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Interview: Avaya CEO Kevin Kennedy on business in the Middle East

Tom Paye | Oct. 30, 2013
As part of a round-the-world trip to various markets, Kevin Kennedy, president and CEO, Avaya, visited Dubai to see how the company can help the Middle East ride the next big waves of innovation. The CEO also talked about how he found meeting some of Avaya's biggest regional customers.

As part of a round-the-world trip to various markets, Kevin Kennedy, President and CEO, Avaya, visited Dubai to see how the company can help the Middle East ride the next big waves of innovation. CNME goes one-on-one with the CEO to see how he found meeting some of Avaya's biggest regional customers.

Would you say that customers from this region are quite demanding?
I do. First, they have very specific initiatives, and secondly, they want to be respected for having made investments and created outcomes that are recognised to be the best. It's not every day that you have a customer who just says, "Please bring me more ideas." That's an open door for great conversation. People are looking for more collaboration in development resources or ways that we can show people what we have so we can figure out how to support some of the e-government initiatives and such.  But, in the end, all of those conversations help absorb our new technologies. I think the visit allowed me to hear what was important to the ministers and the leaders here. It allows us to figure out how we can align with their initiatives, and if we do it right, we'll see the benefit of technology being absorbed that isn't being absorbed elsewhere.

What kinds of improvements can Avaya make in this region, and what improvements can end users over here make?
I think most of the conversations we had were about expanding the services that are offered either to the public or employees, and making them more reliable. In no case was there a situation where we were reflecting upon what's not working. I think these conversations were all reflections upon things that have yet to be done and probably not implemented in other places in the world.

Have you seen any mind-blowing implementations over the course of your visit?
We saw some surveillance operations that were brilliant, and the scale is brilliant. Yeah, I've seen some things that I'll remember when I go home.

You previously highlighted surveillance as a big growing point over here. What do you attribute that growth to?
One is new infrastructure — airports everywhere in the world are putting cameras all over. Two is that people want to manage risk, and so in the hospitality sector, and in banks, you see increasing amounts of cameras. And it's just the security of nations. I think it's a growing market. For us, it's the realisation that, today, those networks have been separate, those networks tend not to be on IP-based networks, and so for us to be able to handle that kind of traffic simply, scale it quickly and actually move that traffic onto an IP network,  that's a new market for us.

 

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