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Technology (223)

Handset Adoption Can Guide The Quantum Leap To 4G

With mobile connectivity now integral to the modern economy, a key part of any national development programme must be digital inclusion. This is being achieved by expanding mobile broadband coverage, but there is another important consideration: smartphone affordability.

A recent GSMA report shows that smartphones make up 39% of the 774 million mobile connections in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is projected to grow significantly, but for Africa’s people to fully reap the dividends of mobile connectivity, it is critical that 4G-enabled smartphone handsets be made more easily attainable for the entry-level market.

This calls for financial innovation alongside the technological innovation that characterises the sector. Smartphones must become cheaper if Africa is to unlock the full potential of its people.

Fortunately, there are already encouraging signs that manufacturers, policymakers and network operators are partnering to integrate such financial innovation into the drive towards digital inclusion.

In Kenya, Safaricom recently rolled out a device financing programme, in partnership with Google and Teleone, allowing low-income earners in Kenya to access quality 4G phones at low instalments from as little as Kshs 20 (R3) a day.

The country has a high mobile telephony penetration, but this has traditionally involved 2G phones. The campaign aims to bring a million more customers into the digital economy.

Airtel Africa has expanded 4G adoption on the continent with its “more for more” data offers, increasing average data use, with 4G now accounting for more than 60 per cent of its data revenue.

However, one of the most effective means of encouraging smartphone adoption is reducing the tax burden on mobile phones and services in the form of import duties and sales taxes. In this context, policymakers have a powerful role to play in empowering citizens with easier access to digital connectivity.

As smartphones become the norm, broadband spectrum can follow suit, and network operators can transition to a 4G- and 5G based platforms, with all the high-speed, mass-connectivity benefits that brings.

A surging demand for 4G handsets indicates when a market is ready for the 4G network transition, and it becomes possible to shut down the 3G spectrum, as India was recently able to do.

At the recent LTE World Summit 2020, Sandeep Gupta, executive vice president of Barthi Airtel in India, said the decision to shut down the 3G network was motivated by two considerations – smartphone penetration, and the right network assets, such as SDR (software Defined Radio) and singleRAN radio, which supports 4G VoLTE.

However, core to this transition is affordable handsets. In China, 4G adoption has been hastened by the introduction of 100 Yuan (R238) handsets, catapulting millions into the 4G and 5G future.

In South Africa, smartphones have also become significantly more affordable, with handsets such as the Huawei Y5 Lite retailing for around R1 300. However, there remains scope to make 4G-enabled smartphones even more affordable, and to truly democratise connectivity.

Perhaps the simplest way to hasten digital inclusion is a change in our understanding of the place of 4G handsets in our society.

Once smartphones are seen as a commodity, a basic right instead of a luxury, they can be marketed, sold and taxed accordingly, bringing all of humanity into the new digital economy.

Telecom Regulators Must Work Together To Address Emerging Covid-19 Challenges, Says Huawei's Catherine Chen

Huawei Corporate Senior Vice President and Director of the Board Catherine Chen delivered a keynote speech at the online Better World Summit 2020. According to Chen, telecom regulators across many nations and industries must work together to address the shared challenges that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and create a more inclusive future for all.

Other speakers at the summit included representatives from the International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R), Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA), the South African Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Thailand's Office of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission, China's Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), the Germany Association of the Internet Industry (ECO), and the ADL.

These speakers were joined by several thousand online attendees from more than 80 countries to explore how industry policy can promote development of the digital economy, facilitate economic recovery, and build a better future for all, by all.

A better future for all requires joint effort


Over the past 30 years, information technologies have advanced rapidly, making people's lives and work much easier. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed though that digital infrastructure has not kept pace with technological developments. According to the ITU, over half of the world's population still does not have Internet access nor access to other digital technologies.

As economies across countries slow, governments grow increasingly concerned with economic recovery strategies. "We envision a more connected, intelligent, and innovative future," said Chen. "Above all else, we must ensure this is an inclusive, sustainable, and better future by all, for all."

Top-down design; bottom-up creativity and vitality needed for economic recovery
As more countries and regions successfully implement infection control measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, economic activity in certain countries has begun to return to normal. Multiple governments have launched a variety of stimulus plans, and ICT invariably has held a key place in these plans.

