Продолжая просмотр сайта и(или) нажимая X, я соглашаюсь с использованием файлов cookie владельцем сайта в соответствии с Политикой в отношении файлов cookie в том числе на передачу данных, указанных в Политике, третьим лицам (статистическим службам сети Интернет), в соответствии с Пользовательским соглашением >X

Для помощи нажмите здесь

  • Tim Draper


    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


    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.


    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.




  • Story

    Umbria Offers a New Vision for Politics

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

    Read more

    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.

  • Steve Hoffman


    Founders Space Prepares for Radical Innovation

    Interview with Steven Hoffman, CEO of Founders Space on incubating and accelerating innovative start-ups. | August 2018

    Steve Hoffman


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

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

    Steve Hoffman: It’s great to be here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    New Horizons: Right.

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

    New Horizons: Right, right. Exactly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    New Horizons: Ok.

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

    New Horizons: Right, right.

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

    New Horizons: That’s right.

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

    New Horizons: Sure.

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

    New Horizons: I guess it was the computer.

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

    New Horizons: Wow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    New Horizons: Oh boy, well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    New Horizons: Right.

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

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

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

    New Horizons: Wow. Congratulations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Steve Hoffman: Check out Founders Space.

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

    Are those going to be available for streaming online?

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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

    Read more

    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

  • David Mitchell


    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


    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.


    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.

  • Dr. Richard Benjamins


    Telefónica Builds a Better World With Ethical AI

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

    Richard Benjamins


    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.


    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.

  • 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

    Read more

    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.”

  • Hank Stokbroekx


    AI Empowers Proactive Technical Services

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

    Hank Stokbroekx


    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.


    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.

  • Philippines


    New ISP Network Boosts Philippine Economy

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

    Read more

    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.”

  • Edwin Diender


    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


    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.


    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.

  • Edwin Diender


    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


    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.


    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.

  • Edwin Diender


    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


    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.


    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.

  • Joe So


    Huawei Smart Technologies are Reshaping the World

    An Interview with Joe So, CTO of Huawei Enterprise Industry Solutions. | September 2018

    Joe So


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

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

    Joe So: Good morning Scott.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Joe So: Exactly.

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

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

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

    Joe So: Thank you very much, Scott.

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

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

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

    Joe So: Okay, thank you very much.

    New Horizons: Okay. Thank you Joe

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

  • Dimar Tokar


    Benefits and Future of the IoT

    An enlightening IoT interview with Dima Tokar, Co-founder and Head of Research, MachNation. | August 2018

    Dima Tokar


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

    Dima Tokar: Great to be here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Cofco Coca-Cola


    The Logistics of Refreshment

    Chinese Coca-cola distributor Cofco used Huawei’s FusionCube private cloud platform to combine servers, storage, & networking into a single cost-saving rack unit. | July 2018

    Read more

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

    A cola bottle with an iconic shape, lying on sand in front of a cocktail umbrella and straw

    Consolidated Network Infrastructure Urgently Needed

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

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

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

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

    Portals, reporting systems, and data warehouses.

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

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

    Building a Private Cloud Platform with a Hyper-Converged Architecture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Stable, Efficient Business Operations

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

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

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

    Saves equipment room space by over 70 percent

    Reduces data center management expenses by 30 percent

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

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

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

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

    Customer Testimony

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

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

  • Hank Stokbroekx


    Keep your ICT Solutions Running Smoothly

    An enlightening interview with Hank Stokbroekx, Huawei Professional Services VP. | July 2018

    Hank Stokbroekx


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    New Horizons: And what does the future look like?

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

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

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

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


    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.

  • EPFL


    What Can You Do with 400 Teraflops?

    Switzerland’s École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne’s Huawei-powered HPC center supports researchers and cities around the country with massive computing power. | July 2018

    Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Challenge from EPFL

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

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

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

    Huawei Solution

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Customer Testimony

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

    — Vittoria Rezzonico, Executive Officer of EPFL SCITAS

  • Sinopec


    What Can YOUR Robot Do?

    Huawei serves 60% of the global top 20 oil and gas companies with smart manufacturing solutions that improve quality and cut costs. | July 2018

    Read more

    Leading New ICT Contributes to Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Huawei Solutions Power Up Smart Factories

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Smart Factory 2.0 Era Is Fast Approaching

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Why Huawei Smart Manufacturing Solutions?

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

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

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

  • Zambia


    Lions, Tigers and… Data Centers?

    Zambia uses a Huawei cloud solution to store, access and protect government data & a Huawei telepresence solution to connect government agencies around the country. | July 2018

    Read more

    Scott and Ben’s Work Worries

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

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

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

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

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

    The National Data Center Is the Foundation of a Smart Zambia

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The ICT Academy: Ben’s Second University

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

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

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

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

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

    Immersive, Efficient Communication

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

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

    National Broadband Network: A Step Further toward ‘Smart’

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

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

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

  • Shanghai Port


    Logistics Moving at Wharf Speed

    The Huawei Cloud helped make Shanghai’s port more efficient by consolidating data from wharfs and ports into one system for highly automated deliveries. | January 2019

    Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


New Horizons

ICT Insights Podcasts

Read articles from

ICT Insights Magazine
QR Code
Get the mobile App

Scan to get the
New Horizons mobile App

apple app store   google play store

Get the New Horizons App

  • apple app store
  • google play
  • Ayman Al-Harbi

    Ayman Al-Harbi

    IT/Smart City Director, Royal Commission for Yanbu & Jazan City

  • Dr. Richard Benjamins

    Richard Benjamins

    Data and AI Ambassador at Telefónica

  • Federica Bordelot

    Federica Bordelot

    Policy Advisor for EUROCITIES

  • Edwin Diender

    Edwin Diender

    Blue ocean strategist, thought leader and frequent speaker

  • Tim Draper

    Tim Draper

    A Top Global Venture Capitalist

  • Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman

    Angel investor and partner at FOUNDERS.VC

  • David Mitchell

    David Mitchell

    Founder and CEO of Lumican Corporation, an innovator of ecologically friendly lighting

  • Joann O’Brien

    Joann O'Brien

    Vice President of APIs & Ecosystems for TM Forum

  • Gao Chun Ping

    Gao Chun Ping

    Managing Director of the Built Environment Research and Innovation Institute for the Singapore Building & Construction Authority

  • Ron Raffensperger

    Ron Raffensperger

    CTO of Huawei Enterprise Storage Solutions

  • Joe So

    Joe So

    Chief Technology Officer of CTO of Huawei Industry Solutions

  • Manfred vom Sondern

    Manfred vom Sondern

    Chief Digital Officer for the City of Gelsenkirchen

  • Hank Stokbroekx

    Hank Stokbroekx

    VP of Huawei Enterprise Services

  • Dima Tokar

    Dima Tokar

    Co-founder and Head of Research at MachNation

  • May Yue

    Ma Yue

    Vice President of the Huawei Enterprise Business Group