Avaya zeroes in on Middle East SMEs



US firm shifts focus

Telecoms provider says smaller firms are fastest to adapt

Triska Hamid

The US telecoms provider Avaya is shifting its focus in the Middle East to small businesses after its operations in the countries affected by the Arab Spring came to a standstill.

Avaya wants to boost its regional business by tapping into the 10 millionsmall and medium enterprises SMEs) in the Middle East.

"We have always been in the mid-market, but we used to address it with voice solutions only," said Nidal Abou-Ltaif,the vice president of Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Avaya.

"But we have now realised that SMEs want to use all the collaboration features.

During the tough economic times they were the fastest to adapt technology and hire young people who are behind the 'bring-your-own-device' trend."

"The new big" strategy, as Avaya is labelling it, integrates all an SME's emails and applications in one virtualised space so that users are not bound to their desktops.

"It will improve efficiency and productivity and gives employees a choice [of devices]," said Mr Abou-Ltaif.

In the past six months, Avaya said there had been a 20 per cent growth in the uptake of these services within the SME sector, with greater growth expected over the next few months.

"The highest growth is coming from Africa, but the big revenue continues to be from the GCC," said Mr Abou-Ltaif. "Business in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia is not growing, but it is not dead. There is a sense of surviving, but it has slowed down a lot, especially in Egypt."

SMEs have been noted as key to driving GDP growth in the region.

Nasdaq Dubai is currently preparing to launch the first SME equity market in the Middle East.

According to the bourse, some 72,000 SMEs generate 40 per cent of Dubai's GDP. The SME sector is forecast to grow 14 per cent per year to US$15 billion (Dh55.09bn) by 2015.

Tonight's Chat on The National

Tonight's Chat is a series of online conversations on The National. The series features a diverse range of celebrities, politicians and business leaders from around the Arab world.

Tonight’s Chat host Ricardo Karam is a renowned author and broadcaster who has previously interviewed Bill Gates, Carlos Ghosn, Andre Agassi and the late Zaha Hadid, among others.

Intellectually curious and thought-provoking, Tonight’s Chat moves the conversation forward.

Facebook | Our website | Instagram

 

Springtime in a Broken Mirror,
Mario Benedetti, Penguin Modern Classics

 

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

WHAT IS THE LICENSING PROCESS FOR VARA?

Vara will cater to three categories of companies in Dubai (except the DIFC):

Category A: Minimum viable product (MVP) applicants that are currently in the process of securing an MVP licence: This is a three-stage process starting with [1] a provisional permit, graduating to [2] preparatory licence and concluding with [3] operational licence. Applicants that are already in the MVP process will be advised by Vara to either continue within the MVP framework or be transitioned to the full market product licensing process.

Category B: Existing legacy virtual asset service providers prior to February 7, 2023, which are required to come under Vara supervision. All operating service proviers in Dubai (excluding the DIFC) fall under Vara’s supervision.

Category C: New applicants seeking a Vara licence or existing applicants adding new activities. All applicants that do not fall under Category A or B can begin the application process through their current or prospective commercial licensor — the DET or Free Zone Authority — or directly through Vara in the instance that they have yet to determine the commercial operating zone in Dubai. 

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).