In China, the New Infrastructure plan has set aside over 140 billion US dollars to be invested in 5G alone over the next five years. This is expected to grow China's digital economy by more than 2 trillion US dollars and boost domestic economic recovery. The EU has also announced a 1.1-trillion-euro package to enhance economic recovery.

"To revive the economy, we need top-down designs, as well as bottom-up creativity and vitality," noted Chen. "Supporting government policies coupled with active digital transformation across the industry will bring the benefits of digital technology to all industries, boost their efficiency, and restore growth."

Seeds for the Future sows hope by leveraging ICT to enable a sustainable future
Referencing the recent World Bank report on the growing gap between the fast-growing global digital economy and a lack of digital skills, Chen said, "Huawei is continuing with its flagship Seeds for the Future program. This program was launched in 2008, and is designed to develop local ICT talent.

So far, this program has benefited more than 30,000 students from over 400 universities in 108 countries and regions. Due to the pandemic, we are moving the program online and opening it up to more outstanding students than ever before. As more industries adopt digital technologies, they will drive the United Nation's 2030 Strategic Development Goals, especially those related to climate change."

Other speakers also shared their views on how to build a better world in the future at the event.


 Senior officers from international organizations, including the ITU, GSMA, and ECTA, spoke on building globally unified ICT standards, promoting the digital economy, accelerating digital inclusiveness, and embracing these new economic normals.


 National regulators and policy makers at the event focused more on best practices. Regulators from South Africa, Thailand, China, and Germany as well as the senior management of multiple industry associations described current efforts and policy initiatives they are taking to drive investment in digital infrastructure and digital transformation across multiple industries.


 Several senior analysts at the summit also explained at length how spillover from the digital economy will help revive real economies.

Huawei's Ryan Ding: Unleash Network Potential, Inspire Business Growth

Huawei's Executive Director and President of the Carrier BG Ryan Ding delivered a keynote speech at the Better World Summit 2020. According to Ding, as the COVID-19 crisis continues globally, carriers need to be prepared in four areas of network construction and business development to quickly unleash network potential and inspire business growth.

  1. Carriers need to maximize the value of existing networks. They should make the most of their networks and rapidly expand their capacity by using software or adding boards or replacing RRUs. This can help them respond to the soaring data traffic during the pandemic and optimize site TCO.
  2. Carriers should focus on user experience and build the best 5G networks. The best network experience brings the biggest commercial success. In South Korea, for example, carriers are seeing lucrative gains from building the best 5G networks and offering users the best experience. Huawei will continue to help carriers deliver the best possible user experience and quickly monetize 5G network capabilities.
  3. Carriers need to speed up 5G commercialization in B2B for more business opportunities. 5G is entering a new development phase, and the B2B market is key for carriers' commercial success. Carriers need to choose the right industries and build new 5G capabilities targeting B2B. They also need to push for unified industry standards to accelerate 5G adoption at scale in B2B.

      To succeed in B2B, choosing the right industries is crucial. Private lines have become a quick-win use case for 5G in B2B, with more than 15 carriers having 5G private line services. Carriers can consider three factors when deciding which industries to focus on: industry attractiveness, commercial viability, and technical viability. Huawei suggests that carriers should currently focus on mining, steel, ports, and oilfield industries when developing 5G in B2B.

      Carriers need to build 5G network planning, construction, maintenance, optimization, and operations capabilities for B2B. For example, they need to improve their network planning capabilities that target different production environments of industries, and provide products and solutions that meet industry requirements. In addition, they need to develop service and ecosystem enablement platforms, provide standardized products and services, and build viable business models.

      Carriers need to push for unified industry standards. Unified industry standards are the basis for large-scale 5G development in B2B. Cross-industry collaboration is well underway. Many industries like mining and steel have begun to communicate industry standards through such efforts as publishing industry white papers, establishing ecosystem alliances, and participating in standards discussion.

