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  • Campaign

    CSS Insurance Processes Fast with All-Flash Storage

    CSS Insurance uses the OceanStor Dorado all-flash array to improve storage capacity and lower latency.

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    CSS Insurance, based in Switzerland, is a century-honored commercial insurance organization established in 1899. CSS is the second biggest medical insurer in the country. With over 120 branches and reported an income of 5.1 billion Swiss francs in 2012, the organization currently insures 1.73 million customers and 18,850 companies. CSS is quite pleased with these business developments. However, there was one person who felt the pressure. That individual was Michael Tschuck, the Head of Backup and Recovery Processes. Mr. Tschuck has worked at CCS for quite some time, overseeing the data consolidation initiative and deployment of the first all-flash array. He was also dealing with service performance bottlenecks.

    Increasingly, more customers are choosing CSS for their medical insurance needs. The expansion in business meant the data centers at the organization had to process higher volumes of each service every day (such as policy creation, query, claims submittal, and tracking). During the second half of 2012, some technical problems started to show up. CSS employees, insurance brokers, and customers were all experiencing slower access to systems during peak hours.

    Service Acceleration a Must

    Data consolidation has become an essential undertaking in the financial and insurance industry. Consolidation of business data like customer files, insurer data, premium payments, and claims in the data center at headquarters allows the organization to improve operational efficiency, reduce risks, raise service levels, and lower total costs of IT.

    Although consolidating data brings many benefits to insurance companies, several technical challenges arise, such as achieving the proper levels of Disaster Recovery (DR), information security, and response speed. The rate of response has a direct impact upon operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, which makes this item a priority for CIOs at insurance companies. CIOs have been trying to improve response times at their data centers through a variety of means for quite some time now. Insurance companies mainly had focused on databases in order to enhance the Input/output Operations Per Seconds (IOPS) performance of storage devices.

    Mr. Tschuck confirmed that CSS Insurance had completed its data consolidations early on. Two data centers in Lucerne support their business throughout the country. As the second largest medical insurer in the country, CSS fully understands the significance of rapid data processing to its business, which is precisely why the organization focused on technical innovation of the IT systems. In 2009, CSS purchased its first set of all Solid-State Disk (SSD) arrays to handle the growing traffic at its data centers. The arrays were used to help accelerate storage services for core application systems. Thus, CSS is considered an early adopter of all-flash systems.

    Over time, the capacity of IT systems could not keep up with such rapid business development. This became a serious concern for the organization. Mr. Tschuck, led a team to investigate the matter and found that the main reason for the slowdown was that the all-flash arrays handling the mission-critical services were limited to 150,000 IOPS, which was insufficient during peak hours. According to the IT Department at CSS, estimates based on the current pace of development from core business systems would require 300,000 IOPS in performance to satisfy requirements for the next three to five years.

    In addition to performance issues, Mr. Tschuck and his team also noted capacity issues in the existing system. The number of customers that CSS Insurance served continued to grow, resulting in higher volumes of data being generated. Additionally, the company was simultaneously introducing new products, which also raised requirements for high-speed data and storage services. The all-flash arrays which were placed online in 2009 only offered 5 terabytes of capacity and could not support cascaded expansion efforts. The system had reached its maximum capacity after several expansions. Consequently, CSS needed to procure an all-flash array with better scalability.

    Perfect Mix of Performance and Capacity

    Mr. Tschuck began the search for a new solution. With all the choices available, sifting through the offerings and finding the right one was a rather long and involved process. He considered the possibility of adding to the existing equipment. He also had to consider how much performance would be needed to satisfy requirements for several years into the future. He had ongoing discussions with Infoniqa, the integrator for CSS, and ultimately decided to purchase new all-flash arrays from Huawei to replace the existing system.

    Infoniqa initially recommended two vendors and started testing. Mr. Tschuck stated: “The equipment from the first supplier failed to pass the stress test. When IOPS increased to more than 300,000, latency rose significantly. As a result, that product was eliminated. The equipment from the second supplier passed the stress test but scalability left a lot to be desired. CSS would have to purchase another set of equipment to satisfy foreseeable capacity requirements, which would entail additional investments.”

    Mr. Tschuck continued to be troubled in terms of how to solve this matter. Infoniqa started to take notice of the Huawei Dorado all-flash storage systems — capable of 600,000 IOPS in performance while keeping latency down to a low and stable single millisecond. Dorado also achieved 40 terabytes of capacity, enough to meet future CSS requirements for years to come. Infoniqa recommended the Huawei all-flash array for testing.

    Mr. Tschuck was hopeful yet skeptical; he was concerned about product stability. After nearly two months of stress and functional testing, he was fully convinced regarding the stability of Huawei’s all-flash storage systems, which enabled the largest in-class storage capacity with wide-open scalability capabilities.

    CSS insurance decided to buy three sets of Huawei all-flash devices (with initial capacity of 10 terabytes) to revamp its existing storage system. One set would be deployed at each production data center in support of core services. These sets would replace the two existing sets of all-flash arrays. The third set would be used to perform functional testing for new services.

    Optimal All Flash Transformation

    In September 2013, CSS Insurance rolled out the Huawei all-flash storage systems. Now, the accelerated systems relieve CSS Insurance of its various IT constraints. As business continues to grow, IOPS performance increases linearly. Systems are able to maintain rapid and stable response, effectively improving the efficiency at data centers. As a result, both productivity and customer satisfaction improved. The Huawei solution was able to solve all pressing issues while ensuring overall affordability at the architecture design level. The built-in linear increases in scalability and performance allow CSS to make the best use of its IT budget both now and in the future. Find out how Huawei can also help you make the best use of your limited IT budget with wide-open scalability to grow with your business.

    “In terms of performance, Huawei’s all-flash storage systems are comparable to that of another vendor. However, when it comes to scalability, more nodes and cabinets are added to the Huawei systems instead of having to stack more systems. This linear scalability is exactly what we needed!” — Michael Tschuck, CSS Insurance, Head of Backup and Recovery Processes

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  • Campaign

    Nanhua Futures Picks All-Flash Storage for Billions of Transactions

    Nanhua Futures adopts OceanStor Dorado for active-active, geo-redundant disaster recovery.

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    Nanhua Futures is a commodity and financial futures brokerage company. Founded in 1996 and based in Hangzhou, China, it is a full member of the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE), Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange (CZCE), and Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE). It was also one of the first companies to gain general clearing member status on the China Financial Futures Exchange (CFFEX). It has 450 million RMB of registered capital plus a net capital of over 702 million RMB.

    Nanhua Futures offers brokerage services to institutional, corporate, and individual clients.

    As one of China’s top futures brokerage companies, Nanhua Futures provides its customers with stable, high-performance financial services. However, its existing IT systems were unable to deliver the performance and reliability required to manage its rapid growth.

    Nanhua Futures chose Huawei’s OceanStor Dorado-based active-active and geo-redundant Disaster Recovery (DR) solution, that removes system performance bottlenecks, improves transaction performance by over 3 times, and provides 99.9999 percent availability.


    Ground-Breaking Performance

    As an industry-leading financial services provider, Nanhua Futures’ top priority has always been its timely response to the requirements of its users. However, recent surges in user numbers and business volume overwhelmed its existing systems. Nanhua Futures’ IT department concluded that its traditional storage system was the main performance bottleneck, and new technologies were required to address this issue.

    Nanhua Futures often encountered more than 10 milliseconds of latency during peak service usage, severely affecting user experience. It planned to use all-flash storage or hyper-convergence technology to resolve this issue, and looked to Huawei’s OceanStor Dorado, that has high Input/output Operations per Second (IOPS) and low latency. OceanStor Dorado also delivers performance results twice that of other hyper-convergence and all-flash technologies. In actual deployment, the OceanStor Dorado eliminates system bottlenecks and improves system processing capability from 60,000 to 150,000 transactions per second, improving customer experience considerably.

    With its FlashLink® technology, specifically designed for all-flash storage, Huawei’s OceanStor Dorado offers a stable 0.5 milliseconds of latency and can scale up to 16 controllers, satisfying Nanhua Futures’ future business development requirements.


    Economic and Efficient

    With new services continuously becoming active online and a growing user base, Nanhua Futures has experienced an explosive increase in its total data volumes, almost tripling over the past three years. The OceanStor Dorado leverages inline de-duplication and compression to guarantee at least a 5:1 data reduction ratio without affecting performance. This helps Nanhua Futures easily manage its growing data volumes while lowering its TCO by more than 50 percent.


    Always-On Critical Business

    Nanhua Futures needed to provide its users with highly efficient transactions, robust data security, and ongoing business continuity. The OceanStor Dorado employs a variety of technologies to ensure robust security.

    Huawei’s HyperMetro-based (active-active) solution uses dual arbitration to implement real-time switchover and ensure that services are always-on, even in the event of a disaster. Its gateway-free design simplifies networking and maintenance, lowers latency, and reduces storage expansion costs, all while removing performance bottlenecks.


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  • Story

    A Modern Digital Symphony in an Ancient City

    Huawei’s Wi-Fi provides superior Internet access for Prague’s Metro.

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    The annual Prague Spring International Music Festival is one of the biggest cultural events in Czech and also one of the most important music festivals worldwide. Each year, prestigious musicians, symphony orchestras, and chamber orchestras gather here to share their love of music, and their performances resonate with music lovers of all kinds across the world.

    Most of the fans choose public transportation, especially metros, during their stay on this land full of cultural heritages. But here is a little-known fact: While enjoying the beautiful classical music in Prague, the fans are also experiencing a digital symphony composed by Huawei and the Prague Public Transport Company (DPP).


    Burdens on Prague’s Metro Network

    DPP, founded on September 1, 1897, has been providing high quality services to Prague citizens and tourists since its debut.

    Metros serve as the backbone of the entire public transportation system in Prague. To avoid the bustling traffic in the downtown area, more citizens choose to travel by subway. DPP has 61 stations on three lines (A, B and C) with a total length of 65.2 kilometers. Commuters heavily rely on the Internet surfing as the best option to kill the long travel time. It has become a commonplace in the metro that people watch online entertainment videos like live concerts on their phones. However, their time-killer was faced with several challenges: Lack of free Wi-Fi coverage, slow 2G EDGE network access, unstable 4G signal, and restricted data service. The entertainment experience enabled by seamless connectivity was never enjoyed. Even worse was that websites could not be accessed sometimes. A foreign tourist once complained: “I was talking to a friend on a social media App about going to a concert together. However, when I stepped into the metro, the communication got constantly interrupted. That really spoiled our conversation.”

    As part of the public infrastructure, metro network coverage should not only meet passengers’ daily needs for network, but should guarantee the metro safety, which is one of the most important considerations for DPP. Using the network to enable emergency communications and video surveillance, the company can provide online traffic information, emergency alarm, and safety guidance to passengers anytime anywhere to ensure a safe and stable operation of the metro. Therefore, the stability of the network becomes exceptionally crucial. Taking into account these complex requirements, DPP chose Huawei to help build a brand-new metro network. Huawei’s one-stop ICT infrastructure and digital platforms outperform many competitors in terms of performance, reliability, and management. For instance, Huawei’s solution enables connectivity without single points of failure at stations covered by signals. It also provides high-density coverage and unified management of wired and wireless infrastructures and firewalls. Moreover, Huawei has a good track record in metro network deployments worldwide. All these advantages make Huawei an ideal partner for DPP to reinvent its metro network system.


    Securing a Stable and Smooth Network

    Network reliability is fundamental to high quality ICT service experiences. The high reliability of the network core layer is especially important. In the core layer of DPP’s metro network, Huawei uses its Agile Switch S12704, which offers the CSS2 technology, a switch fabric hardware clustering system that allows 1+N backup of Main Processing Units (MPUs). With this technology, as long as one MPU in any chassis of the system functions normally, the multi-chassis service can operate stably, greatly improving the reliability of the cluster system. Huawei also provides the lowest 4 μs cross-chassis delay in the industry, allowing smoother traffic forwarding across chassis and ensuring a stable, high-speed and uninterrupted network.

    Providing High-density Network Coverage

    To provide better network access in densely populated areas in the metro, Huawei recommends using AP6050DN/AP7050DN/AP7052DE. These APs are in compliance with the 802.11ac Wave 2 standard, support 4 x 4 MU-MIMO, and provide a rate of up to 2.53 Gbit/s. Of particular note is the smart antenna array technology adopted by the AP7052DE. This technology brings more accurate user perception, automatically suppresses interference, and greatly enhances users’ experience in using wireless networks. In terms of network deployment, Huawei uses the self-developed WLAN-based 3D network planning tool to cope with the 3D deployment space. Factors affecting network quality in a 3D space are considered to replicate the real world scenario, eliminating the errors made when using the traditional planning method under complex environments. Radio frequency (RF) interference between APs is avoided, ensuring a dead-zone-free coverage in the metro stations. Four high-density access technologies (low-speed terminal control, multi-user conflict control, multi-user access scheduling, and Airtime scheduling) are adopted to ensure high-speed network services in a high-density crowd scenario.

    Simplifying Network O&M

    An eSight platform efficiently manages the wired and wireless networks. Through the vertical virtualization technology of agile switches, Huawei virtualizes multiple devices (core, aggregation, access, and APs) into one logical device for simplified management. Access Switches (ASs) are visualized as cards of modular switches, and APs as ports, thereby unifying and simplifying the management of services, equipment and users. In this way, the administrator’s workload is reduced and O&M efficiency is greatly improved.

    Huawei Wi-Fi has provided a high quality and convenient Internet access in public places, which has improved network security and user experience and delivered a new subway travel experience. According to an independent test, Metro Wi-Fi is crowned as the top transportation network in Prague (download speed is 117 Mbit/s, and upload speed is 68.1 Mbit/s, according to idnes.cz). With a stable and reliable network featured by efficient O&M, DPP will provide passengers with more and better services.

    Martin Gillar, CEO of DPP, said: “Once connected to the Wi-Fi network, passengers will be informed about Prague online traffic information using their smart devices. This will allow DPP to immediately propagate the information on metro line transfer or safety instructions to passengers in case of any emergency.”

    Digitalization is the first step in the long journey towards the ultimate goal of intelligentization. Huawei is looking forward to playing with DPP an even more beautiful symphony about intelligent transportation.

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  • Story

    Safe Mauritius, the Inspiration for Heaven

    Huawei and Mauritius create a safer island with monitoring, unified communications, crisis management.

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    Mauritius, a volcanic island in eastern Africa, is located in the southwestern part of the Indian Ocean, 2,200 kilometers from the African continent. It is surrounded by coral reefs and has a variety of natural wonders. Mark Twain once said, “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius.” Now the island has become a garden paradise for people from all across the world to enjoy. In 2017, 1.35 million tourists visited Mauritius, and that number is estimated to grow by 5.1 percent in 2018, making tourism one of Mauritius’s core industries.

    Tourists can stroll the fine white-sand beach of Île aux Cerfs, marvel at the rare seven-colored earths of Chamarel, enjoy giant water lilies at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, or witness holy weddings in Notre Dame Auxiliatrice. But no matter the pursuit, guaranteed safety is a must for leisurely holidays and prosperous tourism.


    Improving Policing and Efficiency with Science and Technology

    Urbanization has generated centralized and intensive population distribution in Mauritius, which has led to the gradual deterioration of public safety. The number of criminal cases increased from 3,601 in 2012 to 5,361 in 2016, with a compound annual growth rate of 10.3 percent, increasing the crime rate from 32.68 percent to 36.66 percent over the past five years.

    Mauritius’s current police resources are insufficient to handle this surge in crime. The island’s call-taking and dispatching system and dispatch system are independent of each other, and there is no real command center. Four analog phones receive all emergency calls from the entire nation, which still uses manual dispatching. All this leads to time-consuming call taking and dispatching, low efficiency, and a lack of collaboration — making it difficult to respond to reported incidents within 15 seconds and handle them within 15 minutes.

    The island’s Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) surveillance system was installed in 2010. It features low video resolution (720p) and cannot be used with intelligent applications. As a result, videos have to be manually filtered, which reduces efficiency when compared with modern, automated systems.

    In addition, the lack of surveillance facilities and converged command centers makes it difficult for Mauritius’s Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport to comprehensively detect, analyze, and then disperse urban traffic in real time.

    These conditions not only hinder the rapid growth of tourism, but also negatively impact the overall economic development of Mauritius and the well being of its citizens.

    Born at the right time to meet one of the key goals of the government’s ‘2030 vision’, the installation of a Safe City infrastructure is part of the country’s national strategy and aims to transform Mauritius into a safe and stable country and make it the first African nation with integrated safety and intelligence. While promoting tourism, the government hopes to attract foreign investment with safety and intelligence features that will safeguard economic prosperity and improve public happiness.

    Mauritius has reached a consensus for improving policing and efficiency with science and technology. The government hopes to use new ICT technologies to better equip the Mauritius Police Force (MPF) and Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport to apply proactive monitoring, early warnings, unified communications, and crisis management. These new technologies will strengthen public safety and optimize transportation.

    Safe City construction in Mauritius involves the following aspects:

    • Converged command: Integrated video surveillance, videoconferencing, and eLTE terminal video convergence solutions that enhance negotiation, command, and decision-making efficiency.

    • Public safety monitoring: Support for HD cameras and video storage

    • Intelligent Traffic System (ITS): Intelligent checkpoints supporting latest technologies for traffic surveillance.

    • Service cloudification: All-cloud data centers simplify O&M and save space.


    Building an All-Cloud Safe City

    To meet the requirements of the MPF and Government of Mauritius, Huawei proposed to help Mauritius build an all-cloud Safe City based on the concept of ‘one cloud and one pool’ to bring the digital world to every corner of the island.

    ‘One cloud’ refers to the unified and flexible scheduling of computing and storage resources based on cloud computing, which provides efficient cloud resource services, and ‘one pool’ focuses on data and refers to the centralized, mixed storage and shared scheduling of multiple data sources, such as video, images, voice, and structured data.

