Connectivity to Africa
Wang Jing-Qun, Vice President of IT at SinoChem International, wanted to know how he could "cost-effectively network his new overseas offices, especially those in Africa, where network infrastructure was lacking and communications was a problem".
SinoChem is a multinational company with businesses in sectors including rubber, chemical engineering, metallurgy, energy, and agriculture. Because of its aggressive expansion, it is setting up offices in many countries in Africa.
Chang revealed that SingTel had a presence in 16 African countries through Zain Africa, the second largest mobile player in the continent.
He shared that it was difficult to build fixed lines in some of those countries because of reasons such as physical theft of those wires. Wireless communications and satellite communications were therefore the best way to establish connectivity in Africa.
Data and voice communications would enter Africa through submarine cables to SingTel's fixed network partners in Egypt and South Africa and from there, wireless communications would be used to reach SinoChem's branch offices within the continent.
Leveraging the cloud
Joseph Tsai, Senior Vice President at China Trust wanted to know "how banks could leverage the cloud in integrating their overseas branches with the headquarters as they became more globalised".
Chang commented that banks form the largest business sector for SingTel, even larger than the government sector. Together with its partners, SingTel has the network infrastructure and reach to enable global links for all the major financial centres in the world.
He shared that many banks were interested in leveraging the cloud space but were held back by strict regulations. Despite that, many banks are benefitting from SingTel's cloud offerings for non mission-critical banking needs, such as in application testing and development, and for coping with spikes in demand for computing power. Tasks such as analytics on customer data required a large amount of raw computing power which was not needed all the time.
Some banks have built infrastructure to cater for 60 to 80 percent of their needs and leveraged on cloud computing during peak periods. Comparatively, more manufacturing companies leverage cloud services for their businesses.
Chang's suggestion for banks was to use cloud computing for test bedding and complementing computing cycles. According to Chang, SingTel is well positioned to provide cloud services because it owns the network and mobility services, Tier 4 data centres, and scalable operations in Asia Pacific, as well as the necessary ICT capabilities and partnerships.
Some 150,000 companies use SaaS (Software as a Service) applications - delivered through SingTel's cloud pipelines - to power their businesses every day, achieving some 91 percent cost savings as opposed to setting up their own servers and integration.
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