  1. Carriers need to build future-oriented target networks. The telecoms industry needs to think hard about how their networks can be adapted to the ever-changing needs of individuals, families, and businesses as well as how to support the development of the digital economy. Huawei will continue to help carriers build future-oriented target networks to support their continued success.

Other speakers at today's session include Liang Baojun, Senior Vice President at China Unicom; Liu Jian, General Manager of Government-Enterprise Business Group at China Mobile; Choi Yoon Ho, Vice President of AR/VR Service at LG U+; Phil Kendall, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics; and Peng Honghua, President of 5G Product Line at Huawei.

Huawei’s ICT Academy, A Fertile Soil For ICT Talent Cultivation

By Olinga John Peter, From Makerere University

In May 2019, Huawei ignited an Information Communications Technology (ICT) Academy in Uganda to Improve the number and quality of IT professions in the country. The Academy was a result of a pledge offered by Huawei to H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni during his visit to China, Huawei pledged to train over 1000 Uganda ICT talents through its ICT Academy at no cost for students.

Since its launch, the Huawei ICT Academy has attracted thousands of enthusiasts and students with multiple accreditation points mounted at Uganda’s top Universities. Initially, Huawei signed an MOU with Makerere University as the center of the ICT Academy, before seven more Universities joined the race to host regional Academies.

Among the approved Universities, Makerere University Business School (MUBS), St Martyrs Nkozi, Kabale University, Soroti University, Muni University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology endorsed the Huawei ICT Academy certification path with a pool of over 800 students trained as Proffessionals.

Annually, Top Talent students who excel in the Academy’s competitive professional courses tailored to prepare them for the job market, stand a chance to compete in the global Academy competitions for an all expenses paid trip to China, and on a lucky patch, win Internship opportunities in Huawei Uganda’s Enterprise and customer Technical divisions.

Even with the Current COVID19 Pandemic, the Academy continues to certify students online with over 200 students currently undertaking different certification paths. But just like Student Success stories, Huawei Academy Instructors continue celebrate new heights.

Among the top Instructors in Uganda, Mr. Olin John Peter from Makerere University is a Huawei ICT Academy Instructor who has benefited from not only being an academy Instructor/Teacher, But also Improved his status as a key contributor in Uganda’s Technology ecosystem

According to Olin, his journey with the Huawei ICT Academy flips back to 2018 when he joined a Bootcamp hosted at Makerere University where he won an Invitation to TTT (training designed for prospective instructors of Huawei ICT Academies).

With prior experience, training and practice of one vendor, sometimes the cross to another vendor is a steep one, mainly considering the change in implementation, platform and command structure. I, with some other extremely committed intelligent people managed to make it through the challenge and became Uganda’s first Huawei Certified Academy Instructors (HCAI Routing and Switching). - Olin Said

By emerging as one of Uganda’s first ever Huawei Certified Academy Instructors, Olin as a certified tutor embarked on a journey of unprecedented learning and training of Students at the Makerere Huawei Academy to mentor skill filled, practice oriented, and creative minds ready to join the real-world Technology ecosystem.

Through various hands-on simulator, and cloud-based trainings in Network Engineering, Cloud Technologies, Cyber Security, among others. The Huawei ICT Academy programs empower students with top notch ICT skills to leverage the high demand of IT Professionals in Uganda’s workforce sphere.

As a certified Instructor, 70% of Olin’s all-time academy students are currently certified as Huawei routing and Switching associates. A Majority of these also work in Huawei Uganda’s technical departments putting learnt skills to immediate enterprise, service provider and technical use.

 Personally, I was fortunate to take more than 100 students, so far, through these trainings, of which more than 70% successfully passed. Most of these start as interns, who are after a short period of time awarded contracts to work with Huawei or one of the various Huawei Partner Companies in Uganda. These include MTN, Airtel, and some special tech sensitive projects of the country. – Olin Said

By garnering exposure as Interns with some of Uganda’s top Technology brands, excelling students get to know and be part of the technical architecture, design, implementation and maintenance of ICT systems.

