Five Minutes With.. Hussein Oteifa, General Manager, SES Middle East

Hussein Oteifa, GM at satellite provider SES Middle East, explains how data connectivity is important for economic growth.

What are some of the key factors increasing demand for connectivity and data?

Across the Middle East and Africa, demand for connectivity and data is soaring. Monthly internet traffic in the region – according to a Cisco VNI Study – is expected to reach 4.9 exabytes per month by 2018, or more than one billion DVD’s worth of traffic. This creates a number of challenges in terms of how governments and companies will meet this demand, but also opportunities for businesses across various sectors, including entertainment, broadcast and telecommunications. SES established a regional head office in Dubai in 2014 and has expanded its team servicing the region in order to support with connectivity solutions.

Increasing demand for connectivity and data stems a variety of factors, but principally the fact that today’s consumers expect to be constantly connected, whether it’s to the internet, TV or via phone. This in combination with the proliferation of HD TV, high levels of mobile penetration, governments making the shift towards e-service provision, and rapid population growth has created an appetite that is almost insatiable.

How important is having data access for GDP?

Increasing connectivity and bandwidth in a country has a direct causal impact economic growth as it improves business facilitation, increases consumption of entertainment, and promotes greater knowledge exchange, along with a myriad of other indirect benefits. Studies on the impact of broadband on gross domestic product (GDP), for instance, have shown that for every 10 per cent increase in the number of people online, a nation’s GDP rises by one per cent. Doubling average broadband speeds in a country has been shown to increase GDP by 0.3 per cent. These figures are significant and highlight the need for governments to take these connectivity and bandwidth considerations seriously.

What challenge is increasing IP traffic bringing to businesses in the region?

Consumers have become used to accessing up-to-date information and the highest quality entertainment anytime and anywhere. They also presume their various providers will deliver on these expectations, which means that many regional telecoms companies and broadcasters are having to upgrade their infrastructure to increase both the range of their coverage and their bandwidth capacity. Failure to do so risks them losing market share to international competitors but also creates an opportunity for capturing new customers.

What role can satellite technology play in addressing the growing demand for data connectivity?

Companies and governments have various options when it comes to revamping their infrastructure: satellites, fibre-optic cables or fixed wireless tower networks, being the principle solutions available. A hybrid combination of two or three of these options will usually provide the most effective and holistic solution, as terrestrial technologies are often limited by terrain while satellites are able to transcend geographical boundaries.

What is your leadership style?

I try to lead by example, and I also have a lot of trust my team, and their professionalism. As such, I delegate a lot of responsibility to them and try to empower them to achieve their goals. Operating within a flatter structure also affords our clients major advantages as each member of the team is able to take executive decisions, enabling us to respond more quickly to requests.

What makes the perfect employee?

Good employees are dedicated; hard-working, as well as able to demonstrate out-of-the-box thinking and act on initiative.

Three tips for becoming the boss…

Work harder than everyone else; act with integrity in everything that you do; and try to think of the bigger picture and how what you are doing impacts your clients and your wider business.