Veronica Martin caught up with Mario M. Veljovic, General Manager at VAD Technologies to discuss GITEX 2022 and the company’s plans for the region.
Can you tell our readers about some of the solutions and partnerships during GITEX this year?
The key focus for GITEX is meeting with our partner ecosystem. We wanted to create these 1,300 square feet of sanctuary on GITEX to meet with our channel partners, technology vendors, and friends to reconnect and building up a network. We are not really presenting any of our solutions. That’s why we have moved out all products and made sure we have enough space to meet. We are promoting more technologies in regard to infrastructure as a service, augmented or mixed realities and software as a service as well.
When we talk about bringing disruptive technologies to the market, in many aspects, it’s not really the technology, which is the disruptor, many times it’s the go to market. So today for example, we are selling storage, CCTV and basically everything as a service, and that is a major disruptor to many of the players out there. As a group we have massive revenues on hardware, software, distribution, but we want to prepare for what’s coming in the future.
This shows how much we have become a service, and this is what we really want to do. We want to use GITEX to make sure our partners that coming from abroad come and see us, so we can show them our real strengths, size and introduce them to the wider team of the organization.
In the last 12 months, how has your company performed in the MENA market? Has your company ventured into any new markets/countries?
We have been focusing on disruptive and innovative technologies, which they took a long time to really develop, so we traditionally call them emerging technologies, emerging vendors. But we see now the hard work of the last 7-8 years has paid off, as those vendors are moving from being emerging into high growth. Cloud, AI, ML were just buzzwords a few years ago, but are really happening now and people are looking for them, so that sees us now taking the benefits from all of this hard investment.
Business is super strong for us, especially this year and during 2021 we opened up our own legal entity in Saudi Arabia in order to expand our business locally, and the same happened in Qatar.
We are going to further expand our legal entities in the region, as we want to be closer to our partners, the business of our partners and support them in that business. On the other hand, the tax regulations in the region have become very complex, so to stay effective and cost efficient, we need to be much closer to avoid being taxed unnecessarily. This makes absolutely necessary to be present in each and every country in the Gulf region and beyond, as our key focus will always be the Gulf countries. In addition, we are also seeing good opportunities in Iraq, the Levant region and Africa.
Which technologies and IT trends are the forefront of driving innovation for your business?
The key businesses we are looking after are high performance data centre solutions. It’s physical security, but beyond the cameras and going into computer vision. Everything overarching is augmented reality, cloudification as I call it, in every pillar. AI is being embedded into the solutions to make sure all solutions we are offering are efficient. The key trend is the simplification of all these technologies from a consumer’s perspective.
Today, customers want to manage all their solutions on the run from their mobile phone. AI is helping us to come up with preventive actions to troubleshoot different situations, so this is a key trend too. As our lives become more complex, we need to have simplification. There was a time when you wanted to get as much information as possible. Today you want to have only the relevant information because there is just too much. People need to become more open about using AI, as it’s a tool to help us, rather than something threatening for human beings.
Can you tell our readers and what differentiates your company from your market rivals?
We have a very detailed plan for each and every vendor we onboard. We put a lot of effort to analyse what we actually bring into the market, making sure that it fits into the overall concept. I will give you an analogy. Imagine I’m a golf player. I’m actually doing exactly the same in my golf swing, as Tiger Woods does, but he is just Tiger Woods, so what’s the difference? I have a back swing, a club, a ball, the right posture, so what makes him be so good and me not being as good? It’s all about rhythm and the right sequence. What we do is the same than other distributors are doing, but what makes us different is that we have the right sequence and rhythm, meaning we have the right stamina to understand when and what we need to invest into. We have some vendors we have been investing in for the last five years, and only now we see the returns.
I think that’s what makes us different. All of my team are working with me almost since the beginning and all of the vendors are with us ever since. We have not seen a vendor going. We might have seen the relationship being a dry dock sometimes, but ultimately, we found our own way because of timing and rhythm. We are very passionate about what we are doing, and everyone can see that. The growth we are experiencing is exciting people to support us even more to get to the next level.