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  • May Yue

    Keynote

    AI-Empowered Cities Create a Connected World

    Ma Yue, Vice President of the Huawei Enterprise Business Group, explains how Huawei is deploying AI to improve Smart City governance. | November 2018

    Ma Yue

    Transcript
  • CLOSE

    Welcome to the Keynote series for New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Please join us as we listen to tech industry experts and thought leaders. Today we’re at Huawei’s Smart City Summit 2018 with Ma Yue, Vice President for the Enterprise Business Group. Mr. Yue is explaining how Huawei is deploying a full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolio to improve Smart City governance. Let’s hear what Ma Yue has to say.



    Distinguished guests, friends, ladies, and gentlemen: Welcome to Huawei’s Smart City Summit 2018.

    Cities play a very important role in the economic and social activities. From the ‘Garden City’ in the Middle Ages to the modern industrial cities, and to the low carbon and the resilient cities — cities have evolved with the human civilizations. The 21st century marks a new era, as digital technologies are pervasive in city governance, public security, industries, and people’s lives. Cities around the world are competing with each other to develop Smart Cities, which underpin the digital economy. Smart Cities have come through several phases:

    Phase 1: Breaking information silos

    Phase 2: Developing mobile Internet applications, and

    Phase 3: Acquiring massive data through the IoT

    And most recently, we call Phase 4: Improving the city governance with artificial intelligence-based data and analysis.

    This October, Huawei unveiled our AI strategy and full-stack, all-scenario AI portfolios. The ‘full stack’ means that Huawei offers the entire stack of chip enablement, a training and inference framework, and application enablement. ‘All scenario’ means that AI can be deployed in public clouds, private clouds, on the edge, the industrial IoT devices, and consumer devices. As a leading provider of ICT infrastructure, Huawei is able to build the scenario among the cloud, IoT, big data, video, edge computing, and AI. Just like the human being, how the brain, the central nervous (system), and the nerve endings work together, work with each other, the network elements from the command centers to the sensors can be fully connected. In this way, an open-(source)-plus-AI digital platform is built to enable the digital transformation. Such digital platforms will become a city’s operating system, what we call the OS.

    The OS connects each other with different kinds of sensors, which help to create a ‘digital twin’ for the city. At the same time, the OS enables the developers to build diverse applications. In this regard, our digital platform is highly efficient and open to the ecosystem partners. The platform shows that our capability to meet all the needs of Smart City in a high-level design, integration, operations, and services to the partners and customers. The Smart City is a complex system network. It might have a beginning but not an end. At present, there are no unified standards for the Smart City worldwide. Huawei hopes that we can formulate these standards together with our customers and partners. So far, Huawei has participated in more than 160 Smart City projects over 40 countries.

    Moving forward, Huawei’s AI-enabled digital platform will be the smart cornerstone for (many) more cities to achieve the sustainable development.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to conclude my speech with Huawei’s vision and mission: To bring digital to every person, home, and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.

    Let’s join hands together to make our Smart City better and better, smarter and smarter.

    Thank you very much.

    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. Please be sure to click on the link below to read a full transcript of this keynote speech. If you enjoyed it, please subscribe and be sure to share with your friends on social media. For more information on Huawei’s products and solutions, please visit e.huawei.com. Be sure to tune in again soon for more great guest interviews and stories. And as always, thanks for listening.

    Biography:

    Ma Yue, Vice President, Huawei Enterprise Business Group (EBG); President, Huawei EBG Global Sales Department; and President, Huawei EBG Alliances & Partners Department.

    CLOSE
  • Joann O’Brien

    Keynote

    Integrated AI Creates the City as a Platform

    Joann O’Brien, TM Forum Vice President of APIs & Ecosystems, discusses how the ‘Open API Manifesto’ is creating SaaS capabilities for Smart Cities around the world. | November 2018

    Joann O'Brien

    Transcript
  • CLOSE

    Welcome to the Keynote series for New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Please join us as we listen to tech industry experts and thought leaders. Today we’re at the 2018 Smart City Expo in Barcelona, Spain listening to Joann O’Brien, TM Forum Vice President for APIs and Ecosystems. She explains how TM Forum ‘Open API Manifesto’ is creating a flexible digital architecture for delivering real-time Software-as-a-Service capabilities for agile Smart Cities worldwide. Let’s sit back now and listen to Joann O’Brien to tell us the whole story!



    Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you to Huawei for inviting me here today. It’s a great pleasure to kick off the talk today about ‘city as a data platform.’ So, today, what we’re seeing is that AI has become a reality in 2018. And, this has been a journey which has started a very long time ago, way back in the 1800s when Thomas Bayes, who created an essay regarding predictive analytics, really set the foundation of AI way back then. Along with that, Boole, who you all will know, provided the Boolean logic around the same time. Boole was a professor in University College Cork where I am from. I’m very fond of that legacy. And, really, when we underpinned AI way back in the 1800s, but it took until today for it to become a reality. 2018 is the first time — we had some hype around the 2010’s, where we had Watson beating Jeopardy — so, we’ve come out of the hype, and we really believe, and we’re seeing it here today, particularly under the Huawei stand and some other stands, where AI is genuinely creating efficiencies for cities.

    What I want to talk to you about is really moving that to the next level of city as a data platform. We’re seeing that business value is being genuinely created. We have Gartner predicting, in the region of 1.2 trillion dollars of business value generated through AI in 2018. With that growing to 3.9 trillion by 2022. This is the foundation. But, of course, AI really relies on data. We need data, we need more data in order to realize more of these values.

    Platforms are basically enabling monetization of data through IoT, video, geographic information systems, et cetera. Geographic information systems in video is kind of a newer area to this, where we’ve seen that cities are applying AI and these technologies to increase, say, for example, parking revenues where video is being used to capture the number plate of cars and, in a much more seamless way, are actually creating an infrastructure freer — a visually aesthetically pleasing — environment, and actually massively increasing the revenues from things like parking services and getting much higher degrees of compliance.

    So, really it’s between IoT data and potential unlocking of other types of data that the growth of services and the growth of business value is being seen. The statistics are here — 3.6 trillion dollars expected to be received or seen realized in value by 2030. This is a massive business opportunity. However, we need to focus on the actual value, the actual services.

    At the moment, it’s believed really that IoT is being led by retail, where retailers are actually using IoT services to create a much greater, intimate customer experience, with healthcare and supply chains, really, the next in line. And now, also we’re seeing Smart Cities completely embracing IoT and data. We believe it’s really part of the fourth industrial revolution, right? Where artificial intelligence, data, APIs, flexible architectures are creating an open dynamic ecosystem. It is compared to the invention of the steam engine, with regards to the impact that it will have on economic growth.

    For cities who are already very economically viable, that’s probably a given that they will embrace AI. But it’s also a very important opportunity for newer cities, or cities that feel economically challenged right now. AI, and education of AI, and data and IoT can actually help a city to come out of economic deprivation. That is being embraced by groups like the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. This is a real opportunity. It’s a game changing period in our era.

    It’s believed that 70 percent, that’s two-thirds of all companies, will implement some form of AI by 2030, and that most big organizations will underpin much of their infrastructure with AI over the next 20 years. AI being a 200 billion (dollar) opportunity to the industry, but there are a number of fundamental challenges going on at the same time, right? There’s 90 percent of the world’s data has been created over the last two years. This is exponentially growing by 10 times between now and 2025. But there’s only 1 percent of data that’s actually being used to create insights to make change, and that’s something that we need to fundamentally change, right? You need to embrace that data and actually use it to create intelligence.

    So, there’s the factor of using the data that we have, but also creating more useful and clean data for the future. There are a number of aspects here. One is, it’s believed that IoT has grown up with a lot of fragmentation to date. We need to break down that fragmentation. In some sense, it’s believed that the genie has already left the bottle. However, we do need to work together collaboratively in order to realize seamless movement of data across different types of services in the future. We will need to create IoT-type standardization in order to achieve that. There are a number of companies and organizations like ourselves, TM Forum, who are working to create IoT standardization to enable that seamless movement of data in the future.

    We are a not-for-profit organization. Huawei would be a member company of TM Forum, on our board. They influence our technical direction and strategy. We work collaboratively with over 850 member companies globally. What we develop is proven and tested by many different experts across cities and also across industries. What we’ve created to date is this whole series of tools that cities can use in order to, one, monitor where they are under smart journey. They can benchmark where they are today, not only for themselves, but also in comparison to other cities. They can use a whole series of open standards like open APIs and data models. They can use tools like ecosystem mapping to determine new types of services that can create and map information and financial flows of data.

    We also created what we call the Open API manifesto. This set out a whole series of principles under which a whole number of cities have agreed to. There’s over a 140 signatures that are made up of industry organizations such as the UN. Huawei is also a member. The EU, as well, are all supporting of the manifesto. The basic principles of this manifesto really are three things. The livability: Is this a good place to live? Is there congestion in my environment? Can I move freely around the city? Workability: Is it easy to get access to this critical infrastructure and services that I need in order to compete with high quality jobs across the globe? And sustainability: Am I driving towards a carbon neutral environment? These are the principles that all of these companies and cities have underpinned and agreed to drive towards. They’re very, very good.

    I would like to add another one to that and that’s learnability. Is the city data-driven and learning from its environment? Is it using the data available? Is it driving those efficiencies, those resource efficiencies, into the environment so that they can massively increase the efficiency of that city into the future?

    Where our focus is today, the things I’ve talked about are the things we’ve been doing for the last five years. Our focus really today is breaking down the silos of data. Moving from static data to real-time data and being able to merge — to not only apply AI on specific types of services, but be able to apply AI and other cloud technologies to the integrated data across different types of services. That requires a whole series of standards behind those services in order to be able to get that level of interoperability and to be able to extract insights at an aggregate level.

    We’ve also developed what we believe is a flexible architecture. It’s called the Open Digital Architecture within TM Forum. You can Google it. But it’s really about creating functional capabilities for cities and then delivering them as SaaS services. In doing so, you get a huge amount to reuse from those services, because they’re exposed to common APIs. We’re seeing a lot of that evident in the types of services that we’ve seen here today, with Huawei, with the smart metering and smart lighting — all the different types of infrastructure underpinned by a single platform and infrastructure. Having a capability and functional model like that, creates a flexible mechanism to manage lots of different types of services.

    Yesterday, we announced, in order to help break down these silos of data, we announced a collaboration with a group called FIWARE. The reason we did this is TM Forum has been developing information models for many years. We have a legacy of nearly 30 years of creation of information models in the telecommunication space. Over 90 percent of the world’s operators are using the information models of TM Forum, plus processes and other things. However, the information models are the critical aspect to enabling interoperability and seamless movement of services across operators around the globe. We were seen as an important group, which can bring the capabilities to enable ecosystem-level interoperability by delivering open standardized APIs and data models.

    We’re just kicking off this initiative. We announced it yesterday, and we’re just now kicking off this initiative. We’ll work collaboratively with cities and the Open & Agile Smart City organization, which represents over a 120 cities. This is really a building together of industry and cities to deliver seamless movement of data, right into the future, which will drive, really, the data economy.

    We’ve seen from Huawei, this excellent presentation upfront, where we are so impressed to see the level of efficiencies that have been gained using the whole collaboration of education, infrastructure, platform, standardized APIs, and data models, and really, really delivering excellent new services. The next level really is the application of AI across many different types of services.

    Just briefly, who we are, we’re a not-for-profit organization, so completely independent, work collaboratively with many different organizations at a city level, (and) other industry verticals. We run proof-of-concept collaborative projects. We host them in our lab, which allows the rapid innovation using open source technologies and our own technology, such as APIs, which are freely available to the public. This allows, really, a degree of collaboration and standardization. We completely believe in underpinning interoperability with standardization.

    Also, we’ve been working in Smart Cities for a number of years now, hosting Smart City events in China, but also in Europe, and our collaboration will continue. But our focus for the next six months or so will be on breaking down those siloes of data, creating a seamless movement of data to allow us to grow well beyond that 1 percent of extraction of insights from data. By then, we will actually really realize the data economy.

    Thank you for your time. We’re all about moving beyond the 1 percent, breaking down the silos of data, and creating learning cities. Thank you.

    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. Please be sure to click on the link below to read a full transcript of this keynote speech. If you enjoyed it, please subscribe and be sure to share with your friends on social media. For more information on Huawei’s products and solutions, please visit e.huawei.com. Be sure to tune in again soon for more great guest interviews and stories. And as always, thanks for listening.

    Biography:

    Joann O’Brien’s career spans over 20 years in technology, ranging from consumer electronics, telecommunications mobile switching to OSS/BSS and more recently to industry collaboration. Joann is currently the Vice President of TM Forum’s Open API initiative, chair of the API Steering Committee and lead for the Open Hack program. Joann has significant experience leading complex large-scale transformation programs for a number of organizations. She has a mixture of technical and management background, enjoying both equally; she has a BS in Information Technology majoring in Telecommunications from Dublin City University and MBA from Open University.

    CLOSE
  • Gao Chun Ping

    Keynote

    Smart City Technology Turns Green Buildings into a Green City

    Dr. Gao Chun Ping of the Singapore Building & Construction Authority explains the connection between green initiatives and Smart City Development. | November 2018

    Gao Chun Ping

    Transcript
  • CLOSE

    Welcome to the Keynote series for New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Please join us as we listen to tech industry experts and thought leaders. Today we’re at the 2018 Smart City Expo in Barcelona, Spain, listening to Dr. Gao Chun Ping, the Managing Director of the Built Environment Research and Innovation Institute for the Singapore Building & Construction Authority. Dr. Ping is explaining the connection between green initiatives and Smart City development.

    Imagine city-wide sensor networks and unified management systems coming together to connect smart buildings, smart lighting, smart water monitoring, and a wide range of other green services on an unprecedented scale. Intrigued? Let’s listen to the whole story.



    Thank you, everyone. Thank you for Huawei for the invitation. Good afternoon, everyone. I would like to share with you some of the development works we have been doing in Singapore in terms of the Green City and the Green Building Development. Particularly, I would like to emphasize how the Green Development works hand-in-hand with the Smart City developments. As we all know, Singapore is a small island city-state located in Southeast Asia — about 720 square km, with a population of 5.6 million. We do not have natural resources. The only resources we have is the people that we have. We are very much particularly interested in environment sustainability, even before sustainability has become a fashion word.

    Since Singapore has gained independence in 1965, we have put natural resources as top in our sustainability development agenda. We want to reduce all the unnecessary use and improve the efficiency. But at the same time, we want to do more with less. We need to ensure a quality life in the high-rise, high-density environment so that we can attract investment, so that we can continuously support economic growth. Singapore has come a long way in developing this Green City. We have been trying all our strategies on Green City developments. We look at the energy and the problem reduction. Look at the building and the land use. We look at the transport planning, waste management, water, and all the air improvements, et cetera. We have been constantly cited as one of the case studies in the Green City environment and being ranked top of the charts in many of the international studies.

