TBY talks to two foreign executives operating in Dubai on the advantages of the local market, consumer appetites, and future perspectives.
What attracted you to Dubai Internet City (DIC) as an office base?
EYAD SHIHABI DIC is a location that gave HP and many other technology companies good reason to establish here. The infrastructure that they created is very flexible, from the buildings to the facilities themselves. More important are the free zone capabilities and the facility that enables us to use a one-stop shop across the board. The legislative support and flexibility make it easy for us to recruit people, in terms of going through immigration and labor concerns. The authorities came up with a model that encouraged businesses to come here and be successful, by recognizing that our success would be their success. We have a joint partnership with DIC that supports us in country-specific programs. It not only made it easy for us to do business here but it works in partnership with us to benefit the whole community.
Where do you see the key business opportunities in the industry?
ANDREW HURT There is a race to manage print services. It’s a race because most printing within the next five or 10 years will be under some form of management. We are not just managing prints from Xerox machines; we’re managing print across more of our competitors’ machines as well. That’s one area of opportunity. I think there’s a big opportunity around environmental sustainability and we have a number of unique solutions in the area. We have a technology called “solid ink.” Essentially, it doesn’t use cartridges. The waste is set to be solid ink because a fraction is used by laser printers.
In a market with an increasingly tech-savvy population, what initiatives do you undertake to keep up with growing expectations?
ES Many local companies have already upgraded their infrastructure and are at the level where they compete with mature companies. Where we are now providing further education is on how they can better utilize their investments to date—how companies can use private clouds in their environment, how service providers install public clouds and deliver a better service, and how they can capitalize on the mass of information they have. For example, we have new audio technology that can be used by call centers, which allows us to record the tone of a caller’s voice, so that a company can search for unhappy customers that called that day and the software will group them by recognizing the tone. We have video technology that allows you to censor footage more efficiently. So where we are focused is in bringing customers to the cloud and helping them to adopt technology more efficiently.
Do you think that there’s an appetite for green technology in the region?
AH Absolutely. When you’re in a country that has one of the largest carbon footprints in the world, clearly there’s a conscience that people have around how they, in their organizations, can reduce that carbon footprint. This is one of the technologies they can use. One of the things you do when you assess an organization is see how many devices they’ve got. What we have found in this part of the world is that there’s a very high ratio between the number of devices and the number of employees.
What is your outlook for the coming year?
ES Our outlook is very positive. The industry has now adapted to the new way of doing business and companies are looking for new business models. We are predicting further investments in cloud computing and information optimization. People are starting to see the power of information and companies that are able to position themselves to offer capabilities are going to benefit. As a citizen and as a consumer, I see a lot of options, and we are going to see significant investments across the region to capitalize on the infrastructure that is in place here.
AH Our head office is one of our focuses. We built the infrastructure and built right throughout the crisis. We built infrastructure for the next 20 or 30 years, and the whole philosophy was to provide infrastructure that was scalable, more productive and efficient, and allowed customers to do business with us in an easier way. This is a platform for growth that will be focused on services, service delivery, and after-sales service support for our technology business.
© The Business Year