    Huawei is the only vendor in the industry that can simultaneously integrate converged command, intelligent surveillance, intelligent transportation, and cloud computing — and its Safe City solution has been deployed in 230 cities in more than 90 countries and regions.

    Mauritius Telecom (MT) and Huawei enjoy a successful cooperation foundation in the telecom market, and the Mauritius government chose both Huawei and MT to jointly transform the island into a country with integrated safety and intelligence. As a state-owned telecom company, MT is responsible for popularizing telecom services and improving the level of national information access to international standards. Therefore, MT is proactively involved in the ICT infrastructure and safe country construction in Mauritius.

    Huawei’s comprehensive Safe City solution consists of six subsystems and adopts the design concept of ‘platform + ecosystem’. It combines industry best practices with Huawei’s ICT capabilities to achieve the optimal combination of various applications.

    • Unified command center: Consists of a Command and Control Centre (CCC), a Traffic Monitoring Center (TMC), and seven Sub-Command Centers (SCCs); integrates the Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD), Integrated Communication Platform (ICP), and Internet Protocol Contact Center (IPCC) solutions; supports various communication modes such as voice, video, and data; provides the customer with 150 IP phones. The command center displays various types of information in a visualized manner, applying unified resource scheduling and improving collaboration between departments.

    • Emergency communications: 45 base stations, 4,500 mobile terminals, and 500 eLTE onboard and desktop terminals send on-site video and images to the command center in real time, achieving visualized dispatching and timely responses.

    • Intelligent Video Surveillance (IVS): 4,000 HD cameras (3,000 box cameras and 1,000 dome cameras), 2,000 sites, video storage for 30 days ISV applications, can apply in-depth interconnection and optimization with Huawei’s video cloud platform to enable accelerated launch and zero-risk delivery.

    • Intelligent road surveillance: 75 intelligent checkpoints, 300 ANPR checkpoints, and 150 traffic cameras provide functions such as traffic data collection, and video recording.

    • IT devices and data centers provide state of the art cloud infrastructures, including E9000 converged architecture blade servers, OceanStor 2800 video cloud converged storage systems, and Dorado V3 all-flash storage. Compared with traditional appliance solutions, Huawei’s Smart City solution saves 40 percent of equipment room space. In addition, Huawei’s Bare Metal Service (BMS) provides the customer with the ultimate physical server performance as well as the same convenient experience as Virtual Machine (VM) provisioning. In this way, services can be quickly migrated to the cloud without changes. Huawei also provides the eSight Safe City and data center converged management solutions to simplify Safe City and data center O&M, help O&M personnel rectify system faults, and ensure stable Safe City monitoring.


    Paving the Road to an Intelligent Mauritius

    Delivery of the project’s first phase is currently underway, with completion expected in 2019. Once the project is successfully delivered, the solution will provide visualized command and efficient collaboration for the MPF. Emergency response time (call taking and dispatching) will be reduced to less than 15 minutes, the emergency handling efficiency will be improved by 60 percent, and the linkage between the Safe City system and incident reporting system will effectively reduce crime rates.

    Huawei’s Safe City solution can prevent crimes targeted towards the normal citizen, tourists, students, elderly persons etc before they occur. There are many scenarios where this deployment will apply or enhance policing such as robbery cases, pick pocketing, reduction of crime, road traffic incidents or non-compliances to road traffic acts and last but not least drug trafficking.

    Huawei and its partners believe that the all-cloud Safe City solution will transform Mauritius into a safer country, attract more foreign investment, promote economic development, improve public safety, and maintain social stability. Huawei aims to convert Mauritius into a safer and livable country, and help the island move towards the intelligent world.

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  • Interview

    AI Empowers Proactive Technical Services

    An interview with Hank Stokbroekx, Vice President, Enterprise Services, Huawei Enterprise Business Group

    Hank Stokbroekx

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    You’re listening to New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Join us as we talk to innovators and thought leaders from around the world.


    New Horizons: Hi everyone. We’re back with Hank Stokbroekx, Vice President of Enterprise Services for Huawei Enterprise, and today we’re going to be talking about digital disruption and AI. So Hank, can you fill us in on what you’re working on?

    Hank Stokbroekx: Glad to be back on the program. Digital disruption is something that is frequently being discussed in the media, also with the experts, of course, within businesses as well — particularly around AI, Artificial Intelligence, and the impact that might or will have on businesses. And obviously Huawei, being a technology company, one of the largest in the world, we’re also very much focused on looking at what AI, can do for businesses, for industries. How will it impact ourselves? How can we use it for our own benefit?

    Digital disruption and Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, are all topics that are very much on the minds of executives these days. Businesses, governments, etc., and obviously Huawei is looking to play an active role in that.


    New Horizons: How is AI going to affect digital disruption? What part does it play?


    Hank Stokbroekx: Well, that’s a very good question. AI, Artificial Intelligence, actually the term is already maybe 50, 60 years old. If you look at what Turing did with his machine, that was already could be considered Artificial Intelligence. So Artificial Intelligence in itself is not really new, but for a long time, the technology just wasn’t capable of applying that theory in a massive scale.

    Now, with the reduced cost of storage with the much better compute power that we have, with cloud computing, with big data analysis, with the availability of big data, now suddenly AI becomes much more realistic — and particularly machine learning, which is kind of like a subset of Artificial Intelligence.

    Machine learning, in particular, is now much more available to businesses and governments and even people, which wasn’t the case before. So even though AI and ML, machine learning, had been around for a while, the tools just weren’t capable of doing what we wanted it to do, but now with the technology where it is today, that’s actually become much more realistic.


    New Horizons: And which industries are you seeing that are being disrupted today by AI?


    Hank Stokbroekx: Actually, every industry to be honest, seriously — also our own industry, the IT, I’m in the technical services. Also, services are being disrupted by digital technologies.

    Take for instance, voice recognition. These days, when you call a help desk, 95 percent of the time you get a person on the phone. With the improvements being made in voice recognition, natural language processing, the ability of replacing these people with computers is actually very realistic.

    Now you could wonder, Is that a good thing? Well that’s another discussion maybe, but the reality is that computer just has certain advantages over a person. A computer is much better at rapidly going through an enormous amount of data and coming up with an answer. So if you have a massive amount of data from previous reports or incidents that customers have reported to you, the computer can very quickly analyze, “Okay, you have this problem?” I can in a split-second search my database, and come up with a right answer, and show that to the customer in a natural language. For a human, that would actually take more time.

    Plus, a computer obviously works 24/7, never gets tired, never gets bored, never gets angry. So there are these benefits to using a computer over a person. There are other many examples of where that’s not the case, but this is just one particular example, where a computer can complement what other humans are doing.


    New Horizons: Right, there’s two aspects to that. The AI can be an assistant to somebody in their job, or potentially replace a job, but would that be creating potentially new and different types of jobs?


    Hank Stokbroekx: Well exactly, I mean for instance if a helpdesk person would be replaced by computer, a helpdesk person could probably move on within the organization to do something more advanced that the computer cannot do. So, it actually would help that person to move up in their career and start doing maybe more interesting things than what they were doing today. So give them new opportunity to do more interesting things.


    New Horizons: Right, so they’re not going to lose their attention span when they’re doing a boring, or mundane, or repetitive job.


    Hank Stokbroekx: Exactly, yeah and actually I think that’s a key point if you look at AI and ML today is that it’s able to do repetitive work much better. And there is still a lot of repetitive work to be done everywhere in every industry. And AI is just able to do that more efficiently and allow people to do more interesting things rather than this repetitive work.


    New Horizons: Right, well your focus is on technical services and in providing support for our customers; so how is AI going to affect that industry?


    Hank Stokbroekx: Okay, good question. For instance, AI, ML, relies on big data. You need to have an enormous amount of data, and then the algorithm can detect trends in that data, and start to do predictions. Most of company’s services, IT service companies, these days are still in a reactive mode. You have a problem, you call, we fix it, done.

    What would be much better if we would call you, the customer, and say, “Well, Mr. Customer, there’s a 98 percent chance that within the next three weeks you’re going to have this and this problem.” And we can say that because we have analyzed the big data from other customers; and based upon that, if you have an environment that looks like this, then statistically the chances of something happening will be this and this and this. So we can actually call you and actually prevent that problem from occurring, because I can be proactive, just have a schedule that every three months, I’m going to come to your place, do some work in order to proactively prevent problems.

    I still don’t know whether that problem is actually going to happen or not, but I’m going to do it anyway. That’s proactive.

    Predictive is saying, well, I have pretty good information that something is going to happen, and I’m going to prevent it. That’s predictive, which is much more difficult. You need to have that big data analysis with the trend and the algorithm to actually learn from it, because that big data is so big, if you do it properly, that no human can do the analysis. You need to have the learning algorithm to understand what the trends are, and actually by constantly feeding it more data, it will get more and more accurate over time. So it will actually learn, which is a key part of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.

    Maybe sometimes, it will make a mistake. It should learn, the algorithm, from its mistakes and success as well. That’s the key part of the algorithm, which actually makes it intelligent. That will make a big change in the service industry, in the IT service industry, in no longer sitting by the phone waiting for customers to call with a problem, but actually reaching out to customers and saying, “Well, you know, I am aware, we’re going to do something about this. Otherwise, you will most likely have a problem in the next three weeks.”


    New Horizons: Right, right.


    Hank Stokbroekx: Which obviously for everybody, it’s much better.


    New Horizons: I would think so, and now you’ve written a paper on this subject going a lot more in depth, because I’m sure you could wax poetic about this for several hours.


    Hank Stokbroekx: Sure.


    New Horizons: Where can people find the article?


    Hank Stokbroekx: So the article is published on CIO.com.


    New Horizons: Okay.


    Hank Stokbroekx: So if you search for “digital disruption in the service industry” or look for my name, you will probably find it pretty easily.


    New Horizons: Okay great. Well Hank, thanks again for joining us.


    Hank Stokbroekx: You’re welcome.


    New Horizons: And looking forward to the next interesting topic that you want to bring to us.


    Hank Stokbroekx: Okay, for sure.


    New Horizons: Again, we’ve been talking with Hank Stokbroekx, Vice President of Technical Services for Huawei Enterprise. And again, Hank, we’ll have you back again soon.


    Hank Stokbroekx: Sounds good, thanks.


    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. If you enjoyed it, please be sure and share it on social media. Once again, thanks for listening.


    Biography

    Hank Stokbroekx is the VP of Huawei Enterprise Services. Based in Shenzhen, he looks after the service marketing, leveraging his 25 years in the IT industry to build and deliver high-value services for partners and customers.

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  • Story

    New ISP Network Boosts Philippine Economy

    Converge ICT uses Huawei WAN solution to build an intelligent, ultra-broadband, simplified network.

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    The Philippines offers a variety of economically significant local specialties, such as mangoes from Luzon Island, Barong Tagalog shirts, wood carvings from the Banaue Rice Terraces, and a diversity of bags and carpets made from Manila hemp — to name a few.

    Tourist sales locally are limited, but e-commerce boosts revenues for Philippine vendors. Network bandwidth is essential, and reliable, fast, and affordable network services are a must.

    In addition to e-commerce, new economic and business models are constantly emerging on digital platforms, such as online gaming, HD video, and social media. In addition, the Philippines has become the “call center capital” of the world.

    Thus, network development is vital to the advancement of the national digital economy of the Philippines.

    Converge ICT (Converge) is a pure fiber Internet service provider. It is a leading player in the all-optical broadband access industry, with licenses for fixed networks, fiber optics, cable TV, enterprise private lines, fixed broadband, and wireless broadband services. Driven by the demand for high-speed network services, the company is dedicated to deploying a modern and scalable network infrastructure.

    Converge has deployed an extensive fiber optic network, covering Central Luzon, the national Capital Region, and South Luzon. It plans to provide affordable, high-quality fiber Internet services to the largest audience possible.

    Converge started as a cable TV operator. Its live network was a Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network and was the base for the growth of its Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) service. With continuous innovations, bandwidth-hungry services like 4K and 3D video began to proliferate, which drove the need for more bandwidth.

    To fulfill its mission to ensure that the country can cope with these digital demands, the company decided to roll out the Philippines’ first pure end-to-end fiber network. Since the initial roll-out, Converge has provided its clientele with maximum Internet connectivity.

    Today, Converge is expanding its Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) service market in Metro Manila by providing customers with reliable, high-quality, and high-speed optical network services. To this end, Converge has specified a reliable and elastic network that will deliver high input-output ratios for contemporary data center requirements. This network must also improve support for the current enterprise private line and home broadband access services and support future services, such as FTTH, enterprise data, data center, cloud, and Smart City services throughout the country.

    “Early on, we felt we needed a network that was reliable, scalable, cost-effective, and allowed us to easily implement new products and services,” said Jesus Romero, Converge’s Chief Operating Officer. “And we are very pleased that we were able to, in fact, get that with Huawei.”

    Huawei has built a professional network of consulting, planning, construction, and maintenance teams. Since 2006, Huawei’s global consultants have provided consulting services for over 120 operators in more than 70 countries or regions to help operators resolve problems and improve competitiveness.

    With a full understanding of Converge’s current network situation and future plans, Huawei helped them sort out and explore potential high-value customers and develop solutions for current and future network construction and services.

    Agile WAN Solutions Meet Large Bandwidth and Network Evolution Requirements

    Huawei proposed its Agile WAN Solution to Converge, which will use NE40E universal service routers to build a Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC) 2.0 network. The network helps Converge build an intelligent, ultra-broadband, and simplified network that meets service development and network evolution needs.

    IP + optical synergy affords one-click service deployment. The IP + optical synergy solution applies cross-layer network resource integration and automatic cross-domain topology discovery, simplifies O&M, and achieves end-to-end service deployment in minutes.

    The 2 Tbit/s large-capacity line cards meet large bandwidth service requirements. Built on a 2T platform, the NE40E series energy-efficient routers support smooth capacity expansion to 2 Tbit/s per slot, which allows for large-capacity service support and meets future increased bandwidth requirements.

    Hierarchical Quality of Service (HQoS) meets user service experience requirements and is applied in an end-to-end manner. It allows fine-grained service scheduling by differentiating users and services and provides large buffers, low latency, and high reliability to ensure superior service quality user experience.

    Broadband remote server access in multiple scenarios and hot-standby technology ensure non-stop services. Users can access the network in Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet (PPPoE), Internet Protocol over Ethernet (IPoE), dial-up, private line, wired, or wireless modes. Five authentication modes are supported, affording unified user access for the entire network. And hot-standby technology allows user information to be backed up between active and standby devices with rapid and covert traffic switching.


    Helping Converge Become a Top FTTH Provider

    From the Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (DWDM) backbone and Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) core, to the MAN, and to the access network, Converge’s network is largely built by Huawei.

    The renewed Converge network is more reliable and stable, achieving lower latency, higher speeds, and easier O&M — all of which help Converge quickly launch new products and services. Most important, the new network will help Converge better meet customer requirements and automatically distribute services suited for market needs. The network is beneficial for e-commerce companies that sell Philippine specialties; Internet enterprises providing online live streaming and HD video services; innovative enterprises that engage in local social media or sharing platforms; and citizens — all helping to vigorously promote a robust digital economy. In partnership with Huawei, Converge has enhanced its reputation for providing FTTH services that create superior customer experiences.

    “Huawei has been responsive in terms of support,” Jesus Romero, Chief Operating Officer of Converge, said. “In terms of pricing, they remain competitive, and they help us a lot with strategy planning, what to do next, and where to go — which is one key area where we feel we should continue and expand cooperation.”

    “Early on we felt we needed a network that was reliable, scalable, cost-effective, and allowed us to easily implement new products and services. And we are very pleased that we were able to, in fact, get that with Huawei.”

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  • Interview

    AI Lets Cities Learn to be Smart

    An interview with Edwin Diender, Vice President, Government & Public Utility Sector, Huawei Enterprise Business Group

    Edwin Diender

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    New Horizons: You are listening to New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Join us as we talk to innovators and thought leaders from around the world.

    Hi everyone. Today, we’re here with Edwin Diender who’s the Vice President of government and public utility sectors the Enterprise Business Group at Huawei. And this is going to a three-part interview, and we’re going to talk about Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence; Smart Cities and the IoT; and Smart Cities and Big Data. So, first of all, let me introduce Edwin. Edwin thanks for joining us today.


    Edwin Diender: My pleasure to be here, thank you.


    New Horizons: So, Edwin, what can you tell us about Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence?


    Edwin Diender: Well, what is not to tell about it because there is a lot. Maybe we should start first with where Huawei positions Smart Cities first.


    New Horizons: Fair enough.


    Edwin Diender: And then see if we can link it to Artificial Intelligence if that’s okay with you.


    New Horizons: Sure.


    Edwin Diender: So, for Huawei, Smart City is not something that you can get a purchase order for because it’s not something that sits in a box as such.


    New Horizons: Right.


    Edwin Diender: For Huawei — the idea or the principal — would be more on a conceptual level. We’re looking at it as something like a platform that’s capable of linking different programs and initiatives that would allow and help a city, or a residential area, or what have you, move higher up the value chain.

    And these different programs and initiatives combined eventually would lead to, let’s say, a Smarter City. Artificial Intelligence would be a component where you could think of pieces of technology that do not require any pre-configuration, any pre-staging, and maybe not even configuration, or onsite implementations. What we mean by that is consider Artificial Intelligence almost like a brain of a child, waiting to be opened up to be addressed, and via learning-by-example, and learning-by-doing.

    It builds experience and handles as such. An artificial component in a Smart City as an example could learn from other elements in the city by itself and understand maybe an Artificial Intelligent-enabled camera would perhaps just be put in the network of the city, and it understands automatically that it looks at images of maybe cars that are speeding.