    Starting from 1960’s, our leaders have been creating this vision of a Garden City. Moving forward, we incorporated more greenery into the transport planning, developing functional greenery, (and) integrate it with leisure facilities. Ever since 2000, our Green City development has come to the new stage in response to the climate change and the global warming. We’ve been putting a lot of emphasis on the sustainable development and the Green Buildings. This has been showcased in terms of the Green Building Development. We have developed our own Green Building rating system called BCA Green Mark in 2005. Moving forward, we have been pushing the Green Building initiatives, including the government incentives and legislation of the environment sustainability for new buildings followed by existing buildings in 2012.

    Currently, we are working on driving the Green Building Development towards the third generation, which is to reach out to the building tenants to drive the Green Building Development in the next wave.

    Today, we are at the stage of having 37 percent of our building sectors being Green Certified. This accounts for more than 100 million square (meters) of the Green GFA, and more than 3,000 Green Building projects. We are probably one of the very few countries that have set the target of greening the whole building stock by 80 percent by 2030. Because of that, we have also been recognized globally for the efforts of the Green Building and the Green City Development.

    Moving forward, what we are going to see in the Green Building is that the Green Building needs to be transforming itself by embracing technology innovations. One of the key areas we are looking at is how green and smart buildings can work hand-in-hand and synergize the benefits, to bring out the most quality of life and energy efficiency for the cities and users. For example, the recent study done by the US shows that by embracing controls and the smart technologies, Green Building will be able to achieve another 17 percent of energy savings, just by almost zero capital expenditures. What we can do to drive the Green Building and the Green Development to the next generation is we consider as part of the vision that we can incorporate green developments together with the Smart Nation programs. The Smart Nation program has been launched in 2014 by our Prime Minister with the aim to transform Singapore’s engineering, countries, and technology innovation.

    The Smart Nation will improve the quality of life for all by leveraging technologies, to improve the quality of life for citizens, create new business, as well as building a stronger community. By incorporating Green Building into the Smart Nation, it will give us a new drive and push the green into a new era.

    Why Smart Nation now, compared to maybe 20 years ago when we’re talking about the intelligent building? It is again the sheer need, the sheer necessity. First, our urban density has increased in the past few decades, and they will continue to increase. The aging population, as I already mentioned, we have only one resource, which is the people, but we are facing a serious aging population issue. In the next 12 to 15 years, our population (that) has an age of more than 65 years old will account for more than ¼ of our total population. And the energy demand continues rising.

    One the one hand, the technical possibility of the multiple technologies, such as the sensors, better networks, big data, better factories, and better messaging, and integration give us new opportunities to look at the Green Building and the Smart Nation developments. Ever since we announced the Green Building and the Smart Nation programs, there are a lot of projects at the national level that have been picking up, for example. In terms of the town planning, we have started using the smart technologies to assist our town planning exercise, looking at the data of the occupants, the users, looking at the traffic flow, using IoT sensors to collect the information. Currently, we have more than 110,000 landscape lampposts that have been equipped with smart sensors to capture the user behaviour and the traffic flow. Using the information in a town planning will richly help us to improve the town planning exercise.

    On the other hand, similar to many other cities who have been working on the smart transport systems and the smart water management systems. You know, water is a big issue in Singapore, because we rely on importing water from neighboring countries. Every drop of water, if we can manage it well using the smart technologies, then it will be having great benefits to the whole country.

    If you notice, there’s also a 3D-mapping exercise currently, we have been currently doing because the city also is considering how to develop our ‘digital twin’ system in the nation, so that the technologies will be able to use to help us to manage the city better. This gives us an example of the digital twin. The project is called Virtual Singapore. We announced this project about three years ago. Basically, it uses LiDAR technology, laser scanning to develop a 3D model of the whole Singapore. In Singapore, we have more than 150,000 buildings. And later, we established this different level of detail of the beam model for the whole country.

    Overlaying this 3D model is a set of parameters and information collected from sensors from multiple agencies’ inputs. By overlaying this information, we’ll be able to tell what are the traffic flows, what are the electricity flows of the different precincts of the city. Different agencies and different public members are using this project for their own purpose. For example, the Police Department will be able to capture this kind of 3D model for disaster control and the management to mitigate the potential risk and also other uses.

    Currently, this project has been coming to the second stage. You can probably find the YouTube video from the YouTube website. In addition to the 3D model, we are also looking at the IoT technologies, using sensors to collect information at the urban and the precinct level. This picture shows a project our agencies have been connecting 39 buildings at the Phase 1. By collecting this information together to multiple sensors, we are able to tell how the building system is working, which is very important for Facility Managers to diagnose the problem, to improve the efficiency and reduce the manpower or improve the productivity.

    Through this pilot stage of connecting 39 buildings, we are seeing 15 percent of the productivity gains and 70 percent of the electricity billing gains. Currently, this project has been scaled up to a total township level we call the Bongo District Town. In this district town, we’ll be collecting information, applying the smart sensors, and the AI (Artificial Intelligence), to do further analysis. This analysis will be able to enable our urban managers to do better improvements or better control of the building environment. This is important because, in Singapore, this is a tropical city located in the tropical belt. There’s a lot of facilities and air conditioning used. If we do not operate this facility well, there is a tremendous opportunity of energy loss.

    Moving forward, how the Green Building and the Smart City can be further developed and can be synergized, and it will generate the greater benefits. This future shows some of our scanning. From the current data as well, we are seeing is that basically buildings are still working in isolation. They are using their own different systems, and they do not talk to each other. Most of the buildings are not really following the same standards in terms of energy performance, et cetera, although the agencies may come in and it will share the efforts. But most of the buildings are still working or using their own silos. This created a lot of barriers for the public agencies and the general public to enjoy benefits.

    One typical example is in our 3D mapping of the Virtual Singapore. We are able to map the traffic flow information into the 3D model. We are also able to map maybe the lifts and the escalator information into the 3D model. But how does vertical transport and the horizontal transport information be combined into a grid so that you can improve the whole performance? For example, if we are knowing in this region, the lifts and all the escalator information are there, and then we can send a taxi over there to pick up the guest. These are not done yet. So, we are seeing the integration of the building with the grid with these urban cities is very important in the next step of the Smart City development. This will require probably a Smart City Digital Platform and technology to drive the change.

    Also, in addition to that, we are seeing the Smart Building and the Smart City need to be really integrated and generate benefits for the users. That is why the smart devices and the smart applications come in. These smart applications will be able to bring the users and the occupants into the picture to make the Smart Cities and the Smart Buildings to really work for the smart citizens, making a kind of citizen-centric solutions. On the other hand, the smart grid needs to come in because of the renewable energy rise and the sustainable development works. We need to be really looking to how to build the whole city using the grid and the building to be automatically corresponding to each other for the demand and supply correspondence.

    As I already mentioned, most of the buildings are currently still working in silos. We have a fragmented industry. We have IT companies, consultants, and the design engineers, who actually developed the design. After that, pass over to the facility managers. Most of the time, a lot of information, a lot of the technologies are no more really effective after facility management has been taken over the information. There’s information loss. Also, the IT companies and IT system people come into the picture after the contract is completed. How we put these pieces together is an issue. Who is driving the convergence of all these fragmented issues?

    On the other hand, we also see the technology gaps. There are a lot of talks on big data. A lot of discussion on IoT, et cetera, connectivity, and interoperability. But frankly, currently, if you look at that industry, for the building sector, especially, you look at smart lighting. Smart lighting have their own cloud somewhere. You look at the smart air (conditioning), they have their own cloud. All these clouds do not really talk to each other. In the end, how you synergize it?

    One typical issue of the energy efficiency is that the lack of the coordination, and the lack of the integration. Automatic demand response and smart grid is something I’ve already mentioned. Again, the cyber security is one of the top concerns of the Smart City development. I just wanted to share with you some of the things we are having.

    In conclusion, the Smart Building and the Green Building, or Green City and the Smart City need to come together, need to work hand-in-hand, so that it can bring out the maximum benefits for citizens and people. With that, I thank you for your attention. Thank you very much.

    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. Please be sure to click on the link below to read a full transcript of this keynote speech. If you enjoyed it, please subscribe and be sure to share with your friends on social media. For more information on Huawei’s products and solutions, please visit e.huawei.com. Be sure to tune in again soon for more great guest interviews and stories. And as always, thanks for listening.

    Biography:

    Dr. Gao Chun Ping, 
Managing Director, Built Environment Research and Innovation Institute (BERII), 
Singapore Building & Construction Authority. Trained as an engineer and researcher, Dr. Gao has more than 20 years’ experience in research and practice of building technologies.

    CLOSE
  • Federica Bordelot

    Keynote

    Cities in the Age of Platforms Create Value for All

    Federica Bordelot, Policy Advisor for EUROCITIES, explains how local governments join together to become smarter cities. | November 2018

    Federica Bordelot

    Transcript
  • CLOSE

    Welcome to the Keynote series for New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Please join us as we listen to tech industry experts and thought leaders. Today we’re at the 2018 Smart City Expo in Barcelona, Spain with Federica Bordelot, Policy Advisor for EUROCITIES. She explains how city governments are forming international coalitions to navigate the new technology trends that are shaping nearly every aspect of human life. Want the whole story? Let’s listen to Federica’s speech right now.



    First of all, I would like to thank Huawei for inviting EUROCITIES and me today, here.

    So, just a few words about what EUROCITIES is. EUROCITIES is the network of major European Cities. We gather 140 cities in over 39 countries in Europe. We are the political platform for city mayors and leaders to speak with one voice towards the new institutions on all policies that have an impact on cities, like environment, culture, social, economic development, and of course, digital policies. In the last seven years, we have identified a number of priorities, like cities as a driver for quality jobs, like green and healthy cities. One of that is ‘smarter cities.’

    We live in an era of digital platforms, where the physical public space has been transforming into a digital one, and where decisions are driven by data. This is a fact. This is something that we all know. Something that you might not know is that city mayors and leaders do recognize the importance of digital platforms and new and emerging technologies to develop better public services to have their cities as liveable and sustainable to create value and, at the same time, to great opportunities for businesses.

    Here, I just want to give you two concrete examples. One is from the city of Florence. They have developed an open, urban digital platform, where they gather and they analyze a number of data from transport, mobility, public services, environment, water, et cetera, using IoT sensors and cameras. They analyze all the data, and then they develop a number of tools for city operators and decision makers alike. There’s Smart Cities dashboard, there’s smart decision support, the service map browser. This platform is called Kilometer for Cities, and that’s been developed thanks to the Horizon 2020 project.

    Then they also developed a tool for final users like a number of maps. This is the example from the city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands. There they have a street full of pubs and bars, which is called Stratumseind. There, in that street, they have also a living lab. That living lab is a physical place there where they monitor and they look at a number of data as well — from weather, from mobility as well, et cetera. They collaborate a lot with the local police to detect a number of risky situations and to immediately let them intervene when necessary.

    Of course, all these cities they do, they work a lot. But if you work alone, you might go fast. But if you work together, of course you go much further. Here is the EUROCITIES Knowledge Society Forum. This is one of the forums within EUROCITIES that brings together digital leaders, digital experts in cities to work together on a number of priority areas. This Green Digital Chapter is another EUROCITIES initiative I would talk to you later.

    The Knowledge Society Forum has identified the number of priorities. These are those that are here listed as working groups, so data standards and interoperability, and then the involvement, the engagement of citizens through digital technologies. But they have recently launched a new task force called Urban Digital Foresight, or Technological Foresight. This task force has, as a main objective, to look at the new technological trends and developments, and the impact that they have in cities. Cities’ digital experts are meeting to discuss the impact that they might have on this, and to identify a number of concrete future and emerging technologies. At the last meeting a month ago in Zaragoza, they have identified IoT, artificial intelligence, robotics, and blockchain as the main four new, emerging technologies to look at the attention and to work on in the next two years.

    The Green Digital Chapter, briefly, is another EUROCITIES initiative. This is a political initiative. Fifty-three mayors signed to commit to deploy five large-scale ICT projects within five years, to decrease the carbon footprint of ICT of 30 percent within 10 years, and then to work together, to collaborate with other signatory cities. In the last four years, they have developed also a number of publications to collect all case studies and examples of Smart City solutions.

    We also collaborated with a number of other organizations and initiatives. First of all, the Urban Agenda for E.U. and the Digital Transition Partnership there. The Urban Agenda is an initiative that brings together the cities, the local authorities, the member states, and the EU, the European Commission, to work together to find solutions to a number of different challenges and problems. There are very different partnerships on different topics.

    One of the partnerships is the Digital Transition Partnership. There an action plan has been developed, and 15 actions have been identified to be implemented in the next two years. The actions are grouped into this domain. We also work a lot with a number of other international organizations. Also they work on the cities’ initiative that was mentioned before.

    Cities work a lot, they do a lot, But of course when you do a lot, then you encounter also a number of challenges. I’m thinking about security. I’m thinking about data privacy and protection, creation of jobs, and digital skills. I would like just to focus on the data privacy and protection, and just to present to you the latest work developed by the data working group within the Knowledge Society Forum. This is a work, it’s a declaration on cities and data principles. They are working towards this declaration.

    They identified cities and data are personal and non-personal data, directly or indirectly generated in the public space, through IoT, telecom networks, cameras, and so on. They want to develop this list of principles because they really believe that those data are very important to create value for all. They want to collaborate. Cities, the local government, wants to collaborate with all other levels of government and in partnership with businesses to develop new business models to create value for all. Then collaboration is the key for success. Let’s collaborate. Thank you so much.

    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. Please be sure to click on the link below to read a full transcript of this keynote speech. If you enjoyed it, please subscribe and be sure to share with your friends on social media. For more information on Huawei’s products and solutions, please visit e.huawei.com. Be sure to tune in again soon for more great guest interviews and stories. And as always, thanks for listening.

    Biography:

    Federica Bordelot is an advisor on digital and innovation policies for EUROCITIES, the network of major European cities. She has extensive experience in building and developing relations between governments, organizations and other stakeholders.

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  • Manfred vom Sondern

    Keynote

    Smart Gelsenkirchen Makes Life More Livable for Residents

    Manfred vom Sondern, CDO for the City of Gelsenkirchen, Germany, explains how a new, high performance fiber optic network transformed his city. | November 2018

    Manfred vom Sondern

    Transcript
  • CLOSE

    Welcome to the Keynote series for New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Please join us as we listen to tech industry experts and thought leaders. Today we’re at the 2018 Smart City Expo In Barcelona, Spain with Manfred vom Sondern, the Chief Digital Officer for the City of Gelsenkirchen, Germany. He explains how the city has deployed a high performance fiber optic network to become “fully connected.” In fact, Gelsenkirchen is now one of five model digital cities in the North Rhine-Westphalia region. Now, let’s hear what Manfred has to say.