With Instructor level trainings capped at expert level, Olin has embarked on expanding his academy involvement by Upgrading from the base Instructor level to Professional, and currently planning to upgrade to expert level certification as he confirmed:

With the Huawei ICT Academy, learning never stops, and opportunities never end. I was able to up my R & S Certification to Professional Level, by successfully self-preparing for HCIP’s 3 examinations, which I sat and passed successfully.  What’s more, I successfully passed the first and most essential exam to the Expert level Certification in Routing and Switching (HCIE R&S), and now left with Lab and Interview exams, which I will take on this year. – Olin Added

Furthermore, as a run-to place for equipping ICT students with top notch skills, guidance, Internship offers and Technology centric jobs. The Huawei ICT Academy continues to groom both students and Instructors through its global academy competitions where International University scholarships, grand prizes including a USD 30,000 take home for the overall global winner are offered.

Likely, Top 11 participants at the national stage and best Instructors receive numerous rewards from the competition, making the Huawei ICT Academy a must-enroll for young Technology enthusiasts in Uganda, with several Universities currently offering the academy’s top courses and resources.

Tech Partnerships Offer Best Options For African Development

Technology offers the best opportunity for Africa’s advancement, and African countries have the right to choose which countries and companies they partner with in charting the technological development of their people.

This was one of the messages emerging from a webinar hosted by the University of Johannesburg yesterday. Titled, “Gearing Africa for the 4th Industrial Revolution: Patterns, Prospects and Lessons,” the event saw stakeholders from business, academia, civil society and the media share insights on the continent’s future, and the role of technology in achieving its developmental aims.

The onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) presents enormous opportunities for African development. However, it comes against the backdrop of a trade war between China and the United States, with especially the latter seeking to influence the tech choices of its trading partners.

Noting the advantages that the 4IR offers for Africa’s development – such as precision agriculture and bridging the digital divide – speaker and event chair Dr David Monyae, Executive Director of the Centre for Africa-China Studies, noted that the continent’s infrastructure limited its ability to embrace 4IR.

“To surmount this dearth,” he said, “the continent needs to learn from the lessons of more advanced countries, and identify partnerships that might be to its advantage.”

Dr Monyae said this would be a trying task. “The current international system is fraught with disagreement on technologies, with countries such as the United States ranged against more ambitious countries in the field of technology, such as China.”

In his address, UJ Vice Chancellor Prof Tshilidzi Marwala and deputy chairperson of South Africa’s Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, noted the potential of technology to turbocharge development. He listed eight areas the Commission was focused on, where 4IR could reduce inequality in South Africa, but he emphasised the urgency of taking action.

“Covid-19 has shown us how vital technology is for the future,” he said. “But gaps still exist in infrastructure – as they did during the first three industrial revolutions. The time to invest in technology is now, we cannot wait to adapt.”

Edward Zhou, Huawei’s Vice President of Global Public Affairs, noted that despite some progress, there remained a significant digital divide preventing Africa’s people from seizing the advantages of the 4IR. He said 28 million students in Sub-Saharan African were without internet connectivity, and more than 110 million people had no access to financial services.

“Bringing these people into the digital economy is dependent on connectivity and here, cloud-based architecture is important, as well as more fibre connectivity to villages and other sites,” said Zhou.

He said Huawei had been an established technology partner across Africa since 1997, and looked forward to continuing these relationships in pursuing 4IR in Africa.

“We have also partnered with more than 400 universities across Africa in giving training to more than 15 000 students,” he said.

In his address, Thang Nguyen-Quoc, economist at the OECD Development Centre, pointed out that the resources available for development in Africa had not kept up with population growth, and that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, eight African countries were already in debt distress.

He said foreign direct investment in Africa was set to fall by 25 to 40% due to the pandemic. However, said that digital investment offered far more effective returns than other sectors.

“Digital transformation is critical,” he said. “Compared to energy, ICT is cheap, and the benefits are real and immediate. It is critical that governments follow the right policies, ones that will attract more effective types of investments”

Dr Monyae concluded that for Africa’s digital advancement to come to fruition, it needed a global environment conducive to the continent’s development.

“For Africa to develop, it must have sovereignty,” he said. “However, there is no need to retreat from globalisation. Protectionism at global level won’t succeed, and it will not be good for the continent.”

“Africa need not be pro-Beijing or pro-Washington, but pro-development at all costs.”

