The top brass from Ericsson-LG were in London last month to attend Pragma’s ‘Be Part of it’ channel conference at London’s Tobacco Dock. Comms Business caught up with Ahed Alkhatib, Director of International Sales, to find out what they had in store for the UK over the next year.
There have been a few changes at Ericsson-LG and in the UK distribution of their iPECS communications platform over the last year so this was a great opportunity to find out how these affect the UK market and to see what we can expect over the next twelve months.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): What was the significance behind the re-branding to Ericsson-LG?
Ahed Alkhatib (AA): Effective November 1, 2013, ES business will become a NewCo, Ericsson-LG Enterprise Co. Ltd. as a wholly-owned (100%) subsidiary of Ericsson-LG. We are doing this to strengthen Ericsson-LG business respectively in terms of target market perspectives.
Ericsson-LG is very committed to the market and wants to leverage the business strength and market leadership by focusing respective area with establishment of a new company which is wholly-owned by Ericsson-LG.
This change allows us to execute our business more efficiently and effectively while strengthening market leadership and expanding our target markets.
Our strength of brand, go to market strategy, investment plans, management and model remain unchanged.
CBM: How is E-LG performing on the global stage? What markets are you focussing on?
AA: We continue to enjoy market leadership position in the SMB market segment in several global theatres – namely, Australia, Israel and South Africa where we have strong partnerships in place with the local operators Telstra, Bezeq and Telkom South Africa. We are also seeing strong growth and momentum in our USA business and it remains our largest market by revenue. . From a growth perspective we are investing for growth in USA, China, Germany and UK and expect to see continued expansion in these markets.
CBM: How significant is the UK market to your plans?
AA: The UK represents a great opportunity for Ericsson-LG to grow our market share and Pragma Distribution is a significant part of that growth strategy. They are relatively new to the table but are rapidly building on what we already have. Pragma has a very experienced management team who have developed a compelling channel strategy and value proposition for our product. They are very persistent and in the last year made great progress in growing channels and seeing the fruits of their labour.
CBM: What is the overall product development strategy for iPECS?
AA: The market is moving at a pace none of us has seen before and we have identified three megatrends that we are addressing.
Firstly, it’s an applications market; unified communications, call centres, call recording, presence and video for example. All these applications need to be integrated into solutions for end users. To address this users need richer communications platforms that have unified communications at their core, which is why today we are previewing our new UCP platform. UC is integrated into the platform and is part of the base value proposition which we believe will result in an increased rate of adoption for Unified Communications and applications in the SMB market segment.
Secondly, cloud based products, services and applications enabled by reliable and robust connectivity that delivers Quality of Service. Here you will see Ericsson-LG launch our entrance in to this market in early 2014. In fact the UK is to be our launch pad market. We do not see this as a technology game changer as the services offered by many Cloud Solutions tend to be simpler than that offered by our premise based solutions, however we do see business model advantages for customers as they migrate to the cloud to reap the benefits of flexibility, an evergreen product and enjoy an OPEX model. Ericsson-LG has all the base technology to do this today – big switches, iPECS-CM, data centre and virtualisation. The market is still CPE dominated but cloud is a part of our value proposition now and a key part of our long term plan.
The third trend we see is that of mobility integration. The move towards BYOD and enabling making and taking a call anywhere is an irresistible force and here, where we launched last year our SBG1000 product to sit in the branch, mobility applications will be included.
There is a full road map of developments for next year that includes a clever device called eMG80. With 30 to 40% of calls still being handled by either analogue or digital endpoints the EMG80 will provide a soft landing point for users wishing to move to an hybrid IP environment through SIP trunk connectivity.
CBM: So how is Pragma Distribution performing for you?
AA: They are a solid and reliable partner who have actively and positively engaged with resellers, effectively manage the channel and driving growth in the market.