    Thank you. It’s called Gelsenkirchen where I’m from. Our claim in Gelsenkirchen is (that) Gelsenkirchen is a connected city. The overall ‘leitbild’ is the following: Our long-term vision is to create and build a city-wide, intelligent digital ecosystem which focuses on citizens, business, research facilities, tourists, and environment, enabling government and the civic to act sustainable for the benefit of the whole city. Therefore, we designed a broad Smart City approach with many actors within Gelsenkirchen, as well as with our partners, and interconnected various steps, solutions, and projects. We deliberately choose a holistic approach, not mainly technical.

    You can see Gelsenkirchen. We are located in the heart of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan area. We are one of the largest cities. Yes, maybe you laugh at 265,000 inhabitants, but we’re a large city in North Rhine-Westphalia. We’re within the largest economic zone in Europe after London and Paris.

    Here are our partners, all main players. At the left, you see GKD-EL Data Center for city administration on the left hand side, Gelsen-Net, and we’re a city administration above. We all make together the connected city. The basis is high performance fiber optic. A couple of years ago, we thought we would have to start with the infrastructure. Today, all departments are connected with our own fiber optic — all industrial estates and business parks, all hospitals and schools. The infrastructure enables digital government to build the backbone for the digital development for our city.

    Here’s some partners. You can see we have some local partners but international partners, too. We had to strive for this Gelsenkirchen ‘leitbild,’ the connected city. We organize our work and our projects into these fields of activities. Let me tell you, we put Gelsenkirchen on the map because we are a fellow city in the program called Digital Cities Challenge from the E.U. Commission. We are connected with over 40 cities; among them, Barcelona is a mentor, thanks for that. Digital Cities Challenge is an example of a really good offline network. Gelsenkirchen is one of the five digital model cities in North Rhine-Westphalia. There’s support from the Minister of Economic Affairs. We have our model city, or lead city for a model region, and have to make projects, e-Government projects, and projects for digital urban development. Aachen, Poderborn, Soest, and Wuppertal are the other cities.

    Some projects we have already implemented. Yes, free Wi-Fi also in Gelsenkirchen. We have about 300 hotspots for our free WLAN throughout the city, the longest hotspot mile in the region. This is special for us. Maybe not for you, but for us. It’s free of charge, easy to use, very stable, and very powerful. The people love it. Yes, the people love it.

    Then, let me tell you about our good data for good decisions. We have a very good spatial data infrastructure in Gelsenkirchen, with several mapping tools for everyone. It forms the basis of our ‘digital twin.’ In addition, we know a lot of statistic data about our inhabitants, which we combine then with the spatial data. We have tools, very good tools, very easy-to-use tools, with very good end-user functionality for anyone looking for simple analysis and reports, but sophisticated analytical tools of data visualization tools for the pros.

    Another example (is) problem reporting, our Problem Pointer App. This is a very simple App, but it’s a good example, I think, for an important thing of participation. We offer the citizens a fast and comfortable possibility to inform the responsible departments about lacks and offenses like illegal waste, potholes, damaged or unreadable traffic signs. You start the workflow by taking a photo and sending a GPS coordinate. You start a workflow by taking a picture to the city administration, and you are informed when it’s okay. Then — this project I love the most — we have an open data platform in Gelsenkirchen, with catalogue and publishing and visualization features that allows organizations to easily share data with the public. You can retrieve all this data on the European open data platform, too. We harvest this data.

    Gelsenkirchen has many government projects, and many government projects in Germany are not implemented by the state. The city administrations have to develop many of their own solutions. We are responsible for implementing and proceeding the e-Government concept. With over 10,000 municipalities in Germany, that’s a pretty divided picture.

    This is a project in planning, the Bürger-ID. We have a problem in Germany. The German digital ID card suffers from the low acceptance, using it for government services by the citizen due to the additional hardware required. We want to aim together with the university in Gelsenkirchen; we want to bring the basic technology to make e-Government and Smart City applications easily and yet securely accessible to local authorities, federal states, and companies. This is a project, we think in about three years, and we make it together with our University in Gelsenkirchen.

    Let me finally introduce our new topic, the Open Innovation Lab Arena Park. The famous football club FC Schalke 04, so we talk about this area. The Arena Park with its center, the Veltins Arena, you can see, will be an ideal district for testing and implementation of digital future applications and their interactions. There are 140 actors, about 200 football fields. The site is representative of almost all city structures on one sheet of paper. High schools, restaurants, parking areas, transport system, small business, leisure area, clinic, and flats. All the ground belongs to the city. This is good for testing.

    In this park, we want to test and implement solutions of different topics like smart transport, lighting, parking, security, waste, and so on, and so on. All these cases you already know. But what makes it so exciting for us is we want here in one place to show and to bring in use — not only showcases, but use cases — different smart city solutions at one single place. The objective is to set up the infrastructure for this open innovation on the Lab Arena Park. It is 5G, and a connected city test site in Gelsenkirchen for various modern IT solutions and IoT applications. like lighting solutions, parking solutions, crowd management. There are about over 3 million people every year in this area, watching the football games or watching Elena Fisher singing or something like this. We have traffic control, many traffic problems to bring the traffic to the field, in the field, and bring the people into the stadium. Then we think about the numbers of autos driving.

    There’s a great medical center, medicos.AufSchalke, the greatest ambulatory rehab center in Europe. This is a partner, too. Many, many use cases will be possible here. Therefore, we need a service platform. We’re still just in a proof of concept. We want to finish it, maybe, in 2018. You can see the infrastructure level, then the sensors, send the data to a smart, big data platform, plus the municipal data. This is maybe special because I just told you, good data for good decisions. We put all these data too in this smart, big data platform, and our own data portal and other data portals. We, as a city administration, have to operate this platform by ourselves because the data are made in our town, in our city. We want to develop the different cases.

    But there are some challenges. We’re already in the process to develop the multi-standard service platform as a central big data IT component of Gelsenkirchen. We are already in process of implementation of the data sources and services. But we have to protect the comprehensive sensor data, interconnect them with proprietary IT solutions, then ingestion of various data types, and we have to take care about the European GDPR, anonymization of collected data.

    In the Open Innovation Lab Arena Park, an open innovation laboratory will be created together with established and young companies, like start-ups. The Westphalian University of Applied Sciences in Gelsenkirchen accompanies the project with the appropriate scientific approaches from the various chairs. Areas of cooperation are water, waste, smart parking, and so on. Telefonica call data records are networked, autonomous driving. The aim is to jointly research and test these technologies and their key applications, in combination with fiber optic, public WLAN, LoRaWAN, 4G, and 5G mobile radio technologies in Gelsenkirchen for the suitability for everyday use in order to implement them step by step in the model region North Rhine-Westphalia. See you. Thanks.

    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. Please be sure to click on the link below to read a full transcript of this keynote speech. If you enjoyed it, please subscribe and be sure to share with your friends on social media. For more information on Huawei’s products and solutions, please visit e.huawei.com. Be sure to tune in again soon for more great guest interviews and stories. And as always, thanks for listening.

    Biography:

    Manfred vom Sondern is the Chief Digital Officer, Head of the Networked City Unit, and Head of the Statistics Office for the City of Gelsenkirchen, Germany. His role involves the strategic conception of the urban monitoring system, including OpenData management, and the development and support of interfaces for specialized administration. He is also a member of regional and national expert working groups for transregional cooperation in the field of statistics.

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  • Ayman Al-Harbi

    Keynote

    Connectivity and Intelligence Help Industrial Cities Evolve

    A speech by Ayman Al-Harbi, IT & Smart City Director of the Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu, at the Huawei Global Smart City Summit. | November 2018

    Ayman Al-Harbi

    Transcript
  • CLOSE

    Welcome to the Keynote series for New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Please join us as we listen to tech industry experts and thought leaders. Today, we’re at the 2018 Smart City Expo in Barcelona, Spain with Ayman Al-Harbi, the IT & Smart City Director for the Royal Commission in Jubail & Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. Mr. Al-Harbi explains how The Commission is transforming two aging industrial cities into modern Smart Cities by utilizing cloud and big data technologies. Let’s listen to the whole story!



    Thank you everyone. Glad to be here again. In a bit, you will understand why I said again.

    We are lucky enough in the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. The scenario behind those cities actually, it has been since 1975 when the late king, King Khalid, declared that we have to make two industrial cities.

    Now, it’s growing. We have Jubail, we have Yanbu, we have Ras Al-Khair, and we have Jazan also.

    This is in terms of industrial cities. When his Excellency, his Royal Highness Prince Hamad announced his Vision 2030, we found a very good opportunity for us to improve and to elaborate and to make our cities more efficient. When we align also our Smart City vision with the Vision 2030 of the Kingdom. The vision for the Kingdom actually is to stay away from non-oil industries. That’s why we started also developing our city. The uniqueness of Royal Commission city is actually that it has the industrial part, and also it has the residential part. So, our vision of the Smart City is that we have to serve both. This is our uniqueness. This is where we are tackling the cities.

    This is some fact numbers about Yanbu right now. It is the third largest port and refining hub in the Red Sea. Also it’s the largest shipping oil hub in the Red Sea. Also there is a foreign direct investment growing rate up to 21 percent.

    Right now, also, two years back, we got a royal decree that we have to include Jazan City for primary and downstream industries. This city is under development now. It’s a green field city. We are taking care of it right now, and we are doing the master plan for it from different perspectives — from the economy and also from the residential and industrial parts.

    What we have done in Yanbu, actually we started in three phases — as an infrastructure and application focus, and also by collecting big data and cloud, and an IOC platform. The beauty of our Royal Commission cities is that we have a very solid infrastructure, since we built it in 1975. In Yanbu itself, we have laid, until now, more than 3,000 linear kilometers of fiber. We have more than 25,000 households already connected with fiber. We have more than 5,000 activated accounts right now.

    From the focus, from the city,which applications? We have several thanks to Huawei and their support with us. We have diversified services, smart services implemented in the city, and we’re going to see it in a bit. And also right now, there is an implementation of the IOC, Intelligence Operation Center. It is the city brain for our city, where we can manage and look after all the operations of the city. This is the diversified services that have been implemented.

    Thank you to Huawei team and their expertise, we built a road map for Yanbu. Similarly, right now we are doing it in Jazan. We have smart parking, we have smart waste management, we have smart lighting, we have smart pole. The smart pole actually is really a brilliant solution that we had. We have a very wide waterfront, it’s ten square kilometers. We didn’t have a CCTV. We didn’t have a Wi-Fi over there. So, we started to implement it. We pulled the fiber. Then after that, we integrated all the services in one pole. So, these services have actually helped general utility department for environmental control, for smart lighting, for CCTV, security, and also for advertisement, digital signage, and a public addressing system, where we are now doing all these announcements.

    And all these solutions are already implemented. And in the near future, within two or three years, you’re going to see it also in Jazan primary and downstream industries. This is right now the city brain, our executive and higher management, they’re utilizing the Intelligence Operation Center to make a first decision to look after the cities. And right now, we started implementing this solution in Yanbu. And we are going soon, with the support of Huawei, we are going to do it Jazan. Very soon.

    Why we are moving toward digital transformation right now? Most of the cities, you know, there are silos of applications. We have ERB, we have GIS, we have health information system, we have education system. All these kinds of applications, we need a platform, we need to integrate all these systems under one brain. So, this is right now, it’s under development. We have the support from Oracle, we have support from Huawei, working in digital transformation projects. So, we are hoping that to transfer all these applications under one umbrella, one platform, for fast and precise decision-making for our higher management.

    Right now in Jazan, because it’s a new city that has been added to us, we are working to transform Jazan city for primary and downstream industries — as a smart port first, because we have an Aramco refinery over there, and we have a lot of industries that are going to utilize the port.

    So, one of the solutions that has been proposed by our colleagues at Huawei, our strategic partner, is that we are going to transfer the sea port over there in Jazan as a smart port. We’re not willing to rely on human factor on this, like when they have already implemented in Shanghai. Only nine people there are running the seaport.

    So, this is our focus right now. We are trying to transform Jazan City port as a smart port. This is some of the application that it will be — going from the shipping until the offloading the cargo, because Jazan it has also oil and non-oil chemicals, petro-chemicals, and cargo over there.

    This is our success story and this is like when I told you, I am glad to be here again.

    We started our Smart City since 2013. And we signed a partnership with Bayanat, a subsidiary of Mobily, for providing connectivity. This is happening all in Yanbu.

    Then in 2016, when all Vision 2030 came, we got a lot of support from the government, and we signed an MOU with Huawei for building a roadmap for the Smart City.

    In 2017, also, we signed another MOU and contracted with Huawei for building an Innovation Center and Huawei Academy, where we have right now more than 120 graduates from our Huawei Academy from all kind of courses: from the security, from cloud, from IoT, all these courses have been implemented and also for our team.

    We have been honored to be a strategic partnership for Ministry of Municipalities and Rural Areas, as a strategic partnership for their conference in Saudi Arabia about the smart cities. And also, in 2017, we launched our Huawei Academy, where we did all these support for our youth.

    In 2017, again, it was a very busy year for us. We got an award from Huawei for the Best Smart City Global Award as a recognition for our Smart City effort.

    In 2017, November last year, on the same stage, it was a different set up, we won the award over here in Smart City Expo, the recognition for us as a Data Technology Award. And we were lucky to have that award. This year I was a speaker. Last year, it was the awarding ceremony. Hopefully, we’ll do it, inshallah, next year.

    Also in May 2018, we won the award from IBC Media, that it will be like a business smart city in the green field. And we are going with the flow with the government. And our plan to go with the government direction for a digital transformation until 2020, also the transformation for the 2030 Vision.

    Thank you so much. Thank you.

    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. Please be sure to click on the link below to read a full transcript of this keynote speech. If you enjoyed it, please subscribe and be sure to share with your friends on social media. For more information on Huawei’s products and solutions, please visit e.huawei.com. Be sure to tune in again soon for more great guest interviews and stories. And as always, thanks for listening.

    Biography:

    Ayman Al Harbi is the Director of Information Technology and Project Director at the SmartCity Project Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. He works on defining features and timelines for the Smart City Solutions along with building and leading several teams. Al Harbi received his bachelor degree in Computer Science from King Abdul-Aziz University in 2000. He later obtained his Master of Business Administration from Brock University in 2012. He also holds several certificates including Associate Value Specialist by Save International and Project Leader by Haward Technology Middle East.

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  • David Mitchell

    Interview

    Lumican Brings Smarter LEDs to the World

    Lumican CEO David Mitchell discusses how the IoT and AI create modern LED lights that accelerate enterprise ROI and create a more naturally lit world. | April 2019

    David Mitchell

    Transcript
  • CLOSE

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

    New Horizons: Well, hi everyone. Thanks for tuning in. Today, our special guest is David Mitchell, who’s the CEO of Lumican, a startup based out of Canada who’s doing some really innovative things in LED lighting. David, what can you tell us about Lumican?

