Spectra: Driving Innovations in Connectivity

Udit Mehrotra

Spotlight on Business Connectivity | TelecomDrive.com

With an aim to drive innovation towards enabling connectivity, Spectra started its transformation journey from being an only Internet Service provider to a full-scale managed service provider with its unique Network-as-a-service portfolio.

Udit Mehrotra, CEO, Spectra interacts with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s current business strategy and its future plans.  

What are the key focus areas for Spectra and the company’s vision and strategy for the year 2021?

A couple of years back, Spectra started its transformation journey from being an only  Internet Service provider to a full-scale managed service provider with its Network-as-a-service portfolio which was in line with our roadmap, to  focus on 3 aspects of networking – design, performance, and economics. The core of this approach will be led by strengthening our Network-as-a-Service solution suite. The idea is to redraw the network ownership model for the companies and the category, as a whole.

Spectra Logo

We will continue to focus on Enterprise and SMBs as part of this recast. We understand that SMBs need better solution designs and when it comes to adopting transformative technologies, though posing a huge untapped potential. SMBs often have to make hard choices of working capital management over strategic investments, lack a strong IT force and may need innovative commercial models for big-scale deployments. Enterprises on the other hand are looking to optimize their economics in the post-pandemic world.

Our Network-as-a-Service solution suite offers a purpose-built network solution which is designed, deployed, and managed by engineers at Spectra. The solution is available both in an asset-light and network ownership model. In a managed service model, SMBs can benefit from a pay-as-you-grow commercial construct which takes the edge off the company from making an upfront investment and in the network ownership model, enterprises can continue with traditional Capex based system integration approach.

In the past 2 years, we have already delivered a network which is currently in use by Enterprises and SMBs. Our custom-made solutions are already in use for various industry segments like hospitality, shared spaces, retail chains, education, BFSI and logistics.

Our solution suite includes a range of managed services like Managed Voice, Managed Internet, Managed Security, Secured SD-WAN and Managed Wi-Fi.

How is Spectra repositioning itself as an end-to-end solutions provider in pursuit of its vision?  

For a long time now, Spectra had pivoted to being a specialist business networking service provider. What started our decade long journey as a consumer brand now  is India’s first fully fiber based broadband player. However today the consumer business forms just 12% of our revenue base while 88% percent of our revenue is from the business segment.

This business DNA runs across the company in the way we think of and design our solutions. We continue to investigate and invest in opportunities that have the potential to turn into categories. Our transition from access outside to in-premise solution was enabled by an expanding portfolio of wireless access points, enterprise routing products with software-defined wide area network capabilities, integrated with in-built security solutions and 24/7 monitoring. This allows our customers unprecedented scale, flexibility, and security for an ever-increasing connected environment. Spectra is also introducing an internet-based calling or VoIP system which is a smarter, cost-efficient, and scalable technology that boosts call coverage.

What are some of the key market trends and the latest technological advancements that you see becoming important in the coming months?

According to Mordor Intelligence, globally, managed network services category is expected to reach USD 95.6 billion by 2026 with the Asia Pacific being the epicenter of that growth. We expect the India market to lead this change as the country already has a digitally predisposed population and policies.

We believe growth will be assisted by two drivers. First, businesses both in growth and mature stages will look to pursue predictable operating expense (OPEX) models over the CAPEX model. This will in part be driven by cash flow optimization, especially after the post-covid period. Also, the business will benefit from not having to spend on hardware, rather ride on the network-as-a-service model.

Secondly, network design and infrastructure are becoming increasingly complex, making resource allocation and management costly. Specialized expertise is now needed to optimally run or improve networks in this digital economy. There is also an increasing need for central network management as the employee base becomes geographically diverse.

Another important aspect going in favour of Managed Network Services is the ability to proactively predict network behaviour. This makes crisis management, fault repairs easier, especially, in this ever-increasing demand for compliance and security.

What is the current business footprint (number of cities) that you have today and how do you plan to expand this in the near future? How many more cities do you plan to reach in 2021?

We currently offer our network-as-a-service solutions in over 30 cities and will be offering these services in over 100 cities by the end of 2021.

What kind of innovation can we expect from Spectra in the coming year?