    Without the camera itself needing to be configured to do that because from an artificial intelligent component such a camera would get it, and it would also learn. Perhaps the crossroad that it’s looking at today has a speed limit of 50 miles an hour, and maybe over time, perhaps the city government decide that perhaps the speeding limit should go to 30 miles an hour. Normally speaking, all these speeding cameras need to be configured separately.

    And at one moment, it needs to be pushed into all these cameras, so they get it now. There’s a new rule that applies. That would be one example.


    New Horizons: Okay.


    Edwin Diender: Another example of Artificial Intelligence for cities would mean it understands what it does, and what happens with traffic congestion as an example, or maybe water floods from canals, or levies that are rising, and it understands that it relates perhaps to a weather report that sits in a database that it has pieces of information from it. It can learn from it, and it then understands that there are similarities from back then to today, and it needs to do something with notification, or what have you.


    New Horizons: Well, would another example be let’s say there’s a big football event in a city, and the city may not be really well set up for traffic flow, for a large influx of cars, and trucks, and all the catering that has to happen.

    Where an AI could learn or be told that, you know, on this particular day there’s going to be an event. You may need to monitor or change traffic signaling intervals, how long the lights go… or, to be able to move traffic around. Would that be a good example?


    Edwin Diender: That would be a very fair, and a very perfect example; another example of how and where Artificial Intelligence comes in. Another point that we could perhaps bring to our conversation is the one that when it comes to intelligence, there is not really a clear definition of what intelligence actually is. That makes it very hard to then determine the artificial side of that. And as a result, of that it makes it very difficult to put in place whatever anyone could think about what artificial actually is, or what Artificial Intelligence actually does.

    All the examples that we’ve now discussed could be debated as yeah, you know, those are examples of advanced algorithms, which is fair because they are, but that’s exactly what a child’s brain processes in a very advanced way. It goes from trial and error. It does something and learns from it. It puts a hand on a stove, and it understands that this is too hot to handle are all part of a learning process, and to improve the capacity of a brain of a child to prepare that child for whatever comes next.

    I think when it comes to Artificial Intelligence in city and in city management, as I said before, it’s not something that you can buy out of a box. You cannot buy a Smart City. It is a process, and it moves higher up the value chain, and as such, it learns by trial and error. It learns from mistakes, and it learns from things that go very well. It triggers incentives just like a child’s brain would do it. I think Artificial Intelligence and Smart Cities combined are a learning curve. They’re on a learning track which I think is very, very interesting to be a part of.


    New Horizons: Well, and I agree with you. I think it’s absolutely right. We’re still in the fairly early stages of Artificial Intelligence development. They have a very narrow focus, there’s no general purpose AI, yet. So, what would be another potential example in closing out this first part of the discussion about Artificial Intelligence in Smart Cities?


    Edwin Diender: The component and the element of Artificial Intelligence within Smart Cities is something that sits very much on the side of the equation where you could say items are AI-enabled or AI-prepared.

    It means, in all fairness, that whatever we as Huawei Technologies are able to put in place is that the solution stack that we provide for Smart City deployment are AI-prepared, and AI-enabled for whatever bright application, or for whatever Artificial Intelligence service is coming up in university labs, as an example, to be put in place, and to be tested and to be monitored, and to be controlled.

    That is where Huawei sits right now. We provide a solution stack that is AI-enabled, that has the early features and functionalities of what eventually Artificial Intelligence in the full meaning of the word, encompasses as a potential: from a chip set point of view, from an application-carrying point of view, from a distribution, and a transmission, and a data collection, and analysis, and from a self-learning, and a deep learning point of view.


    New Horizons: Would you say that most major cities have some type of Artificial Intelligence or Smart City long term plans, or should they?


    Edwin Diender: They should. I wouldn’t say that all or the majority of most cities would have this in their, let’s say on paper. What they have is a clear view of the fact that they need to do something, and they need to move higher up the value chain over a certain amount of time. What they struggle with is what to do, and what to do first. And they do think in a digital way. So, digital transformation, digitalization, and digitization — which are two different things — are in their minds. I think what that also means is that within that is a component of Artificial Intelligence already embedded, but it’s not clear because there is no definition yet. The very defined, and very end-to-end, in a very closed definition.


    New Horizons: Well, I don’t think we’re going to ever see things become less complicated. I mean entropy rules. So, this is a very interesting subject that I’d like to touch on again at some point in the future. So, I think this is a good stopping point for the first section talking about AI and Smart Cities, and please stay tuned for part two which we’ll be talking about Smart Cities and IoT.


    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. If you enjoyed it, please be sure to share it on social media. Once again, thanks for listening.


    Biography

    Edwin Diender is a blue ocean strategist, thought leader, and frequent speaker at events around the world. Adept on a range of subjects, from big data to safe and smart cities, to enterprise solutions. Not a salesman, not a technologist. Tech strategist, accustomed to larger concepts.

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  • Interview

    The IoT Heralds a Healthy, Holistic Smart City

    An interview with Edwin Diender, Vice President, Government & Public Utility Sector, Huawei Enterprise Business Group

    Edwin Diender

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    You’re listening to New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Join us as we talk to innovators and thought leaders from around the world.


    New Horizons: Well, thanks everyone. We’re back for Part Two with Edwin Diender and Smart Cities and we’re going to talk about IoT, which also ties into, of course, Artificial Intelligence that the IoT provides the sensor bases for. So, educate us on IoT in Smart Cities.


    Edwin Diender: Well, the element of IoT, so the Internet of Things, have been available to cities already for a long time. One key example is one that I think originates from the 1970s, where sensor technology is being used as a copper wire ring that sits in the tarmac that you’re standing on with your car when you’re waiting for a red light. All the lanes and all the crossroads at a junction have these links. There is a system behind it.

    You could say maybe that time wasn’t connected to the Internet, but it was some sort of a network of things that understands that in lane one, from north to south, there’s a car waiting at a red light; and the other three lanes, or the other three entrances and exits of the crossroad doesn’t have a car at all; or maybe they’ve got two, and one lane has five. So that’s more cars waiting. So that has some sort of intelligence already behind it and it has some sort of a network of things already attached and combined and working for it. Interconnectivity and network of interconnected things. So we’ve got a World Wide Web, not of computers, but a World Wide Web of sensors and a World Wide Web of things which are connected: sharing information, messaging, sometimes talk to each other, and IoT in a city provides the ability to not have a human eye with a human failure of the eye, looking at things maybe with a certain latency or a certain preoccupancy, but it’s very straightforward. It’s very black and white.

    It could be a sensor that understands humidity, it understands pollution in the air, it understands water pressure, and all these things combined can provide input to what you could say is the ‘brain’ of a Smart City: An Intelligence Operations Center that translates and transforms all these pieces of data into information and that converts this information into insight and that can give maybe notification. A notification that in linkage with perhaps the weather report, water rises at a certain area, or in a certain rural area, or in certain outskirts of a city to a certain level which is similar to three, four years ago when we had a major flood. So we probably need to anticipate.


    New Horizons: Right and there was an interesting partner exhibition at CeBIT 2018, where there was a smart manhole cover, where it was not only able to monitor potential water rising, but monitoring access to the conduits that run there that are you know actually quite valuable in the materials that are used. So in maybe rural areas you want to monitor access to those so people don’t come in and steal copper, or you know, electrocuting themselves.


    Edwin Diender: Correct, I don’t know how many kilovolts of electricity that goes through copper wire infrastructure. Do we close it at the moment the manhole cover goes open: yes or no?


    New Horizons: Excellent point.


    Edwin Diender: I think it’s also fair to say that sometimes ICT, or computing technology, has been put in place to take away the human resources on that, because a computer can do it better and faster than a human. I think that’s not the way we should and that’s not the way we have to look at it. What it should do and what it does in the majority of the cases is, number one, it is adding to the resources. Every investment in computing requires almost four or five people around it to maintain it, to manage it, and to uphold it. Does it take away jobs at some point? Yeah it does, but it creates five other types of jobs back.


    New Horizons: Right.


    Edwin Diender: In return, perhaps it makes the job of the current people more efficient and more productive. So it doesn’t take away the job from them. It makes them more focused on the actual job that they have, or the thing that they need to do in their job, in the right priority, and in the right priority settings.


    New Horizons: Well, maybe reducing a mundane or boring job which they may end up losing focus on over time and relegating that to a particular device to do that, so they can focus on higher level.


    Edwin Diender: Or get rid of paperwork.


    New Horizons: Right.


    Edwin Diender: Or repetitive actions, or repetitive activities which are a waste of time, and there’s a lot of time wasters. Another example of the Internet of Things in Smart Cities is where all things connected create a more holistic view of anything and everything that goes on in a certain area, which is very key for City Managers to understand what goes on in their city and if they need to anticipate on it. The Internet of Things allows us, together with backend infrastructures where big data analytics and Artificial Intelligence component sits, to help us in a decision-making tree and a decision-making process to do things faster, more on point if you like; or because of the time-saving component within it, it gives us more time to rethink, or to think better about the decision that we’re about to make, which lowers the level of mistakes actually.


    New Horizons: Well you know and that ties in to something you were mentioning: water and floods. But also when you talk about utilities you know, water quality, water main breaks, electricity breaks, gas line breaks.


    Edwin Diender: Anything.


    New Horizons: Things like that. It gives you the ability to understand what’s happening in the environment so you can dispatch services to take care of those problems and make sure that people’s services aren’t interrupted.


    Edwin Diender: Very, very true. Just like with any other piece of information or information system that is out there, there’s two ways of looking at it. We look at it from a project-by-project basis, which has a stop and go motion. There is an issue somewhere, we need to solve it. Can we find sensor technology, or is the element of Internet of Things helping us to do so, to create this holistic environment that has a 360-degree view on everything and anything that goes on in the city.

    The point I’m trying to make is the idea and the principle of the Internet of Things from Huawei’s point of view is to provide a platform that understands and that speaks the majority of all these different languages that are already out there, and that creates a horizontal layer of technology that is capable of bridging and overlaying all these information silos without necessarily needing to replace, or needing to upgrade them. The focus that we have at our platform is to integrate and to create an interoperability between all these silos and take it from there as a starting point. The Internet of Things for Huawei is also to look not just at the things, but at anything, at any moment in time.


    New Horizons: And I think that’s a perfect stopping point for our second part in the three-part series. Edwin, thanks for your expertise in IoT and again, I’d like to come back at some point in the future, and explore it a little bit more. It’s a very deep subject.


    Edwin Diender: My pleasure, thank you.


    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. If you enjoyed it, please be sure to share it on social media. Once again, thanks for listening.


    Biography

    Edwin Diender is a blue ocean strategist, thought leader and frequent speaker at events around the world. Adept on a range of subjects, from big data to safe and smart cities, to enterprise solutions. Not a salesman, not a technologist. Tech strategist, accustomed to larger concepts.

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  • Interview

    Big Data Prepares Smart Cities for Every Situation

    An interview with Edwin Diender, Vice President, Government & Public Utility Sector, Huawei Enterprise Business Group

    Edwin Diender

    Transcript
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    You’re listening to New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Join us as we talk to innovators and thought leaders from around the world.


    New Horizons: So, we’re back with our final segment of this interview with Edwin Diender, Vice President of Government and Public Utility Sectors Solutions for Huawei’s Enterprise Business Group. On this final segment we’re going to talk about big data and maybe pull the Artificial Intelligence and IoT segments into a nice wrap-up at the end of the interview. So, Edwin, we’ve been talking a lot about IoT and Artificial Intelligence, and that generates a huge amount of data. How is that data processed and used?

    Edwin Diender: If you look at where Huawei comes from and where we sit, is that the systems and services that already are out there are built on different pieces of technology, and it now needs to work together. We need to aggregate all these different information systems, and we need to pull all this information from these information systems into a backend infrastructure; and we need to blend it, and we need to structure all that data from an unstructured point of view. But we also need to do something with the right language that it’s been written in, or the right format that it’s been stored and archived in.

    The first thing that we look at when it comes to big data is to provide a platform that is actually capable of doing that and that speaks the majority of all these languages, of these different information systems and information silos.

    The second thing we do is we try to look into what does that mean when it comes to collection of all that data? And what we do in Switzerland with CERN, where this light particle has been found, the Higgs-Boson, is a key example of what it does with dealing with a vast amount of data in a shortest moment of time. Imagine how much data that actually is.

    Coming back to the platform, if we’ve got a platform that’s capable of doing that — then surely, we’re able to create a similar kind of platform that can deal with data that is less vast, and the majority of big data analytics platforms are able to do that, including Huawei’s.

    The second part, structuring that unstructured data, looking at the things that are similar, we look for the things that are not similar, we look for the anomalies. So, we need to put aside the ones that are different from before; doing that and analyzing that only a few are able to do that.

    But then bringing it out, not as a piece that has been analyzed and to provide you with the information, but that transforms this information into insight, is something that’s actually rather unique, and not many vendors worldwide are able to do this.

    These three elements combined make a Huawei big data analytics platform work.


    New Horizons: What you just said sparks something in my mind. If I’m a City Manager or a Mayor, or some type of government official, to have the ability to collect this data and create a snapshot in time of my city…


    Edwin Diender: Right.


    New Horizons: …and how it’s working under, let’s say, again, we referenced a big event before, or, let’s say — there’s a storm, a tornado, a hurricane, how did the city react during those real-world scenarios…


    Edwin Diender: Yeah.


    New Horizons: …and how can we create better planning and structure for the future because we have this historically accurate data with a very minute amount of detail?


    Edwin Diender: Exactly, the predictive analysis part of it is what we now talk about but also, predictive maintenance, predictive services, predictive support, as one of many elements towards the city management team, which is what the Mayor and his staff currently actually are. They’re almost the CEO of a corporation, if you like…


    New Horizons: Of course.


    Edwin Diender: …of a nonprofit organization. Actually, if you look at the top 10 of what generates the world’s GDP [Gross Domestic Product], they are cities. I think, five or six in the top 10 are cities, and only three or four of them are actually countries. So, the world’s GDP is comprised and combined by the GDP of cities, and we don’t necessarily mean a city-state like Singapore, as an example. Between quotation marks, I say, “real cities,” so, there is a country that has a capital city and a lot of other cities, one of those cities are contributing to the global GDP more and are in the top 10 of the world’s GDP.

    What that tells us is that a Mayor of a city becomes a CEO almost. He needs to be very corporate in his way of thinking. The reason I’m saying it like this, and the point that I’m trying to get across, is a big data analytics platform, just like a business information system for one of the financial institutions of the world, commercial or government bank, hospital institutions, educational boards, and agencies, and what have you, ministries, are all supported with such a platform that can transform information into insight to what goes on; how does that relate to a learning curve from the past? And what is the best advice that the system can give you to do?


    New Horizons: To your point of about insight, to me that was also a critical bit of information. If I am the CEO of a city, how’s my city’s health? How am I growing? Am I contracting? Am I growing in certain areas? Do I need to plan for more infrastructure on the northeast side or the southeast side? And that information, you know, usually is in the minds of, maybe, real estate developers…


    Edwin Diender: Mm-hm.


    New Horizons: …or people that are living there or they want to expand a certain part of the city.


    Edwin Diender: Right.


    New Horizons: But this type of solution would give city planners much more insight into where they need to precisely put their efforts and where the infrastructure really needs to grow for the future.


    Edwin Diender: Totally.


    New Horizons: Because those plans are five, 10, 20, 30 years out.


    Edwin Diender: Totally, it would make their decision-making process more efficient, more productive, and higher up, in terms of your decision would be a better decision. If there’s a historical database that we can look into and that we can extrapolate from — perhaps create 3D models and, say, you know, what would happen if? What if we try an area like that? Big data analytics platforms are also able to provide you with the ideas around certain directions and give you the results of an alternative.

    Your decision becomes a better decision than without this kind of insight. And it is in real-time. So, real-time means whatever goes on in the city now and what you decide now has an impact on maybe your GDP, maybe on the livelihood of people in your city. The point is, in real-time, being able to respond, react, and anticipate on what goes on now, built on real-time information. Because there is a platform that is able to look into this vast amount of data that can collect it, that can transform it, and turn it from information into insight. It is a key component of what a big data analytics platform should be about.


    New Horizons: Well, and I think that’s a perfect wrapping up of all those different pieces that we’ve talked about. Is there anything else that you would like to add to that point?


    Edwin Diender: Well I think we’ve used many words to come to the same center point of attention, so to speak. I hope that the listeners of the podcast have picked up that number one, we’ve got the systems and services in place to support this. We’ve got the platforms in place that can carry this and that can create a foundation for all of this, but the key component I hope that has come across is that all these items that we are talking about eventually become a function, and a feature, and a technicality of the system. It is part of the features spec that — does that make sense if I put it like that?


    New Horizons: I think so. It’s part and parcel of all together.


    Edwin Diender: Right. So, Artificial Intelligence, the element of the Internet of Things, and the big data analytics that goes along with it are core components of the feature stack of such a platform that supports a city and that builds a Safe City foundation.


    New Horizons: Well you’ve done a wonderful job explaining some very complex issues and bringing them down to earth, and giving some real-world examples of these things have been installed, they’re in place, they’re working, and they’re enriching the lives of the people that they touch.


    Edwin Diender: That’s very correct, yeah. Perhaps, if I may make a closing statement in this case? I’m often confronted with someone that says, “Well, you know, it’s very much like back to the future.” I dare to say there’s nothing futuristic about it because what I speak about is an experience that we have built in the past years and, as I’ve said before, it comes from cases that already are up and running, are deployed, are contributing to the benefit, and the value, and the livelihood of people living in cities around the globe.


    New Horizons: And that’s one of the purposes of this podcast, is to bring that information to people that may not be aware that look, this is out there today, this is happening today…


    Edwin Diender: Absolutely.


    New Horizons: …it’s been happening for a while…


    Edwin Diender: Absolutely.


    New Horizons: …and Huawei has been at the center of many of those developments and installations around the world.