    David Mitchell: Good morning, and thanks for inviting me.

    Lumican started about seven years ago as a distributor of LED products.

    We came across several niche opportunities and problems in the market, and one of those major problems that LED couldn’t overcome was exterior lighting specific to pathway, roadway lighting.

    During this time, we opened up an R&D facility to essentially create LEDs that could match the lighting that the world has been used to in color temperature, but far advanced with the controls.

    So, we took the bull by the horns and decided that we should help cities and municipalities not only become a smart city but remain a warm city when it comes to color temperature with, of course, all the great things that the Internet and controls have to offer.

    New Horizons: And what role did IoT play in your design decisions when you’re coming up with this? Was it a key design criterion for you to incorporate IoT?

    David Mitchell: Absolutely. So, typically, lighting and controls haven’t been best friends. They didn’t talk very well together, and so it was kind of a challenge.

    With the adoption of LED and it being a fantastic platform to integrate controls, the IoT of things plays a big role for smart cities.

    And so, when I say smart cities, it goes beyond just being able to turn the light off during the day to save energy.

    It’s about being able to count cars. It’s about counting herds or migration of animals, birds.

    There’s so many things that we can do with IoT and lighting. You have this head at the top of the pole, which is essentially its brain, and we can wire it to do anything we need to.

    New Horizons: That’s pretty impressive, and you’re doing a lot of work in light pollution, reducing that. Why is that a problem, and how are you addressing it?

    David Mitchell: Light pollution has been a growing issue, regardless of LED.

    Because of the cost of LED and the simplicity of LED, people are actually over-lighting many of their properties or their buildings, offices, parks, et cetera.

    Lighting needs are very different, and so what most cities have been doing is putting in a one-light-fits-all scenario.

    And so what we do is we take our lamp and we have what’s called a modular shield, and we shield the light in 20 different ways to create what we call scenes, and this allows a single bungalow, a home, or a row of them to not have any light pass through their window in their neighborhood.

    The next block over may have a park and it may need some lights shedding from the back of the pole, which we call backlight, and so we’re able to remove that shield and put it at a different angle.

    And so this modular shield approach is quite satisfying — [we are] quite satisfied with the results that we’re getting because the needs of a city are very different from block to block.

    So, our goal is to stay ahead of the technology with an underlying goal of reversing light pollution so that people can enjoy their cities being lit up, but not overlit.

    The other part that’s key to what we do is the removal of blue spectrum, the blue light, which is a natural state of an LED diode.

    You’re familiar with looking at your phone too long — can be an issue.

    So, companies like Huawei have the ability to turn the brightness down and actually do a nighttime viewing.

    Well, we do the same thing with lighting.

    We have a phosphor or a layer to remove the blue light so that it’s not harmful to people, because we’re finding out now from PhDs all over the world that blue light is actually not good for you long term and can affect circadian rhythm, and many, many other health and safety concerns, and so we’ve spent a lot of time in R&D to remove that blue light.

    New Horizons: What would be the energy savings using LED lighting over traditional lighting solutions that we run into in our daily life?

    David Mitchell: Energy savings with LED is massive.

    We’re talking about a 60 to 80 percent drop in wattages and consumption across the board. So, a city like Chicago or Pittsburgh are places that we have some of our lighting, they can expect to have energy savings of $20 million a year just by converting from a 400-watt street light to an 80-watt street light, and that’s before you get into the control side of it.

    Again, controls and lighting haven’t been friends, and so what you have is lights that typically run all night long traditionally, but now we can dim them down to 30 percent when there’s no one around.

    We can have occupancy sensors, we can have motion sensors, we can have light sensors or pedestrian sensors so that we can dim the light down even further. So, the energy savings become even more than 80 percent, which seems kind of unreal, but it’s absolutely the reason why everything is converting to LED.

    The price of LED has come down considerably, and where there used to be an ROI of five years, even the last three years, it’s dropped down to a three-year ROI and now you’re seeing ROIs of less than three years — in some cases, two years, a year and a half. So, it’s incredibly fast.

    New Horizons: I’ve noticed that you were installing 500 lights in a national park in Canada. Could you talk to us a little bit about that?

    David Mitchell: Absolutely. So, that’s been an ongoing project for the last six months.

    We’re now in the second phase, and we’ve tested color temperature along with shielding and the needs of the city.

    So, for a place like Jasper, it’s not just about the nice warm ski village city, it’s also about the many animals and wildlife that pass through that area.

    White and blue light is very bad for most of the species that pass through that area — your elk and your owls and all of your wildlife that runs through that park, and we’re talking about a very large ecosystem.

    There are as many bears as there are people.

    So, putting the right light is very important to them, otherwise they’re drawn to it like an insect to a light, and that is another ecosystem that also is affected by white and blue light.

    Our solution also helps with the, I wouldn’t say the reduction of insects, but I guess the normalcy of what insects should be attracted to.

    If you increase the white light where you have a lot of light pollution, then what happens is you get more of those types of insects drawing to that light, then it becomes a feeding area more so than usual for the species like bats and birds.

    It’s quite interesting how light affects all of these ecosystems, and it’s fun to be part of that science.

    New Horizons: Now, are you also involved with environmental agencies?

    David Mitchell: We are. We work a little bit with environmental agencies, but more so with parks, we work with Parks Canada — we’ve recently been working with the Grand Canyon.

    We’ve also worked with, of course, International Dark Sky Association, who’s very passionate about protecting the night sky.

    And astrotourism is a growing business, where people actually go places where they can see more stars than where they would see at home.

    So, it’s shielding the light and the proper type of light is key for that for that particular market.

    New Horizons: And what kind of cities around the world have you been working with?

    David Mitchell: Right now, we have almost 20 pilots around the world.

    Most of them are in the U.S. For example, in Flagstaff and many other places; in Montreal, in Quebec, Canada, where we’ll be featuring our new products and they’re also a big observatory city.

    For them, it’s critical that they use our type of light, as low-pressure sodium and other types of lighting that have been available for the last 50 years aren’t even being produced anymore.

    So, there’s a big concern, because the type of LED that’s available on the shelf is unable to perform at the levels that observatories in places like Flagstaff and Quebec can utilize.

    We also work with Artificial Light at Night, which is a fantastic group of people from across the world who study artificial light and its effects.

    We’re learning so much and taking that learning and applying it to our lighting so that synchronous fireflies, which just happens to be one of the things we stumbled across, where an ecologist came to us and said, “You know, we have this really rare synchronous firefly that is only in certain parts of the world, and it’s dying because of the type of spectrum that the new LED is producing.”

    To be attached to those kinds of projects is just fantastic for us. Being able to save a species of a firefly is actually quite rewarding.

    The other big thing that is getting a lot of attention is turtles.

    Turtles, of course, are like a national treasure, and so when they come up onto the beaches and on the East Coast, the new LED light is actually a duplicate or a triplicate moon for them.

    They do everything by where the moon is, and so those poor little guys, whenever they climb up to lay their eggs, they think that there’s 20 moons and they don’t know which way to go.

    So, they get confused and they don’t lay eggs, and it’s incredible what we’ve learned.

    New Horizons: Well, now does Lumican have any new tech developments on the horizon? If you do, what can we expect to see?

    David Mitchell: What we continue to do is work on or develop our new heat sync, and then we’re adding other technologies to the efficiency of LED.

    So, a diode only has, consider it like a lemon — you can only squeeze so much out of the lemon, and when the juice is gone, the lemon isn’t any good.

    A diode is similar. So, we’re now working with other technologies to blend with the diodes to push the efficacy of the diodes.

    And so what that means in the world of lighting; If you are able to get a hundred lumens per watt, you’re doing pretty good.

    So, we found some proprietary technologies that we’re now patenting so we can push that diode to push past 300 lumens per watt.

    That’s where you’re replacing a 400-watt street light with a 20-watt streetlight, which is incredible.

    New Horizons: Wow. So, really upping the efficiency. That is groundbreaking. That’s pretty amazing.

    David Mitchell: It is, it is.

    New Horizons: You mentioned before that you were able to provide better power management and energy management by the addition of some sensors to your lighting solution. Is that something that’s built in, so when you buy one of your lights, you have the ability to plug in different sensors to it?

    David Mitchell: Yeah, so everything is control-ready.

    Air pollution is a big issue in many cities.

    So, we’re actually able to work with other companies that specifically work with controls and being able to capture things like smog levels and air quality and things of that nature.

    Pretty much today, if you can think it, we can put it into a light head. Everything is control-ready.

    It’s just a matter of writing the software in the hardware to make it happen.

    New Horizons: What are the biggest challenges that you feel tech and innovation are set to impact or solve in a beneficial way to the rest of us?

    David Mitchell: I guess the biggest challenge — it’s about education. I have to dive in and really understand it.

    You have to dig ditches for a while, and then you have to build buildings, and then you’ve got to build skyscrapers, and then you’ve got to try to do things like Elon is doing and send us all to Mars.

    New Horizons: There you go.

    David Mitchell: It sounds crazy, but until that technology gets adopted, it’s quite a process.

    There’s a lot of education that we do so that we can change the minds of those who have had, you know, the same type of lighting for so long.

    Or they’ve done their own research from an engineering standpoint and say, “Well, whatever’s available on the market, or whatever is available on the Internet — that’s what I’ll put in, because that’s what everyone else is buying.”

    And that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the right thing.

    New Horizons: True. And how far out would you say is the tipping point for Lumican?

    David Mitchell: Well, things are trending. Astrotourism is trending.

    People want to see stars.

    Now, that’s not the reason why we build the lights that we do.

    It’s one of many, and it does help those folks in those industries.

    So, being part of multiple industries like astrotourism, ecological movements that are important for humanitarians and ecologists allows us to get there a little bit faster.

    As far as the actual tipping point, it’s really hard to say.

    I’m hopeful that in the next three years, people really understand what it is that we’re doing. I’m sure there’ll be others that will come to the table to do what we’re doing, but hopefully, we’ll stay ahead of the curve as a leader.

    New Horizons: All right, well, it sounds very promising, and I have one final question for you. Beyond the work that you with Lumican, what is inspiring you in the world at large?

    David Mitchell: On the technology side, the Internet of Things and controls is amazing.

    It’s changing so fast. It's incredible. LEDs, of course, or the new computer chip integrated with everything that you can do.

    AI is a big piece of what I’m now looking at.

    The world has shifted, and so we too would also like to work with a company or develop something in-house that will turn our light brain into some sort of performing function using AI.

    I think AI is incredible from a technology standpoint, and I think we’re just scratching the surface.

    New Horizons: I would agree. I think we’re in the very beginning stages of this, and it’s a pretty exciting place to be. Well, David, thank you very much for joining us today. Are there any final thoughts you’d like to leave us with?

    David Mitchell: I think we all have to be more aware in the world of everything we do.

    And so, as much as I want to sell light and do sell lights, I think as a message, less light is actually better for us, and it’s amazing what we can do as human beings and we can adjust.

    You would think my message would be, you know, let’s light things up more. I would say, let’s light things up less.

    New Horizons: That’s a very insightful thing to say. It’s something that most people wouldn’t expect a CEO of a lighting company to say.

    Well, again, David, thank you for joining us today. Would you be interested in coming back on the program when you have some work in AI or a great installation you’d like to talk about?

    David Mitchell: Yes, absolutely. I would really like that.

    New Horizons: Well, we’d be happy you have you on, and please be sure to reach out to us. We’ve been talking to David Mitchell, who’s the CEO of Lumican. Please join again for the next broadcast.

    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. Please be sure to click on the link below to read a full transcript of this interview. For more information on Huawei’s products and solutions, please visit e.huawei.com. Be sure to tune in again soon for more great guest interviews and stories. And as always, thanks for listening.

    Biography:

    David Mitchell is the founder and CEO of Lumican Corporation, an innovator of ecologically friendly lighting. He grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and earned his B.S. in computer engineering at Carleton University. His work with LEDs began seven years ago, and he is now considered a leader in disrupting the industry.

    Based in Canada, Lumican has offices in Edmonton and Calgary, with a satellite office in Houston, Texas. The company’s team of 20 engineers creates custom LEDs that reduce power consumption and retain the classic look and feel of a warm and inviting city.

    Mitchell developed his business acumen with experience in 32 countries. His personal mandate is to execute at the highest level and advocate remote hiring and joint ventures around the globe.

    Mitchell’s executive and entrepreneurial contributions include an electronics company in Brea, California; Sungjin C&C, a DVR hardware manufacturer in Seoul, Korea; and LiveCastMedia Inc., a multimedia and SEO company that serves Fortune 100 and 500 companies.

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  • Dr. Richard Benjamins

    Interview

    Telefónica Builds a Better World With Ethical AI

    Dr. Richard Benjamins, Telefónica’s Data and AI Ambassador, explains how his company is promoting the ethical use of AI to create a better world. | April 2019

    Richard Benjamins

    Transcript
  • CLOSE

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

    New Horizons: Well, hi, everyone. Today, we’re here with Dr. Richard Benjamins, who is the Data and AI Ambassador at Telefónica. So, thank you, Richard, for joining us today.

    Richard Benjamins: Yeah. Thank you very much. You’re welcome.

    New Horizons: I know Telefónica is based in Spain and is one of the world’s leading telecommunications companies, but you also operate in many different countries. Can you tell us a little bit more about Telefónica and what makes it different from other telecommunication providers?

    Richard Benjamins: So, Telefónica is a company already existing for almost 100 years. We have like three operations in Europe. It’s fixed and mobile. We have another maybe 20 operations in South and Central America, like Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Mexico, et cetera. I think if there is one thing that I like from Telefónica, that it is in a constant changing environment and, so far, always ready to prepare for change and to do that.

    New Horizons: And your focus is on big data and AI, machine learning. How does that fit into your current role as data and AI ambassador for Telefónica?

    Richard Benjamins: Since the beginning of my career, I’ve been always working in the area of, let’s say, intelligent information processing. It has changed names over the years. A few years ago it was called semantic technology or semantic web. My background is actually very good for what I’m doing.

    New Horizons: And why should people be excited about big data? How can it add more value to businesses?

    Richard Benjamins: I think big data has become important because many organizations have realized over time that taking decisions is hard, (and) decisions were taken based on intuition and experience. But recently, with big data, people are looking towards more data-driven decisions. If you have big data available, you can take much quicker decisions with better insights.

    New Horizons: What are some of the most common misconceptions or fears about AI, and how does Telefónica approach addressing people’s concerns about AI being more pervasive as we move forward?

    Richard Benjamins: Ok, so, I think there are two major confusions and a number of fears. I think one of the misconceptions that machine learning is the only thing there is in artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is a much wider field than just machine learning. It also includes natural language processing, knowledge representation, and reasoning, planning, like we do planning; long-term planning of a business or a holiday, et cetera. AI systems currently are very good at looking at data and extracting patterns and then suggesting decisions, but they have no understanding of what they are talking about.

