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Telecom Review Group's Founder and CEO, Toni Eid, engaged in a fireside chat with Masayuki Kayahara, General Manager of the Service Provider Solutions Department at NEC headquarters in Japan.

When asked about the current telecoms and ICT scene, Kayahara highlighted significant trends and challenges reshaping the industry.

"There are some important trends and challenges that are drastically changing the market landscape. Undoubtedly, the most impactful trend shaping the scene today is artificial intelligence (AI). Moreover, the rise of generative AI (GenAI) is revolutionizing digital transformation in all industries, including telecom. For example, telecom companies can now leverage AI to create scripts with the support of GenAI, improve network operations with user-friendly chatbots, and even enhance coaching for team members. The integration of AI is now essential for telcos’ business success, enabling improved operations and the creation of new services," elaborated Kayahara.

He also pointed out that a significant challenge for telecoms lies in monetizing 5G networks. Despite the technology's remarkable speed and connectivity, Kayahara emphasized the necessity of developing additional use cases. By integrating innovations like AI in edge data centers, telecoms can foster creativity and open up various business opportunities within the 5G ecosystem.


NEC 2030 Vision

Kayahara elaborated on the NEC 2030 Vision, formally introduced in May 2021, which represents the company's forward-looking societal vision. "It is the result of extensive discussions among numerous employees, experts, and members of management coming together to fulfill our purpose, and to accomplish this, we needed to think deeply about how society can ensure that everyone has the chance to reach their full potential," he stated.

Kayahara further explained, "Out of 5 pivotal domains—which are environment, city, communication, business and life—in the communication domain, we envision a society where people around the world share hopes and insights that transcend time, space, language and generational boundaries through communication networks."

Kayahara outlined that NEC is actively developing key technologies such as Beyond 5G networks, AI integration, avatars, VR, and next-generation communication methods. He also shared NEC’s goal, which encompasses achieving these advancements through collaborative efforts with customers, partners, and stakeholders.

He also noted the company's global progress in establishing nationwide networks as essential social infrastructure, utilizing AI to enhance internet accessibility and create new opportunities.

NEC's strategy revolves around a customer-centric approach, customizing solutions to address the specific needs of each country and society. NEC’s overarching aim is to empower societies worldwide through innovative network solutions that foster progress and development.


NEC Empowers Telecoms in the Asia Pacific and Middle East

NEC's robust support for telecom companies, particularly in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions, focuses on enhancing their 5G capabilities and fostering digital transformation.

Notably, NEC’s expertise spans various network infrastructure domains, including RAN, transport, core networks, submarine cables, and data center solutions.

By integrating its own cutting-edge products with those of global partners, NEC offers comprehensive system integration services tailored to optimize performance, reliability, and security in 5G-ready infrastructure deployments. This approach empowers telecom companies to confidently embrace 5G technology, ensuring seamless connectivity experiences for their customers.

Moreover, NEC is at the forefront of driving telecom industry innovation through its Network as a Service (NaaS) offerings. Recognized with the Most Innovative Global Product/Service award at the Telecom Review Leaders’ Summit 2023, NEC’s NaaS solutions enable telecom providers to transition swiftly to virtualized and software-defined networks. This transition not only simplifies network management but also opens new revenue streams beyond traditional services.

By leveraging the agility and flexibility of NaaS, NEC empowers telecom companies to deploy innovative offerings swiftly, meeting evolving business demands and enhancing overall customer experiences.

Furthermore, NEC's comprehensive support in digital transformation equips telecom customers with the tools to harness emerging technologies effectively, maximizing the benefits of 5G and ensuring sustained competitiveness in today's dynamic telecommunications landscape.


NEC's Extensive AI Advancements in Healthcare and Beyond

Kayahara elaborated on NEC's active involvement in AI development, particularly highlighting its significant applications in the healthcare sector. NEC has dedicated extensive resources to advancing AI technology over many years, striving to develop sophisticated AI capabilities comparable to human cognition.

"For instance, we have been working on image recognition technology—a key component of AI—for half a century. This technology has evolved from character recognition to include fingerprint identification and face recognition, which ranks first in NIST (U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology) Accuracy Testing and has been adopted worldwide," he added.

NEC has developed its own LLM, which offers customization tailored to the specific requirements of different industries, which is particularly notable in Japan. Kayahara also highlighted that at this year’s Mobile World Congress, they presented their vision for integrating AI technologies and networking strengths.

NEC's distinctive strength, Kayahara expounded, lies in its deep expertise across both network and AI technologies, allowing it to effectively apply AI in diverse domains such as image recognition, face recognition, and network orchestration.


Strategic Partnerships Drive Innovation and Customer Satisfaction

Kayahara emphasized the important role partnerships play in NEC's strategic approach. He highlighted that partnerships are fundamental in navigating the complexities of today's business environment, where each customer presents unique challenges and requirements. NEC values an expansive and adaptable portfolio of partners, which enables them to effectively meet diverse demands across various industries and regions.

Beyond diversity, Kayahara underscored the significance of trust, collaboration, and shared objectives in forming strong partnerships. For NEC, it's not only about the breadth of partners but also the relationships cultivated with those who align closely with their vision and values. This alignment ensures that NEC and its partners can jointly deliver high-quality solutions tailored to the specific needs of each customer.

By enhancing its engineering capabilities and fostering the seamless integration of partner solutions, NEC remains committed to maintaining robust partnerships that drive innovation and customer satisfaction across its ecosystem.

"In essence, partnerships are an integral part of NEC's success; they allow us to build a strong ecosystem that empowers us to deliver the best possible solutions and services to our customers," concluded Kayahara.


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