Data To Barrel: How Cloud, AI & 5G Are Reshaping Oil & Gas Industry

The Huawei Oil & Gas Virtual Summit 2020 — exploring 'Data to Barrel' — was successfully hosted online.

The summit gathered together global customers, industry partners, and thought leaders — including representatives from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Schlumberger SIS, and the former Chief Information Officer (CIO) of French giant TOTAL — to share their experiences of helping oil and gas companies increase profits while cutting costs, creating added value through digital transformation.

Key suggestions on how the industry can overcome challenges at this particular point in time, adapting to the new normal of the pandemic and post-pandemic periods, were also fully explored.

The Oil and Gas Industry Faces Upheaval: Huawei is Positioned to Help

In the first half of 2020, due to the global economic downturn amid the spread of COVID-19, international oil prices fell to a low of 30 dollars per barrel. In May, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures prices even turned negative, a historically unprecedented event. Undoubtedly, the oil and gas industry has entered an extremely difficult period and is witnessing changes, the likes of which have not been seen for over a century.

Huawei has been working hard to help oil and gas customers cope with these current challenges. David Sun, Vice President of Huawei's Enterprise Business Group and Director of the Global Energy Business Department, noted that, over the past decade, Huawei has partnered with customers in the oil and gas industry and together witnessed oil prices peak at 120 dollars per barrel, as well as fall to that low of 30 dollars.

Along the way, Huawei's role has changed — and upgraded — with the support and help of oil and gas companies. Evolving from a vendor that simply provided switches, routers, and network devices, to becoming a full partner dedicated to providing digital transformation solutions, Huawei works with partners and customers alike to jointly promote the application of 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and big data in the oil and gas industry. It continues to explore new technologies and applications, where solutions to the current challenges lie.

Indeed, using elastic computing, big data analytics, AI, and cloud data centers, Huawei has already helped oil and gas customers achieve digital transformation, promoting the construction of intelligent oilfields and increasing oil and gas reserves.

Working with partners, Huawei planned and built a computing AI platform for an industry customer, to implement AI training and big data analytics. This has, in turn, led to an increase in both oil and gas reserves and in production. Indeed, solutions have been implemented in various scenarios, including artificial-lift fault diagnosis, well-logging and reservoir identification, and seismic first arrival wave identification, extracting significant value from underutilized — formerly 'useless' — data.

In the words of Dr. Mohamed Akoum from ADNOC: In an era of change for industries around the world, ADNOC continues to drive innovation and embed advanced technologies across its value chain to optimize performance, boost profitability and build resilience.

New ICT Technologies Reshape the Oil and Gas Industry: Huawei Offers a Wealth of Experience

Today, 150 years after the first successful extraction of oil from a drilled well, accessible underground oil resources have been all but exhausted. Oil companies, by necessity, are therefore now exploring deep-water, pre-salt, and unconventional reservoirs.

At 60 years old, Daqing Oilfield — the largest oilfield in China, situated in Heilongjiang, the country's northernmost province — has faced enormous challenges in terms of reserve replacement, stable production pressure, cost reductions, and efficiency improvements.

At the Huawei Oil & Gas Virtual Summit 2020, Zhang Tiegang, former Deputy Chief Engineer of the Exploration and Development Research Institute at Daqing Oilfield, explained that seismic exploration technologies to detect oil and gas reserves have been the method of choice for most oil companies.

Increasing seismic exploration while decreasing well drilling, he noted, has become a new measure widely used in the industry. However, high precision and massive data processing have brought their own challenges to seismic exploration and oilfield exploration and development.

With a single seismic exploration work area now expanded to over 2000 square kilometers, the volume of data collected through the broadband, wide-azimuth, and high-density seismic data collection technology has exceeded 1 TB per square kilometer.

To help Daqing Oilfield address these issues, Huawei built a dedicated oil and gas exploration cloud. The cloud data center improves computing power by eight times and has similarly improved prestack seismic data processing capability by five times, from 400 square kilometers to 2000 square kilometers, matching work area requirements.