    Another misconception is that people often confuse the AI we have today, which we call weak or narrow artificial intelligence, with what we see in science fiction movies, what they call artificial general intelligence, like we humans have. So current AI is very successful at very specific, very narrow tasks. If you bring the system one millimeter outside the scope of expertise, it completely fails, abruptly. Whereas we, we can reason, we have common sense, we can find our way. We are good at a few things but then we can do reasonably well on a very huge amount of variety of tasks, and AI currently is not doing that. So, people tend to confuse that and that leads to all kinds of speculations about the future which, in turn, leads to fears, yeah?

    So a few fears are, for instance, that humanity will lose control to robots, like we see in the movies. Well, nobody knows whether that will happen. And if it will happen, then it will take a long time for it to happen. So, I would not be afraid of that at the moment. The second fear is that all those machines will take over our jobs by automating not only physical tasks but also intellectual tasks. And, to some extent, that is a fear that is justified. But, as in any technical revolution that we’ve seen in the past, many jobs are disappearing but a lot of new jobs are appearing. And usually, you can’t even predict what jobs will appear.

    What will be very important in the short term is the interaction and the collaboration between people and machines. That’s something that will take a big leap moving forward. And there might be a risk in this revolution because it’s going much quicker than the previous revolutions. Usually, we have time to adapt to new jobs, new work but, in this case, there might be a number of people who will be displaced because they’re unable to catch up. Meaning up-skilling is very important in this respect.

    There is also a fear that if your data is biased against certain, let’s say protected groups, and you apply that algorithm to a wider group, then the algorithm might discriminate. And that is true, and there are many examples where this has happened. The systems discriminate because they’ve learned from the data, the data is coming from the real world, and the real world is not fair. So, if you don’t intervene, then actually you can automate this undesired decision making, and that leads to undesired, though unintended, results.

    New Horizons: Well, and I think those are all good things to be thinking about and talking about. And I think that’s a perfect segue into talking about Telefónica’s Big Data for Social Good department. What kind of collaboration are you working on with different organizations, such as the UN and other companies that would like to follow your lead?

    Richard Benjamins: Actually, I founded that department I think about three years ago, because we had a lot of corporate responsibility areas, CSR areas in the company, and they were looking for some hands-on experience with these humanitarian organizations like UNICEF, United Nations, FAO, World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, et cetera, to give it some more substance. So, let’s say we set up this area. And, since then, we’ve been working on several difficult problems for the planet. So we worked on natural disasters, because big events are always reflected in a mobile network as a deviation of a normal day. So, if there is an earthquake or landslide or flooding with heavy rains, you see the patterns change in our mobile network and those are kinds of proxies that we share them with, in this case, UNICEF, to help them understand better what is happening, planning the relief, and also understanding better the disaster preparedness of those areas.

    We also worked on disease propagation like contagious diseases. Based on our data, we can build mobility matrixes, which tell origin and destination of populations. And we can, because this is very stable, if we know that disease breakout is in some area, based on those models, we can help humanitarian organizations and governments to help them predict where the disease will propagate faster than other regions.

    A thing that we are doing recently with the Food and Agriculture Organization. In Colombia, there are many people who fled from Venezuela. But also within Colombia, there are lots of people because of climate change have lost their livelihood, and they are forced to migrate to other areas. And governments have a hard time in finding out where those people go because usually it’s happening in an unofficial way. But we can see in our network where groups of people are moving and then we can help them to estimate the amount and where those groups are such that the government can send help to those people and take care of them in terms of education, health care, food, et cetera.

    And the last thing we’ve started recently is about child poverty, and that’s actually what we’re doing here in Spain. We have to cross our data with data from the government, with open data, and other kinds of data, but it seems to work. So, we have lots of projects where we work with those organizations. And there is also a lot of commercial projects with governments where we especially help them with understanding tourism and transport.

    New Horizons: Can you give us some other examples of how Telefónica is leveraging AI and machine learning?

    Richard Benjamins: We leverage it in three big areas. One is internally, to optimize our business. So, that’s about customer retention, churn prediction, marketing campaigns, how we plan our deployment of our mobile networks, how we manage and man our fleet of cars who go to customer premises to install routers or set-top boxes, et cetera. So, there’s a lot of things. Any process within the company that is managed by a system, and they are all today, leaves a trail and you can analyze the data and try to optimize it. So we have a range of many use cases that we do, and then we try to replicate the successful ones in other countries.

    Then we have a second block, is what we call the changing the customer relationship and changing the interaction with the customer where we use artificial intelligence like natural language processing and dialogues, where we let the customer talk directly to an artificial intelligence system to solve particular problems they have. It’s not generic questions like the frequently asked questions like what should I do to cancel my contract, but it’s really the person is interacting directly with his personal data or her personal data in our systems. So, changing the customer interaction to be much quicker, more accurate, and also more scalable.

    And the last part, we use AI and machine learning is what I just mentioned, the external monetization. So, that is B2B customers, where we give them access to mobility insights or to footfall insights. And this is also the part that is happening with the organizations like the United Nations, but there usually we have a special rate.

    New Horizons: And that leads me into my next question is that Telefónica is one of the first companies to establish an AI principles and ethical guidelines. What does that mean? What are ethical guidelines for artificial intelligence and how are you looking to implement those?

    Richard Benjamins: If you go back to the fears that we just talked about, then some of those things are within the realm of an organization, a company like Telefónica. Some of those issues are outside. To avoid those problems, we defined some principles of AI. We don’t call them ethical guidelines, because that is too broad for an organization. The principles are that the use and design of artificial intelligence should be fair. It means that it should not discriminate between protected groups like we said before. And also that the impact of the errors of the machine learning model, in terms of false positives and false negatives, should be taken into account when you optimize the algorithm for accuracy. That’s something that is not done as a standard procedure, so that’s what we understand by fair artificial intelligence.

    The next principle is it should be transparent and explainable. Transparent in the sense that, if our customers talk to a machine, they should know that it’s a machine. We should not try to trick them in a conversation, thinking that it’s human but actually it’s a machine. So, that is transparent, that’s complete openness, it’s also compliant with the GDPR. And then also explainable, which means that if an algorithm takes a decision or recommends a person a certain decision that has an impact on people’s lives, then we want to understand how this decision came about. We want to understand how it works to some extent.

    The third principle is it should be human-centric, which means that it should not go against the international human rights, and should not go against the sustainable development goals of the United Nations. Of course, that’s a very broad category but, in general, we do want to comply with those things. And this is also captured in our business principles, which are much broader than only artificial intelligence.

    Then the fourth principle is privacy and security. It’s not specific to artificial intelligence, because any digital service that has to do with data is about privacy, and security is also important, so we kind of inherit this from our other principles we already have. We have a methodology for privacy by design and security by design.

    New Horizons: Based on your years of experience, what does the future of AI look like to you, let’s say, 5, 10 years from now? What would you expect to be commonplace, and what would you expect to be groundbreaking?

    Richard Benjamins: I think the implications of machine learning will increase significantly in other areas as well. It’s now still mostly in the realm of large companies. I think it will move to a lot more small and medium businesses, not because they hire clever people, but because many of those things become out of the box. There are already platforms where you’re not a data scientist, you upload your data and you can do a training of your algorithm, you can do deep learning, you can do predictions, clustering, national language processing, et cetera. So, a very interesting platform is BigML or Big Machine Learning, where you just go and you don’t have to do anything, you can upload your dataset and you can play around. If you want to use more space, then you have to pay, but you can start just to play around. So, that will happen a lot in machine learning.

    The success of AI today is about supervised machine learning. There is a lot of non-supervised machine learning, which is still in its infancy. Think about a small baby, just born, doesn’t know a lot of things. And after a few months, just by observing the world, it understands many things. So, I think it’s this kind of unsupervised or mixed supervised, unsupervised learning that will probably be investigated a lot at the best universities and the big companies to understand how can you build more knowledgeable artificial intelligence rather than just an artificial intelligence that learns patterns from data without actually understanding what it learns. So, I think that’s a big breakthrough on the research side.

    New Horizons: One final question. Beyond your own work, what innovations do you think are poised to impact society in a beneficial way and what challenges do we still need to overcome?

    Richard Benjamins: Well, first of all, what I’ve been talking about is not only my work, it’s the work of a lot of people across the company and even outside the company. I think what still needs to be developed much more is data sharing between private companies and the governments.

    New Horizons: Um-hum.

    Richard Benjamins: So governments, in principle, they publish most of their data as open data in a portal where people can take it and do things with it. But only a few businesses share their data like Telefónica. If you look at, across the board, how many companies are actually sharing privately-held data with governments to improve governmental decision making, to improve the examples I gave — acute disasters in the world or even to solve the big problems in the world like climate change, like poverty, clean water, education. If they had a lot of more data available, I think governments could do a much better job in the end and turn this world in a better place and working around the big challenges we have.

    New Horizons: Thanks again for your time. We know it’s valuable and we really appreciate your insights.

    Richard Benjamins: Yes, of course. It was a pleasure being here to share the ideas I am passionate about, and anything that can help to turn this into something that is good for everybody is very welcome.

    New Horizons: Again, we’ve been talking with Dr. Richard Benjamins, Data and AI Ambassador at Telefónica.

    Richard Benjamins: Thank you for having me.

    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. Please be sure to click on the link below to read a full transcript of this interview. For more information on Huawei’s products and solutions, please visit e.huawei.com. Be sure to tune in again soon for more great guest interviews and stories. And as always, thanks for listening.

    Biography:

    Dr. Richard Benjamins is Data & AI Ambassador at Telefónica, LUCA where he is responsible for making Data & AI sustainable from a societal and ethical perspective. He is among the 100 most-influential people in data-driven business (DataIQ 100, 2018). He was Group Chief Data Officer at AXA (Insurance) and has worked for 10 years at Telefónica occupying several management positions related to big data and analytics, touching all areas of the value chain. His passion lies in creating value from data — business value, but also value for society: he is the founder of Telefónica’s Big Data for Social Good department. He currently works on how to make Data & AI sustainable from a business, societal, and ethical perspective. He is member of the B2G data-sharing Expert Group of the EC, and a frequent speaker on Data and Artificial Intelligence events. He is also a strategic advisor to BigML — “Machine Learning made easy”. He was co-founder and director at iSOCO (1999–2007) and has held positions at universities/research institutes in Madrid, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo, Paris, and Barcelona. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Science/Artificial Intelligence from the University of Amsterdam.

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  • Tim Draper

    Interview

    Draper University Educates Entrepreneurs

    Part 1 of our interview with Tim Draper, venture capitalist, who discusses his family history in private equity and his work to educate future business leaders. | April 2019

    Tim Draper

    Transcript
  • CLOSE

    You are listening to New Horizons, the podcast channel for ICT Insights Magazine. Please join us as we talk to innovators and thought leaders from around the world.

    Welcome to Part 1 of our two-part interview with Tim Draper. Please click here for Part 2.

    New Horizons: Well hi, everyone. Today, we’re here and honored to be talking with the legendary and outspoken Tim Draper, who is one of the world’s leading venture capitalists. Thanks for joining us today, Tim.

    Tim Draper: Great, my pleasure.

    New Horizons: I’m sure that most people don’t know that your grandfather was the very first VC on the West Coast. So, being a VC is literally in your bloodstream.

    Tim Draper: Absolutely. Yeah, my grandfather was the first Silicon Valley venture capitalist. He pioneered the LPGP relationship that we all hold dear. And he was only a venture capitalist for I think three or four years, because he was doing all sorts of other things. He ran the economic part of the Marshall Plan after WWII and helped with the reconstruction of Germany and Japan. He met with Chairman Mao and worked with him on the One Child Policy, because he ran something called Population Action International. It’s still around… or Population Crisis Committee. Anyway, the thing that he started is still around. And he also funded the San Francisco Bay Bridge when he was with Dill and Reed. So, he had quite an amazing career.

    And my dad was a pioneer in venture capital and made it his career until he went to work as the Chairman of the Export-Import Bank. And then he ran, he was the administrator, the highest-ranking American in the UN — the administrator of the UN DP, where he traveled to 110 countries and promoted free markets and women in the workforce and the environment as he went around. Then he came back and created the first venture fund for India. Then he started something called the DRK Foundation, which uses venture capital models to fund non-profits. So, he’s had quite a career.

    And my sons and one of my daughters are all venture capitalists now. So, we have four generations of venture capital in the family. They have done extraordinarily well. Billy brought me a company called Robinhood, which is now ‘decacorn’ — or unicorn times 10. He worked with me here for four years, and now he’s doing his own thing called Pioneer Ventures. Adam runs Boost, which is an accelerator, and he goes after Sci-Fi. He started with Bitcoin and brought all the Bitcoin people into one area down here. Then he went to VR and did a whole bunch of things around VR. Now, he’s doing exoskeletons and flying cars and a whole bunch of other interesting things. He’s had a couple of tremendous hits. He seeded Coinbase, and he seeded the architect one that now was just sold for $800 million. He’s got a touch. And then my daughter is only backing women, and she has been tremendously successful. I guess her big winner now is Sugarfina, but she’s had great success with a number of other companies that she’s backed. So, yeah, we’ve got it in our blood. And then I’ve been in the business for 33 years, and we have 34 unicorns.

    New Horizons: Wow, that’s really impressive. What would you says is the accomplishment that you’re most proud of as a venture capitalist?

    Tim Draper: Interestingly, it’s really creating viral marketing. I was working with the people at Hotmail when they said, “Ok, we’ve launched this thing.” I said, “How are you going to get the word out?” They were going to give away free web-based email, which was a major breakthrough — a free product, just getting it out there and not knowing what the business model was going to be or anything, just because it was so inexpensive and it was a great communications tool and everybody was very interested in potentially getting an email account but they hadn’t yet. I came up with the idea… I said, “Look, if you’re going to give away free email,” first I said, “can’t you just blast it out to all the people on the internet?” And they said, “No, no, that would be spamming.” That was a new word for me. I didn’t know what that was. And I said “Ok, I guess that’s bad.” And then I said, “Well, can’t you just put a little message at the bottom of everybody’s screen?” My idea was to say “PS. I love you. Get your free email at Hotmail.” And to this day, I think we would have had a much more peaceful and loving world if they had kept the “PS. I love you.” They didn’t, but they at least put that message and it persisted for every email. Since it persisted and it was clickable, it spread like crazy. It went to 11 million users in 18 months – the fastest growing consumer product of all time to that date. Now, of course, there have been others. Skype moved faster, actually.

    It went to one guy in India, because our founder was Sabeer Bhatia, and he was an Indian, and he sent an email to his friend in India, and within three weeks we had 100,000 registered Hotmail users in India. And at that time, we didn’t even have 100,000 — there weren’t even a 100,000 computers in India. So, this was a major change in the nature of the world. And I had tried to work on international things before, and it was so difficult. And suddenly, we had email that was global that was free and the whole world was able to get it. I’d say that was probably the biggest thing, the thing I’m probably the most proud of.