    Edwin Diender: Absolutely, there’s nothing futuristic about it. I mean, back to the future, really? The future is now.


    New Horizons: Right, very good. Well, Edwin, thank you very much for joining us, and I’m looking forward to having you on again soon, making this a regular part of our podcast interview. So, thanks again.


    Edwin Diender: Thank you.


    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. If you enjoyed it, please be sure and share it on social media. Once again, thanks for listening.


    Biography

    Edwin Diender is a blue ocean strategist, thought leader and frequent speaker at events around the world. Adept on a range of subjects, from big data to safe and smart cities, to enterprise solutions. Not a salesman, not a technologist. Tech strategist, accustomed to larger concepts.

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  • Interview

    Huawei Smart Technologies are Reshaping the World

    An Interview with Joe So, CTO of Huawei Enterprise Industry Solutions

    Joe So

    Transcript
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    New Horizons: You are listening to New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Join us as we talk to innovators and thought leaders from around the world.

    Well, hi everyone. Today, we’re here with Joe So who’s the CTO of Huawei Enterprise Industry Solutions. Joe, how are you doing today?


    Joe So: Good morning Scott.


    New Horizons: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?


    Joe So: Well, I’ve been with the company a long time. I started in 2005 as a Senior Manager in the GTS. Then, I actually volunteered myself for the first, becoming the fifth or the tenth person in the Enterprise Business Group before when it was called Enterprise Marketing Group. Now it is called EBG, Enterprise Business Group. Being the first five or ten person in this group is an honor for me. I’m glad to be here today.


    New Horizons: Well, we’re really honored to have you. What are the most exciting things you’re seeing these days that Huawei is working on?


    Joe So: Well, if you look at the whole world, it started off many years ago. I remember 2005 when people are talking about digital city. Then 2010, I believe IBM talked about the Smart Planet. Nothing really had happened, to be honest, until 2012. I think the reason why, because connection was there… 3G, 4G was there, it was established. That’s how people, everyone, all of a sudden, they’re starting to talk about Smart City. Don’t ask me which city. As a matter of fact, every city that I visited in 2015, I traveled 250,000 miles in one year. Everywhere I go, I talked to the CTOs, government officials. They were all talking about Smart City.


    New Horizons: Smart City is kind of a broad subject, what is a Smart City?


    Joe So: Well, I believe that Smart City is a process of re-engineering of society’s operations by the adoption of ICT to form new processes, new methodologies to enhance the livelihood of the citizens. To be able to help the government be more efficient and also make business more competitive in the long run. It is just not a project. Smart City is not a project. I can see that Smart City is like a program. There’s a continuous improvement of the city to be able to compete more effectively with other countries. To be able to provide better livelihood for your citizens.


    New Horizons: What are some of the key components of the Smart City? There’s network infrastructure, there’s IoT, there’s lots of sensors… what premium value does Huawei add to a Smart City solution?


    Joe So: Huawei’s values here, our value proposition is really straightforward. We are the ICT, Infrastructure Provider. Now, although in the Smart City concept or implementation, there’s involvement like Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, the IoT, cloud computing, and all these. However, Huawei is providing an open platform so that other platforms can be hosted onto our computing ICT infrastructure. At the same time, we work with a very open ecosystem with a lot of partners. We can host any applications as we want. Huawei is basically an open ICT Infrastructure Provider to allow other people to come into our platform, to freely grow their applications for the Smart City program.


    New Horizons: What would you say are the benefits to the average citizen, to living in a Smart City?


    Joe So: Well I think it is convenience. The first thing is if you look at the Chinese government today, I used to have to apply for, let’s say something like a driver’s license: I have to go to different places... this office to another office. It could be like ten kilometers away. Today, I go to one place and most likely I will get everything done in one office. There’s a consolidation of a single window, or government services to allow people to come to one place, to get most or all of services done in one place.


    New Horizons: What do you think the future of Smart City is?


    Joe So: I think for different countries, it will be different. I don’t want to say that Smart City for everyone is the same. It really depends on the pain of the country. The meaning of Smart City could mean different things for different countries, or between countries. It is totally a different meaning. I’ll give you some examples. For Thailand, tourism is their pain. They want to build that transformation based on tourism. They make tourism more a livelihood, more convenient for a tourist. For Singapore, it’s totally different things. Singapore is like building a hub for the region. They want to be competitive. They want to be the hub for the region, to share information. For a data center, they want to be more like a leadership, in leading other countries in the region. Then, for Manila, in the Philippines, is a totally different; safety would be one of the big issues. They want to go and implement Safe City as part of their Smart City program.


    New Horizons: We had talked about Smart Cities, but what about Smart Transportation?


    Joe So: Well, in terms of Smart Transportation, Huawei has two major solutions. One is for the railway. We developed a big railway, like the railways on the train, also Metrorail. On the railway, Huawei provided a GSM-R solution for the transmission of the signaling. For metro, I believe that Wi-Fi technology, and also the train management system that can be connected to the Command Center through the connections even when the train is running, and of course signal for a train when they are running, and using eLTE technology in the subway station. Another technology that we use at the airport, and that’s pretty new. One of them is actually using IoT technology to trace in the future, the luggage — if they’re lost or they’re somewhere, and the trolleys. The last thing I want to talk about airport is the kind of high-definition video cameras that we have for the whole airport, to monitor the landing of the plane, when the plane is taking off, we can actually monitor the whole airport on a panoramic view, rather than one single corner. As you know, the airport is actually rectangular all the time. A physical environment requires a camera to be located in many places when it is a rectangle. But the way that we use a camera is like a panoramic view camera, to provide the 4k resolution and view every single corner in one picture. In this case, it is easier for the people who work for the Airport Control Center to have an overview of what is happening at the airport.


    New Horizons: Well, wasn’t there an airport just recently that located their control tower 20 miles away, and they were using high-definition 4k video with long range cameras to be able to control it because they couldn’t put the control tower at the airport in a location they wanted to?


    Joe So: I think with many airports we’re able to do that with the technology today, especially with the wireless technology. The bandwidth for these technologies is already really mature. It is easy for you to put a camera anywhere you want.


    New Horizons: Right. That gives you the benefit of having much more awareness of everything that’s going on around you, and much better control over what flights are coming in, what’s going out.

    That gives you a lot more awareness of everything that’s going on around you. The planes are coming in and landing. The gates that are open, the gates that are closed. Getting the passengers to the gates as quickly as possible. Because as you and I know, after you spend 15 hours on a flight, you want off that plane.


    Joe So: Exactly. I mean, just tired and want to go home and get some sleep.


    New Horizons: Right, and spending 20, or 30 minutes taxiing because somebody is in the wrong place, doesn’t make for happy customers. Joe, you mentioned earlier about VCTO: Tell us a little bit about that.


    Joe So: Well, we have a lot of OpenLabs today. As of today, we have 11 OpenLabs in many countries. The purpose of the OpenLab is basically to provide a platform for people to test their solution on our platform. An OpenLab is basically a verification center, joint solution center, and building up the ecosystem for the region or for the country. But in these OpenLabs, we hire a lot of CTOs. These guys are actually high-level Senior Managers. They have a lot of technology knowledge for the industry. But what I’m trying to do, I want to link them up together so they can share information between each of the OpenLabs; so that they get to know each other. We see a lot of stuff. As a matter of fact, we set up the VCTO team as a virtual team. It is called the virtual CTO office. We have approximately 20 core members and nine extended members where we will meet two times a year. We have a conference call every month to share information, share technology, share what they’re doing in the region, so that we can actually optimize the contributions of these high level technology officers. At the same time, you also give them a sense of belonging in the company. It is a huge team. It is a group. To make them feel that they’re an important part, and they’re making a big contribution to the company as a team.


    New Horizons: That allows them to cover areas geographically, that they may not be able to visit.


    Joe So: Exactly.


    New Horizons: Right. Hopefully the benefits of that are increased collaboration, increased cooperation, and development of new products and new ideas.


    Joe So: Exactly, yes. I’m glad that I’m actually the leader for this team. Yes, it is great actually in the coming years. Last year, I was really busy in organizing the VCTO office. As a matter of fact on September 3rd to 7th this year, we’re going to host the first kick off meeting for the VCTO team in Shenzhen.


    New Horizons: Okay. Well congratulations. That’s quite an accomplishment in such a short amount of time.


    Joe So: Thank you very much, Scott.


    New Horizons: You’re welcome. Well, Joe is there anything else you’d like to add before we close?


    Joe So: No, actually I’m glad that I’m being interviewed today. I’m sure that you will be doing a good job. Good luck to you.


    New Horizons: Well thanks a lot. I hope to invite you again if you have some exciting things. Let’s keep in touch on the VCTO project, and any new technologies, and smarter, safe cities. Please let me know so we can share that with our listeners.


    Joe So: Okay, thank you very much.


    New Horizons: Okay. Thank you Joe


    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. If you enjoyed this episode, please be sure and share it on social media. Once again, thanks for listening.

    Close Transcript
  • Interview

    Founders Space Prepares for Radical Innovation

    Interview with Steven Hoffman, CEO of Founders Space on incubating and accelerating innovative start-ups.

    Steve Hoffman

    Transcript
  • Close Transcript

    New Horizons: You are listening to New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Join us as we talk to innovators and thought leaders from around the world.

    Well, hi everyone and thanks for tuning in. Joining us on the phone today is our very special guest, Steve Hoffman, also known as Captain Hoff. And we are going to be talking about startups and innovation. Before we jump into the interview, here’s a little background on Steve: He is an investor, startup mentor, serial entrepreneur, author, and the Captain and CEO of Founders Space, one of the world’s leading startup incubators and accelerators, with over 50 partners in 22 countries. Thanks for joining us today, Steve.


    Steve Hoffman: It’s great to be here.


    New Horizons: So can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the goals of Founders Space? How did that whole thing get started?


    Steve Hoffman: Well, Founders Space started over six years ago; so I had been in Silicon Valley doing startups myself. I did three venture-funded startups and, after my third startup, I was taking a break and I was spending time helping friends who were launching their companies.

    So I’d go out to coffee with them. I’d give them advice and that grew into Founders Space. First, we started doing roundtables where I’d get entrepreneurs together with investors and lawyers and technical people who could help them out. And then later, we launched our incubator and accelerator in Silicon Valley, and after that we began expanding all around the world. And now, I spend about half my time traveling.


    New Horizons: Wow. Well, I know you’ve been spending a fair amount of time in China over the past year or so. Can you tell us what you’ve been up to there and what are the outcomes?


    Steve Hoffman: Oh, China is fantastic. We started expanding into China a few years ago, and it has really accelerated. Right now, we have Founders Space in Beijing. We have it in Wuhan. We have it in Xi’an. We’re about to launch in Chengdu. We have operations in Shanghai.

    And I am bouncing between Chinese cities all the time. We are running incubators and accelerators there. We are also doing work of training entrepreneurs in various cities, helping them get started, helping them raise venture capital, and get funding. And helping them innovate.


    New Horizons: The one city you didn’t mention was Shenzhen, I know you’ve done some work there too.


    Steve Hoffman: I do a lot in Shenzhen because it is a hub. We have partners there. We have collaborated with a lot of different startups and different organizations. We also have collaborated with Huawei. So, I’m very happy to be on the show today.


    New Horizons: All right, well we’re very happy to have you. And you know, I see you’ve been getting a lot of endorsements from some pretty influential venture capitalists like Tim Draper… quite a few Fortune 100 companies. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?


    Steve Hoffman: So in my line of work, we work with Venture Capitalists all the time. We are always… we have so many startups coming through our program right now, that literally thousands of startups a year sign up with, for our online programs. And then in person, it’s in the hundreds that we have in our incubators, and we have run through our events and things like that. And, so I’m always looking for great startups, and when I find them, I like to introduce them to, you know, top VCs all around the world. So we work with a lot of great… most of the large VC firms in Silicon Valley have been in to Founders Space to come to our pitch events and demo days and things like that. We also work with a lot of top investors in China and all across Asia and Europe. And it’s really exciting for me personally because I get to hear from the investors their different philosophies on how, what, they look for in great startups, and how they invest. And that educates me.


    New Horizons: Wow. Well, I guess that answers my next question, which was going to be: What is the venture community think of Founders Space? But, I guess that leads into the next one: Are the mainstream VCs, Sand Hill Road types, investing in your incubated companies?


    Steve Hoffman: They are. So we, you know, they’ll put the tier one VC firms will step in. They tend to step in a little later. A lot of the companies that come through Founders Space — because we’re an incubator and accelerator — tend to be in the earlier phases where they are, they usually have a prototype or they’re just launching their product, and they don’t always have the traction necessary for the big VC firms; but you know, once they get going, once they kind of breakthrough with that product market fit, which is a lot of what we help them with, that’s when the big guys step in and actually put in the money.


    New Horizons: Wow. Well that sounds really positive that you’ve been able to take this from basically ground zero into a trusted advisor that the VCs turn to as well.


    Steve Hoffman: Yes. Yes. And it’s a good collaboration. Most of the VC’s, they’re looking to solve their own problem; and their problem is, you know, whether they’re small or large, is getting good deal flow. They have to place, once they take money from their LPIs, their Limited Partner Investors, they have a limited amount of time to actually put that money to work. So being a VC isn’t easy!


    New Horizons: Right.


    Steve Hoffman: Because there are a lot of startups out there as you know, but most of them will fail. Most of them, you know, don’t have it all right. It’s an experiment. Each startup is an experiment and most will fail and a huge will… a few, a handful, will break through and become these unicorns, these big businesses. And you know, if we can give them help, and help them identify potentially really good startups that does them a favor and it does our startups a favor.


    New Horizons: Right, right. Exactly.

    And that leads into the next question is: Can you give us an idea of some of the trends in technology you’re seeing these days that these budding entrepreneurs are focusing on?


    Steve Hoffman: Oh yes. In terms of trends, I mean there are a few big ones like the mega trends going on right now. Everybody’s talking about blockchain, you know: AI, Big Data. There’s a lot of new medical technologies coming out that are really promising, and pretty amazing. There’s brain-to-computer interfaces, nanotechnology. We’re seeing a lot and one of the ones I’m very excited about is DNA editing — the whole CRISPR — using that, and so across all these different segments, there’s a lot going on. I think some of them are overhyped and will… and I can talk about that… and some of them really, in a way, we haven’t even seen the full potential of where they’ll take us.

    So in the overhyped category, I would put I think, the blockchain is a bit overhyped. I think there is potential for the blockchain beyond cryptocurrencies. But, the blockchain was specifically designed for cryptocurrencies, and people have been trying to apply it to enterprise problems and you know, security for IoT devices, and all these others: Banking and insurance. But it’s been really hard because you know, it isn’t, it isn’t the right tool for everything. You can’t just take a technology like the blockchain and say, “Oh, we’re going to put it on this problem because it’s new and it’s amazing, It’ll do a better job at solving, you know, this type of problem.” It doesn’t actually. And a lot of times, it does a worse job than other technologies that are already available, but you know, every major corporation now is experimenting with the blockchain. Lots of startups are experimenting.

    I have, surprisingly, given all the attention, all the money, and all the bright minds using it, I’ve seen very few kind of really good examples of using the blockchain where it creates a lot of value outside of cryptocurrencies. So, I just haven’t seen that. On the other hand, if you go to technologies like AI and Big Data, those are truly a universal kind of core technologies that are affecting every business and industry on the planet. I am seeing amazing breakthroughs with machine learning and deep learning, and all the new types or uses for all the data being gathered out there that will just, that just blow my mind. The potential out there, what we’re going to see over the next decade with the use of AI and Big Data that will really transform how we do business and how we live our lives.


    New Horizons: Right. And that’s something that we’re really keen on here too, is a couple of areas like Artificial Intelligence that you’ve mentioned and as well as IoT. Are any of your startup companies working in that space? And what are they up to?


    Steve Hoffman: We have a lot of startup companies working in that space. It’s very exciting! I am particularly interested in the combination IoT, the combination of hardware and intelligence and putting it into businesses and into the home, and into our lives. And I will give you a few examples of different ways I see this playing out.


    New Horizons: Ok.


    Steve Hoffman: One way is machines. These machines are gathering data, and I think they’re gathering data from lots of different sources. So, there’s lots of data out there, but if they gather the right data, they have the potential to predict our actions and the actions, you know, in our business environment — much better than human beings can. You know, human beings have evolved-- the brain, the prefrontal cortex of the brain. What makes us humans, and separates us from most other animals, is that we have the ability, unlike dogs or cats or other things, to actually predict the future, to make simulations in our mind of what the future is like, and then plan for it. That’s what gives us our amazing ability. Other animals don’t seem to be able to do this. They don’t seem to. They live more in the present. They aren’t able to…


    New Horizons: Right, right.


    Steve Hoffman: Really imagine what their life will be a year from now or 10 years from now. You don’t see your cat sitting around thinking of that. They’re more concerned with what they’ll get for dinner.


    New Horizons: That’s right.


    Steve Hoffman: But with Big Data, computers are actually getting better than we are. And, I can give you a few examples that are kind of breakthrough examples that show the potential of this.


    New Horizons: Sure.


    Steve Hoffman: One example is if you look at Facebook did a recent study, and they went up to their users and they would ask their users what their users like. You know, what videos do you like, what articles do you like to read? And so on and so forth. And then, they went to their algorithm that they have developed, and they asked it based on the user’s past behavior to predict what these users would like. And then they fed the users test content, and they watched what the users actually did. And guess who was right?


    New Horizons: I guess it was the computer.


    Steve Hoffman: Yes! The algorithm, the AI algorithm did a much better job of predicting what people like than the people themselves!


    New Horizons: Wow.


    Steve Hoffman: You know, so what that is saying is really amazing, right?

