Nokia eyes opportunities in defence

Company has staged local demos of rapidly deployable networks

Credit: Dreamstime

Defence is one of the markets where Nokia’s local enterprise sales arm is seeking opportunities for growth, according to Gary Conway.

Conway is Nokia’s vice-president of enterprise sales for Oceania and in that capacity is tasked with heading up the technology company’s ongoing push to expand beyond carriers and service providers.

In late 2016, following the completion of Nokia’s acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, CEO Rajeev Suri detailed a new strategy for the company based on four key priority areas. One of those priorities was expanding sales to vertical markets where Nokia saw a demand for high-performing, secure networks.

Specifically Nokia would seek to broaden its footprint in the transportation, energy, and public sector markets (‘TEPS’) and among technological extra-large enterprises (‘TXLEs’) and webscale companies.

The company’s entry into the enterprise market has “continued to proceed well,” Suri wrote in a statement accompanying Nokia’s Q2 2018 results, released in July. “Year-on-year sales in constant currency increased approximately 30%, with strength in both vertical markets and webscale companies,” the CEO said.

In Australia, as part of its ‘TEPS’ push, Nokia is chasing growth opportunities across the full public sector spectrum, including federal and state agencies, Conway said.

Of the TEPS verticals, “potentially public sector is going to be the biggest for us here,” he told Computerworld during an interview on the sidelines of Telstra’s Vantage conference in Melbourne.

Conway said Nokia has a range of defence-related communications solutions that have been picked up in other markets, including mobile comms for soldiers, border protection solutions, and rapidly deployable networks.

Although, Nokia is still working to crack open the local defence market, Conway said the company has been staging demonstrations in Australia of rapidly deployable networks designed for use by soldiers.

“It’s fair to say in Australia, that’s still a pipeline activity for us — but globally we’ve got some pretty significant references of, generally, an LTE rapidly deployable solution for infantry and small groups of army personnel,” he said.

A 32kg backpack fitted with a small cell can be carried by an individual or mounted on a truck and used to provide 4G connectivity.

In Australia, the company’s enterprise strategy is building on a strong Altacel-Lucent heritage of selling carrier technologies to large businesses, including resources company Rio Tinto, Queensland’s  Energex and New South Wales’ Ausgrid.

In the transport sector, rail — metro and industry — and air are both key areas of growth. Road, which globally is a significant market for Nokia, is less developed. Both utilities and resources are strong Australian markets for the company, Conway said.

Nokia says that growth is being driven both by the decreasing cost of accessing carrier-grade technology and enterprises’ increasing reliance on networks for mission-critical activities.

The author travelled to Telstra Vantage in Melbourne as a guest of Telstra.

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