Highlights from Global Analyst Summit 2020, attended by: Saurabh Verma, Business Head, ICT, Frost & Sullivan
Gourab Banik, Senior Research Analyst, ICT, Frost & Sullivan
About Huawei Global Analyst Summit
Huawei has organized the Global Analyst Summit (HAS) every year since 2004. The event provides a platform for its customers, partners, analysts, and the media across the globe to discuss and explore the latest industry and technology trends. This year, the 17th edition of Global HAS was conducted from 18-20 May, in Shenzhen, China. Along with on-site involvement, the event was organized with an online participation infrastructure for the first time due to the COVID-19 situation. We had the opportunity to attend the event virtually and are happy to share our opinions and key highlights from the different informational sessions.
Repeated attack by the U.S.: HAS 2020 took place just three days after the U.S. imposed a new export ban on Huawei. This new rule restricted all foundries, including those located outside the U.S., from using its hardware and software for manufacturing semiconductors for the company. While these actions have put Huawei in survival mode, the fragmented ecosystem as a result of the ban is expected to affect the overall ICT industry by lowering growth and slowing down innovation. To undermine the impact, it has become critical for Huawei to expedite efforts for building its supply ecosystem and accelerating its research and development initiatives.
Ambitious investments: Cloud computing represents one of the most critical components of enterprises’ digital transformation efforts. Aiming to advance its computing ecosystem, Huawei announced it will invest about US$200 million through 2020. With a long-term focus on building a vibrant ecosystem of developers, the company plans to provide tools and resources to about 2 million developers worldwide this year. With closer collaboration between developers and its partners, the company has the potential to unlock the value of the blue ocean markets in the computing industry.
Defining an intelligent IP network: An intelligent IP network is capable of solving several IP network-related issues like insufficient bandwidth, poor service experience, and low efficiency of network operation and management. As a step toward providing more clarity regarding intelligent IP networks, Huawei took the lead by defining three major characteristics of such networks:
Super capacity: Transforming to an intelligent IP network requires a boost in bandwidth resources, shifting from 100GE to 400GE and from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6. Also, such a network needs to support flexible adjustment of the bandwidth by adopting slice-based bandwidth isolation.
Intelligent experience: An intelligent IP network needs to deliver an always-on network connectivity experience. Capabilities like intelligent identification of service types and flexible and real-time adjustment of network resource upon cloud changes are key requirements of an intelligent IP network.
Autonomous driving: The network needs to support automatic deployment and facilitate rapid adjustment of services. Further, the network must ensure high availability and execute automatic fault rectification, plus proactive operation and maintenance, by leveraging AI.
Even though it is still in its nascent phase, the intelligent IP network is embracing wide applications in scenarios like campus networks, data center networks, and wide-area networks, paving new growth opportunities for the company.
Fifth-generation fixed network: Alongside mobile networks, fixed networks also play an equally important role in progressing the telecommunication sector. Huawei has joined hands with Altice Portugal, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and China Broadband Development Alliance, and also invites upstream and downstream partners in the fixed network industry globally, for the development of the fifth generation of fixed network (F5G). This international collaboration will support the formulation of unified specifications and foster the development of new application scenarios for F5G, ushering a new era of optical networks.
5G-focused innovations: Huawei has been pivotal in driving 5G development and expansion globally. During the summit, the company shed light on its new 5G core network strategy, which focuses on building a 5G core network based on C.O.R.E factors – cloud-native, one core, real-time operation, and edge computing. Also, several innovative solutions and their applications were showcased by the company, including SuperBlade Site for simplifying 5G deployment, distributed massive MIMO and AAU for boosting capacity by 3-4x, BladeAAU supporting all radio access technologies (RATs) and frequency bands, DIS and small cell, and TDD+FDD convergence. With continuous innovation, the company has been successful in building a long-term competitive advantage in the 5G space.
Facilitating 5G deployment: Huawei is looking to reduce the operating expenses of telecom operators by helping them shut down their 2G and 3G networks and also simplifying the deployment of 5G while reducing its power consumption. To ease deployment, Huawei has focused on reducing the size and weight of its base station components. Moreover, the company is developing an AI-enabled mobile automation engine, which promises to make 5G deployment and provisioning more cost-efficient. By the end of 2020, the company is also planning to improve the efficiency of power consumption by about 100 times.
Conclusion and Future Outlook
HAS 2020 not only shed light on Huawei’s strategies for the remainder of this year but provided a glimpse of how the company is planning to contribute toward building a fully connected and intelligent ecosystem in the long run. Underneath the digital transformation of industries lie myriad emerging ICT technologies, mainly including 5G, AI, and cloud. Huawei has announced an ambitious investment plan and showcased several innovative solutions to capitalize on these opportunities.
Going forward, Huawei’s growth strategy will be largely focused on investment and innovation in three domains – connectivity, computing, and smart devices. The company’s focus is also on developing a sustainable open innovation ecosystem by strengthening collaboration with its global customers, partners, and standards-developing organizations.
We believe the pressure related to the trade ban will act as a catalyst for Huawei to diversify its materials procurement and develop a robust supply chain. We also believe the company will uphold its market competitiveness in the long run on the back of its strong R&D investments and its customer-centric approach toward products and solutions development.