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The Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center (SWECC) stunned the world with its massive size and ambitiously short project time, when its construction plan was first revealed. During project implementation, Huawei proved itself not only an end-to-end digital system provider, but also a reliable, trustworthy friend. Huawei has earned both our admiration and appreciation.
On September 28, 2019, Phase 1 of SWECC was completed in the Greater Airport Region lying on Shenzhen's west coast. A landmark project, the completion ably demonstrated the speed of Shenzhen's development as well as Huawei's capabilities in building intelligent ICT systems.
The Greater Airport Region is located in the northern part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area: the core area of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Economic Zone. As a new economic engine, the region drives Shenzhen's innovation, spurs entrepreneurship, and has significantly expanded the city's available economic area. The region is also helping Shenzhen to achieve high quality, intensive development, improve its administrative and economic functionality, and gain a long-term competitive edge. As planned, the Greater Airport Region will eventually cover 95 km2 — six times the size of the Qianhai Cooperative Region (located in Shenzhen's Nanshan District) — and it will feature several major projects, including residential communities, Shenzhen's Bao'an International Airport, the Shenzhen Waterlands Resort, an airport wharf, and a comprehensive port area. This concentration of passengers, logistics, and information will gradually turn the surrounding area into a prosperous economic zone.
If its transportation hubs — namely, the airport and the port — are the foundation of the region, then "two centers and one hall", especially SWECC, is the core of regional development. When fully completed, SWECC will have an indoor exhibition area measuring 500,000 m2 in size and it will become, not only a symbol of Shenzhen, but also an example of urban digital transformation.
"The evolution of exhibition hall space is not only reflected in a new image, design, or name, but also in new functions, positioning, and technological applications. Therefore, our objective is to build an exhibition center that leads the world not only in terms of area and traffic, but also in the level of digitalization and industrial innovation," said Ren Chunlei, the IT System Owner of SWECC. "Modern exhibition halls need to accommodate huge crowds and fluctuating traffic. And as smart buildings, their top priority must be to ensure security and enable orderly management. Additionally, the industry chain is witnessing an increased number and variety of players. Hall operators, event hosts, exhibitors, visitors, and various service providers, all have different service requirements. And even within a specific set of players, service needs often vary by region. For example, visitors from different areas may want and need different services. Shouldering the responsibility of driving Shenzhen's economic development, we will use big data technology to achieve extensive integration with our partners and build a smart exhibition and convention hall to accommodate these needs. This is our target."
To build SWECC into a world-leading exhibition center, Huawei and China Merchants Bank (Shekou) — the project's operator — began working closely in 2017 and continue to do so today. Together, they have already completed the top-level design, application architecture design, and solution design, which make up a large part of SWECC's full service system blueprint. Aiming to improve user experience, optimize exhibition hall operations, and drive service innovation, SWECC is being purpose-built as a smart, next generation exhibition and convention center.
Visitors will likely start asking questions the moment they walk into the exhibition hall. Are there reliable network connections? Is there a real-time guide? Are there any Virtual Reality (VR) experiences? How many more tour routes does this place have?
It is estimated that SWECC will receive 400,000 visitors each day once it is fully open and the clear aim is to offer every single visitor and exhibitor a best-in-class experience. This, of course, poses a real challenge for the exhibition hall's ICT systems. To meet visitor needs, Huawei and SWECC therefore constructed a hybrid network solution to cope with traffic surges, improve user experience, and offer coverage for all areas inside and surrounding the building. The solution consists of an intent-driven network, a high-density wireless network, and an on-demand network. Huawei called upon its superior 5G technology to ensure seamless performance with the three major operators in China. The network has been designed to bear concurrent communications of 120,000 people, representing 30% of maximum traffic during peak hour, and the solution will dramatically enrich the digital experience of visitors and exhibitors. "Visitors will experience a better service than that available in similar exhibition halls around the world, all thanks to the support of cutting-edge technologies," Ren Chunlei said. "Powered by these open network technologies as well as platform, support, and integration capabilities, we are working with partners, including Huawei, to build a new smart exhibition cooperation ecosystem. In the future, we will provide interactive experience platforms, VR navigation, panoramic exhibition guides, and other service applications to build a convenient exhibition service system, providing digital, smart, and interactive exhibition experiences."
Diversified and complex service requirements bring the exhibition hall many challenges, from identifying blacklisted individuals — potentially endangering security protection efficiency — to comprehensive analysis tools, without which, exhibitors cannot be sure if their efforts have been a success. Similarly, device status needs to be visible to Operations and Maintenance (O&M) personnel, otherwise smooth operations would be virtually impossible, increasing operating expense. Other potential issues included high labor costs, unstable service quality, and more.
However, based on the Huawei Horizon Digital Platform, Huawei's HiCampus Solution integrates the converged communications system with an Intelligent Operation Center (IOC) to build an all-in-one application platform. This platform streamlines the entire exhibition process, from planning to teardown. Unified and platform-based operations management greatly improves the end-to-end operations efficiency of exhibition activities. In addition, Huawei has provided an exhibition command room that generates insights, assists resource utilization, and predicts problems. The command room enables smart operation monitoring, as well as smart command and dispatch, ensuring optimal routine operations and decision making for the exhibition hall. Indeed, the data that is collected plays a key role in SWECC's eco-friendly operations, efficient decision-making, and sustainable development. "The IOC can not only manage data, but also dynamically adjust the water, electricity, and gas supply, configure equipment, monitor network connectivity, control the indoor environment, manage waste disposal, and oversee other services, all based on crowd flow in the exhibition hall," Ren Chunlei explained. "We are striving to build a smart exhibition center with truly eco-friendly operations."
"The exhibition economy has a strong driving effect and statistics show that the industry has an average driving coefficient of 1:9 globally. That is, for every dollar the exhibition industry earns in a region, other exhibition-related businesses in the same region receive nine dollars. The transportation, tourism, hotel, catering, and shopping industries all prosper as the exhibition industry does, and the exhibition economy forms a long "third industry consumption chain". Why do exhibitions offer such a powerful economic boost? The secret is data. Big data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are used to analyze visitors, information, and capital flows. The results explore new value for the community and can help local businesses identify new consumption needs, scenarios, and service models, helping them expand their business scopes accordingly.
In the future, any new growth in the exhibition industry will mostly come from such data intelligence. For now, the majority of SWECC's revenue is derived from venue rentals. However, in the future, SWECC will improve its management model and plans to become a complex economic platform. SWECC is now actively inviting businesses in the surrounding area to build a comprehensive ecosystem, improving the value of local communities. With big data analytics, SWECC will be able to match precise customer needs and push the right information to the right people. With the support of the media, a new smart business model will take shape and thrive. Based on its experience and accumulation of knowledge in the ICT field, Huawei is using the latest technologies, such as AI, big data, and cloud computing, to help SWECC make all of this happen. Huawei has worked with other third-party partners to customize system application architecture for SWECC. With this architecture in place, SWECC is now able to predict customer requirements and adjust its services accordingly, for example, designing new products and services that can better meet the needs of customers. This improves customer stickiness and promotes the brand value of SWECC and the Greater Airport Region as a whole.
Sitting in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the Greater Airport Region is set to become a regional centerpiece and, on a global level, will serve as Shenzhen's and the area's "reception hall", welcoming visitors from across the world.