By Mahnoor Nadeem
Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into most, if not all, areas of a society, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to your end-users and consumers. Digital transformation is no longer a buzzword for Pakistan and in order for any country to progress, it is imperative that they derive learnings from the crises they face and find innovative solutions for them.
Last year, during the monsoon season, unprecedented rains flung the city of Karachi (which accounts for around 25% of the country’s GDP) into darkness, disconnection, and misery. For a city that is considered the metropolitan hub of the country, being disconnected in terms of electricity and/or internet for several hours (or even days in some areas) means a loss of billions to the economy, not to mention the misery it causes to our citizens.
As I was writing this, the entire country faced another unexpected blackout which lasted for several hours at a stretch and life could only return to normalcy once it was resolved and electricity restored.
If one were to analyze the situation on a holistic level, it is evident that the country is in dire need of an infrastructural overhaul, and we need to invest in digital systems that can help us work across all areas and not just selected cities. These might be two different points, but have to be approached with a singular vision as they form virtually one agenda: connectivity in Pakistan needs to be remodeled.
A prime example of just how outdated our infrastructure is, is the rudimentary telecommunications infrastructure we still employ. As of now, we rely on a copper/wired network that is vulnerable to weather anomalies. This is why we continue to suffer setbacks on multiple occasions due to rains and even strong winds.
Pakistan’s digital landscape is still in its infancy and while it is no wonder that it has opened up avenues for large corporations, SMEs, and freelancers to expand their services and network, an unreliable connectivity infrastructure can have serious repercussions especially when we are trying to compete on a global level.
REDtone Digital Services, is a one-stop telecommunication, infrastructure, and digital solutions provider that was founded in 2017, but our parent company, Quantum Group, has been in the business for decades, offering digital solutions across global destinations to a variety of customer journeys and touchpoints.
As a Pakistan-first firm, we are on a mission to help digitize Pakistan. Since we are witnessing massive interest from both public and private sector entities across digital-payments initiatives, blockchain-based resource management etc., we feel the time is right for us as a nation to leap-frog towards next-gen innovation and technology.
At RDS, we have initially invested ourselves into key areas (Connectivity, Cloud & Security, E-Learning Solutions, and Retail Transformation) that will create a positive impact on the innovation roadmap of Pakistan; we have launched RedRackx (in partnership with Virtalus), Pakistan’s first locally hosted international cloud, with over 11 cloud locations globally.
We have also launched Redlinkx (Har Ghar Fiber), a gigabit passive fiber-to-the-home internet service that will evolve the way we connect and collaborate. REDRETAIL (Har Store, Super Store), which consumers will see across retail shops soon, is a retail-digitization platform that will digitally transform merchants and help them turn their conventional brick-and-mortar shops into digitally-enabled superstores.
For any emerging country to truly succeed and make a concrete mark on the global digital map, it is crucial that we build a solid foundation for the present as well as future generations to grow. An up-to-date and reliable digital network is the need of the hour, which both public and private sectors need to make a top priority.
At RDS we are working with key stakeholders within the public and private sector space to build a foundation of technology and trust that will enable us to build our own futures. We are hopeful that more public and private sector entities will partner-up and help us succeed in growing digitally and going global.
Mahnoor Nadeem is the Group Vice President at REDtone.