In October Chris Johnson joined Nokia as the new head of global enterprise verticals, bringing extensive enterprise IT experience with HPE and EMC to the role, which is designed to better position the network infrastructure player to address high-value segments to leverage the company’s product portfolio.

In an interview this week with Enterprise IoT Insights, Johnson described three major elements he sees shaping the enterprise space today. “Most organizations will be taking advantage of public cloud in some way, shape or form. The second part of the landscape is we have a belief that customers will, for the foreseeable future, but running their own private data centers or private clouds. The third elements is what’s happening at the edge of the customer’s businesses. This is kind of where the digital disruption is happening.”

The tie that binds these elements is connectivity, both wireless and wired, which is a tidy fit with Nokia’s solutions, including the optical pieces picked up with the Alcatel-Lucent acquisition. Johnson’s task is to work with customers and other partners to develop “very specific vertical cases where Nokia is relevant.”

He described “well-established verticals” as energy, transportation and public safety, all three of which depend on mission critical communications provided by ruggedized, carrier-grade networking solutions. “What the strategy is going forward,” he said, “and it’s a piece of work we’ve embarked upon right now since I’ve joined, is to take a deep look at the enterprise markets, so their IoT aspirations, their digital journeys, to figure out where private networks are going to be demanded in the future.”

In addition to the three enterprise focus areas he mentioned, Johnson called out smart cities and the manufacturing sector as areas that “are proving to be very interesting given the level of IoT activity. The strategy is to explore those next cases where there will be new applications we haven’t really thought about yet where can apply a whole bunch of connectivity solutions. We’re in a pretty good position to start witnessing the use cases of our technology that we can start taking to our customers and help them develop their own ideas for their business.”

Johnson noted the ability for enterprises to stand-up networks on their own, but also pointed out that, given the access to licensed spectrum holdings telcos have, the focus will be two-fold: working directly with enterprises, while also continuing relationships with operators to help them better serve the evolving needs of the enterprise.

In the context of 5G, which is set for standardization in mid-2018, “We have to also think about our own disruption; the disruption of perhaps the classic telco infrastructure business, the way telcos provide connectivity services to their customers, how we provide the capabilities for them to do that. We’re looking at 5G closely as one of the technologies that has the potential to be a real game-changer in the enterprise world. That’s, I think, way more than just an upgrade of the consumer experience. [5G is] going to give real opportunity to enterprise use cases. A whole bunch of enterprise use cases can be evolved out of the capability of 5G.” – Enterprise IOT Insight


 

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