The MEA region is witnessing strong interest in IoT that will continue to accelerate over the next few years, says Hesham Tantawi, VP, ASBIS Middle East, Turkey and Africa. Companies that can harness data will emerge winners in the IoT age, he tells The Integrator
Q1. Internet of Things is the buzz word today. What transformation do you see happening in the human society due to IoT?
A1. IoT adoption in the MEA region is expected to accelerate over the coming years, as organisations from both the public and private sectors increasingly digitalise their businesses in a bid to automate their operations and ramp up productivity.
The region is seeing strong interest in IoT, with more than three quarters of digital leaders investing in IoT in 2018.
Q2. What factors will drive urban futurism?
A2. Advancements in digital technology and wide adoption, advanced communication systems and biological technologies are transforming the way people interact with each other and fundamentally shaping how we experience the innovation around us. Emerging technologies and the digital transformation currently happening in the Middle East, smart city adoption and steady acceptance and exploration of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) is driving urban futurism.
Q3. What challenges will IoT throw up for businesses?
A3. The key challenges to IoT lies in security and protecting all devices at the endpoint, network, cloud and application layer, and using overarching threat analytics to study the overall ecosystem and designing products with a built-in, always-on security approach. The channel has an important role to play. Partners who can provide integrated security solutions will stand to gain the most by recognising the potential threat IoT devices—designed without security in mind—might pose for their end user customers; and, this in turn, creates opportunities for them.
Q4. How can businesses thrive in the data-driven world of IoT?
A4. The MENA region is generating unimaginable amounts of data that have the potential to drive ground-breaking insights. Companies that can navigate this ocean of data – that have the speed and agility to learn and act from it – will be the winners in the IoT age. The application of artificial intelligence and machine learning will, therefore, have a huge impact and has the highest potential in the longer term for partners and businesses alike.
Q5. Mobility and connectivity are key to IoT. What must businesses do for business continuity and minimize risks from cyber attacks?
A5. There is continuous growth of digitization, IoT and a general trend of governments in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa moving towards citizen and resident service quality improvements. These have prompted the growth of online services including cloud and managed security services. Data collection and storage is now at an all-time high and the risks involved in the security domain have also seen a marked increase among vendors, distributors and resellers. From our perspective as a VAD in security and solutions distribution, the Middle East, Turkey and Africa market has seen a considerable rise in managed security services offered through Security Operations Centre (SOC) services being outsourced by businesses of all sizes.