Elsewhere, AI and big data capabilities have been used to re-analyze 10 PB of the customer's historical exploration data, to mine new value from it and support extraction decision-making, bringing huge additional value to the oilfield.

Huawei is empowering a wide range of industries through 5G networking. In the oil and gas industry, 5G technologies are changing the operation modes of seismic data collection. Huawei has put 5G network features to work — including high bandwidth, wide connectivity, and low latency — to help achieve high-speed backhaul of seismic data, reducing the manual cabling workload and significantly improving the efficiency of seismic data collection.

Elsewhere, Huawei 5G networks are already being used in oilfields and stations to support robot inspection, drone inspection, and Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications.

Additionally, the Huawei Horizon Digital Platform helps oil and gas customers break down legacy siloed service systems and quickly release service applications as micro-services, to meet the complex and changing needs of the industry.

For example, Huawei has deployed an enterprise cloud for SONATRACH, the national state-owned oil company of Algeria. The cloud-based solution manages and coordinates multiple data centers, eliminates resource silos, and greatly improves overall operation efficiency.

As a global ICT solutions provider, Huawei is committed to bringing digital to every oil and gas company. At the Huawei Oil & Gas Virtual Summit 2020, Wang Hao, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Oil & Gas Development Department for Huawei's Enterprise Business Group, said that Huawei will use ICT as a new engine to work even more closely with industry customers in challenging times.

Indeed, Huawei is already working with 19 of the top 30 oil and gas companies, in 45 countries and regions around the world, helping them achieve digital transformation. Ultimately, this will bring more benefits to the upstream, more security to the midstream, and more value to the downstream.

Such innovative ICT technologies — AI, cloud, edge computing, and 5G — will reshape the oil and gas industry. As David Sun concluded at the Huawei Oil & Gas Virtual Summit 2020: "According to IDC's latest survey, Chinese industrial users see Huawei as the digital transformation leader, ranking number one. In the future, we hope to share Huawei's digital transformation capabilities and experiences in China's oil and gas industry with global customers, to help achieve ever greater business success."

 

Online Groceries Retailer ‘Minute 5’ Introduces Online Market Day

With over 100,000 transactions and deliveries successfully completed to customers in tens of thousands, online grocer Minute 5 is taking it to a new level.

According to Minute 5 CEO Paul Katumba, this first of a kind monthly market day for groceries specifically produce is aimed at ensuring small scale farmers get quick guaranteed access to ready markets while customers get quality affordable produce.

Done to reflect their brand catchline 'Bringing the market to you,' this first of a kind groceries market day promotion will run for 6 full months according to Katumba.

“We expect a growth in customers of about 200% as the promotion picks up towards the end of the month. This will turn into repeat buys and grow the retailer’s loyal customer base over time.”

The plan is to also use this promotion to collect data which Katumba says the retailer will use to improve service delivery to consumers of groceries online because they will be able to understand their tastes and preferences better.

In order to reach more customers resulting from this promotion, the retailer has positioned its self in a number of new markets around the city from where they can make timely deliveries.

“This means our logistical constraints will be sorted as we shall be able to deliver faster to more clients given the increased number of markets we are partnering with and locations we can reach,” Katumba says.

Payments

With orders being booked easily through the company’s websiteWhatsApp and social media pages, payments which were a challenge initially have been fixed too with multiple digital channels now available.

One can use MTN mobile money, Airtel Money, Pay Pal plus all card payments to pay for their grocery purchases on Minute 5 according to Katumba.

The target market of Minute 5 Customers ranges from the busy high-end corporate class that hardly have time to go to markets covering the lower middle class and tech-savvy clients who just enjoy the convenience of their groceries delivered to them.

Going Forward

Minute 5 is looking at covering the entire city with its convenience services when it comes to purchasing groceries.

The company will also expand its services across the country’s major towns over the next 5 years as it consolidates its position as a major player in online retail with a focus on groceries and personal delivery.

Huawei's New ICT Empowers Smart Grids But Electric Power Industry Needs Urgent Transformation

Today marked the Seventh Huawei Global Power Summit themed "Bits Drive Watts, Building a Fully Connected Smart Grid". Held online, the summit invited global customers, partners, industry experts, and thought leaders in the electric power industry to discuss the impact and response to this year's pandemic and political and economic uncertainties.

