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Cisco readies new service provider programmes

Networking titan is preparing cloud offerings for service providers in the Middle East

Cisco readies new service provider programmes
The region is at a tipping point and will witness increased usage of video solutions in business, says Abdulal.

Networking mainstay Cisco has revealed that it's readying new service provider programmes for the Middle East region.

The new programmes are aimed at exploring avenues that would see Cisco work closely with service providers in the region by aiding them to take a leading role in helping increase the adoption and penetration of video conferencing, virtualisation and telepresence solutions.

The initiatives come in the wake of Cisco having recently unveiled similar programmes for channel partners that are targeted at assisting partners to penetrate the video, virtualisation and conferencing segments of the market. According to the networking vendor, the programmes have been designed to address on-premise and cloud-based services and offerings.

Although details of how these initiatives will be rolled out in the Middle East region are still being finalised, Cisco has already started to work closely with service providers so that they can start providing end-to-end solutions to clients.

Wael Abdulal, collaboration manager, Cisco UAE, said the improvement in networks has significantly helped the growth of video conferencing and telepresence adoption in the Middle East region. Abdulal said as the case is with any technology, adoption takes place in phases and Cisco believes that the region is at a tipping point where it will witness increased usage of telepresence and video in business environments. "Telepresence will be deployed across wider audiences as bandwidth prices reduce further and becomes more readily available," he said.

Abdulal revealed that Cisco is bringing new service provider initiatives around cloud computing and cloud services especially collaboration. "We have been running a programme to address the existing Cisco base and other vendors legacy systems," he said.

He pointed out that some of the main challenges that are affecting the adoption of unified communications and video conferencing solutions in the Middle East are high bandwidth costs and the regulation around VoIP. "Customers want to leverage the latest technology in video conferencing to enhance productivity, reduce travel costs and improve decision-making processes. The return on investment can quickly and easily justify the investment in video; however, the high cost of bandwidth is not helping with widespread adoption of the technology," Abdulal noted.

He said to overcome this issue, Cisco has started to work with service providers in the region so that in turn, they can offer end-to-end solution to their customers. "We see a much bigger market than what it is today," he said.

Abdulal said closely related to the issue of bandwidth is VoIP regulation. He pointed out that mobility, IP telephony and video conferencing solutions are becoming common tools in the business world. However, VoIP is still an issue in some countries in the Middle East, Abdulal said. "As regulations ease, we will see major adoptions in these technologies especially with organisations that have dispersed operations in the region," he said.


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