New exec appointments tell a tale of two edge vendors

via Flickr © Mike Cohen (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © Mike Cohen (CC BY 2.0)

  • Edge pioneer Saguna names turnaround specialist as its new CEO
  • Start-up Ori hires VP of product management from VMware's Pivotal unit
  • MEC market is still taking shape, which makes navigating it that much harder

New executive appointments this week at edge computing vendors Saguna and Ori tell a story of two suppliers at very different stages of the company lifecycle.

Israel's Saguna Networks, a pioneer in multi-access edge computing (MEC), has named Ido Gur as its new CEO. He replaces founder Lior Fite, who has stepped aside to take on the role of vice president of business development.

Saguna said in a press release that new leadership will help it meet the "significant increase" in demand for edge computing.

Recent highlights on Gur's CV suggest that, to some extent, the rationale for his appointment could be to help Saguna avoid costly growing pains – particularly during these uncertain times – as it scales up to meet this demand.

Reason being, in addition to being an entrepreneur and serial investor, Gur describes himself – on LinkedIn at least – as a rescue and turnaround expert, and names some of the loss-making companies he has helped to bring into the black.

"Ido's experience and capabilities are best suited to take Saguna to the next level," said outgoing CEO Fite. "Ido's track record, depth of international experience, and commitment to our business success makes him the ideal leader."

As a member of the ETSI MEC ISG (industry specification group), Saguna was an early contributor to the MEC standard. Its Saguna Edge Cloud MEC software platform – pitched at both operators and enterprises – creates edge cloud computing environments within access networks. In one of its more recent announcements, albeit from February 2019, the company said its Saguna Edge Cloud had entered production with unidentified tier one mobile operators.

As with any relatively young tech company, there comes a point where it needs to navigate that tricky path of scaling up to meet demand in a sustainable way. Furthermore, when it comes edge computing, both telcos and application developers still have a lot of work to do to make sure it delivers on its promise of ultra-reliable, low-latency communication.

Saguna is privately held, so there are no publicly-available accounts through which to trawl. It doesn't push out a great many press releases either – unusual for a vendor. When TelecomTV came calling, the company switchboard didn't offer the option of leaving a message, and emails were bounced back. Its last Tweet was in November. While COVID-19 has made doing day-to-day business more challenging, these communication issues highlight perhaps some minor areas of improvement for the new leadership to address. We will update this story if and when we hear back from Saguna.



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Young and hungry

Meanwhile, the other eye-catching appointment in the edge market this week was made at Ori Industries.

The London-based company, which has only been around since 2017, has hired Therese Stowell as its new vice president of product management. She joins from Pivotal Software, which was acquired last year by VMware. In a career that spans digital marketing and the food industry, Stowell has also previously worked as a software designer at Microsoft.

Unlike Saguna, Ori's new hire is less about managing growth than just, well, growth.

Ori CEO Mahdi Yahya said in a Light Reading report earlier this month that his company plans to grow its headcount this year to 35 from 21. Another of his recent hires was Jose Domingos, previously an OSS senior solution architect manager at BT.

Also this month, Ori announced it has partnered with engineering and R&D specialist Altran. Together the two are working on an initiative to promote the development and adoption of federated MEC, which will enable operators to interconnect their edge computing systems. This is a critical piece of the MEC puzzle, because it makes it easier for developers to roll out edge applications that will work on any operator's network.

The collaboration is a good fit for Ori: Its ambition is to create a federated global edge cloud, and enable enterprises to run workloads on distributed resources over any infrastructure, which includes public, private and hybrid cloud environments. Altran, which has just been acquired by Capgemini, is the kind of partner that can deliver new business opportunities for the startup.

As VP of product management, it will be Stowell's job to ensure Ori's portfolio can live up to that lofty ambition.

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