiction is very important. Our offices in the UAE and our colleagues who operate here have built relationships for many years with service providers, whether they are network-based or application-based throughout the Middle East and North Africa region. I'm confident that our relationships with service providers in the Middle East and Africa will help us assure that the users of the service providers will themselves also enjoy the benefits that PCCW Global network and Console Connect automated fabric have to deliver.

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