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AWS is one of the industry’s main players driving Industry 4.0 and telcos digital and cloud transformation. Bernard Najm, vice president telco MEA, AWS, highlighted in an exclusive interview with Telecom Review how the company is responding to the demand of the digital era and gave an overview of the trends that are set to have a significant impact in 2022.

AWS recently announced opening over 30 AWS local zones globally. What's the impact on the company's cloud offerings and business expansion?

32 local zones in 26 countries will be launched in 2022, including in the MEA region. That’s where we bring the capability of the cloud closer to telcos and businesses. AWS also has a complete cloud offering which includes the region’s local zones, edge zones, the Outposts and Wavelength, so we are offering solutions to get cloud services closer to the end user which will increase cloud adoption.

How will AWS continue to respond to the demands of the Industry 4.0 era?

Over the time, we have created cloud capabilities to help operators monetize 5G investments and networks they’ve built, and our large community of developers have been helping us develop use cases. Businesses working with AWS can leverage that to develop industry use cases based on the capabilities which AWS provides. The abilities of 5G networks are great, with low latency, large bandwidth and secure networks. AWS promotes the utilization of 5G networks in different ways. The first is Wavelength which is a solution that brings cloud very close to the edge of the network, allowing operators to offer use cases that are latency sensitive. Furthermore, Outpost sits on premise and solves issues such as data sovereignty and residency, which will allow the utilization of private 5G networks. In addition, Snowball family is used in rugged environments and difficult conditions.

These solutions will allow the utilization of cloud native use cases and we have demonstrated that in the MEA region. For example, we demonstrated those capabilities with du at ADIPEC and we have signed an agreement with Etisalat recently whereby we will demonstrate several use cases in their innovation centers.

AWS is bringing innovation to the edge of the cloud and supporting the creation of new use cases, thus driving Industry 4.0 revolution.

MWC 2022's theme is 'connectivity unleashed.' What is the role of AWS in making this happen in reality?

AWS aims to create business value. At MWC, we’ve focused on 4 main pillars: network cloudified, operation simplified, enhancement of customer experience, and unlocking growth.

Networks cloudified means defining scalable software-defined networks. When it comes to 5G core standalone or at the virtual radio networks, we help operators to virtualize their network to have a scalable network capable of responding to the needs.

Operation simplified is where we aim to reduce the complexity of operators’ internal networks. We focus on the automation of OSS/BSS, cloudifying those complex structures because we believe that complexity will increase, so the earlier we start with the simplification, the easier it will be to manage complexity and thus reduce the cost.

Customer experience enhancement is based on facts and data sources. We’re looking at consolidating data sources to create a data platform to have all data connected in different databases that will then be consolidated in a data lake. We will use AI and ML to analyse and bring the value of the data to be used in different purposes whether internally to make better decisions, or to reduce cost, or even develop new bespoke services based on the available data.

Last but not least, unlocking growth happens through joint go-to market. Based on the existing AWS solutions and new developed use cases we offer in collaboration with CSPs, we define new use cases meant for enterprise customers and the B2B market. This is a very important aspect for operators on which we will focus more in the future.

What are the key cloud trends that would double down in 2022 and how will this impact AWS, especially in the MEA region?

The trend of digitalization and cloud transformation have accelerated in 2021 and will continue in 2022.

Another important trend is cloud adoption. It’s no longer a question of “if” but “when”. Cloud adoption has doubled down in Europe and North America and it is accelerating in the MEA region. 2022 will definitely see more cloud adoption.

Innovative 5G use cases are also one of the main trends that are shaping the telecoms and ICT industry today. 5G networks are becoming mature and new use cases are emerging to leverage data and harness it to improve customer experience, internal processes, production, and the whole value chain.

For operators, these trends present a huge opportunity. In MEA, several industries are impacted, mainly the oil and gas sector and manufacturing, whereas in Africa, agriculture and education are the mostly impacted sectors. The key success factor is having skilled workforce and talented resources. AWS works very closely with operators to develop the right programs and provide funds to increase certification in order to achieve a successful cloud adoption and drive further innovation.

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