Guru is the VP, Business Development, MEA for Redline Communications, overseeing its sales and channel partner operations for the Middle East and Africa (MEA). His responsibilities include recruiting new Channel partners in target vertical markets across MEA, overseeing sales, professional services and logistic support to these partners.
Guru is a technology, channel and sales leader with 29+ years of experience in leadership positions in leading telecom and technology bell weathers such as Etisalat, du, Amazon, IBM, Tech Data and Citi group covering the Middle East, Africa, North America and India. He is highly techno commercial, with a methodical and analytical approach to planning and executing business plans. He was responsible for technology, vision and strategy, marketing and P&L, encompassing advanced technologies such as super scale data centers, globally scalable storage grids, global network infrastructure, high density web operations, information security methodologies and frameworks, cloud engineering and network and application optimization technologies at various times during his career. He has led large ethno centric and highly competitive, high energy teams successfully in delivering sustaining business and stake holder value.
Guru has also been a leading spokesperson and an avid writer for the Middle East technology media on several topics covering information security, data centers, networking and storage domains. He was rated in the top 10 channel influencers (6th) in the Middle East region by Network World Middle East magazine in the networking domain in 2011.
He is also the Chief Digital Officer at Pinestraw Technologies, a digital transformation platform and services startup focused in helping SME’s transform and succeed.
He has a BS from University of Mumbai executive management program from Haas at University of California at Berkeley, exec program from Los Positos college (University of California), and has had several technology certifications such as CCDA, MCNE, MCSE, ASE, HP Star, Brainbench, CISA, certified ISO internal auditor and other industry certifications.
Teletimes: Can you give us a quick brief on Redline’s business and offerings?
Guruprasad Padmanabhan: We are in the business of building mission critical broadband wireless infrastructure which is completely industrial grade. We make some of the world’s most powerful radios for various applications and environments ranging from rugged mountains at -45 degrees to underground mines to urban commercial projects. Our solutions are durable and well known for their reliability, considering the fact that our solutions work in the cold of the arctic and the heated mining environments in Africa or Northern America for example. We have an end-toend capability and are the only company to provide what we call “virtual fiber” (fiber like network over wireless broadband on a long range), the traditional licensed back haul (microwave) and LTE solutions.
Redline is a multinational wireless communications network designer and manufacturer headquartered in Markham, Ontario, Canada. Founded in 1999, Redline maintains offices and operations in Florida, California, Romania and Oman. Redline Communications’ products and technologies are used in a variety of markets and industries, including Oil and Gas, Military, Government and Telecom Service providers.
TT: Would you like to give us some details on your LTE solutions?
GP: We focus on three key areas from a specialization perspective – the first is energy (oil & gas etc.), the second is governments (smart cities, public safety etc.) and the third is telecom & enterprise. One of the key drivers for our LTE solutions is that we built what we call a “Macro-cell LTE solution” that is fantastic for a low density population. The traditional LTE was very complex and expensive. So in a situation of a 100/200 population village in India for example, it is not efficient to install a cell site worth 2 to 3 million, and hence more often that not, populations end up being deprived of connectivity. This is where Redline plays it’s role in bridging the digital divide. Our LTE solutions are very cost effective, costing almost 1/20th of traditional LTE solutions – they aren’t scalable to millions of users, but they can easily handle thousands of users. So we have actually helped light up many villages in Africa and even some in the far-flung areas of North America.
The other area we are focusing on with our LTE solutions is “LTE for private use”. We actually pioneered the small cell and macro cell LTE solutions where Oil & Gas companies, government institutions and civil defense etc. use our LTE network to build their own supplemental networks.
TT: How would you comment on the current market scenario? Which verticals do you see as driving major growth in the coming years?
GP: Today, there is a myth that fiber is everywhere – that is not the reality. With the way urban cities are growing, even in the UAE for example, the cities are growing faster than the infrastructure, and hence, the need for wireless connectivity has always been there and will continue to remain there especially when you are building a new city or expanding a current city. For any city, enterprise or even community, connectivity is a cornerstone of life and wireless connectivity is the only way to bring proper broadband facilities to these areas which do not have fiber. Similarly, we have a strong need for public safety and smart border solutions. So, we see a clear demand for connectivity in the many areas where fiber is not available or possible. And many of these areas require not just any network but a robust and reliable network which makes us a great fit. So as such, we see immense potential in our current areas of focus and will continue to expand our selves in line with our vision of bridging the digital divide by connecting people, communities, enterprises and governments.
TT: What would you say is your major differentiator from the competitors?
GP: So the first thing is that while some other companies provide similar services individually, we are the only ones who provide all three types of solutions (Virtual Fiber, Licensed Backhaul and LTE) in an integrated way in a single environment. We have competitors who compete with us in the Virtual Fiber market, we have competitors in backhaul and we have competitors in LTE but there is no single vendor that can do all three.
The second thing is the versatility of our company and its offerings. We don’t build a product and then try to sell it but build something our customers want which actually leads to many innovations for us. For example, the nomadic radio that we built was mainly because one of our customers from oil and gas came and told us their requirement where the oil rigs keep moving every couple of weeks. Now I cant afford to fly in an engineer every 2 weeks to re-establish our connectivity and so we looked for another solution and built our nomadic radio which basically allows you to install in one place and once that’s done, if you move, it automatically re-aligns and connects again.
“Redline IoT Infrastructure Solution for Open Pit Mine”
Redline earlier this year announced a $1.2 million IoT project which is utilizing its new standards-based LTE solution to provide a highperformance mobile network that will support video, telematics and mobile communications. The project involves building a private network, operating in harsh conditions, to provide coverage for 125Km of private roads, mining facilities and employee housing. This solution provides coverage to ensure employee safety and to provide enhanced visibility of vehicle performance and location. The deployment will enable in-vehicle video, vehicle telematics, and 2-way communications all powered by Redline’s iLTETM line of eNodeB and EPC core software.
TT: Moving into 2018, what will be your focus areas and how does the future look for Redline Communications and the regional ICT market?
GP: We are extremely excited and believe that the need for wireless connectivity will be ever-growing especially with the smart city initiatives and the basic nature of global economies in general. We see public safety as a key driver of our technology offerings in the coming year and are investing our full resources to expand in to the Middle East and Africa. This means we are working to create new partnerships as well as hiring people for channel and sales support for our partners.
I think the next year will be very exciting and active for us, especially in this region where we can see a very huge potential in the market and in Redline as a perfect fit for many of the industry’s growing needs.