Nokia is creating value and developing strong use cases for 5G & IoT, says Cormac Whelan

Cormac Whelan, CEO of Nokia UK & Ireland, opens up about Nokia's plan for 5G & IoT and explains how the UK and Ireland is a "microcosm of Nokia’s global strategy".

Nokia recently opened the doors to its flagship office complex, marking a consolidation of its existing facilities in Fleet, Newbury and Swindon to its new offices at Arlington Business Park in Theale, Berkshire.

Cormac Whelan, who is CEO of Nokia UK & Ireland, personally launched the site at an opening ceremony in February. Speaking exclusively to Capacity, Whelan explains the significance of the new facility and why it was necessary to consolidate in the first place, by saying: “The new facility, being more centrally located to our UK customer base, consolidates regional sites and will form the strategic epicentre for Nokia’s regional activity.”

As for the future opportunities the new site will bring, Whelan explains: “With new and evolved facilities, such as our expanded cloud demo centre, the building will also allow us to develop our capacity to showcase a broad portfolio of technology and solutions in a collaborative environment.”

The new opening aside, Whelan also explains what the business strategy is for Nokia UK & Ireland for the rest of the year. To him, the strategy for the region is an extension of the overall roadmap for Nokia Corporation.

“In many ways, the UK and Ireland is a microcosm of Nokia’s global strategy,” continues Whelan. “As such, in 2018 we will continue to focus on Nokia’s core strengths in core and access networks, placing particular emphasis on use cases and the applicability of next generation network technology, specifically around 5G, whilst exploring with our customers the newer areas in our portfolio, particularly in the newly launched Nokia Software division. In conjunction with this, with a strong percentage of our business coming from adjacent markets, such as transport, we will continue to fuel that trend and expand Nokia’s footprint in the UK&I to support the company-wide growth agenda.”

Speaking of 5G, Capacity recently published its February/March issue of Capacity magazine which contains a special report on 5G and IoT. And as of one the world’s largest innovators in the world of mobile networks and technology, I ask Whelan how the advent of 5G and IoT is impacting the business, to which he replies: “both are central to our agenda for 2018 and beyond”.  

“IoT is part of the 4th Industrial revolution, and that’s an enticing proposition for operators,” explains Whelan. “But they need to scale up quickly if they are to win a share of this market as in many cases they are facing competition from new directions, such as the webscale who are typically nimble and able to enter markets quickly. Many of our customers are looking for help, and our aim is to help them succeed.” 

As for 5G - one of the central topics at this year's Mobile World Congress - he says: “Of course 5G will not become an outright reality overnight, but customers are beginning to need the provision of services that have higher speeds, greater capacity and lower latency.”

But Whelan thinks there is still education needed on what 5G actually is, because he doesn’t see it as a brand new network, but as an “evolution that uses the technologies that went before, including 3G, 4G and WiFi”.

“The idea is that these technologies work together in harmony,” continues Whelan. “Using the inherent flexibility within the 5G IP core to create seamless services for end users, such as video-on-the-move, which has a low tolerance to latency.”   

Forgetting the network side for a moment, Whelan reassures us that Nokia also has solutions on the backhaul side for 5G as well, solutions that have actually been deployed and actively being used globally. Solutions of interest to wholesale.

“We are introducing new technologies and enhancements to our existing core platform technologies that will help bridge from existing 4G/LTE infrastructure – already in place with more than 90 customers around the world – to the 5G world, increasing network speeds and data capacity while lowering latency,” he says.

While the jury is still out on whether or not Rich Communication Services (RCS) will become a viable alternative to SMS, the buzz around the emerging mobile technology begins to grow. Talking to Whelan on his thoughts about the new technology and how just how seriously Nokia is taking it, he replies: “Whilst RCS has been around for a few years, it is possible that we will see it become much more of a mainstream reality as users pick up on some of the key features and video calling technologies get better and better. As a leader in mobile applications, we have to be at the forefront of all technology innovation, and we will continue to work with our customers to help them maintain their competitive advantage.”

To read more about RCS, check out the February/March issue of Capacity magazine. You can see our feature on RCS by clicking <<>>

We all know that our attack surface increases as more and more of our everyday devices becomes interconnected. Our security special report in the December/January issue of Capacity talks about this very issue.

“As IoT becomes prevalent and our reliance on wireless becomes paramount, security has to be front of mind for businesses that want to flourish in an era of digital transformation,” says Whelan.

As major players in the IoT space Nokia without doubt must stay at the forefront of security technology. Whelan says that through a number of recently announced services, the company is making sure it stays at the front of the latest innovations in the sector.

“We recently launched our Security Risk Index assessment service and Managed Security Service, which have been designed to target vulnerabilities through 360-degree analysis across mobile, IP and fixed networks. By suggesting improvements, these systems will provide telecoms operators with the toolset they need to address potential threats and remain operational.  We use Security by Design methodologies that ensure security is embedded in our networks, as well as supporting customers through point solutions.”

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