Orange Business Services plans Gulf countries’ biggest smart city project
Orange Business Services has signed a multimillion dollar consulting deal with MEEZA, a Qatari managed services provider, to deliver the majority of smart services and applications at Msheireb Downtown Doha.
Msheireb Downtown Doha is a regeneration project at the heart of the traditional center of Doha that will be made up of residential and commercial offices, retail outlets and hotels. It is expected to be completed in 2018.
Orange Business Services have the end goal of improving the overall quality of life for Qatari citizens, and currently oversee the design of the District’s Smart City Central Command Center, with controls security cameras, building access control, fire alarms, street lighting, automated waste collection, car parks and public announcements.
The company has also designed and operates a range of Smart Applications for the general public and residents. These include apps for community services, wayfinding, online payments, smart metering, Business Intelligence and data analytics.
Béatrice Felder, senior vice president, Orange Applications for Business, said, “Orange Business Services is delighted to partner with MEEZA on one of the Middle East region’s most prestigious smart cities projects. Msheireb Downtown Doha is a perfect illustration of how the region is transforming itself and better serving its citizens. We are well placed to leverage our global capabilities, innovations and experience to support the digital transformation of the region’s economy. Orange has the advantage of being both an operator and a specialized digital services company that supports digital transformation of societies, enterprises and government bodies. We are already working on large and prominent projects in the Middle East, and Msheireb is another very strong smart cities reference for Orange in Qatar and the wider region.”
Orange Business Services is the B2B branch of the Orange Group and its 21,000 employees, and is focused on supporting the digital transformation of multinational enterprises and French SME’S across five continents.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”