    That these algorithms actually can know us better than we know ourselves, and they can predict our future actions better than we can. Now, you’d say, well, why is that, you know, or how can an algorithm, you know, do a better job than us at knowing what we will do? And it’s because most of us, we have this ideal I self, like we say, Oh yeah, you know, if I saw an educational documentary come into my feed. Oh, of course, I would look at that. But rather than clicking on that, we ended up clicking on a cat video… because, at the end of the day, that educational documentary, even though we would like to say we would prefer that over cat videos, the video gets our attention, and we watch it. So people don’t really know themselves as well as they think they do. But an algorithm can know you, what you can know based on what you actually do, and make a very good model of you.

    And if you apply these same techniques to business, what will businesses actually do, how will things play out in the future when you’re making business decisions and relying on all these different variables. First of all, human beings can’t even compute all those different variables, all the different data. It’s just too much. And second, even if we could compute it, we may, we have built in biases where we will tend to weight things in the wrong way. Whereas an algorithm can look at the past and extrapolate and weigh much more accurately on the different probabilities of things turning out. So what we’re going to see is a world in which these machines, they can be IoT devices in a factory or in a supply chain or anywhere, are going to be gathering lots of data and then we’re going to be using this data to optimize those processes, make them more efficient, make them, allow them to do things they don’t do, and actually predict what will happen in the future under different scenarios. And that’s a huge amount of power.


    New Horizons: It gets rid of the whole gut feel, intuition, or at least maybe supplements it because we can’t maintain all of that data and interrelations in our brain, and juggle that around, and try to make it all work. I’ve found that those types of algorithms have really been helpful. For example, in the medical field, they’re doing a better job of diagnosing and recommending treatments because they have access to all of that information; they can bring it together and make a much-more-informed decision.


    Steve Hoffman: Absolutely. Like you look at the typical doctor, I mean they’re busy, right? They have to see patients like nonstop in our current healthcare system; every 15 minutes, a new patient is coming, and then they have, they want to have a family life after work. How many medical journals can they read in a year? Just not that many, but an algorithm can actually scan through every medical journal that was ever printed in no time, and come back with a diagnosis that takes into account a lot more information than any human being could possibly do. So, it’s super exciting when you get to that level, you’re like, oh yeah, I would much rather have a computer algorithm diagnosing me. I mean the person, I might like them sitting there smiling at me, you know, making me feel comfortable. But at the end of the day, please get that algorithm’s opinion, on what the cause really is, because I want that data. And that will apply not just to medical, but that will apply to every decision, every critical decision, and even not so critical ones, that we will be making in our future.

    Whether we are trying to decide should I change jobs or career? You know, well, in the future you may be actually be consulting an algorithm out there that will be giving lots more data than you ever could have telling you, helping you chart your career path, where you should go, what you should be thinking about. Corporations, when they’re exploring new markets, they will be gathering all this marketing data and processing massive amounts of it; and it won’t just be data based on what App or what sales are. Because we are wearing these devices, and because these devices are entering our homes and our businesses and our cars and are monitoring everything we do, all of that data will be pulled in. Like they’ll be telling us what people actually do with their time, where they actually go, what they actually respond to, and huge opportunities will be created for startups in this space. And I’m super excited. One other thing you brought up, I want to say one other thing. I’m very excited about this. One other thing, you know, if you haven’t read “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winner; he did studies on human behavior. And his book is fascinating because — you were talking about gut decisions, you know, these algorithms will be better than our gut decisions. Well, the fact is our decisions aren’t that good. They are actually flawed; they were developed when we were living in the wilderness, and if a lion jumped out in front of us, we had to run away. Or if we met a stranger on the path from another tribe, we had to make a quick decision whether to trust that person or not. When you get into more complex decision-making, it doesn’t work that well. And that is what we’ve found and that is where we can really enhance ourselves and our ability to make decisions by relying on AI and Big Data.


    New Horizons: If any of your startup companies are working on a personal agent that sits on your shoulder and advises you what to do and what not to do, please let me know. I’ll be one of the first customers for that.


    Steve Hoffman: See, you are lining up already. You know, my prediction--and I’ve been thinking a lot about this-- is yes, there won’t be one master AI that will rule our life in the foreseeable future, who knows in the long term, you never know. But in the foreseeable future, what we’ll have are tens of thousands of AIs targeted at very narrow problems. So, you will have an AI that is super deep, like if you’re on a specific thing. So, if you’re interested in getting a cancer diagnosis, you might have one AI that is an expert on cancer diagnostics, and it has an algorithm finely tuned for that, and all the data available. And then you would go and pay that AI for that advice. If you want to solve a supply chain problem, there may be specific AI platforms out there dedicated just to those problems.

    And in your personal life, if you want to find out who you want to date, I am sure there’ll be AI that are really good at better than you are at helping you find the right match.


    New Horizons: Oh boy, well.


    Steve Hoffman: We aren’t all that good. The divorce rate above 50 percent. Apparently, we aren’t all that good at that.


    New Horizons: Well that is going with your gut again right?


    Steve Hoffman: Yeah going with your gut, instead of you know, I want the data on her. Instead of “I want to know if we are really compatible or we just think we’re compatible.”


    New Horizons: Exactly, exactly. Now, you recently published a book called “Make Elephants Fly.” That’s focused on innovation methodologies for startups. Can you tell us a little bit about that?


    Steve Hoffman: Yes. Well, so the idea behind why it’s called “Make Elephants Fly” is because the elephant is your big idea. That’s the big idea, and it seems impossible like as a startup especially or any innovator to get that idea off the ground.

    It’s how can you make that elephant get off the ground, and the book goes into detail on that process. The process of starting out with an idea, of figuring out if it’s really a workable idea, and then going through step-by-step through everything you need to do to take that idea, and make it a reality, make it into a real business.


    New Horizons: Right. All those things that you’ve learned over the past couple of decades, working with startups in one place.


    Steve Hoffman: Yeah, doing my own startups as well as working with, you know, hundreds of other startups, watching them struggle, and trying to help them through all those critical points where you hit these roadblocks.


    New Horizons: Right.


    Steve Hoffman: And you really don’t know what to do. All that experience. And then I’ve also been doing a lot of work with large corporations, like Bosch and other huge multinational companies, helping their internal teams go through the innovation process; how to rethink innovation.


    New Horizons: I’m going to have to go pick up a copy. It will be my next eBook read on my next trip to Shenzhen. Is that available in Chinese as well?


    Steve Hoffman: Yes. So it’s a best seller now in China.


    New Horizons: Wow. Congratulations.


    Steve Hoffman: It’s available in multiple languages. So Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, all over. Several European languages. So yes, and, really what it does is it’s designed, this book in particular, is designed for anybody who’s innovating, so you can be a startup founder, you know, and you want to come up with the idea for what works or you can be inside a large company as part of an internal team and you need to come up with new ideas and how do you take them through that process, of validating the idea and everything that goes along with it, and eventually bringing it to market.


    New Horizons: Oh, that’s fantastic. So where can people in China pick up a copy of this book?


    Steve Hoffman: Oh, it’s available in all the major bookstores. So it’s published by one of the largest publishers, called CITIC Zhongxin; that’s a major publisher, and they just put it out everywhere, and it’s also available online so you can go to Taobao or JD.COM, or any of the sites, and it’s available.


    New Horizons: All right and again, it’s called “Making Elephants Fly” or “Make Elephants Fly”?


    Steve Hoffman: Yes it’s called “Make Elephants Fly”. That’s the name. And they could go to makeelephantsfly.com. That’s it. It’s also on Amazon, and it’s published in other countries by Hachette that is the US publisher.


    New Horizons: Okay, great. Steve, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule. I got to ask you one final question though. Do you ever get any sleep?


    Steve Hoffman: You know, because I do so much business in China and Europe now. It’s really hard. People are calling me early in the morning, and late at night, and all hours on the weekends.

    You know, in China, people work some weekends, and the weekends and weekdays are different here, so it’s just like nonstop barrage. I’m sure you experienced some of the same, some of the same thing, being an international guy.


    New Horizons: A little bit, a little bit. Well, is there anything else you’d like to leave us with before we sign off?


    Steve Hoffman: I just want to say it’s, you know, fantastic being on the show. I look forward to hanging out sometime.


    New Horizons: Oh, that sounds great. I’ll make sure to come up to San Francisco sometime soon then.


    Steve Hoffman: Check out Founders Space.


    New Horizons: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Foundersspace.com. And then you’ve got some seminars coming up.

    Are those going to be available for streaming online?


    Steve Hoffman: So we don’t usually do that, so we don’t put them online. We’d like people to come in person, it’s an ‘in-person’ experience.


    New Horizons: Right. Okay, fair enough. Understood. Will listen, thank you very much for taking time, and let’s do this again because you’re just in front of really great, exciting new technologies and developments in business and startups.

    And I really would like to make this a regular thing. If we could do that.


    Steve Hoffman: Sure, I’d be happy to do it.


    New Horizons: Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. And, if you enjoyed the show, please be sure to share it on social media. Once again, thanks for listening.


    Close Transcript
  • Interview

    Benefits and Future of the IoT

    An enlightening IoT interview with Dima Tokar, Co-founder and Head of Research, MachNation

    Dima Tokar

    Transcript
  • Close Transcript

    New Horizons: Welcome to New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine, and today in our Industry Analysts segment, I’m pleased to introduce Dima Tokar, Co-founder and Head of Research at MachNation. Thanks for joining us today, Dima.


    Dima Tokar: Great to be here.


    New Horizons: So Dima, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what drove you to become an analyst?


    Dima Tokar: So, I’ve been in the technology space for quite some time, and I’ve always been passionate about mobility and about helping enterprises and helping consumers improve their lives with technology. And so I spent a lot of time in product management helping build great software, platforms, and other technology that is used both by enterprises and end users to make their lives easier, to help save costs in an enterprise and things like that. And so about five years ago when IoT was in its infancy. I started talking to a good friend of mine, Steve Hilton, who was an analyst for many years. And I kind of thought I’d give it a shot. Coming from a product side, I thought I had a lot to add to a complex space that was quickly evolving. And so five years later, here we are.


    New Horizons: Great to know. So tell me about MachNation; What are you focusing on?


    Dima Tokar: So MachNation is an industry analyst firm that’s exclusively focused on the IoT space. So we work with enterprises, service providers, and vendors to really help understand where the space is going, and help provide strategy, advice, and feedback on both the business side as well as well as the technology side; and we’re really about are not just looking at sort of the 40,000 foot view. But one of the other things that MachNation is really focused on and something that makes us quite unique is that we actually use the technology. So we’re very hands on in our evaluations and we strive to understand technology, not just from sort of slides and PowerPoint and demos, but really getting our hands dirty and really trying things out so that we can help both vendors and enterprises make the best decisions.


    New Horizons: Regarding IoT and M2M, is IoT just an extension of M2M or machine-to-machine? Can you help describe that market space and how it’s evolved over the past few years?


    Dima Tokar: Yeah, so, we view IoT as an evolution of a space that was formerly known as M2M and the distinction that we draw at MachNation is that M2M was really all about connecting a machine to some other part of the enterprise. And so being able to collect telemetry data from a truck like, right, we’d been doing that for many, many years. So that’s not, that’s not new and M2M is a part of what IoT is today, right? We still connect machines to other assets or to central systems. The evolution of IoT is really all about, it’s not just machines but involving people and process in the mix.

    And so it means changing how the business is run based on the information that you have from those machines or allowing some people’s jobs to be much more, much safer, or much easier, much more efficient by providing them with additional information coming from the connected things as well as control of those things from remote places, and so IoT is bigger than just M2M. And M2M was primarily an enterprise type engagement. It was really about business stuff. Whereas IoT really spans all facets of our lives. It’s sort of involved in enterprise of course, but it also involves consumers; it involves public sector organizations and governments, where all of these organizations are trying to either cut costs, or create new revenue streams, or just provide better access to its citizenship, or provide better service to their citizens and really enabled them to do things that they couldn’t do before.


    New Horizons: So how are service providers or carriers using IoT? How are they looking at that space?


    Dima Tokar: Yeah. So, service providers today, in the IoT space, their primary service that they offer right now is connectivity, and this is what they’ve been offering in the M2M space as well. In today’s world, carriers are all looking at ways where they can offer services beyond just being a pipe. And this is where service providers are looking at IoT as a way to provide additional value to their customers. So that might mean they’re providing a platform, a software platform on top of which enterprises or systems integrators can build solutions. Or you could even be offering end-to-end solutions to customers. So for instance, it could be a connected car solution offered by a carrier in the market today, or it could be a smart factory monitoring solution that a carrier or service provider can offer to an enterprise and provide them with value on top of the connectivity that they are probably are already giving them.


    New Horizons: So would you consider a Safe City or a Smart City IoT deployments? I mean, it involves different types of technologies, people, and processes, which is one of your definitions. But do you consider that to be part of IoT or could that be an extension of an IoT deployment?


    Dima Tokar: Yeah, absolutely. I think Smart Cities are a broad concept that includes things like smart transportation and city safety, and it includes smart oil and gas for metering. So Smart City to us is a broad umbrella term that covers a variety of really interesting IoT solutions that are, some of them are going to be offered by the government. Others are going to be offered by private enterprise such as say rideshare or carpooling and things like that. All of this, all of these technologies today that are naturally evolving are, to us part of IoT; they’re ultimately about connecting people, process, and things.


    New Horizons: What about the enterprise? We’ve talked about carrier, Smart City, Safe City, but for enterprises, what are some of the best use cases you are seeing that are already deployed using IoT?


    Dima Tokar: So in the enterprise setting, we see a lot of enterprises today that are trying to figure out how to build a more cost effective business, and how to drive new revenue streams by introducing IoT into the mix. So for instance, we’ve talked recently with a large Nordic welding manufacturer. So now a company that’s traditionally very heavily engineering-focused and you wouldn’t really think of them as an IoT company. But at the end of the day, all of these companies that produce physical products are looking for ways to engage with their customers, to know how their customers are using their products; and they’re connecting their equipment in order to have this information and to be able to know what kinds of features and capabilities are being used so they can make sure that they focus their engineering efforts internally to build a better product for the next iteration.

    And sort of at the same time, if they see that a certain capability isn’t really used by their customers, they can determine that this is not a worthwhile investment. So there are a lot of really interesting use cases like that where new revenue streams are being generated; and also, from an enterprise perspective, many enterprises are also looking at solutions such as preventative maintenance where they can monitor machines or have the original equipment manufacturer, the OEM, monitor the machines to predict when a failure might occur, and thus be able to implement the fix before that failure results in downtime. So in other words, it’s not just about new revenue streams, but it’s also about business efficiency, and about reducing downtime, and providing a higher reliability and level of service to the customers.


    New Horizons: Well, that’s great to know. So where do you think IoT will be in a couple of years? Obviously, new use cases are coming on board all the time. The industry will continue to mature, vendors offerings will mature, but what are, what are some super interesting things are new use cases for IoT going forward?


    Dima Tokar: So we’re envisioning that, and we already see a little bit of this today, that edge computing is going to become a bigger and bigger part of what is important in IoT. And we believe that edge computing will enable a lot of new types of use cases that weren’t really possible with a sort of a pure cloud-based hub and spoke model. So in other words, you know, there are a lot of use cases where you can’t simply connect the device to the cloud because there might be bandwidth restrictions, or latency requirements, or security and privacy concerns that prevent an enterprise from being able to send all of the data to the cloud.

    And so edge computing is essentially a capability that allows an enterprise or a service provider to offer services close to where the data is being generated: So close to the factory floor, or in the hospital setting, or on the streets of a Smart City. And this type of technology we believe will be required in roughly 80 percent of the industrial IoT use cases. And so it’s, it’s really significant. And so I think the trend that we’re seeing is that it’s not a conversation of cloud versus edge. It’s really cloud and edge. It’s a combination of doing certain things in the cloud that the cloud is best suited for. So for instance, we could think about machine learning and how training a machine learning model would be something that you would do in the cloud, but then running that model close to the edge where the factory floors is located, where you have a Smart City where a lot of things have to be done really quickly with really low latency and that’s a trend that we think is going to become more and more pervasive over the next few years.


    New Horizons: So how does MachNation help enterprises along their IoT path?


    Dima Tokar: So MachNation spends a lot of time understanding the complexities of the IoT ecosystem. We spend a lot of time understanding the viable business models. We spend a lot of time understanding the technology that allows these business models to be possible. We spend a lot of time working with enterprises to go through the challenges of taking their products that may not be connected and helping them along the path of both sort of technology implementation and vendor selection as well as the operational challenges of how do you take something that was disconnected, managed onsite, and bring it into the 21st century where you have centrally-managed, where you have centrally managed systems, where you have new technology in place and a new process that needs to govern the entire IoT ecosystem.

    Our value that we add to enterprises is through the hands-on testing that we do with a lot of vendor products, and so we spend a lot of time not just talking to vendors, not just talking to enterprises and service providers, but we spend a lot of time using the technology because we believe that ultimately the only way to understand a lot of the complex technology that enables IoT is to roll up your sleeves and to actually go hands on. And so we actually test different IoT platforms, and we help enterprises understand the nuances between the different vendor offerings and which type of a platform ‒ and which type of a set of technologies – is ultimately the best fit for an enterprise’s future IoT solution.


    New Horizons: So that leads me to my last question. I was interested in your IoT edge scorecard. Is that an example of what you were explaining just now?


    Dima Tokar: So the edge scorecard is a one of a series of documents that we produce that look at the different vendors in this space; and it helps distill a lot of the complexity and a lot of marketing that we hear in the space today. And you know, we believe that ultimately in IoT marketing is not reality. And we published these documents such as the edge scorecard to help enterprises, vendors, and service providers better understand the technology and the implications of that technology for their business. And so in a scorecard such as the edge score card, we will take a representative sample of vendors that are doing really interesting things around edge compute, edge analytics, edge integration. And we break down the market into components that are easily digestible by enterprises that may not be IoT experts, and we make it easier for these enterprises to move along the path of a digitally transforming their business.