    Although I was the first Silicon Valley venture capitalist into China, and I think that may have had a very huge impact on China because we backed Baidu, among others… but Baidu is an information machine, just as Google is. It allowed a billion people to be a part of the information world, and so I think that had a big impact too. You know, there are others I’m proud of but those are two that really come right to mind where I say, “Wow, that had a big impact on many, many people.”

    New Horizons: As a marketer, I have to say thank you for that, because that becomes another tool for us to use.

    Tim Draper: Well, as a marketer, it’s in my book, How to Be the Startup Hero, by Tim Draper, look it up on Amazon. In my book, I talk about viral marketing. But I also talk about what that has led to — it’s led to growth hacking and social media and all these other things. But what it’s really done, as a marketer, it gets people to think, “How do I get my customer to become my sales force?” That was the beginning — that was a major breakthrough for us. The reason I came up with this was a combination of thinking like a chess player but it was also because at business school, I read the Tupperware case, where the women could only buy Tupperware if they threw a party to get the Tupperware so they could throw the party and tell all their friends about it. And so, in that case, Tupperware forced their customers to become their sales force. That was the beginning of that kind of thinking. And this was the first electronic version of that. We call it viral marketing to kind of spice it up a little.

    New Horizons: I think it’s a perfect description.

    Tim Draper: Yeah, I thought maybe organic marketing, but then viral marketing had such a bite to it that I thought it would spread faster this way.

    New Horizons: Pun intended.

    Tim Draper: Right. Absolutely.

    New Horizons: Well, you’ve also spent a lot of your life’s work helping people realize their dreams, their entrepreneurial dreams. Part of that was founding Draper University. Has that met your expectations or exceeded them?

    Tim Draper: When we started Draper University, for me, I kind of had this in the back of my mind, I always wanted to start a school. I didn’t really know how. I didn’t know what I was going to teach. I had had a good education, although not perfect because it didn’t sort of point me toward understanding anything really about how to start a business. I went to Andover Prep School — top high school in the country, not accredited — that becomes relevant later. Stanford and Harvard Business School, but even at Harvard Business School, there was at that time nothing that sort of guided you towards starting a business. A lot of it had to with getting into middle management and working your way up. And so I felt like there was a big hole in the education there.

    And also as an entrepreneur, you have to really be willing to standalone and take punches until the world comes your way. They start by beating on you, but eventually they say, “Oh, yeah, that was my idea all along.” And so I thought, well you know, if I’m going to start a school, what kind of school would it be? Of course it would be a school for entrepreneurs because that’s all I really know. And so I created a school — Draper University of Heroes — I bought an old hotel that had been boarded up for eight years, fixed it up, and then I sent out our pilot program. I sent out information to a bunch of people and we got something like 30 or 40 students, and they came for five weeks.

    The biggest surprise to me was that we kind of made a school that worked. We made it team-based, so everybody was on a team. We had them go through survival training and go through emotional challenges. We made them create various products very quickly through a hackathon model. We got them to do a business plan and then do a two-minute presentation, and we brought together a panel of venture capitalists to judge them.

    And it ended up our survival training includes Navy Seals and Special Forces and Army Rangers, and then the speakers we got to come through were quite extraordinary. I know Elon, so we brought everyone down to the Tesla factory, and we actually got to be there the day they launched the Tesla, the ‘S’ car. The governor was there, it was a big huge thing, and Elon talked to my group. Anyway, those students then went off with sort of renewed vigor — it’s like we ripped them apart and then put them back together, and they came out as heroes.

    Many of our students now have done extraordinary things. We’ve now had 1,000 students through our program, they’ve come from 76 different countries, they’ve started 350 companies, and now they are scouts for Draper Associates. They all know people who are starting businesses, and they go, “Hey, this would be a good one for Draper Associates.”

    New Horizons: That’s your affiliate marketing.

    Tim Draper: So, I’ve somehow made my customers into my salesforce.

    New Horizons: Exactly. Funny how that comes back, right?

    Tim Draper: Yeah, and I had no idea how successful this school would become. Our students, we now have, a couple of our — three of our students went through the program when we were about four years ahead of every other school in teaching anything about Bitcoin. Well, they went off and started a cryptocurrency, and it’s called Quantum — it’s a top 20 currency and got to be worth about $7 billion dollar. They’re big sponsors of Draper University’s programs now and scholarships and things.

    Another woman who was in our pilot class created a device that goes up, it uses a fiber line, a very thin fiber line that goes up the fallopian tubes and can determine if you have cancer, and she got FDA approval for it and sold it for $275 million. I was an early investor because she came to the school and that’s where she got her first money through that. So, that has actually paid for a couple of years of the school for me, because I was sort of putting money into the school. An investment like that turned out to be quite valuable for us.

    So, the school has worked out incredibly well. And now, all sorts of countries’ leaders have come to me and said, “How do I get a Draper University in my country?” And it’s not just the Draper University, it’s the Hero City, it’s the incubator, the boost accelerator that Adam, my son, runs, connection with venture capitalists and the Draper Venture Network, which is a connection of 30 venture capitalists around the world in 60 different countries, and they’re all interconnected.

    We believe that we can actually now — it took a long time to get the model just right and to get the school really working that we could close to break even so that we knew what kind of student we were looking for, so that we knew how many scholarships we could provide versus how many people would have to pay. We knew who the best people were to run the school. We had to work through a lot of those issues. And now, we’ve got a real winner, and we think that we might put another school in another country or two.

    New Horizons: Congratulations. As a former entrepreneur, a reformed entrepreneur myself, I could have really used that education. Going through the school of hard knocks.

    Tim Draper: I would have loved it. I would have loved this school. Because it’s all project-oriented, team building, a lot of leadership skills we teach. It’s really amazing. And all the creativity that comes from it is great.

    New Horizons: It sounds really incredible and I’m going to look into it a little bit more. I wanted to switch tacks though a little bit because you recently published a book How to be the Startup Hero. Now, was that an outgrowth of Draper University?

    Tim Draper: Yes. It was exactly — good for you for figuring that out. I had started to repeat myself at Draper University, I started to tell the same stories and people would ask the same questions, and I started to think, “Wait a second, why don’t I just write this down?” So, I put it into the format that our school runs on, which is – it’s built around this pledge that I make them memorize and they have to say every morning. It starts with “I will promote freedom at all costs, and I’ll do everything in my power to drive, build, and pursue pride, progress, and change.” And then it says “I will fail and fail again until I succeed and explore the world with gusto and enthusiasm.” I’d say, “GUSTO and enthusiasm!”

    And so I decided that that would be a great way to organize my book. Here’s a line of the pledge, here are some stories about why that line is important, and then we have something called ‘quexercises’ — questions and exercises – that they can kind of go through. And then I read a poem for each chapter and have some quotes from famous people, and that’s how I built the thing — that’s the first two-thirds of the book.

    The last third of the book is ok, you want to start a business, and now you’re a hero, you want to start a business, here are some very practical tips on how to run or how to start a business, how to think about the business, how to drive your business model, how to think about getting money early rather than later, how to think about viral marketing, and different kinds of things.

    And it was very fun to write. You know, I travel around a lot, and I found myself on a lot of airplanes, and I have an iPhone, and I basically wrote the entire book on the iPhone, and then I edited it on my computer. And so I’d go on a trip, and I’d just be on the iPhone, and I’d go “Ok, I’ve got a story I can tell.” I’d go do-do-do-do. And then it’s done. And then I’d fit that story into the book and it kind of came out all right. People are liking the book.

    New Horizons: Well, I started reading…

    Tim Draper: And now it’s been translated into Chinese, and it looks like we’ve got — our goal was something like 20 languages by the end of the year. That should be easy because we have people who have come from 76 different countries from various places that are students. Maybe they’ll want to do it. We’ll give it to them.

    New Horizons: We’ll be sure to include the link to Amazon and I guess the Chinese distributors and the other ones in the transcript of the podcast.

    Tim Draper: Oh yeah, that’s right. There’s a lot of Chinese listeners here.

    New Horizons: There are.

    Tim Draper: Well, we have a new Chinese version and it’s in a bunch of bookstores and airports and wherever else, and it’s just coming out now.

    New Horizons: We’ll make sure that we have an image of the book next to your picture so people can know what it looks like so they can go right in and get it. I notice that you only have a couple of copies down front.

    Tim Draper: Right! Well, that’s supposed to be retail space and we don’t have anybody operating the store, and I said, “Well, let’s just put my book everywhere.”

    New Horizons: I think it looks great.

    Tim Draper: It’s really kind of fun. It’s a great marketing tool.

    New Horizons: And that ends Part 1 of our two-part interview with Tim Draper. Be sure to listen to Part 2, where we talk about how to become the most valuable employee in your company, crypto currency, and lots more.

    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. Please be sure to click on the link below to read a full transcript of this interview. For more information on Huawei’s products and solutions, please visit e.huawei.com. Be sure to tune in again soon for more great guest interviews and stories. And as always, thanks for listening.

    Please click to continue with Part 2 of our interview with Tim Draper, where he discusses AI, Bitcoin, and the technologies of tomorrow.

    Biography:

    Tim Draper is a top global venture capitalist, having founded Draper Associates, DFJ and the Draper Venture Network, a global network of venture capital funds. The firms’ investments include Coinbase, Robinhood, TwitchTV, Skype, Tesla, Baidu, Focus Media, YeePay, Hotmail, SolarCity, Athenahealth, Box, SpaceX, Cruise Automation, Carta, Planet, PTC, Ledger and many others.

    He is a leading spokesperson for Bitcoin, Blockchain, ICOs and cryptocurrencies, having won the Bitcoin US Marshall’s auction in 2014, and led investments in the companies that would issue two of the largest ICO’s: Tezos and Bancor.

    He created viral marketing, a marketing method for exponentially spreading an electronic service from customer to customer, instrumental to the successes of Hotmail and Skype and other applications, particularly effective for mail and communications applications. Arguably, social media, crowdsourcing and growth hacking are all outgrowths of Tim’s invention of viral marketing.

    He is regularly featured on all major networks as a proponent for entrepreneurship, innovative governance, free markets and Bitcoin, and has received various awards and honors including the World Entrepreneurship Forum’s “Entrepreneur of the World,” and is listed as one of the top 100 most powerful people in finance by Worth Magazine, the top 20 most influential people in Crypto by CryptoWeekly, #1 most networked VC by AlwaysOn, #7 on the Forbes Midas List, and #48 most influential Harvard Alum.

    In promoting entrepreneurship, he created Draper University of Heroes, a residential and online school based in San Mateo, Ca to help extraordinary people accomplish their life missions. The school launched entrepreneurs from 76 countries who built 350 companies including NVision (sold for $275 million) and crypto leaders QTUM, Spacecash, DataWallet and Credo. He authored a popular entrepreneur’s text book called, “How to be The Startup Hero” and created a crowdsourced TV series with Sony Network called “Meet The Drapers,” where viewers can invest in participants. ABC Family created another show, “StartupU,” around the activity and students of Draper University. He has more than 100,000 Twitter followers.

    He started Innovate Your State, a non-profit dedicated to crowdsource innovation in government, and BizWorld, a non-profit that teaches young children how business and entrepreneurship work.

    He served on the California State Board of Education, and led a movement for Local Choice in schools culminating in becoming proponent for a statewide initiative for School Vouchers. He also led an initiative to create competitive governance with Six Californias, followed by Three Californias, which was approved for the ballot, but was rejected by the California Supreme Court before the vote. He received the “Toqueville” Award for freedom from the Independent Institute. Tim Draper received a Bachelor of Science from Stanford University with a major in electrical engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School. He has two honorary doctorates from The International University and Trinity College of Dublin. He gave the commencement speech at USC’s Marshall School of Business in 2017.


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    HOW TO BE THE STARTUP HERO
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  • Tim Draper

    Interview

    AI, Bitcoin, and the Technologies of Tomorrow

    Part 2 of our interview with Tim Draper, venture capitalist, who discusses his family history in private equity and his work to educate future business leaders. | April 2019

    Tim Draper

    Transcript
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    You are listening to New Horizons, the podcast channel for ICT Insights Magazine. Please join us as we talk to innovators and thought leaders from around the world.

    Welcome to Part 2 of our interview with Tim Draper, one of the world’s leading venture capitalists. Click here for Part 1.

    New Horizons: So, Tim, what advice would you give talented entrepreneurial individuals working in a large company?

    Tim Draper: You know, we have executive trainings at Draper University, and they have been very successful. We do like one-week or two-week programs. I guess what we really do is help people build their confidence. We give them a lot of different speakers and a lot of different exposure to different things, team building exercises, and they come out — even in a week or two — they come out with a better sense of what they’re capable of. And so I would recommend that.

    I would also recommend, and I recommend this to every young student who’s just leaving college and going in to start or joining a company, I say “Get to know one to four people every day, and ask them what they do in the business.” If you do that, and you keep going around the business, you’ll be the most valuable employee in your business because you’ll know what everybody is doing, and you’ll have a great understanding of how the whole picture works. So that you won’t make these myopic judgments or suggestions… you’ll make suggestions based on all of these other pieces of information that you have. You’ve met the people in finance, you’ve met the people in marketing, you’ve met the people in R&D, you’ve met the people in G&A… by just going around and making sure that you know what everyone else is doing, you will become the most valuable person at the business. And your creativity will be much better received.

    New Horizons: Because you’ve made an introduction and they know who you are now and what you do as well.

    Tim Draper: Yeah. Absolutely. It works both ways.

    New Horizons: All that internal corporate networking.

    Tim Draper: Build your own corporate network. And then you’ll just get a better feel. When you first start in a company and it’s huge —– like Huawei — you don’t know really where you fit. You’re trying to figure it out, you don’t know how they make their money or kind of they sell servers or routers and switches, and you kind of go “I think I know what that is.” Well, figure out what it is. Really understand the products, really understand what are their features, in what cases are they better than Cisco, in what cases are they not better than Cisco… just figure all that stuff out. And the way to do it, or the way that I benefit the most is sitting down and talking to people.

    New Horizons: What technologies are getting your attention these days?

    Tim Draper: You know, the most exciting thing I think that has happened since the Internet, and it’s probably more exciting and bigger, is Bitcoin and all the associated technologies around Bitcoin. Bitcoin is — I’m more and more convinced every day that it’s a currency that we’re all going to be using from three to 100 years from now. The fact that it’s decentralized and frictionless and open and global. You can use it everywhere.

    Imagine being a Syrian refugee that was very wealthy in Syria, but then they got moved out of their country, and nobody is taking Syrian currency. You’re out of luck. You are in bad shape. But if you had Bitcoin, you could just draw it down, and you would be living a decent life somewhere else.