Since we design and deploy bespoke solutions all our solutions are tailor-made to the organisation and use the current technology of the time. However, on the hardware front, we continue to explore faster, more efficient products that can fit well with our solution suite and remote management capabilities.

In addition, we are exploring to enhance our SD-WAN and network security portfolio for SMBs and system integration offerings for enterprises.

Please share details about Spectra’s product launches and their USPs?

Our Managed WiFi solution solves the last mile connectivity between people and devices. Our solution enables users to set policies for different users and devices. A company can not only add users at will but control the entire network via our management dashboard.  This level of control and security makes our Managed WiFi solution ideal for any organisation, whether it’s a large business, retailer, healthcare provider, financial services firm or in the hospitality sector. Companies can gain deep insights into the utilization of their WiFi network. The solution is designed and deployed by skilled Spectra engineers after a detailed site assessment, aimed at reducing signal interference and increasing coverage.

Homestation is a business solution which connects a geographically dispersed workforce by deploying an enterprise-grade infrastructure in the employees’ home, combining with on-site support, remote monitoring & management, and security. It has a range of infrastructure and service add ons which can be combined to replicate a corporate’s bespoke network environment. Further, a single contract option and helpdesk solves the problem of network management for managers in a distributed work ecosystem.

The key features of Homestation:

  • Spectra Homestation is an integrated offering which includes reliable and affordable broadband connectivity, an enterprise-grade infrastructure, and enhanced security, IT support – including remote infrastructure, on-site support along with added offerings such as collaboration tools, auto-failover, and proactive monitoring.
  • Homestation comes with the choice of having 2 internet lines with an auto-failover solution to ensure higher network availability, which is a must-have for the Senior executives.
  • The Homestation solution ensures a seamless WFH experience with better signal coverage through the deployment of enterprise-grade access points
  • IT managers can exercise remote-control over-all access points through a console-based interface making for frictionless user onboarding, policy deployment and content filtering
  • Companies can opt for a single Company Owned Company Paid (COCP) contract
  • Engineering support to address equipment failure at the user home

AirMesh, on the other hand, enhances the current home network infrastructure by eliminating any WiFi dead zones. The solution is designed to solve the endpoint network inconsistency and completes the connectivity triad of fibre, pod and access point. When combined with our spectra fibre internet, with supported speeds of up to 1Gbps, it creates a lag-free internet connection giving users a whole new broadband experience.

The key features of AirMesh:

  • Consultative approach to identifying dead spots and deployment of enterprise-grade access points for a first of its kind wall-to-wall internet experience for home users.
  • It addresses an important and long-ignored issue of inconsistent and patchy internet coverage faced by users in their homes.
  • Proactive monitoring & remote troubleshooting
  • Professionally deployed keeping in mind the home aesthetics
  • Easy to onboard through a monthly recurring cost

 

  • Future Internet usage trends post COVID?

As consumer and business activity moves online, adoption of technology and tech-enabled services has accelerated. Consumer-facing companies like Google, Zoom, Paypal which are at the front and centre of this transition, have needed to expand their capacity on the back of the sudden increase in demand. At the backend, this is enabled by not so glamorous cloud-based services. These services, which include Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure among others provide the infrastructure behind this digital transformation. These warehouses of the digital world are called data centres.

During the lockdown period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, India witnessed northwards of 11GB data consumption per user per month, which was a 30 per cent spike in usage, pushing data consumption two to three years into the future, according to a new survey by E&Y.

What kind of challenges do you see in the market today and how can these be overcome?

In the post-pandemic world, we do see firms optimizing with limited working capital and therefore most likely will be treading slowly on large investments. Preservation of cash flow will take preference over the shorter to mid-term as companies will look to survivability and returning of demand in the market.

Further, as the economy becomes increasingly digitized, there will be concerns about security, data scalability and privacy which will need  to be addressed.

As an answer to these challenges, we do see an opportunity for innovative commercial models that help take the load off upfront Capex investment, to become more acceptable as a mainstream way of working. Also, network management gap, an existing problem to address, will be seen in a new light due to the accelerated pace of digital transformation. Companies will have to invest in professional services which will not only help them in managing their network better but also help them make better sense of their utilization.