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Looking at the decade ahead, I have reasons to see it as a transformational period for the entire ICT sector worldwide. I am confident that we, at HitekNOFAL, are well positioned to face the forthcoming challenges and emerging industry trends that are – all – opportunities for further business expansion and growth.

We expect the existing business model in our sector to be greatly transformed with an increased focus on the service layer. The growing operator emphasis on service interoperability between networks is leading several key vendors of service-layer technology to reevaluate their market offers. Vendors are therefore starting to deploy service-layer solutions, either converted into products or bundled with professional services. They are thus redoubling efforts to support Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN) customers with the idea of a "service-independent" architecture that can support operators as they migrate to a Next-Generation Network (NGN). Service layer technology can be used to improve network operations and add new services to help operators compete with Over-The-Top (OTT) players. 

As a consequence, we anticipate a boom in user consumption of provider professional services. We believe that the migration to NGN is a trend that will accelerate in the next few years. Due to the increased integration of IT components into services and the amplified complexity of modern service environments, telecom operators will be bound to outsourcing the complex integration and management tasks.

We see a progressive merge of networking and IT infrastructure into one environment. As a matter of fact, the emerging network equipment vendor architectures for the service layer are Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)-based; they involve standards-compliance, services identification and categorization, granularity, modularity, composability, componentization, and interoperability, all the guiding principles that define SOA development and usage. We view this development as heralding the ultimate network/IT integration.

On the other hand, we anticipate wireless operators to broaden their services to wireless users in order to kick-start Average Revenue Per Use (ARPU) growth. As we attest an effort to encourage a user transition to wireless data services at the global level, we figure out that preparations are underway for Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMAX rollouts worldwide. In this regard, it has been estimated that network operators could increase ARPU by at least 30% if they achieved widespread adoption of data services.

Last but not least, we observe an increasing interest in creating optical networks and Opto-Ethernet hybrid networks that would reduce complexity and management costs; as fiber gets cheaper, running fiber directly to points of traffic concentration is the imperative solution. A major shift in operator procurement is therefore to be expected and product commoditization pressure will be exerted on the lower network layers, contributing to the anticipated explosion in provider consumption of vendor professional services.

As we followed the correct survival strategies which netted in steadfast annual growth, increased savings, and accentuated functionality, we are ready to benefit from the aforementioned emerging trends; we are therefore looking forward to further spreading our values, model, expertise, and business enthusiasm throughout the Middle East and North Africa region.