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In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review Asia at ATxSG, Singapore, Duncan Kenwright, Managing Director of Global Solutions at Verizon, discussed how Verizon unlocks the potential of edge computing solutions and facilitates OT/IT convergence to supercharge enterprise connectivity.

How is Verizon supporting businesses in their digital transformation journeys, especially in the Asia Pacific region?

Having operated in the Asia Pacific region for more than two decades, Verizon has established a robust local presence and sound understanding of regional regulatory challenges. This extensive experience has provided us with invaluable insights into our customers' journeys, allowing us to effectively address their unique needs and requirements.

Our customers vary in maturity. Some are new businesses leveraging the latest cloud platforms for virtual services, while others are traditional companies with significant technical debt, making transformation challenging. When discussing digital transformation, we cater to both new- and long-standing customers, helping them navigate their unique paths.

Primarily, we focus on how our customers securely connect with their clients and how their employees communicate. Leveraging expertise in delivering managed and security capabilities, Verizon focuses on protecting assets and operations, and managing the future of networks with advanced security solutions. Whether it's a small company, a multinational corporation, or a government entity, Verizon supports businesses in the Asia Pacific region on their digital journeys.

How is Verizon driving the edge revolution, and what specific benefits are businesses experiencing as a result, including challenges related to expertise in cybersecurity? Additionally, could you share some of these use cases?

Edge computing creates flexible workload environments, facilitating on-site data analytics. For example, pollution or safety sensors can provide real-time data enabled by edge technologies, bringing analytics closer to data sources.

Moreover, edge functions aggregate services without extensive on-site equipment, allowing virtualization in an edge environment for remote access. This approach streamlines analytics delivery and equipment deployment, benefiting various sectors. In emergency services, Verizon deploys remote connectivity units for efficient operations during disasters, supporting search and rescue, video analytics, and communication services. Similarly, in primary care, edge technologies enable remote consultations, enhancing healthcare delivery in remote areas.

As connections increase exponentially, so too does the cybersecurity threat landscape. In our recently published 17th annual Data Breach Investigations Report, it was found that there were 30,458 security incidents and 10,626 confirmed breaches in 2023. The Asia Pacific region saw a surge in cyber espionage, with 25% of attacks motivated by espionage. Thus, APAC organizations were urged to update their security protocols to combat advanced persistent threats. System intrusion, social engineering, and basic web application attacks were responsible for 95% of breaches in the region.

Verizon’s suite of integrated solutions will enable organizations to more efficiently build a secure, high-performance communications and IT infrastructure to enhance overall business performance. This also addresses the challenge of enabling seamlessly work between the IT groups responsible for different layers of the stack to avoid data breaches and poor application performance affecting the daily operations of an organization.

How does Verizon approach collaboration with different stakeholders to ensure the success of edge computing projects, and is the company proactively building an ecosystem of partners within the APAC region?

A collaborative approach brings out the best of each organization and synergistic wins. Firstly, it lowers costs since each partner contributes their expertise. Secondly, if a particular service isn't available in a certain location, another partner can easily fill the gap. This flexibility ensures that solutions can be adjusted while maintaining consistent end results for clients.

Collaboration is key to delivering the best services. Verizon is proactively building an ecosystem of partners in the APAC region. Our list of partners in this region is extensive, with one such company being SAP to handle data analytics. This approach allows us to provide comprehensive solutions, leveraging the strengths of multiple partners, ensuring that our customers receive the best innovation available.

What are your thoughts on the future development of the market for edge services over the next few years in the Asia Pacific region, including the Indian market? How will Verizon adapt to the changing landscape to stay competitive in the telecommunications industry given the diverse regulations across countries?

Edge services enable immediate workload delivery where needed, offering significant opportunities for serving communities and businesses more effectively. Cloud technologies, while excellent for high-density workloads, often have high latency and are not always situated where real-time operations are required. Edge services fill this gap by providing real-time analytics and data processing locally.

The market for edge services will grow as more devices connect to high-speed networks. Currently, many devices rely on traditional connectivity technologies like Wi-Fi and 4G. The proliferation of 5G-enabled devices will greatly expand the edge services environment. This growth will also require an ecosystem of partners using common standards to connect to networks. Combining edge technologies with this ecosystem will unlock new opportunities. As legacy systems undergo equipment replacement, integrating edge technologies into existing infrastructures will further drive this market transition.

In the APAC region, including India, edge services are moving from proof-of-concept (PoC) to production deployments. The challenge, however, lies in scaling these solutions across multiple locations, a process likely to unfold over the next five years, presenting substantial growth potential.

The rise of Industry 4.0 necessitates a well-defined IT/OT convergence strategy. Integrating operational technology (OT) systems with IT networks presents significant security challenges. When leveraging advanced infrastructure such as 5G, for lower latency and higher bandwidth, organizations can optimize data handling and predictive maintenance. This is a key focus for Verizon, as it aims to address the complexities of IT/OT convergence and enhance overall system efficiency and security.

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