SAMENA Council’s 3rd Annual CMO Summit puts spotlight on Data monetization and privacy

October 16, 2014 4:07 pm

Emerging opportunities and challenges faced by telecom operators in broadening their revenue streams via monetization of data, and the need to ensure data protection and privacy in an interconnected environment, dominated discussions at the 3rd Annual CMO Summit organized by SAMENA Telecommunications Council, the South Asia – Middle East – North Africa region’s sole operator-driven industry association.

Held at The Palace Downtown Dubai on 11 October, the CMO Summit brought together senior marketing executives exclusively from SAMENA Council’s chartered members – including leading telecommunications groups such as Etisalat, STC, Batelco, Zain, Orange, Turk Telecom, Ooredoo and VIVA – to share insights on new innovations and opportunities in an increasingly digital world.

Setting the tone for the evening’s discussions was Andrew Hanna, CCO of VIVA Bahrain and Chairman of the CMO Working Group (CMOC), who in his welcome address stressed on the need for telecom operators to stay ahead of the innovation curve by capitalizing on breakthrough trends and technologies and disruptive market forces.

Speaking on how the data revolution is changing the face of telecom, Ahmed Mekky, CEO and Board Member of GBI, said, “The telecom industry today stands at a crossroads with trends such as Big Data radically altering traditional business models. At this critical juncture, the CMO Summit provides an important forum for industry stakeholders to share best practices and evolve protocols that will align our efforts and allow us to deliver on our promises.”

Mac Taylor, Chief Business Consultant, Huawei, kicked off the keynote presentations with an insightful talk on the topic ‘From Vision to Reality: Revenue Stream Expansion’. “The explosion in data traffic is yet to translate into a corresponding growth in revenues for the telecom industry, which is staring at a USD 100 billion revenue gap by 2018 because of competition in messaging and voice services from IP-based providers. In order to plug this gap, telcos need to capitalize on the growth potential of the digital economy and diversify their service offering across voice, messaging, IoT, M2M, telematics and other platforms. This calls for global scale, and a global ecosystem, adapted to meet the needs of the local market.”

Nader Henein, Director of Security for Middle East and Africa, BlackBerry, shared insights on how telecom companies can unlock the potential of emerging technology trends such as cloud computing, Big Data and M2M, while tackling the crucial issue of data protection and privacy. “Making changes to an existing business model, especially when things are going well, is never easy but the cost of not being proactive can be very high. In today’s fast-changing environment, telecom companies need to analyze and identify their unused data and figure out ways in which they can optimize data usage and monetization to broaden their revenue streams.”

Rounding out the keynote sessions was Lars Riegel, Principal, Arthur D. Little Austria, who gave a presentation on ‘Advanced Analytics-Based Value Management’. “Today, most telecom operators use value-based approaches which do not provide enough insights on the overall market value shifts. In a shrinking market, telcos need to redesign their value capture strategies and seek out analytical market models which are based on customer behavior and usage and which allow them to identify and focus on future value pockets.”

Thanking speakers, attendees and sponsors for their support for the Summit, Bocar BA, Chief Executive Officer, SAMENA Council, in his closing remarks emphasized the need for the telecom industry to collectively address the issue of data privacy and regulatory alignment. “We believe the best way to enable business, expedite growth and ensure a high level of data protection and privacy is to have the right regulatory framework in place, and we at SAMENA Council have been working closely with policymakers throughout the region to help create an environment that would allow operators to capitalize on emerging opportunities and expand their revenue base.”

The 3rd annual CMO Summit was held with the support of SAMENA’s strategic partners VIVA, BlackBerry, GBI, Huawei and Arthur D. Little.