InterviewsOutlook

Outlook 2022: “Increased Demand for IoT Tech Globally”

Ashraf Yehia, the Managing Director for Eaton Middle East, says Egypt, UAE, and Saudi Arabia have a great project pipeline

How was 2021 for the industry and your company?
Another unprecedented year has taught us that we can overcome challenges and turmoil and proven that we are resilient. As our world evolves, it inspires us to put our energy into what matters and continue to look to the future with hope.

To all our customers, employees, partners, and communities, we hope you can take the time to appreciate all we’ve accomplished together and recharge for the new year. On behalf of Eaton Middle East, we thank you for your continued support, encouragement, and dedication to what matters this year.

What sort of opportunities did 2021 bring along?
One main thing to highlight here is that we could go back to physical events. Eaton has participated in a couple of key events in the region, to highlight a few, GITEX in Dubai and Egypt Energy in Cairo. During these exhibitions, we were thrilled to meet our existing or future clients face-to-face; it was also a great opportunity to showcase our latest technologies and solutions that will support our customers in managing power more efficiently.

Did you face any challenges in 2021?
The COVID situation has continued to impact all industries and markets, and Eaton was no exception; however, we have learned from the challenges of 2020, and we have been better prepared to react fast to the changes. Liquidity issues and partial lockdowns have continued to impact the markets. We have faced tremendous pressure on raw material cost increase and global availability shortage that has not left another option than to increase prices in the market to offset the impacts on the profitability. However, this challenge was common across the industry.

What were your key achievements in 2021?
We had a lot of great successes; however, to mention a few, I would highlight penetration of the Egypt market, becoming a recognized player in the Data Center segment, increasing our brand awareness by participating in key regional events, and also launching several key products including digital solutions like DCIM.

What promises does 2022 bring along?
We believe that raw material cost and availability issues shall be solved in the first months of 2022, and the situation can be normalized in terms of pricing and lead time.

We are also hopeful that the actual vaccination rate, especially in GCC, and the strict measures that the governments have implemented in the last two years will help us overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic. We are optimistic for 2022, and it will be a great year for our company.

Do you see opportunities in the regional markets with new markets opening up?
Yes, Egypt, UAE, and Saudi Arabia have a great project pipeline and we have the right structure and strategy to reach our targets in these key markets in 2022.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2022?
There is an increased demand for IoT technologies globally. Complemented with our recent announcement of our new digital platform called BrightLayer, Eaton will be a strong player in digital solutions.

What will be your key focus areas for 2022?
Egypt continues to be our key focus country, where we can achieve the highest growth in the region. However, we have clear growth plans in UAE and KSA.

The main segment will be Data Centers, without focusing on the Commercial Buildings and Residential segment. We will be updating our portfolio by adding more digital solutions, including monitoring systems and software.

What milestones have you set for 2022?
Double-digit growths in our key markets, expanding our partner coverage by new agreements, and fully engaging in new digital solutions during 2022.

What would you like to do differently in 2022, when compared with 2021?
Definitely, our goal is to meet our partners and customers more face-to-face obviously as COVID regulations permit. We have not had too many opportunities to engage in person with our key stakeholders in the last two years, hence this will be one of our main tasks in the coming period.

Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products/applications to your portfolio in 2022?
We are still new to Egypt, and we will continue to double down our efforts in this key market and new digital solutions (e.g., EV chargers, software). Stay tuned to hear about some exciting product launches.

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