Looking for customers and partners in new markets is an essential part of portfolio diversification strategy. New markets bring new opportunities, new insights, needs and challenges. Hence, at the beginning of this October, with my colleagues Denis and Robert we travelled to Singapore in search of all of the above-mentioned. We’ve anticipated finding it all at the huge TechXLR8 event, sponsored by Pantheon Technologies, which comprised of smaller happenings: 5G Asia, IoT World Asia, NV & SDN, the AI Summit and Project Kairos Asia. Being the Silver Sponsor at such a vast event was a brand new experience for us.
We’ve spent two days discussing SDN and networking, introducing Pantheon Technologies and our products to the representatives of Asian market. We also had an opportunity to take part in a panel discussion on NFV MANO interoperability and how it fits into the open source world along with related standardization being done by ETSI.
This discussion, more than anything else, showed our presence to other attendees. So, we talked, smiled and explained. People were interested in Visibility Package which we have demonstrated. They asked a lot about the company and our contribution to OpenDaylight, as well as other open source projects we are part of, or have experience with.
SDN, OpenDaylight and the others
Pantheon Technologies was not the only company promoting OpenDaylight-related solutions. Official OpenDaylight members were present, as well as other companies and groups offering their ODL based solutions. We have received several offers for cooperation from several company representatives advertising their ODL and SDN-related skills. This clearly indicates the importance of the OpenDaylight project.
IoT is the word
Despite TechXLR8 being crowded with companies presenting different IoT solutions and despite having our booth placed at NFV/SDN area, we have received a great number of IoT-related questions. We talked about IotDM as of oneM2m compliant data broker for ODL. For some people, oneM2M was just another buzzword. They were frequently asking about specific use cases related to the IoT field. Our question, “what do you need?” still hangs there waiting to be answered. Asia seems to be searching for its answer on what IoT stands for. There are open opportunities for us to help finding an answer for this question.
Man in the middle
Along all the companies presenting their products, skills or ecosystems, there was one special group of people present. They usually introduced themselves as “the company that represents telco in Asia.” Who were these people?
Asian markets are quite different from what we have experienced so far, in a way how companies search for partners and how partnerships are being built. There are many companies acting as matchmakers. It seems that a significant number of telco companies doesn’t actively search for partners, but rely on matchmakers. Matchmakers actively seek solutions or vendors who might match their telco customers. What do matchmakers have to say about their customer’s expectations?
All of them had pretty much the same answer. We need to approach companies with our solutions and make them think it is what they need. As if only thing market is looking for was advantage over competitors. Whatever solution will make that happen. Even that we can’t honestly say there is a market driving vision missing, it for sure feels that way. Presence of buzzwords without focus on specific case indicates that Asian telco and IT market has evolved differently as markets we use to operate.
Hic abundant leones
The best way to describe our first encounter with the Asian market is mapping terra incognita, the unknown land, place where lions are. We’ve made the first step towards the unknown and have found some potential partners on the way. Now we have to figure out how to turn the first contact into a working partnership and collaboration. We need to find a specific use case, or set of use cases, to show to potential customers in Asia, but we aren’t quite sure what to show and whom to show it. Finding that out is our next goal. Find use case to make a showcase of and find audience for it. For that, we need to flood the matchmakers we already know and also keep looking for new ones.
Are our solutions tailored to fulfill specific needs? Indeed they are. Do our solutions bring variety and scalability? Definitely. Can we deliver? Yes we can. Next time, we have to show that more explicitly. We need to prepare showcases that would amaze people. We need to find equilibrium between our skill and the market’s desire for buzzwords. It does not need to be product quality, does not even need to be a product by itself. It just needs to show – hey, we are the right ones.
Was our journey a success? Our journey to Singapore was a success. Journey to Asian markets has just begun. It is our job to make the most out of it.