VEON exec says Russia ready for new tech better than US
MOSCOW, Aug 18 (PRIME) -- Russia is in many aspects more ready for introduction of new technologies than the U.S., George Held, head of digital products at VEON, the sole owner of mobile operator VimpelCom, told PRIME in an interview published on Wednesday.
“Yes, Russia is more prepared than the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, and in many cases the U.S. We like self-reproaching, but you should remember that the world’s largest digital bank is located in Russia,” Held said.
Russia is among the few countries where the main social network is not Facebook, and the main browser is not Chrome. “There are many valuable and bright innovative solutions here,” he said.
Held sees Russia as one of the leading countries from the point of view of the big data regulation. The laws in this industry should change not in favor of an individual vision of a person or an institution, it is the community that is to create recommendations for the government and together with it to pick new directions.
Held also said that 21.8% of VimpelCom clients moved from Moscow to the adjacent regions – the Moscow, Kaluga, Vladimir, and Tver regions – during the coronavirus pandemic, and St. Petersburg was left by 11.8% of the operator’s clients who mostly preferred the Leningrad Region.
He said that the company studies partnership in many directions, including, the television business, video streaming, cloud gaming. “We believe it’s close to what a telecom operator does,” he added.
VimpelCom’s online television expands by more than 50% on the year by both the number of subscribers and the margin. The operator sees a lot of potential in cloud gaming – it launched its own cloud gaming service on the basis of technologies by U.S. company NVidia. But VimpelCom does not plan to develop an ecosystem, Held said.
“’Ecosystem’ is now a buzz word, not only in Russia. It usually means ‘Let’s buy a pile of everything and will ‘introduce’ it whether the people need it or not.’ We do not believe in such an ecosystem, we believe in what we call ‘deep partnership’,” he said.
The VEON executive also thinks that the smartphone will be replaced with a chip in 10 years. He said that now the mobile phone is only used to identify a person and get information, while identification can be done by face, fingerprints and voice. Information can appear in front of your eyes or with the help of an Internet of Things device and projected on a wall or a glass.
“This is why an old lady, who lost her way in the center of a city, will not have to call anywhere – she may ask the wall ‘How do I get home?’ and the wall will show her the route with an arrow.”