    New Horizons: Okay. Sounds very exciting, and good luck to you and your business. We look forward to working with you in the future. And I thank you for being our guest.


    Dima Tokar: It’s a pleasure being here again.


    New Horizons: We’ve been talking to Dima Tokar from MachNation. Thanks everyone for listening. Please join us again soon.


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  • Story

    With Smart Technology, the Sky’s the Limit

    Huawei is providing a single-fiber, passive optical local area network for Brisbane’s SkyTower that can control everything from smart TVs to home robots and more.

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    Enjoying a Pleasant Day in Brisbane Skytower

    Brisbane Skytower is a landmark building under construction in the city’s central business skyline. The skyscraper, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, is expected to be the best residential tower among all the tall buildings built recently. This iconic, 270-meter, 90-story residential tower will become Brisbane’s tallest building when completed. What will it be like to live in the Brisbane Skytower?

    At dawn, when sunlight spills over the Brisbane River, various types of sensors installed in the Skytower will transmit data over an agile network to a building automation system. The building automation system will then trigger equipment to take action according to the preset rules. For example, lights will automatically dim in response to the sensed indoor illumination data; and the system will automatically reduce the air ventilation frequency that shows the indoor air quality has reached the best condition.

    In the morning, you can go to the gym and start the day with healthy exercise. At noon, you may go downstairs with your family to have lunch, and then go shopping in the building. At dusk, infinity pools at the tower’s crown will let you swim to the edge of the building, savoring long, spectacular vistas over the whole of Moreton Bay and Brisbane. You can share these memorable moments through a live streaming or social platform to people around the world. At the same time, the building management staff will guard you and the entire Skytower around the clock by using a state-of-the-art video surveillance system.

    Brisbane Skytower will become a role model for smart buildings that Huawei and Honeywell — two Fortune Global 500 companies — have collaborated to make possible.

    ‘Network First’ for Smart Buildings

    Today, the new generation of information technologies represented by the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and Big Data are growing quickly around the globe. This megatrend has a profound impact on the construction industry, with ‘sustainable, secure, and energy efficient’ becoming the three key characteristics of smart buildings.

    The new Internet economy has also greatly changed people’s mindsets and behaviors. As buildings become popular places for people to eat and live, they are also rapidly evolving to become more networked, human-centric, and intelligent. The growing use of the IoT, cloud computing, and Big Data enables seamless interoperability between building intelligence systems and information systems. The IoT and social platform technologies are increasingly applied to daily property management and equipment room operations, taking building intelligence to a new level.

    The network for buildings is also being transformed from providing simple telephone and television services to delivering all-round services such as video surveillance, Wi-Fi, and environmental awareness. The network is taking on a new look that features service diversity, intelligence, and mobility, which creates higher network requirements.

    Wider bandwidths also are needed. Compared to the declining use of traditional PCs, a growing number of smart devices such as smartphones, 4K Internet TV, home surveillance appliances, and even home robots are being used in buildings. Additionally, buildings are making use of more building control, energy management, sensing, and surveillance equipment. All these additions call for a dramatic increase in network bandwidths.

    Ubiquitous network access is also required in order to deliver anytime, anywhere access experience in rooms, elevators, lobbies, underground parking garages, and property management office areas. Property management owners also expect a simpler, faster-to-deploy, and easier-to-manage network that reduces labor costs while improving efficiency.

    Bill McGarry, Development Manager of Billbergia Group, the management company, considered all these technology advancements when he approved Honeywell’s technology proposal. Bill also understood the importance of being able to “ready the building for the next wave of technology upgrades” and was more than confident Skytower technology was going to deliver the best outcome for its residents for years to come.

    The Billbergia Group manages the entire property investment, development, construction, marketing and sales process, ensuring an integrated approach and delivery. The Huawei POL Solution complimented Billbergia’s structure as it delivers complete technology integration.

    Huawei Provides POL Solution

    In the Skytower project, Honeywell will provide the Enterprise Buildings Integrator, a building automation system, and take charge of system integration that includes Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC), security protection, and firefighting facilities. Additionally, Honeywell will centrally manage various building subsystems and provide a visualized management portal as well as alarm management and work order management services, aiming to implement efficient facility management, fast response, and predictive maintenance.

    Huawei, as one of the vendors, will provide a Passive Optical LAN (POL) solution to build a network inside the Skytower. As part of the POL solution, Huawei’s network management system U2000, OLT (MA5608T), ONU (MA5626, M5671, and MA5620), and ONT (HG8242H) will be deployed, unleashing the full potential of the passive network.

    POL also can be viewed as a PON for enterprise applications. By using POL technology, an enterprise can combine data, voice, video, and other weak-current systems into one optical network. Huawei’s POL solution has prominent features such as high bandwidth, high reliability, comprehensive security authentication, easy deployment, and holistic video surveillance and Wi-Fi coverage.

    Huawei’s POL solution makes the following possible:

    The building automation system shares the same network with triple-play services, eliminating the need to build another standalone network

    One single fiber transmits all services, which simplifies cabling and dramatically reduces capital expenditures

    Passive splitters replace switches in the middle layer. They do not need power or cooling, greatly saving riser space and eliminating noise.

    It is easy to smoothly evolve to 10G PON while reusing existing cables for maximum investment protection

    The U2000 centrally monitors the faults and alarms of all network equipment and provides added visibility to end-to-end service rollouts

    Huawei and Honeywell Collaborate for a Better Quality of Life

    At the 2017 Huawei Partners Summit held in Sydney, Huawei issued Honeywell the 2017 Award for Solution Breakthroughs for its excellent work on the Skytower project.

    “We’re glad to cooperate with Huawei in the Skytower project,” said Mark Dunn, General Manager, Automation & Control Solutions, Honeywell Building Solutions. “This project will build a gigabit network for the 270-meter, 90-story residential tower. It is the first ever installation to utilize one common fiber for telephony/data and building services — made possible by partnering with TPG. The network utilizes over 34 kilometers of fiber optic cables and 1,144 Huawei ONTs.”

    Huawei and Honeywell have collaborated elsewhere in smart buildings. Using Huawei’s global channel system and unmatched strengths in communications, the two companies have agreed to jointly explore opportunities in education and enterprise campuses, business buildings, branch offices, and industrial parks in high-growth regions, such as China, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, Western Europe, the Middle East, and India.

    In March 2017, Huawei announced its collaboration with Honeywell to bring to market smart building offerings that take advantage of the latest IoT technologies in order to help make buildings sustainable, secure, and energy efficient. The two companies will also jointly pursue global large-scale smart city projects to help city administrators build intelligent urban infrastructures that enable them to control costs while providing a more favorable living environment for their residents.

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  • Story

    The Logistics of Refreshment

    Chinese Coca-cola distributor Cofco used Huawei’s FusionCube private cloud platform to combine servers, storage, & networking into a single cost-saving rack unit.

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    You probably didn’t know that in China, when you drink Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, or any drink produced by COFCO Coca-Cola Beverages Ltd., a joint venture of China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) and Coca-Cola, Huawei’s ICT is standing behind their production, sales, and distribution.

    Consolidated Network Infrastructure Urgently Needed

    In 2000, COFCO and Coca-Cola, both Fortune Global 500 companies, set up COFCO Coca-Cola Beverage Co., Ltd. (COFCO Coca-Cola), in which COFCO holds 65 percent of shares while Coca-Cola owns the remaining 35 percent. COFCO Coca-Cola is the only Coca-Cola bottling group controlled by a Chinese-funded enterprise in China. One of the fastest-growing Coca-Cola bottling companies, COFCO Coca-Cola is among the Top 10 Coca-Cola bottling companies worldwide. Currently, drinks produced by COFCO Coca-Cola are available in 81 percent of China’s territories and to 51 percent of China’s population.

    COFCO Coca-Cola’s business systems consist of the following three parts:

    Front-end application systems, including sales data, logistics, Office Automation (OA), and external communication management systems. These systems support daily beverage sales, retail store visits, logistics, dispatch, and other businesses. After customers place orders, freight drivers use a warehouse application system to easily prioritize orders and work out the most appropriate freight routes. With the system’s built-in mapping and navigation functions, beverages can be quickly and accurately delivered to distributors and retail stores.

    Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). COFCO Coca-Cola uses the SAP ERP Central Component (ECC). The core components of SAP ECC include financial management, sales management, production planning, material management, plant maintenance, human resources management, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). With its front-end application systems, CRM enables a series of activities such as order placing and pricing, partner management, and service management.

    Portals, reporting systems, and data warehouses.

    Although COFCO Coca-Cola’s business systems are state-of-the-art, its legacy network infrastructure was siloed, with a number of core business systems deployed separately. As business types and their scope continued to grow, it became clear these traditional architectures were not enough. COFCO Coca-Cola faced complex Operations and Maintenance (O&M) and difficult upgrades and scalability, which hindered new service rollouts in response to fast-changing service needs. COFCO Coca-Cola urgently needed to consolidate its network infrastructure.

    “Our original network infrastructure was unable to support our ICT transformation strategy,” said Li Zhihong of COFCO Coca-Cola’s Information Management Department. “After about one year of research, we decided to build an enterprise private cloud platform and use cloud infrastructure to support our core business systems such as ERP and CRM.”

    Building a Private Cloud Platform with a Hyper-Converged Architecture

    In the past, COFCO Coca-Cola used midrange computers. Currently, x86-based appliances have improved their CPU performance, and the latest appliances, such as those from Huawei, are highly integrated: They incorporate a computing unit, a storage unit, a network unit, and virtualization software.

    After considering multiple factors such as CPU performance, integration level, cost-effectiveness, and appliances’ Return On Investment (ROI), COFCO Coca-Cola ultimately chose Huawei’s FusionCube converged appliance solution. In addition, COFCO Coca-Cola selected Huawei’s FusionServer server, OceanStor 5500 V3 storage system, and FusionSphere cloud operating system.

    “Many market researchers show that Huawei is increasing its share in the appliance, storage, and server markets,” Li said. “I strongly agree that Huawei has strong capabilities in these areas.”

    Huawei’s FusionCube is a hyper-converged infrastructure that provides elastic private cloud platform capabilities. With Huawei’s FusionCube, COFCO Coca-Cola can set up a unified resources pooling platform to efficiently satisfy the needs of business systems including CRM, OA, enterprise mail, and other core business systems. Additionally, IT resources are efficiently and elastically deployed.

    FusionCube uses an innovative architecture that converges computing, storage, and networking resources. It pre-integrates a high-performance computing platform, a high-speed switching network, a distributed parallel storage system, and virtualization cloud software. As a result, it implements elastic IT service deployment, expansion, and migration. FusionCube is the key to achieving high cost-effectiveness of data centers.

    Huawei’s OceanStor 5500 V3 storage system enables the integration of multiple controllers and active-active storage area network and network-attached storage nodes. These converged functions make COFCO Coca-Cola’s pursuit of a storage system that features higher performance, lower latency, and better elasticity a reality.

    Huawei’s FusionSphere is an OpenStack-based cloud operating system designed for customers from a wide range of industries. It offers powerful virtualization and resource pool management, rich cloud infrastructure components and tools, and open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). FusionSphere helps COFCO Coca-Cola horizontally consolidate physical and virtual resources in the data center and vertically optimize business platforms.

    Stable, Efficient Business Operations

    Players in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry need to be responsive to fast business expansion. As a leading FMCG player, COFCO Coca-Cola requires that its business systems and office systems go live quickly, run efficiently, and have a high price-performance ratio. Additionally, these systems must be stable, meeting the strict system stability requirements of the manufacturing industry.

    Huawei’s FusionCube is characterized by a hyper-converged infrastructure and high level of integration that bring great benefits to COFCO Coca-Cola. For example, FusionCube:

    Shortens service deployment by over 60 percent, ensuring rapid new service rollout

    Saves equipment room space by over 70 percent

    Reduces data center management expenses by 30 percent

    Enables a nearly 10-fold performance improvement of key services by optimizing database read/write operations (read/write time slashed from 4.5 ms to 0.42 ms)

    Huawei’s FusionServer helped COFCO Coca-Cola reduce server response time from 900 ms to 600 ms and decreased ERP report response time from 4,100 ms to 1,700 ms. Huawei’s FusionSphere not only met COFCO Coca-Cola’s virtualization deployment needs, but made cloud computing installations and usage more convenient.

    Since the deployment and go-live of Huawei’s ICT products, COFCO Coca-Cola has reported more than 99.9 percent reliability of its core business systems, with a yearly downtime of less than 8 hours. This impressive result meets the core business systems stability requirements of COFCO Coca-Cola and enables efficient business operations.

    Building a private cloud platform was just the first step in COFCO Coca-Cola’s digital transformation journey. The company has additional plans for its digital transformation. For example, the company plans to integrate production line equipment with core business systems through sensor and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. It will also capitalize on Big Data to achieve predictive maintenance and improve production and sales forecasts.

    Customer Testimony

    “Our original network infrastructure was unable to support our ICT transformation strategy. After about one year of research, we decided to build an enterprise private cloud platform and use cloud infrastructure to support our core business systems such as ERP and CRM. Huawei has provided us with a series of ICT infrastructure solutions, such as FusionCube, that fully meet our business development needs and conform to our ICT transformation strategy. We are looking forward to further cooperation with Huawei.”

    — Li Zhihong, Information Management Department, COFCO Coca-Cola Beverages Ltd.

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  • Interview

    Keep your ICT Solutions Running Smoothly

    An enlightening interview with Hank Stokbroekx, Huawei Professional Services VP

    Hank Stokbroekx

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    SCOTT: Hi everyone. Welcome to New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights magazine. And today on this industry expert segment, we’re talking with Hank Stokbroekx, Vice President of Global Enterprise Services about Huawei’s enterprise services. So Hank, what can you tell us about Huawei’s enterprise services?


    HANK: Well, Scott, a lot. So within the enterprise business, obviously we have a lot of great products, solutions, technology. But, as it goes with these technologies and solutions, they need to be implemented. And before they are being implemented into a customer’s environment, they need to be carefully planned and designed. Once it’s implemented, it needs to make sure that it does what we actually promised the customer it will do, and that it provides value to the customer’s business on an ongoing basis, as well as the necessity to continue to optimize that infrastructure. So that’s what our services organization does. We provide to maximize the value of the investment that the customer made in Huawei technology, and we do that by starting from the beginning, looking at the customer’s business. Based upon that, what are their objectives? How do we design the network, the infrastructure, the data center, the Safe City according to their requirements? And then once we’ve established that, we build an implementation plan and we do the implementation, and then once everything is up and running we provide services that actually keeps it up and running and even optimizes it, so that they can extend the lifetime of the equipment. Of course, we don’t do that all by ourselves. We have a very strong partner ecosystem that helps us establish or provide all these services over anywhere.


    SCOTT: That being said, I guess we provide those services worldwide?


    HANK: Yes. Pretty much every country in the world, we have a presence with our services. We have three main service centers. We call them GSC’s, Global Service Centers, where TAC, the Technical Assistance Center, is part of that GSC. They are based in Chengdu in China, in Romania, and in Mexico. So those are the three main ones. But then we have satellite TAC organizations, twelve of those around the world, for which we provide also local language support. And then in many countries we have local engineers to provide local services. And of course, now currently we have three thousand partners certified who provide services on behalf of Huawei, and those partners are in those various countries around the world. So yes, we do offer all our services worldwide.


    SCOTT: How long does it take a partner to become certified?


    HANK: Well, that kind of depends. I mean, we have different levels of certification. The basic level is three star, then there’s four star and five star. And depending on which level they hire to, they need to train a certain amount of engineers, train and certify. So, we have a good training and certification program. And let’s say if you want to be a five-star certified partner, you need to have two HCIEs (Huawei Certified Internetwork Experts), which is the highest level, a number of HCNPs (Huawei Certified Network Professionals), and a number of HCNAs (Huawei Certified Network Associates), which is the three different levels that we have. In addition, you need to have a lab and 24 by 7 support and some other requirements. Because in the end, the partners are an extension of Huawei, so we obviously put a lot of attention on customer satisfaction. So if partners are delivering a service on behalf of Huawei, we want to make sure they are able to provide the right quality, and we do that through the certification program. So typically, depending, it may be some partners already have engineers trained and certified by Huawei, so it can be a matter of weeks. The five-star partner that has no certified engineers might need six to nine months to get their engineers certified, which is going to take some time. But while they are certifying their engineers, we can already give them a grace period in that they can be calling themselves five-star CSB and get all the commercial benefits that go with that. So that’s kind of how it works.


    SCOTT: And as a partner, what kind of investment can I expect to put into say equipment, facilities and people to be able to provide that different tier of service level?


    HANK: Sure. Good question. So first of all, there is the commercial model. So the way it works with a Certified Service Partner is that obviously these partners have their own brand of services and their own service products that they sell to their customers, right? They can incorporate our services in the services that they offer to their customers. Also, the support we provide normally to end customers, with the CSB we actually provide to the partners. So the partner is the face to the customer. If they get stuck in some problem, they can escalate to Huawei. So the whole Huawei organization, the TAC, other resources, are available to the partner 24 by 7. So that’s from a service point of view. In addition, if they need lab equipment for their lab from Huawei, we have a program with very big discounts where they can purchase that equipment at very big discounts provided it’s only used in their lab. And then there are other items they will receive from Huawei like training vouchers. We can offer the training. In many countries we offer training vouchers or rebates for the training costs, so in effect they don’t, in many cases they don’t even have to pay for the training or the certification. So that’s kind of in a nutshell what we offer partners as part of the CSB program.


    SCOTT: And as one of these certified partners, do they have to go through yearly recertification or is there an audit program, some kind of feedback loop from customers, customer satisfaction, for example?


