Riding high

Jean-Pierre Labry, executive vice president MEA of R&M talks us through innovations to watch in the UAE network industry.

Tags: R&M Middle East
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Riding high
By  Georgina Enzer Published  January 30, 2013

Jean-Pierre Labry, executive vice president MEA of R&M talks us through innovations to watch in the UAE network industry.

Can you tell us how you began working in the IT industry in the UAE?
It all started back in 2001 when I was working for a distributor and franchiser of Schneider Electric. I was based here in the UAE and the team was proposing ‘Low Voltage’ solutions in the market. I was of the opinion that true value would be if we could deliver the entire solution to our customers.

So in order to achieve this, I decided to start a networking division. During this period, I worked closely with R&M as they were the first cabling vendor to assist me. Since then, I have worked extensively with both copper and fibre cabling solutions.

What is the best and worst thing about the networking industry in the UAE?

I have continually stated that one of the biggest problems with the networking industry is that enterprise customers are often too concerned with costs to realise that the underlying IT infrastructure is the most important element of the network.

When you consider the fact that IT Infrastructure represents just about 6% of the total IT cost, there is absolutely no need to compromise! Furthermore, it is easy to replace a computer but very difficult to upgrade an IT network. Rip-and-replace is never a good option for any enterprise.

There are a number of enterprises that are taking steps in the right direction and Etisalat is a great example of this. They have accomplished a full national deployment of fibre in the country.

What has been your proudest achievement in your career so far?

I have to say being able to help companies such as the big telecom operators in this region to build great IT networks for the future. The benefits of these high-performance networks filter down to enterprises and finally to the consumers as well. Working for such values and a greater vision is something that is really important to me. We are working to improve our future and it is a great feeling to work in a real pioneer like R&M which is focused on research and development.

What IT product or innovation should the IT industry watch out for this year?

Datacentre Infrastructure Management (DCIM), an automated, monitoring & asset management system, is becoming inevitable and helps to enforce standard processes for operating the data centre. These consistent, repeatable processes reduce operator errors which can account for as much as 80% of system outages. This is why we intend to introduce the R&Mfreenet uniPhy system using RFID technology which will be a valuable asset to DCIM.

Comparing the IT industry in the UAE to other countries, do you think it measures up or is lacking?
In terms of fibre deployment, UAE is really a leader in the Gulf region. The country had the vision to create such a network and they did it! This is not however the case for all businesses across UAE. Many companies do not understand the challenges or are not interested in investing sufficiently in their IT infrastructure.

What IT company, other than your own do you admire and why?

I believe that in the past decade, Apple has created something of a revolution in the IT world. This has been far reaching and has transformed our lives in a number of ways. Today, most of us are connected, wherever we are. There are no limits; the world has shrunk and everyone has become closer.

What do you do for fun?
I enjoy riding bikes! In 2004, I rode from Paris to Dubai (10,000km) on a motorbike for a UAE based charity organisation and we collected $31,600. I rode along with a local UAE friend and another French expat. I now plan to do another long bike journey in India this November and intend to ride from Kerala to Goa. I also enjoy spending as much time as possible with my wife and my children. I have been located here for the last 17 years so I do also have a lot of close friends here.

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