    So, there’s something to that — having a global currency. The other thing is, you can use it for micro payments. You know, the guys at Lucas Films send those 15,000 people you see at the end of every Star Wars movie in the credits, they each have to get an envelope every quarter with a check for $3.22, but it costs Lucas Films $7 to send that check. That could all be done through Bitcoin wallets. Shew, and it’s done.

    The Blockchain is really exciting because it has the perfect ledger, so it keeps perfect track of your Bitcoins. So, I can imagine a day, when – in fact I tried to do it, but there are too many — nobody knew how to deal with it, so it hadn’t been regulated, it hadn’t been — lawyers didn’t know what to do, the accountants didn’t know what to do. But I wanted to create a Fund that was purely Bitcoin. We’d take it down in Bitcoin, we’d fund our companies in Bitcoin, and then they’d pay their supplier and employees in Bitcoin, because all of the accounting is done already on the Blockchain.

    So, if you project out a couple more years, that’s the way these things will work and you won’t need — the accountants will have to figure out other added value things to do for you, because they accounting is going to be done. And then the deal that I would have with my limited partners and the deal I would have with my entrepreneurs would all be built onto a Blockchain with smart contracts. As a result, whenever there was a big winner and we needed to distribute the money, it would automatically go. We wouldn’t have to go through a series of efforts with lawyers and accountants or LPs, they would just get it right into their Bitcoin wallets and the payment would be done.

    So, you put that together with artificial intelligence, and you’re affecting not just the commerce and the finance and the banking industries, or accounting and legal… you’re not just affecting them, although those are all trillion-dollar industries, bigger than anything the Internet affected.

    With artificial intelligence, which is really just — if you have enough data, and you have a way of doing what they call deep learning, which puts statistics on that data, and then you put an expert system on it which is AI, artificial intelligence, that AI can do a better job than any human on almost every job. People say, “Oh, those taxi drivers are going to lose their jobs” or whatever… We’re all going to lose our jobs. When everybody loses their job, then what? People will have to abstract their ideas. And by the way, that was my son’s idea, Adam, who came up and said “Wait, we’re all going to lose our jobs.” That was the first I ever heard of it. But it’s true. We’re all going to lose our jobs. I could easily see, I’ll probably still have to do the interview, but maybe not. Maybe AI does the interview with the entrepreneur, but the camera will be able to spot things that I might have missed, like I can tell when someone looks a little determined, and I think they’re absolutely going to go make this thing a big success, if I see them squirm in their chair, I think that they might be not telling the whole truth — but the camera is going to be able to spot all that stuff better than I can. And so I actually think that even venture capital, my own job, is going to be abstracted, and I’m going to have to think of a new world to live in while my job is taken by machines. I’m very happy with that. I would much rather have that happen.

    Well, anyway, think of this. We have a company called Cloudmatics. It’s a fantastic company, and what the guy has done is he had his AI take the doctorate exam. The doctorate exam is a patient walks into your hospital, he’s got a bruised leg, a lazy eye, and he’s got a headache, and he’s got a big wart on his hand. What do you do? Ok. Well, the average doctor — you have to get a 70% to pass the doctorate test. The average doctor gets a 76%. The AI of Cloudmatics got an 86%, and when combined with a doctor, they got a 91%.

    So, the diagnosis of a patient is going to be done out there in the cloud. The future might have me as a patient, putting all my data up there — my medical records, my blood test results, my genetic history, but it will add things like my Fitbit results and what I had for breakfast, who I met, where I’ve traveled, all that stuff… and a bunch of data that nobody’s made a connection with like what kind of chair I sat in. I mean, nobody is really thinking of that as diagnostic tools. Well, it could be an interesting diagnostic tool. People might discover that some chair is related to some getting a cold in November. Who knows? There could be weird connections that no one really thought about. And so healthcare is going to change in a huge way and so many deaths happen because of misdiagnosis that this is a lifesaver.

    New Horizons: Have you made a lot of investments in AI?

    Tim Draper: Oh, yeah. Oh, many. We were really, I guess, the first investors other than maybe Google in an autonomous car, cruise automation. He took me for a ride — and he said, “Oh yeah, watch how this thing works.” It was working fine, and we hit an intersection and the car took a quick sharp turn to the left, right into oncoming traffic. And I thought, and at that point it was very strange, that was when I decided I would make the investment, because I thought it’s just a matter of getting the software improved, and then this is going to work. The weird thing is the mistake is the thing that got me over the top, because I thought, “Whoa. It’s just a matter of improving the software. He’s already got it sort of working. You have to make sure you don’t turn left into oncoming traffic, but other than that, you’re good. And then it will be something else… watch out, don’t hit the dog. All those things. Anyway, that was great. GM bought that for a billion dollars.

    We’ve done a couple since. And we did a fun one called Neurala — well, they’re using for a whole bunch of different uses, but what he did was he sort of gave me a really fun toy. And on my Samsung phone, I was able to go around and take a picture of something and say what it was, and then go find another one — I get a picture of a water bottle, a chair, and a human. And then I’d go point the camera at a different kind of water or a can of Pepsi, or something. And it says, “This is 86% likely that it’s a water bottle, 4% likely that it’s a human, and it all becomes, it was fun! I was thinking, “Oh, my god, everything that I’m pointing at and writing in it’s all learning what these things are.” And then it’s going to have knowledge of different devices.

    And then we backed a company called LawTrades and another one called Lawyaw, both which make legal services cheaper, more efficient, and better. And as legal services, as they find that they become repetitive, they can implement artificial intelligence in there so that you don’t have to do the repetitive thing.

    New Horizons: I know that your time is very valuable, but I wanted to ask you, make a comment and ask one question. Your family and you yourself have impacted millions of people around world from your investments and the different work that you’ve done. How do you feel about that as a responsibility?

    Tim Draper: Oh, I feel great about it. I mean, think of all the people in the world can now communicate with each other for free, whether by text or by video, by voice or by voice and video because of Hotmail and Skype… all that intelligence that’s been spread because of Baidu and all the other search engines that we backed before Google came out. And the idea that a new product can spread much faster than it ever could before because of viral marketing. I think that just gets me more invigorated and I have to get out there and work harder. It’s very interesting. It’s a self-fulfilling thing where if you’ve made an impact like that you realize “Oh my gosh, I feel an honor and a responsibility, and I’ve got to get out there, because now we’ve got another one. I mean, that was for the Internet, and now we have another one, and it’s Bitcoin, and I feel I’ve got another responsibility. The world has got to see this.

    New Horizons: Well, Tim, thank you so much for taking your valuable time to talk to us today. We appreciate it. And I hope that maybe some point in the future, we can come back and chat with you again.

    Tim Draper: Terrific. Yeah, this was fun.

    New Horizons: Thanks again.

    Tim Draper: You bet.

    Thanks for listening to this episode of New Horizons. Please be sure to click on the link below to read a full transcript of this interview. For more information on Huawei’s products and solutions, please visit e.huawei.com. Be sure to tune in again soon for more great guest interviews and stories. And as always, thanks for listening.

    Click here if you missed Part 1 of this interview, where Tim Draper discusses his family history in private equity and work to educate future business leaders.

    Biography:

    Tim Draper is a top global venture capitalist, having founded Draper Associates, DFJ and the Draper Venture Network, a global network of venture capital funds. The firms’ investments include Coinbase, Robinhood, TwitchTV, Skype, Tesla, Baidu, Focus Media, YeePay, Hotmail, SolarCity, Athenahealth, Box, SpaceX, Cruise Automation, Carta, Planet, PTC, Ledger and many others.

    He is a leading spokesperson for Bitcoin, Blockchain, ICOs and cryptocurrencies, having won the Bitcoin US Marshall’s auction in 2014, and led investments in the companies that would issue two of the largest ICO’s: Tezos and Bancor.

    He created viral marketing, a marketing method for exponentially spreading an electronic service from customer to customer, instrumental to the successes of Hotmail and Skype and other applications, particularly effective for mail and communications applications. Arguably, social media, crowdsourcing and growth hacking are all outgrowths of Tim’s invention of viral marketing.

    He is regularly featured on all major networks as a proponent for entrepreneurship, innovative governance, free markets and Bitcoin, and has received various awards and honors including the World Entrepreneurship Forum’s “Entrepreneur of the World,” and is listed as one of the top 100 most powerful people in finance by Worth Magazine, the top 20 most influential people in Crypto by CryptoWeekly, #1 most networked VC by AlwaysOn, #7 on the Forbes Midas List, and #48 most influential Harvard Alum.

    In promoting entrepreneurship, he created Draper University of Heroes, a residential and online school based in San Mateo, Ca to help extraordinary people accomplish their life missions. The school launched entrepreneurs from 76 countries who built 350 companies including NVision (sold for $275 million) and crypto leaders QTUM, Spacecash, DataWallet and Credo. He authored a popular entrepreneur’s text book called, “How to be The Startup Hero” and created a crowdsourced TV series with Sony Network called “Meet The Drapers,” where viewers can invest in participants. ABC Family created another show, “StartupU,” around the activity and students of Draper University. He has more than 100,000 Twitter followers.

    He started Innovate Your State, a non-profit dedicated to crowdsource innovation in government, and BizWorld, a non-profit that teaches young children how business and entrepreneurship work.

    He served on the California State Board of Education, and led a movement for Local Choice in schools culminating in becoming proponent for a statewide initiative for School Vouchers. He also led an initiative to create competitive governance with Six Californias, followed by Three Californias, which was approved for the ballot, but was rejected by the California Supreme Court before the vote. He received the “Toqueville” Award for freedom from the Independent Institute.

    Tim Draper received a Bachelor of Science from Stanford University with a major in electrical engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School. He has two honorary doctorates from The International University and Trinity College of Dublin. He gave the commencement speech at USC’s Marshall School of Business in 2017.


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  • Story

    eLTE-IoT Network for Mexican Power Grid

    Huawei’s eLTE is a robust solution for optimizing time, security, and O&M expense metering. | March 2019

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    With the convergence and development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), bits do more than simply measure volumes of data. Instead, the benefits of digital transformation are generating beneficial reactions and good partnerships across industries industry. In the new era of Mexico’s electric power industry, the transition means that ‘bits drive watts.’

    Smart meters have fundamentally changed the electric power business. In Latin America, one of the world’s largest regional electric power markets, digital transformation is predicted to unleash an opportunity that will equal USD $24 billion (MXN 495.1 billion) in value.

    According to the 2013 to 2017 national power system plan, Mexico’s infrastructure investment will reach USD $97.1 billion (MXN 2 trillion) in the next 15 years. The largest power company of Mexico provides integrated management services for power generation, transmission, transformation, distribution, and use, wanted to upgrade its power grid.

    In 2012, the power company faced a line-loss rate that cost USD $2.05 billion (MXN 42.2 billion), a figure that was two times the average for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) member-states. On one hand, underdeveloped electrical infrastructures incurred significant line-loss rates, and on the other hand, Mexico suffers theft of electricity services of up to 30 percent in some areas.

    Mexico implemented a new electricity law in 2014 that opened the national power grid to investment to promote competition for the sale of electrical power with the goal of reducing the cost of electricity for industry. The company urgently wanted to upgrade Mexico’s power grid to reduce fee collection rates, high line losses, and poor management with the goal to increase customer satisfaction.

    Advanced Metering Infrastructure is the optimum choice

    The Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solution provides electric power organizations with a smart metering platform based on bi-directional high-speed communication that allows real-time transaction charges. Huawei’s comprehensive user management system effectively prevents electricity theft, analyzes line-loss statistics, and streamlines operations. The end-to-end deployment of AMI solutions is the first step toward solving the many endemic problems occurring through their service lifecycle.

    Because of the difficult and time-consuming of network build and capacity expansion. The power grid company facilitated additional support through a partnership with NetCity — a professional wireless Internet of Things (IoT) provider (within GEOS Holding) to achieve efficient and cost-effective collection of electricity consumption data from homes and businesses, reduce line losses and fee collection times, and increase revenue.

    eLTE-IoT, the Neural Network for Electric Power

    The digital communications network is the nervous system for the AMI platform.

    Huawei will use an enterprise Long-Term Evolution-Internet of Things (eLTE-IoT backbone) network as the backbone for the AMI system. The open system is designed for ease of integration for partners collaborating to provide secure and cost-effective End-to-End (E2E) smart grid solutions.

    The eLTE-IoT network operates in the 902 MHz to 928 MHz Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) frequency band, uses 3GPP 4.5G technology, and employs new features that comply with the laws and regulations for unlicensed spectrum for improved security, reliability, and network performance that exceed published IoT requirements for AMI.

    Improved reliability: The Huawei eLTE-IoT network has adopted a two-level, anti-interference retransmission technology that applies Forward Error Correction (FEC) and narrowband Frequency Hopping (FH) to ensure stable connections over the ISM radio spectrum.

    Strong security protection: Bi-directional authentication prevents abnormal intrusions and E2E encryption ensures service security for signaling data.

    Wider coverage: Multi-hop technology improves indoor coverage that, when combined with high terminal receiver sensitivity, ensures network access to underground layers.

    Additional connections: Slotted ALOHA technology doubles spectral efficiency and improves the granularity of resource allocation for concurrent channel transmission that enables 3,000 AMI devices to be read from a single base station.

    Reduced power consumption: Power Saving Mode (PSM) and Extended Discontinuous Reception (eDRX) technologies are used to extend the battery life for devices in the field for up to 10 years.

    Open system: Huawei eLTE-IoT components share an industry chain and development ecosystem with Narrow-band-IoT (NB-IoT) products. This fact allows Huawei to develop collaborations with global partners through the OpenLabs facilities located around the world. Following a thorough and in-depth due diligence review, the Huawei eLTE-IoT solutions were selected for use by the Mexican electric power industry.

    In the first quarter of 2017, the technical specifications of the Huawei’s eLTE-IoT platform were written into the Mexican National Industrial Communications Act, and in the second quarter of 2017, eLTE-IoT-connected AMI meters passed the admission certification and earned Huawei the contract for a Phase 1 deployment.

    The Huawei OpenLab center in Mexico is a development and cooperation environment for ecosystem partners that has also played an important role in Mexican electric power project. The OpenLab facility provided a setting for the joint incubation and verification of AMI devices — with the goal to enhance product competitiveness in the Latin American market. The testing completed in the OpenLab forms has helped partners to pass the admission certification requirements published by Mexico’s CFE Equipment and Materials Testing Laboratory (Laboratorio de Pruebas de Equipos y Materiales, or LAPEM).