    HANK: Absolutely. We have seven KPI’s that we measure the success of the partner. Of course in the beginning of the relationship we make a plan on what they think they can accomplish, and then we measure whether they actually are able to accomplish these objectives that we mutually agreed over the year or the multiple years, depending on the plan. Then of course we measure customer satisfaction. We measure other KPI’s like the catch rate and renewal rate, etc. And based upon that, we look at, you know, is the partner doing well? If you’re doing well, then fine, we continue to support them. Some partners maybe don’t do so well, so we look at you know, is this really the right program for you, yes or no? But that’s all part of the discussion.


    SCOTT: I’m assuming partners are stratified via verticals. Or, are they?


    HANK: In some places yes, in some places no. For instance, if you take the railway vertical, transportation, that’s a very specific industry and one of the partners we work with very intensively is Hexagon, but there’s other partners that we work with specifically for the railway solutions, because it’s such a specific set of skills and knowledge to work in that market. Other markets maybe not so necessary, but we certainly look for partners to complement our own capabilities in specific vertical segments like partners that have good contacts within government when we have government projects, or partners that have a lot of knowledge or a lot of expertise and already maybe relationships as a side of financial services industry. So yeah, we do look at whether partners can help us in specific verticals, but we also have partners that are more generic.


    SCOTT: And as a customer, let’s say I’m a new customer, I just purchased a new solution from Huawei, do we recommend partners in their area, or do we kind of leave them on their own to find out who is best to service them?


    HANK: Both. Sometimes when we have a lead, a customer, an opportunity, we will, we try not to prioritize one partner over the other, but sometimes we feel that a specific partner might be a better fit for a customer. But in general, we leave it up to the partners to find the opportunities, and we will support them and we will support every partner the same way. But whenever a partner needs some specific support, we might be able to provide that as well.


    SCOTT: And do we send out, for example, quality of service surveys to our customers to have them rate how the partners are doing, so that we have kind of a, I don’t know, give them almost an anonymous way to give feedback to the company?


    HANK: Yes. We measure customer satisfaction both for our direct customers as well as for our indirect customers, because in the end, it is the end customer that pays the bills, right? So we want to make sure that they are satisfied with the products, the technology, and solutions, but also with the services. Because a happy customer is a returning customer. And so it’s in the interests of both the partner as well as Huawei to make sure the customer is happy and that we measure that. So a lot of partners have their own customer satisfaction surveys. We don’t want to duplicate that because that annoys customers, too many surveys, right? So then we use the outcome of the partner’s surveys to measure how satisfied their customers are.


    SCOTT: And what does the future look like?


    HANK: The future of Huawei Enterprise Services looks very good, Scott. As I mentioned, the investment we are making in the automation, which quite frankly many companies are doing these days, but if you look at the effort we are putting into it, I’m sure that in the foreseeable future we will take a leading position in service delivery. Because in the end, our objective is to become the preferred service partner for all our customers. And in order to do that, we need to still make some progress, but based upon comments from customers, partners, but also industry analysts, we’re progressing very, very fast. In some areas we’re already ahead of the competition, but we still need to make a lot of effort in the next several years, but if you look further down the future, I’m pretty confident that we will have that position of being the preferred partner for, service partner for our customers.


    SCOTT: Hank, can you think of anything else you’d like to add?


    HANK: Well, I think we’ve pretty much covered most of the aspects of the services. Obviously I could talk about this for three days, but I think for now this is OK. Thank you very much.


    SCOTT: Well, thank you so much for joining us, and I hope you certainly reach out to us when you have more and more interesting things to talk about. We hope you enjoyed the podcast. And, as always, thanks for listening.


    Biography

    Hank Stokbroekx is the VP of Huawei Enterprise Services. Based in Shenzhen, he looks after the service marketing, leveraging his 25 years in the IT industry to build and deliver high-value services for partners and customers.


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    What Can You Do with 400 Teraflops?

    Switzerland’s École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne’s Huawei-powered HPC center supports researchers and cities around the country with massive computing power.

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    High-Performance Computing (HPC) is involved in a variety of fields, including aerodynamics and space technology development, long-term climate prediction, high-precision weather forecasting, ocean current calculation, air and water pollution simulation analysis, flood and earthquake prediction, engine and mold design, biological medicine design, wind tunnel simulation testing, petroleum exploration, and new materials research.

    Currently, HPC is developing rapidly and being applied widely for two reasons:

    • One is demand. In this data era, as data volume increases and people pursue high data-analysis efficiency, a strong computing capacity is required.

    • The other is technology development. Information technologies have developed rapidly in recent years, and now people can enjoy HPC’s strong computing capacity at low cost rather than paying for a huge quantity of manpower and materials.

    These two reasons interact with and promote each other so that more and more industries can start using HPC and benefit from the resulting reforms.

    The higher education industry is a typical example. Statistics show that among the world’s top 500 HPC clusters released in June 2017, 41 are from universities, with the proportion exceeding 8 percent. Why does the higher education industry require HPC so strongly? The reasons are similar to those of HPC popularization, but the industry has more outstanding characteristics.

    Using the automobile manufacturing industry as an example, automobile manufacturers design vehicles using HPC, and universities may also use HPC because they set relevant curriculums. Both of these two industries have HPC demands. The difference lies in that the manufacturers only use HPC to design vehicles while universities use HPC in physics, chemistry, and biology. In other words, compared with enterprises, HPC is more widely applied in universities. This is why HPC is developing so rapidly in the higher education industry.

    Challenge from EPFL

    Here, I would like to introduce to you a case to further explore HPC usage in the higher education industry, that is, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). EPFL is a top world-class university, ranking twelfth in the QS World University Rankings. It enjoys a great reputation in engineering technology and natural science fields and has students, professors and staff from over 120 countries and regions. To maintain its industry-leading scientific research level, EPFL keeps strengthening HPC system construction and established the first HPC system to serve all students and teachers in 2008.

    To enhance future competitiveness, EPFL has planned to upgrade and expand its HPC system since last year because resources are insufficient. In the demand list from EPFL, the application demand column stands out and lists all items to be met, including HPC benchmark, HPL test, HPCG test, and various applications in science, engineering, biology, and medical care. All of these applications must keep running properly.

    In addition, there are many mandatory requirements, such as theoretical computing capability ≥ 475 TFLOPS, shared storage ≥ 340 TB, read/write bandwidth up to 40 Gbit/s, cabinets ≤ 8, and power consumption per cabinet ≤ 25 kW. The system must be open and easy to manage and scale. Partners should be forward-looking in technologies and able to offer sufficient support to EPFL to build a 5 PFlops HPC cluster in the coming 5 years.

    Huawei Solution

    It is easy to meet a certain requirement but difficult when it comes to all requirements. No pressure, no drive. Huawei repeatedly conducts detailed analysis with Transtec and figures out a solution.

    This solution has 408 FusionServer XH620 servers deployed as compute nodes, and each node has two Intel Xeon E5-2690 v4 CPUs, with a theoretical computing peak of 475.2 TFLOPS. The InfiniBand network, which adopts the layer-2 fat-free networking technology, is used. The storage system is composed of six OceanStor 5800 systems and a General Parallel File System (GPFS), with a capacity of 350 TB.

    Huawei adopts a number of advanced products and technologies in this solution, which achieves remarkable effects. For example, FusionServer X6800 high-density servers are used, increasing the single-cabinet computing capacity by 70 percent and decreasing the number of cabinets by 40 percent. If FusionServer X6800 servers are used, a 4U chassis is needed to accommodate 8 compute nodes and 16 CPUs. If ordinary 1U two-socket servers are used, an 8U chassis is needed. As a result, 6 rather than 10 cabinets are required to accommodate 408 compute nodes. FusionServer X6800 adopts a heat dissipation design and Dynamic Energy Management Technology (DEMT), so its power consumption is 10 percent to 20 percent lower than that of a traditional rack server. Other features are not listed herein exhaustively.

    This solution is widely recognized and deployed relying on high efficiency, performance, scalability, and easy management. In actual applications, it completely meets users’ requirements and the measured computing power is 402 TFLOPS, with the computing efficiency up to 89.3 percent.

    EPFL and Huawei announced that the Fidis HPC cluster, developed by EPFL SCITAS, was successfully rolled out in June 2017.

    Vittoria Rezzonico, Executive Officer of EPFL SCITAS, spoke highly of Huawei in an interview. “Transtec has closely cooperated with Huawei to provide EPFL with a top-quality system, which meets our demands in the high-performance computing field. We are impressed with the excellent hardware solutions introduced by Huawei engineers and professional planning, installation, and configuration services from Transtec,” she said.

    Customer Testimony

    “Transtec has closely cooperated with Huawei to provide EPFL with a top-quality system, which meets our demands in the high-performance computing field. We are impressed with the excellent hardware solutions introduced by Huawei engineers and professional planning, installation, and configuration services from Transtec.”

    — Vittoria Rezzonico, Executive Officer of EPFL SCITAS

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    What Can YOUR Robot Do?

    Huawei serves 60% of the global top 20 oil and gas companies with smart manufacturing solutions that improve quality and cut costs.

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    Leading New ICT Contributes to Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction

    Our Earth faces increasingly grave environmental problems every day. Although more people have realized the significance of environmental protection and have chosen shared bicycles and electric cars as part of their low-carbon lifestyles, yet we still rely heavily on non-renewable energy such as petroleum. How much oil is left and how long will it last? According to estimates from conservative experts, the sustained oil reserves left may last only 30 to 40 years at present rates of consumption, and the next oil crisis may happen much sooner than expected. Governments and socially responsible companies worldwide are intensifying efforts to develop new energy and optimize technologies in order to improve the exploration, production, and utilization of energy such as oil.

    Traditional technologies no longer meet the needs of enterprises. However, the advent of the Industry 4.0 era and the rise of smart manufacturing are bringing great hopes for energy conservation and emission reduction for the Earth.

    Manufacturing is a traditional industry, and it covers oil refining, automobile manufacturing, appliance manufacturing, power grids, steel mills, chemical plants, and others. ICT systems in the manufacturing industry used to function as support systems, but now they are shifting to work as production systems. Smart manufacturing, which comprises smart factories, smart logistics, and smart services, has become a new direction for digital transformation of the manufacturing industry. The successful implementation of smart manufacturing is impossible without the support of leading new ICT technologies such as cloud computing, Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

    China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) is China’s largest integrated energy and chemical enterprise. It ranked No. 3 on the 2017 Fortune Global 500 list. In 2013, Sinopec Group started its smart plant initiatives and selected its Yanshan, Maoming, Zhenhai, and Jiujiang companies as pilot smart factories.

    Petro-CyberWorks Information Technology Company Limited (PCITC), a joint venture of Sinopec Group and Pacific Century CyberWorks Limited (PCCW), is the contractor for building these pilot smart factories. PCITC chose Huawei to make smart factories a reality. Big Data and machine learning technologies are used in smart factories. By facilitating the gathering of refining and production information, these technologies help streamline the chemical reaction processes during refining and production, and dynamically adjust the volumes of crude oil, fuels, and catalysts necessary for the refining process. The resulting benefits include optimal productivity at the lowest energy consumption, without compromising the oil quality. Additionally, experiential models for running equipment as well as Operations and Maintenance (O&M) are set up. These models help monitor equipment in real-time and anticipate the abnormal status of equipment to implement predictive maintenance, reduce O&M costs, and mitigate the risks of unplanned downtime.

    At present, these four pilot smart factories report remarkable results, and constitute Smart Factory 1.0 in Sinopec Group. In the four pilot smart factories, the utilization rate of advanced control technology increases to over 90 percent; the automated production data collection rate reaches over 90 percent; and all pollution sources are automatically monitored. Production optimization used to be performed on a few processes and in offline mode, but now it is extended to all processes and conducted in online (in-service) mode. All these improvements increase labor productivity by over 10 percent and contribute to better quality and higher efficiency.

    ICT has brought tangible benefits to companies in the petroleum and petrochemical industry and helps them maximize Return On Investment (ROI). Key benefits include better production-to-consumption ratios, higher oil recovery rates, lower operating costs, higher labor productivity, and long-time stable running of equipment.

    Huawei Solutions Power Up Smart Factories

    Huawei, a leading global ICT solutions provider, offers a portfolio of market-proven solutions for the oil and gas sector, including digital oil-field, offshore oilfield communications, digital pipeline, smart refining, and intelligent sales solutions. These solutions are built upon Huawei’s extensive range of products such as wireless eLTE, IoT, KunLun servers, OceanStor 9000 high-end storage systems, High-Performance Computing (HPC), cloud data centers, public clouds, and cloud-enabled enterprise communications products. As of now, Huawei serves 60 percent of global Top 20 oil and gas companies, and has worked on more than 38,000 kilometers of oil and gas pipelines, which cover 41 percent of leading energy countries and regions.

    With regard to Sinopec Group’s smart factory initiatives, Huawei joined hands with PCITC to provide real-time communications and computing capabilities as well as architecture-wide security capabilities.

    Sinopec Jiujiang Company, a subsidiary of Sinopec Group, is used as an example. Sinopec Jiujiang Company is located on the northern bank of the Yangtze River and to the south of Mount Lushan. Every year, the company processes 10 million tons of crude oil and produces 300,000 tons of synthetic ammonia, 520,000 tons of urea, and 100,000 tons of polypropylene. The company has a total of 48 production units, most of which have industry-leading economic and technical specifications and outperform similar appliances in the industry.

    Sinopec Jiujiang Company deployed Huawei’s eLTE Broadband Trunking solution to meet the company’s need for larger communications capacity and a multimedia trunking dispatch system. This solution helps the company easily deploy an audible and visual dispatch system. Additionally, this solution requires no wired transmission, greatly reducing the company’s investments.

    Sinopec Jiujiang Company also chose Huawei’s OceanStor high-end storage system, ensuring that core business systems such as O&M and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) are stable. This new storage system is designed to be future-proof to support data center resource consolidation and service migration to the cloud in the future, which previously were impossible for original storage systems due to their limited scalability. Huawei’s high-end storage system also enables Sinopec Jiujiang Company to build a unified Office Automation (OA) platform that involves email, office applications, and portal subsystems, and also centrally stores data. Sinopec Jiujiang Company uses Huawei’s TE30 All-in-One HD Videoconferencing Endpoint system to enable video-assisted shift handover at work as well as internal and external communications — all greatly improve communication efficiency. With TE30 video conferencing, users can easily hold meetings through calls.

    Sinopec Jiujiang Company adopted a series of advanced technologies and techniques, such as 4G wireless network applications, IoT-based smart warehouse, and a whole-process integrated optimization platform. All these implementations are first-of-a-kind in refineries.

    The Smart Factory 2.0 Era Is Fast Approaching

    In April 2017, PCITC and Huawei jointly announced a smart manufacturing platform, which is not only the two parties’ first significant joint innovation since they inked strategic partnerships, but also the core part of Smart Factory 2.0 within the Sinopec Group. This platform has eight major capabilities: Centralized integration, IoT access, IT management and control, optimization, shared services, data processing and analysis, and AI. The platform will become a ‘benchmarking operating system’ for smart manufacturing. This smart manufacturing platform also has integrated new ICT technologies such as cloud computing, the IoT, Big Data, Virtual Reality (VR), and machine learning. It is expected to become an industry-leading smart manufacturing platform in the process-centric industry. The eight capabilities of this platform are highlighted as follows:

    Centralized integration: This platform consolidates smart factory data and information, enables centralized management and control of data assets, and allows effective integration with application systems.

    IoT access: This platform provides ubiquitous, interoperable, smart converged communications services necessary for smart factories, and supports a wide range of service applications such as digital warehouse, tracking of hazardous chemicals, vibration and corrosion monitoring for key equipment, and environment monitoring.

    IT management and control: This platform implements cloud management, security management, O&M management, and unified development; and allows for centralized management, monitoring, and resource allocation of cloud nodes.

    Optimization: This platform comes with optimization tools and engines to streamline the entire production process, facilitate device operations, and improve energy efficiency.

    Shared services: This platform centrally manages and controls business and technology service components, and provides shared cloud services to facilitate unified development.

    Data processing and analysis: This platform unleashes the potential of Big Data and enables production exception analysis, equipment fault diagnosis, and product quality analysis.

    Artificial intelligence: This AI-capable platform helps institutionalize rules, models, and knowledge, and creates a ‘smart brain’ for petrochemical plants using deeply learning and reasoning data.

    Why Huawei Smart Manufacturing Solutions?

    Huawei and global partners join hands to launch a FusionCloud Smart Manufacturing solution which features efficient management, agile dispatching, and open architecture. This solution is a good choice for customers in the production and manufacturing industries, meeting their needs of industrial automation, information convergence, service-centric manufacturing, and flexible production.

    This solution is the result of the collaborative efforts of Huawei and a group of industry partners such as SAP, Accenture, PCITC, Halliburton, and Forcecon. By enabling end-to-end management of the manufacturing processes that cover design, production, supply, logistics, and marketing, this full-stack cloud solution makes smart cloud-based and service-oriented manufacturing a reality. Big Data analytics and mining helps manufacturing companies resolve deep-rooted problems and pain points. All these benefits pave the way for building a cloud-enabled manufacturing platform characterized by intelligent management and unified architecture.

    The day when we run out of oil will come sooner or later. However, we believe that leading new ICT technologies such as cloud computing and Big Data can play an active role for petrochemical enterprises as they help utilize energy in more efficient and environmentally friendly ways and continue to explore more green new energy sources.

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    Lions, Tigers and… Data Centers?

    Zambia uses a Huawei cloud solution to store, access and protect government data & a Huawei telepresence solution to connect government agencies around the country.

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    Scott and Ben’s Work Worries

    Scott is a senior staff member at the Zambian Ministry of Finance (MoF). As part of his job, he analyzes a wide range of economic data, including statistics on power generation, copper production and exports, the use of mobile communication services, and numbers of tourists. Scott’s information is sourced from government departments across Zambia.

    Scott has often faced delays in receiving critical data. There has been a history of disagreements between departments over the specific data to be released, or when, or sometimes difficulties when needing to access old data stores. Challenges on the systems level have included the inability to deliver a reliable supply of electricity to the IT systems, which at times has caused the loss of important information. Scott relies on his colleague Ben, an IT engineer for the MoF, to resolve all such technical issues as they arise.

