An increasing number of enterprises in India are undergoing an aggressive digital transformation. Their appetite for IT and telecom services is growing at a brisk pace, translating into significant business opportunities for technology and network vendors. Vinish Bawa, head, emerging business & enterprise, Nokia India, talks about the evolving technology and connectivity requirements of enterprises in India…

How have the connectivity needs of Indian enterprises evolved overtime?

In the past few years, there has been a significant change in the technology requirements of chief information officers and IT heads of enterprises. Most of these requirements are driven by the increasing use of technology and technological tools by end customers. In other words, how a bank application system is being used by an end user is defining the technological needs of a bank. E-commerce companies are updating technologies to ensure ease of use for end customers while making transactions online.

What has been Nokia’s experience in this space? What are your key focus areas?

Traditionally, Nokia has been catering to the service provider segment. Over the past three to four years, we have observed that enterprise is a huge domain for us as we have the right products and technologies to support the needs of this market. Thus, we created a separate vertical called Nokia Enterprises to cater to enterprises across different verticals. Post our acquisition of Alcatel Lucent’s business, our product portfolio has expanded. It now comprises IP Routing and Switching, data centre interconnect solutions and wireless technology, as well as end-to-end solutions for the enterprise market.

We have our enterprise business categorised under two heads. One, where we focus on enterprises in the transport, energy and public sectors, and the other consisting of large enterprises. The public sector includes central government projects such as BharatNet, Smart Cities, as well as IT and telecom projects run by the state governments. Large enterprises include companies from domains such as banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), web-scale, data centre, education and manufacturing.

From the Indian perspective, which industry verticals are seeing higher technology adoption vis-à-vis others?

Big webscale companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook are setting up networks in the country, and adopting new and advanced technologies as well as network solutions. BFSI companies are also moving beyond plain connectivity and bandwidth usability to concepts like virtualisation. So, the data being used at a bank is being virtualised and services are being offered on the cloud. Data centre companies too are embracing virtualisation and the cloud in a big way. Further, companies in the manufacturing and retail domains are looking at private wireless captive networks. These are low latency networks and run applications for their own inputs.

What are your views on the adoption of internet of things (IoT) in India?

The adoption of IoT is happening in India, although every industry vertical has its own version of IoT. For instance, a hospital might be using IoT for remote patient management, while in the manufacturing sector IoT can be used for automation. Today, IoT and machine-to-machine use cases are being deployed on 4G networks and 5G will take these to the next level.

What opportunity does 5G bring for Nokia in the enterprise segment?

5G is not just about having a high speed data connection; it takes connectivity beyond people-to-people to connect things. Most of the 5G usage will be around the connectivity of things and there are billions of devices which are going to be connected in the next three to five years. 5G will span machine connectivity, be it video analytics, robotics, virtualisation or augmented reality and virtual reality. For instance, in the manufacturing sector, robotics is already being used at plants. 5G, with its ultra low latency characteristic, will make the entire experience seamless. Robotics surgery is another example where a 5G network will be extremely beneficial. We, at Nokia, are already working with various enterprises to showcase some of the IT-related use cases of our 5G products and solutions.

What are the key challenges that you face?

We are typically used to dealing with the service provider community. Thus, adapting to the requirements of enterprises, which are very different, and innovating commercial models around them is challenging.

What are the three telecom technology trends that you think will shape the enterprise market in India?

Cloud and virtualisation, private wireless networks, and data centre interconnect solutions are the key trends that will shape this market.