    The Huawei eLTE-IoT solution also passed the tests conducted by Mexico’s Federal Institute of Telecommunications (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones, or IFT). During the IFT test regime, Huawei identified over 290 interconnection requirements in the solution development field — plus an additional 16 optimization requirements for partners — resulting in an 80 percent performance improvement for AMI meter-reading.

    eLTE-IoT, applied in multiple scenarios across many industries

    The Huawei eLTE-IoT communications platform was first deployed in Mexico City in the fourth quarter of 2017. With a population of over 21 million people, and the location for nearly half of the country’s industrial, commercial service, and financial institutions, Mexico City was chosen to address the most urgent needs to for electrical power system reconstruction and AMI deployment.

    Following site construction, Huawei conducted a wide range of fixed-point and mobile tests in multiple settings, including densely populated urban areas, commercial districts, highways, and outdoor open areas, to accurately evaluate the typical, real-world coverage for eLTE-IoT-connected AirNodes.

    The network was deployed with AMI smart meters integrated with eLTE-IoT modules and General Packet Radio Service/IoT (GPRS/IoT) dual-mode electrical meters, which allowed the meters to access the GPRS public network, and send back data in areas without IoT coverage. After the IoT network coverage was improved, services could be smoothly migrated to the new wireless IoT private network, reducing public network leasing, hardware, and servicing costs associated with electrical meter replacement.

    According to the test results, the eLTE-IoT delivered a 4 kilometer coverage radius in densely populated urban areas, and an 8 kilometer coverage radius in outdoor areas having no obstacles. The reported success rate for AMI smart meters integrated with eLTE-IoT communication modules exceeded 99 percent.

    AMI smart meters are just the first step in Mexico’s electric power transformation, and NetCity’s wireless eLTE-IoT network is enabling local electric power companies to process AMI services and build a unified platform to that will allow an increasing number of Smart City services — such as smart water and smart street lamps — to create a powerful nervous system for Smart City solutions in Mexico.



    “Huawei’s eLTE is a robust and comprehensive solution for optimizing time, security, and O&M expense metering,” CTO of Goes Telecom Ricardo Villasana said. “Even though, the 900 MHz ISM band has power-limiting restrictions, Mexico City — one of the largest cities worldwide — has been designed to be covered with only 88 sites for seamless coverage. The main advantage of deploying NetCity´s own network is to target not only the electric metering market, but also Water and Gas. Additionally, we are deploying value-added solutions in other verticals like Smart Parking, Street Lighting, Remote Environmental Monitoring, and eFarming.”

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  • Story

    BYD Auto is New Energy Leader with Huawei Dorado

    Huawei OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage has proven stable, reliable, and robust in BYD’s core systems. | March 2019

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    On October 11, 2017, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) announced the 2017 Low Carbon Champions Awards. BYD UK — the London branch of BYD Auto — won the “Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicle of the Year Award” and jointly won the “Grand Prix” — the top award — with Transport for London (TfL) and Go-Ahead London for their partnership in launching London’s first two all-electric bus routes (507 and 521). This award specifically noted BYDs contribution in delivering the vehicles, operational capacity, and infrastructure for the London project. Founded in 1995, BYD engages in IT-related and automobile business for traditional fuel-powered vehicles and new energy vehicles. With 30 production centers established around the globe, BYD is the only vendor that owns both power battery and vehicle technologies in the new energy field.

    Storage becomes the bottleneck of ERP system

    BYD is experiencing a period of rapid business development and a proliferation of operational processes. This is generating a large number of concurrent data flows from product sales, spare parts inventory, and after-sales services. The data volume of most manufacturing enterprises’ online transaction management systems doubles every two years, and concurrent requests to the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system grow exponentially, leading to high I/O frequencies and long user wait times.

    This increase in data to be analyzed by the BI system, combined with the shorter timeframe in which data must be processed and reports generated, imposes stringent requirements on data loading and processing speed, as well as system stability. The BI system is a must-have tool for enterprises' manufacturing planning, sales analysis, market trend forecasts, and other important business decision-making.

    SAP’s ERP system lies at the heart of many manufacturing enterprises, and BYD is no different, relying on this system to support its three product lines. At BYD though, rapid service development, a 100 percent staffing increase, and a 10 percent quarterly order increase put a strain on the system. The ERP system simply couldn’t handle the required 185,000 Input/output Operations Per Second (IOPS) and 60,000+ concurrent services during peak hours. It was so inefficient, it once took over an hour to query the monthly SAP ERP financial statements. Access performance was so poor, the ERP system could not be used for service development. In one extreme case, a system breakdown even jeopardized production line operations.

    As a leading global Information and Communications (ICT) solutions provider, Huawei offers end-to-end solutions covering networks, cloud computing, servers, databases, and storage. Trusting this reputation of technological expertise, BYD brought in Huawei to analyze the ERP system’s server memory, Central Processing Unit (CPU) utilization, network, and disk response rate. It was from this analysis that Huawei determined that the bottleneck was occurring at the system’s storage devices. The ERP production system generated more than 200 GB of data per month, and the live network required a latency as long as 50 milliseconds to input and output read/write data. This meant the system could only handle a few thousand IOPS, far below the 185,000 IOPS required.

    The need for a system upgrade was clear. The traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD)-based storage BYD was using simply could not meet the required level of read/write performance. On top of their current problems, BYD forecast even further service growth in the coming years, so they needed to at least double the ERP system’s performance, and do so without changing the system architecture. BYD’s IT O&M department also needed to be able to smoothly perform the upgrade with minimal impact on services and production operations.

    Huawei OceanStor Dorado Doubles ERP Performance of BYD

    Based on these requirements and the analysis results of BYD’s live network, Huawei created an OceanStor Dorado all-flash acceleration solution for BYD. In this solution, HDD-based storage was replaced by all-flash storage to expedite read and write I/O and make the ERP and Business Warehouse (BW) systems more efficient. No changes were made to the live network architecture, databases, hosts, ERP software, or O&M, so as to avoid possible risks. To keep the system upgrade from affecting services, the Huawei data migration team provided a set of data mirroring workarounds using host volume management software. Legacy data was also migrated to the OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage without affecting ERP services. Upon Huawei’s recommendation, BYD retained their development and test systems and Sandbox on the legacy storage system to protect their investment.


    Figure 1-1 ERP system networking


    Since the deployment of Huawei OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage on BYD's ERP, system efficiency has increased 500 percent, and system latency has been cut down to less than 1 millisecond. With the ERP’s query condition design and upper-layer platform, BW system data extraction time is down 66 percent, and Materials Management (MM), Production Planning (PP), Sales and Distribution (SD), and Finance and Cost controlling (FICO) module reporting is more than two times faster than before. Material voucher queries can now be completed in four minutes, instead of the previous 14 minutes.

    To provide BYD’s required capacity and performance, a traditional HDD-based storage system would have needed to be configured with RAID 10 technology and Serial Attached Small Computer System Interface (SAS) and Solid-State Drive (SSD) disks, and would have taken up 40U of cabinet space. Huawei OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage, on the other hand, uses RAID 6 and an SSD-only configuration, requiring only 20U cabinet space. It involves 50 percent less installation space and O&M labor cost and significantly saves electricity and cooling cost. Over the next three years, Operating Expense (OPEX) will be reduced by an estimated 70 percent, which will have never been possible with traditional storage.

    After Huawei OceanStor Dorado had run the ERP system continuously for more than six months on BYD’s live network, there had already been noticeable improvements in service performance and reductions in maintenance costs. BYD was more than satisfied with this IT system reconstruction.

    Qiu Yan, CIO of BYD, said, ”Since its deployment in BYD's core service systems, including our enterprise, distributor, customer relationship, extended warehouse, and business intelligence management systems, Huawei OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage has proven to be stable, reliable, and robust. Over the years, these systems have seen a 5-fold boost in efficiency.”

    Wang Hongbo, BYD’s information center manager, said, “After replacing our traditional HDD-based storage with Huawei’s OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage, our ERP BW system applications run faster and performance has more than doubled. In the first month alone, we experienced no disruption in data Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) while we saw at least one disruption every two days with our old system. Data extraction time has shortened from 4.5 hours to 1.5 hours, greatly increasing our report generation and helping our executives make more timely decisions.”

    The ERP system reconstruction project was so successful, BYD chose Huawei’s Dorado All-Flash Storage again for its next Document Management System (DMS) and Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) system upgrade. Dorado’s superb performance and robust stability again impressed BYD. BYD and Huawei also plan to further cooperate in smart manufacturing for “Made in China 2025”.


    Table 1-1 Performance comparison before and after the deployment of Huawei all-flash storage on BYD’s service systems


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  • Story

    Umbria Offers a New Vision for Politics

    Umbria and Huawei design videoconferencing systems based on the latest technology. | March 2019

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    A significant issue for the Italian government in recent years has been the efficiency of its public administration. The problem begins in the country’s regions, the 20 territorial entities into which Italy is historically and constitutionally divided, including the region of Umbria in Central Italy.

    Huawei designing a videoconferencing system for Umbria creates a brilliant example of efficiency and resource modernization coming together to address this problem.

    Improving efficiency and resource pain points is difficult

    One of the Umbria’s main concerns is daily communication with territorial entities such as local communities and health companies. However, it also has to liaise with other regions, up to the highest level, as well as the Italian Ministries and the European Union.

    “As a Region, we need to talk to each other using video conferencing many times throughout the day about institutional issues we deal on a daily basis,” Umbrian Regional Director for Technological and Digital Infrastructures Graziano Antonielli said. “However, we did not have adequate accommodations to do this in terms of either quantity or quality. We only had a couple of movable systems, so each time there was a need for video conferencing, it was logistically difficult to arrange.”

    So, during re-organization of the Umbria Regional building, it was decided to set up at least one fixed meeting room on each of the six floors, for a total of 10. In addition, each room needed integration into a broader digital system to make it accessible to all Umbrian administrations and avoid expensive relocation costs.



    To achieve this vision Umbria searched for a cutting-edge technology solution and, after a tender bid, it chose the Huawei solution proposed by In.I.T., one of Huawei’s primary partners and a member of Group Partners Associates.

    Huawei’s RP Series Telepresence system

    A Huawei Gold Partner since 2014, In.I.T. quickly identified Huawei’s RP Series Telepresence system as the ideal solution. Available with one or two HD displays (RP100 or RP200), it provides high-quality video conferencing by integrating HD video, cameras, microphones and data into one easy-to-use solution. Using a pedestal stand with wheels makes it effortlessly to move from one room to another.

    The system features full HD 1080p video at 512 Kbit/s, A CC-LD wideband CD-quality audio, and 20 percent packet-loss resilience support — allowing up to 50 percent savings in bandwidth costs.

    The associated TE Mobile Videoconferencing soft client delivers a superior audiovisual experience when installed on mobile phones and tablets, making it easy for users to make video calls, join video conferences and share presentations.

    One of the main advantages of this solution — as with all Huawei solutions — is the use of standard, not proprietary protocols,” Chief Technology Officer of In.I.T. Francesco Donadio said. “This makes it possible to build infrastructures that are understandable to those who use them and that can easily be expanded. Each room can be equipped with as many wireless microphones as needed. It is also possible to add cameras, so that you can move the action to a wider audience.”



    However, the system does more than allow sharing and participation. It offers centralized room management, reservations, and technical assistance (everything can be done remotely). Point-to-multi-point communications features connect multiple virtual rooms with a single room, and add the ability to share audio content and real-time video with Android mobile systems and Skype calls.

    A new vision for efficient communication

    Huawei’s highly customized solution for the Umbrian region has been up and running for more than a year, and has met the needs of both its partners and customers.

    In.I.T. has already received similar requests for Huawei technology from other regional entities. It is apparent that Umbria’s digital communications success has become a great example of what Huawei can achieve.

    “The platform has improved the quality of our meetings and work in the Umbrian region,” Donadio said. “It has proved to be an innovation in public administration.”

    For the Umbrian region, efficiency is measured by a highly competitive quality-to-price ratio and further savings from logistics optimization.

    “Three different suppliers participated in the tender, then, after making a price comparison and offering features, we chose Huawei,” Manager of Technology Giuliano Antonelli said. “There was a good cost reduction. Video conferencing avoids the need for travel to Rome or elsewhere, saving travel time. So, there is definitely an economic return.”

    Personalized solutions and innovative technology has afforded more effective communication between political parties, taxpayer savings and, ultimately an improved image for both public administrations and partners. In short, the region’s objectives were achieved, confirming that its vision of the future — since working with Huawei — could never be better.

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  • Prague Metro

    Story

    A Modern Digital Symphony in an Ancient City

    Huawei’s Wi-Fi provides superior Internet access for Prague’s Metro. | January 2019

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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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  • Mauritius

    Story

    Safe Mauritius, the Inspiration for Heaven

    Huawei and Mauritius create a safer island with monitoring, unified communications, crisis management. | October 2018

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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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  • Hank Stokbroekx

    Interview

    AI Empowers Proactive Technical Services

    An interview with Hank Stokbroekx, Vice President, Enterprise Services, Huawei Enterprise Business Group. | October 2018

    Hank Stokbroekx

    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: 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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  • Philippines

    Story

    New ISP Network Boosts Philippine Economy

    Converge ICT uses Huawei WAN solution to build an intelligent, ultra-broadband, simplified network. | September 2018

    Read more
  • CLOSE

    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.”

    CLOSE
  • Edwin Diender

    Interview

    AI Lets Cities Learn to be Smart

    Part 1 of our interview with Edwin Diender, Vice President, Government & Public Utility Sector, Huawei Enterprise Business Group. | September 2018

    Edwin Diender

    Transcript
  • CLOSE

    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

    As Chief Digital Transformation Officer in the Enterprise Business Group, Edwin helps to advise our customers and partners regarding innovation, business, and growth using Digital Transformation with a focus on Smart City/Safe City economics, eGovernment and Government cloud, and Big Data Analytics and Digital Transformation for Smart Cities.

    CLOSE
  • Edwin Diender

    Interview

    The IoT Heralds a Healthy, Holistic Smart City

    Part 2 of our interview with Edwin Diender, Vice President, Government & Public Utility Sector, Huawei Enterprise Business Group. | September 2018

    Edwin Diender

    Transcript
  • CLOSE

    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

    As Chief Digital Transformation Officer in the Enterprise Business Group, Edwin helps to advise our customers and partners regarding innovation, business, and growth using Digital Transformation with a focus on Smart City/Safe City economics, eGovernment and Government cloud, and Big Data Analytics and Digital Transformation for Smart Cities.

    CLOSE
  • Edwin Diender

    Interview

    Big Data Prepares Smart Cities for Every Situation

    Part 3 of our interview with Edwin Diender, Vice President, Government & Public Utility Sector, Huawei Enterprise Business Group. | September 2018

    Edwin Diender

    Transcript
  • CLOSE

    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

    As Chief Digital Transformation Officer in the Enterprise Business Group, Edwin helps to advise our customers and partners regarding innovation, business, and growth using Digital Transformation with a focus on Smart City/Safe City economics, eGovernment and Government cloud, and Big Data Analytics and Digital Transformation for Smart Cities.

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