    Among Scott’s concerns is maintaining effective voice and mail communications between the Zambian ministries of finance, agriculture, transport, and customs.

    As the national data infrastructure of Zambia has become more digitalized, the need to store and analyze large amounts of data has grown exponentially. However, because the IT resources of the Zambian government have been operated separately, the risk of data loss remained high. Scott, Ben, and their peers throughout the government have been unable to keep pace with the rapid change in the requirements for enterprise ICT leasing, and each of the problems described above were having an equal effect across other major agencies, including agriculture, transport, customs, and tourism.

    To ensure the development of secure, efficient and interoperable systems between departments the Zambian government set out plans to build and promote a “Smart Zambia.” The government determined that progress into the digital age would involve the use of innovative technology to advance a national informatization program for eGovernment, eCommerce, and IT talent.

    The National Data Center Is the Foundation of a Smart Zambia

    In March 2015, during his first official visit to China, Zambian President Edgar Lungu met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Together they witnessed the signing of a Phase 1 joint framework and financing agreement for the Smart Zambia project. With Huawei as the primary project supplier, the goal of the “National ICT Development Project” would be to build a national cloud data center and launch an ICT talent training center.

    Huawei provided the Zambian National Data Center with a reliable solution that included: A Three-Data-Centers-in-Two-Cities (3DC) solution that ensures the security and continuity of government services and data; a Huawei cloud solution with services such as government and enterprise cloud hosting; and Huawei energy solutions to guarantee safe operation of devices in data center equipment room.

    Zambia’s main national data center at the Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), is located in Lusaka, the capital city. The ZICTA center covers an area of about 450 square meters, with an equipment room containing 72 server cabinets, a power room, monitoring room, and two outdoor diesel-engine generators supported by underground fuel tanks. The ZICTA cloud platform was designed to provide processing, networking, and storage facilities for government and public institutions, and commercial enterprise services.

    A 400-square-meter backup data center is co-located at the Roma switch office of Zamtel, the Zambian national telecommunications operator. A second backup data center — this one covering 600-square meters — is situated at the Zamtel Kitwe switch office. Each of the three centers is fully equipped with servers, power, monitoring, and communications equipment rooms.

    The Zambia National Data Center project officially commenced in January 2016, and installation and delivery were completed by the end of December 2016. The center was handed over to the government on February 28, 2017. The ZICTA National Data Center is now officially in operation.

    Huawei’s cloudified 3DC solution has provided the physical infrastructure currently in use by the Zambia government. The result is the delivery of eGovernment services from a centralized facility that has greatly increased government efficiency and accelerated the process of creating a paperless environment. The solution is a powerful and reliable ‘information nerve center’ that ensures the efficiency and data security of government operations, including support for transportation and commercial applications.

    The ICT Academy: Ben’s Second University

    According to Zambia’s 7th Five-Year Development Plan, ICT has been identified as an important catalyst for socio-economic development and a driving force for good governance. In order to fulfill this mandate, Zambia needed to create a national program to train ICT talent. The Zambia government expects that the expansion of educational opportunities for ICT managers and technicians will increase the employment rate nationally and lower the costs of operation for Zambian ICT enterprises.

    In addition to supplying the technical infrastructure, Huawei has also provided an advanced ICT training solution that includes modern multimedia classrooms and labs, course materials, and on-site training. The result high standard for training and certification ensures that a qualified workforce is available for data center operations and business activities both inside and outside of Zambia.

    Ben, this story’s second protagonist, was assigned to take part in the Smart Zambia ICT training project. Using electronic whiteboards, teachers and trainees can engage in discussions using remote video though Huawei’s smart teaching system. And, in the technical labs, trainees can practice IT operation and maintenance procedures for storage, networking, transmission, and telepresence activities.

    In order to meet the Zambia national ICT industry and human resources development strategy, Huawei launched the ICT ‘Star Instructors’ certified vocational training course that gave trainees the opportunity to travel to China to receive high-quality guidance and hands-on experiments to assure that the teaching methods used in Zambia would meet Huawei’s requirements. Following their return to Zambia, instructors are qualified to train more ICT instructors and students to an established international standard.

    Ben’s training ran from February to mid-September 2016. He attended a total of eight courses, obtained the related certificates, and became a Star Instructor at the Zambia ICT College (Zict College). He, and all other instructors who had received the necessary credentials began to teach at Zict College. At times, and depending on the topic, Huawei Authorized Information and Network Academy (HAINA) instructors may also join the discussions. The ICT online learning system includes courses on networks, IT, enterprise communications, among others. At present, 156 students are enrolled in the program; and in the future, Ben will both work at the National Data Center and also continue to train up-and-coming ICT talent for Zambia.

    Immersive, Efficient Communication

    Huawei has supplied a number of telepresence conferencing systems to the Zambian government, including 5 three-screen systems and 21 two-screen systems. According to the mandate, 26 ministries have access to the telepresence facilities, with coverage that includes the President’s Office, Cabinet Offices, and the Ministries of Finance, Home Affairs, and Defense.

    The video telepresence conferencing system gives participants an immersive, true-to-life experience that transforms the conventional model for convening meetings between separate offices. Communications and decision-making are improved, and many issues can be solved without the need to travel. By eliminating the need for routine face-to-face meetings, the frequency and costs for travel are reduced. The use of Huawei’s telepresence system has significantly cut time and costs of government meetings and helped make the communication between Scott and other government officials simpler and more efficient. The Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs has remarked that, “Things have been changed for the better!”

    National Broadband Network: A Step Further toward ‘Smart’

    With the first phase complete, the Smart Zambia Institute (SZI) has launched Phase II of the Smart Zambia project to build a national broadband network and eGovernment platform to benefit 17 cities across the country. 9,050 km of fiber-optic cable will be deployed across ten provinces, with a plan to connect ten-thousand businesses and public-sector organizations, and two-hundred thousand urban households to the National Data Center built in Phase I. The country of Zambia is undergoing a large-scale boost in informatization based on the access and promotion of smart national government applications to the general public.

    The Huawei-supplied eGovernment platform is also supporting an eCustoms system for twelve Zambian shipping ports that are connected to the existing Asycuda system. The new system will add logistics tracking, cargo testing, and ensure the collection of tax revenues for all goods passing through customs. The Zambia Customs Commission will use the system to combat tax evasion and increase total revenue.

    In addition to providing Phase I and II of the Smart Zambia project, Huawei has acted as a lead planner to help the government implement the Smart Zambia ICT Master Development Plan over the next 50 years. The Master Plan is the guiding document for steering the transformation of the Zambian economy into a smart future.

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    Logistics Moving at Wharf Speed

    The Huawei Cloud helped make Shanghai’s port more efficient by consolidating data from wharfs and ports into one system for highly automated deliveries.

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    Shanghai has served as one of China’s major trading ports for about one hundred years. China has aspired to build Shanghai into an international financial and recognized shipping center since the country launched economic reforms and announced an opening-up policy.

    Shanghai International Port Group Co., Ltd. or SIPG, founded in June 2005, is one of the largest port operators around the globe and the biggest in China. In 2016, SIPG reported a container throughput of more than 37 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), ranking first in the world for the seventh year in a row. During the first half of 2017, SIPG already handled a record high of approximately 19.604 million TEUs. Additionally, SIPG went public in 2015, becoming one of the constituents of the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) 50 Index. In 2017, SIPG became one of the first barometer stocks included on the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Index. Further, SIPG has expanded its business into other sectors; for example, investing in the famous Shanghai SIPG Football Club that has a favorable reputation similar to Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao Football Club.

    Shanghai Harbor E-Logistics Software Co., Ltd. is a high-tech company owned by SIPG. Shanghai Harbor E-Logistics stands out for its port Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and logistics software, and other products that rank among the top in the domestic market. The company’s new product lines specialize in port management software and improving port automation. The Chinese ports built upon Shanghai Harbor E-Logistics are among the first ports where China owns the indigenous intellectual property rights.

    One-Stop Shipping Tracking Platform Resolves Mass Data-related Issues for Modern Ports

    Shanghai Harbor E-Logistics constructed an extensive shipping tracking platform (http://www.hb56.com/) with Huawei’s cloud technologies by the end of 2016. This platform helps resolve two main issues in the shipping industry:

    • The data generated by daily operations at ports and wharfs rapidly expands so data queries were difficult in the past. However, utilization of the new shipping tracking platform greatly facilitates data queries and is highly accepted among industry users. With the platform, users can accurately and quickly query the location of each container and understand subsequent operations.

    • The platform also solves the data communication issues existing between many enterprises and users in the industry. Currently, this platform has consolidated all data of 17 midsize and large wharfs along the backbone and trunk lines of the Yangtze River, and implemented standardized data exchanges. The latest version — 2.0 — of this platform has added a new function of proactively pushing the shipping information to registered users, in contrast to the traditional approach where users had to log in to perform data queries. This convenient function has been highly commended by users to improve operations.

    During the early stages of platform development, the project team at Shanghai Harbor E-Logistics faced great pressures. After in-depth communications with the project survey team and software development team, three main issues emerged when defining platform requirements:

    • How could we cope with mass access requests? Our original data query system was for internal use only, and the volumes of access and data bursts were controllable. However, after the platform goes live on the Internet, outsiders can also access the platform and the access requests are going to increase dramatically.

    • Infrastructure set-up must be completed within one month, which is a great challenge.

    • How could we determine the initial size of basic systems in the design phase? Would we have to build a small data center or invest in only a single device at the very beginning?

    With these three main issues in mind, we conducted many rounds of internal discussions and assessments, and finally selected a cloud solution proposed and recommended by Huawei. With the support of Huawei cloud services, the platform currently supports the following six main functions:

    • Sailing schedule query: Provides the departure plan for outbound containers, the sailing schedule applied for by the shipping agent, as well as berthing and unberthing plan for containers at the wharfs for the Port of Shanghai.

    • Container and cargo query: Allows users to query information about containers, cargo, permitted release, pre-recorded information, plans, and others; provides information about containers at the wharfs along the Yangtze River enabled by the Port of Shanghai; and implements a complete tracking process.

    • Verified Gross Mass (VGM) weighing information: Allows users to download the weight records of the Outbound Full (OF) containers at the wharfs of Shanghai’s port.

    • Permitted release information: Allows users to query the customs-permitting-release information sent through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

    • Packing list pre-recording: Allows users to query the EDI pre-recording information about the packing list for OF containers.

    • Links to other major websites: Provides links to Shanghai E&P International Inc., the customs clearance portal for Shanghai Customs, various wharf systems from different operators, and official websites of various shipping enterprises.

    Partnering with Huawei Builds an Open, Win-Win Industry Ecosystem

    Huawei’s cloud technologies and products are mature and meet our requirements in various aspects. Specifically, these technologies and products offer high flexibility and allow for customized network bandwidth, to best fulfill Internet services. Testing, service rollout, and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) are more convenient. Huawei’s pre-sales and after-sales teams are highly skilled professionals who provide powerful support and implemented a detailed solution within just one week. As a result, system deployment and team training were completed within 18 days. Regarding future system capacity expansion, Huawei’s approaches also meet our requirements: From the initial phase of this project, the overall budget was manageable, and there is a very clear price system for future phases.

    The platform continues to streamline operations since its completion in late 2016. During this period of time, the system has been continuously upgraded and optimized. Huawei always provides unmatched professional services. In addition to a dedicated after-sales service manager for this project, Huawei engineers are reachable around the clock and help to quickly solve problems. To date, Huawei has improved system performance by more than 10 times, not to mention the resolution of many tiny issues. In particular, Huawei’s service teams have patiently assisted us in analyzing and resolving the inherent issues of our own products.

    For cloud technology advancement, Huawei has been continuously innovating and launching a series of novel products and solutions, paving the way for future needs. After long-term cooperation, we have established a clear division of responsibilities: Huawei is responsible for the design and implementation of infrastructure, and we take charge of the development and deployment of the entire set of software applications. In doing so, the two companies assure win-win outcomes, which is the key to collaboration between both parties.

    As Cloud continues to transform the shipping industry, at Shanghai Harbor e-Logistics, we are clear about our responsibilities and positioning. Our vision is to connect scattered resources into an open, win-win industry ecosystem. This aspiration will be a long, constant journey. Our plan is deeper cooperation with Huawei to ease this journey and make our vision a reality.

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    Vive La Cloud!

    France’s largest TV station, TF1, turned to Huawei’s cloud solution to streamline their video news production, editing, and storage needs.

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    Moving to a cloud architecture may seem a daring choice for a news organization. After all, media companies are the second most-hacked enterprises after banks. Nonetheless, France’s TF1 television channel has taken advantage of cloud technology and gained security advantages and significant cost savings.

    TF1’s progression to cloud technology has been a natural one given the requirements of television news and competition in the news business. To contain costs while expanding capabilities, TF1 has made technology choices that may be of interest to any media company.

    TV to Multimedia

    Rebranded from Télévision Française 1 in January 1975, TF1 started as a simple channel and has evolved into a multimedia, multi-channel, and multi-platform TV network. TF1 has always led French TV in audience share and intends to maintain that leadership. However, we all know that traditional TV channels face strong competition from digital services, particularly among younger viewers. TF1 thus placed strong emphasis on diversifying activities to improve content creation and monetize capabilities. While enhancing its position as a producer of original content for news, TF1 is also selling content to other TV channels.

    How can cloud technology help? The answer comes out of the longterm trends in TV operations. Like any other TV news group, TF1 sends crews into the field with more than 88 pounds’ (40 kilograms) of equipment to gather content for news stories. In the not-too-distant future, we could shoot the same kind of video with a pocket-size smartphone that can transmit content across the planet thanks to the 3G and 4G networks. There is only one condition — you must shoot in landscape mode because TV screens are horizontal.

    Software is replacing a great deal of hardware. The processing applied by the smartphone to improve picture quality replaces the big lenses and big image sensors used in broadcast cameras. What’s more, stabilization algorithms are replacing the strength of the cameraman’s weary shoulder.

    Another trend has affected video editing equipment. In the 1990s and early 2000s, an entire bank of equipment was required. Today, PC-based systems are easily powerful enough to handle HD video editing. Consequently, videotape has become obsolete. Giving up workflows based on tape and tape recorders was the biggest transformation for TF1. Digital media and servers have dramatically improved the ability to work in groups and collaborate in content sharing.

    Now, with software-based solutions, all the elements are in place for an even greater transformation. The adoption of cloud technology in broadcasting infrastructures.

    Secure Way to the Cloud

    Security presents a serious cloud infrastructure challenge for the media and broadcasting industry. Having safe infrastructure is an absolute necessity for the second most-frequently attacked industry. It is difficult to make a safer infrastructure than the closed system used years ago.

    Other cloud challenges are not so much barriers to use as they are issues of scaling resources to meet TF1’s requirements. For example, TF1 typically stores approximately 200,000 hours of content — in the range of a few petabytes. The company has to manage a reasonable number of files, but each file is huge. And remember — these figures are for HD resolution. 4K video quadruples the number of pixels and increases the number of frames per second, making it necessary to quadruple the number of pixels again because Japanese broadcasters intend to launch 8K technology for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

    Another important specification for TF1’s media cloud is compute resources, which are needed for audio and video processing as well as running the databases used to manage the company’s media. TF1 therefore needs solid general-purpose computing capability as well as graphics capabilities. Some of the company’s video editors have been using high-end laptop computers for this task, which is a cost concern for TF1.

    Additionally, the company has rolled out a major upgrade of the technical and editorial system for the 24/7 LCI news channel. LCI (La Chaîne Info) was previously a pay TV channel but earlier this year went free-to-air and is now facing new competition in the free-to-air market. The technical upgrade will make the channel more competitive but requires the use of high-end workstations.

    LCI has a team of 150 journalists, and TF1 wanted to avoid investing in 150 high-end workstations when their utilization is not very high over a 24-hour news cycle. At any given time, around 60 journalists are simultaneously working on a video-editing task. Using standard workstations would have been costly and also would have constrained each journalist to a fixed location.

    For a long time, TF1 thought that the only solution was to move to an architecture based on Web clients. Unfortunately, significant features of audio/visual applications are still unavailable in such an architecture.

    The Cloud Solution

    Over the past couple of years, TF1 has performed numerous trials of virtualized infrastructures, which achieved higher density and ease of maintenance. Next, TF1 wanted to innovate in a different way to cost-effectively support the LCI journalists.

    With the help of Huawei, TF1 set up a cloud architecture using Huawei’s FusionCloud desktop, which enables end users to access ‘virtual PCs’ using thin clients. This solution encompasses terminals, other hardware, software, network resources, security resources, and consulting services to help adapt the solution to specific requirements.

    The solution freed TF1 from depending on both a powerful client machine and a strong back-office capability with a high-performance network to bring high-resolution video streams to the client. The cloud architecture concentrates the computing power in the data center as a set of shared resources.

    TF1 limited its shared-resource investment to 60 host computers that are accessible to 150 thin clients, which cost much less than high-end workstations, soft clients via Wi-Fi, and even smartphones. For performance, Huawei’s Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution offered the best qualities for video playback and other crucial functions, including very smooth video playback and perfect picture and sound synchronization.

    Finally, the cloud setup improved TF1’s security. The VDI provides audio/visual tools and office tools on the same user screen that run on separate virtual machines. This setup allows TF1 to separate the office tools and broadcast video tools in the back office, which improved security.

    Future plans for TF1 include partnering with Huawei, possibly in the short term, to implement a huge storage solution or extend the VDI solution into other areas of TF1. With the emergence of cloud-compatible TV applications and software-defined infrastructure, TF1 may soon be able to create a complete TV system as easily as a Web system can be created today.

    By Guillaume Lemoine, Broadcast Engineering Manager, TF1 Group

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