It's been quite an interesting year since I started The Force Lab (TFL) in partnership with China Telecom Guangzhou (Huangpu Division) (CT), by end of 2017.
It proved to be a failed but a good attempt.
At TFL team, we tried closing deals with pre-sales tech consultation and draft solution designs for clients. We tried engaging and sponsoring communities such as Hardware Massive Guangzhou around AI, hybrid-cloud and IoT via events and meetups. My sales manager colleagues at China Telecom were super resourceful and hands-on in engaging clients. We offered enterprise IoT and IT solutions to clients with proper partner suppliers. We tried positioning ourselves as integrator, but the team has major issues mastering the many tricks and formal project management practices.
By the end of the year, we haven't closed any deals with meaningful value for CT.
Meanwhile, we found really exciting trends and development in China's enterprise markets for IT and IoT tech.
The first obvious one, hybrid-cloud is taking off in China, particularly private SMEs whose IT staff are so accustomed to 100% cloud-based apps and hosting. It's been the case that China gov agencies and big state-own corporations with big budget are quite bought-in with China Telecom's ctyun.cn and dedicated Internet access service packs. At the core of new hybrid-cloud movement in China, it's the combination of ctyun.cn hosting + Cloud Dedicated Access (0r CDA) that China Telecom offers that has great potential for more private companies or SMEs' own adoption, driving the pricing down and making private/hybrid cloud possible for teams larger than 10 head-counts. For example, the basic package of 1 CTYun VPS + 1 PON (CDA) cost only 1,000RMB/month, inclusive of a 20MBps (up/down) PON optical cable subscription connecting your office servers and your ctyun VPS.
Another interesting trend we found is that quite a few on-premise enterprise software makers (whose founders I am very close to) are shifting their software offer from on-premise deployment to hybrid-cloud or SaaS on hybrid-cloud. The SaaS migration of these offers means that client now can acquire and use their products at about 1/3 of the original pricing.
The last major milestone for my own team, Chatek, is the launching of the private-beta product KakaBox (I know, it's not a good sounding pronunciation in Western culture, ;). We are embracing an all new ecosystem of IoT software layer and are expecting to put it into great uses at major blockchain-enabled or educational products and solutions we'll be building.
I am very grateful for all the support my family, customers, colleagues, partners and friends who's helped me in the past few years since my personal career transition in 2016.
It's been a very inspirational experience from my late 30s to my early 40s. Because I found my 80% constants that could remain in my soul for the rest of my life.