The electric power market continues to represent huge potential while the industry needs to build reliable, cost-effective, efficient, and green power grids with a more efficient and reasonable energy supply.

Seize the Opportunity to Transform the Electric Power Industry

Electric power companies around the world are looking to improve quality and efficiency by deploying data centers and reconstructing management platforms. They aim to provide more reliable, efficient, and green energy while ensuring grid security, and offer more value-added services through the energy Internet to drive social development.

However, conventional operational models and technologies fail to support this transformation. As such, the global electric power industry needs to consider how to adapt to new trends; how can grids detect security issues in real time and respond quickly; how can we make better use of clean energy and reduce carbon emissions? How can energy networks match the rapidly expanding charging pile network and achieve efficient management?

To change agents, challenges mean opportunities. "Huawei helps customers cope with these industry challenges and seize future opportunities through digital transformation," said David Sun, Vice President of Huawei Enterprise BG and President of the Global Energy Business Unit.

Huawei seamlessly integrates 5G, IoT, optical, IP, cloud, big data, and AI technologies into power systems. Together with partners, Huawei has launched smart service solutions, such as AI-powered grid inspection and distribution IoT, covering power generation, transmission, transformation, distribution, and consumption. These enable comprehensive sensing, interconnection, and service intelligence of various power terminals.

Mr. Sun also noted that "Huawei looks forward to sharing the digital transformation experience of China's electric power and other industries with more customers, drive watts with bits, and build smart grids to help global electric power companies accelerate development."

New ICT Empowers Smart Grids

An increasing number of electric power companies identify their digital transformation strategies as their priority. At the summit, Huawei and industry leaders illustrated the importance of 5G, AI, big data, and cloud computing for this process.

For example, China Southern Power Grid (CSG) finds that power distribution networks and users require power grid communication that features wide connectivity, high bandwidth, low latency, high reliability, and fast deployment. These features ensure intelligent power distribution and metering, and facilitate the development of smart home and Internet of Vehicles (IoV). In response, Huawei's advanced 5G slicing technology enables end-to-end communication of smart grids, ensuring secure and reliable power distribution networks as well as improved efficiency.

CSG has summarized 53 typical service scenarios covering power generation, transmission, distribution, transformation, consumption, and integrated services, according to Yang Junquan, Deputy General Manager of CSG Power Dispatch and Control Center. He also expects more 5G applications to emerge in the near future.

HUAWEI CLOUD and data platform provide mass data storage and computing capabilities. Together, they integrate data assets from multiple systems of a power grid company into one platform. Through high-speed data processing and sharing, the platform helps complete various challenging tasks.

For example, Qinghai Province in China aims to achieve 100% green energy consumption and supply in the long term. Together with Huawei, the province has leveraged cloud computing to construct a new energy data center powered by AI and big data capabilities. Now, the provincial electric power company can predict the renewable energy yield simply based on the weather forecast.

With multi-energy compensation, the total power output to access the grid will be more stable. By implementing these high-tech strategies, in 2019, Qinghai maintained 100% green energy generation for 15 consecutive days. In this case, clean energy consumption has been supported through digital and smart means.

New ICT can also improve the O&M efficiency of electric power companies. The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) worked with Huawei to build a digital platform, IoT platform, and cloud, which reduces the time it takes to collect and store data from four hours to 30 minutes for its Henan branch.

Huawei embeds AI modules into cameras and drones, enabling the O&M team to remotely monitor power transmission lines and detect faults. Thanks to this, the Shenzhen Power Supply Bureau reduced its grid inspection time from 20 days to 2 hours and the time to capture images from hours to minutes. It has also achieved over 90% image analysis accuracy.

Huawei will centrally deploy and remotely manage millions of EVs and charging piles through the cloud, improve charging efficiency and battery lifespan management through AI-powered data analysis, and increase management efficiency using 5G high-speed networks.

Providing digital services by leveraging abundant fiber and site resources and innovative ICT solutions has become one of the major digital transformation trends for global electric power companies.

Huawei has worked with over 190 electric power companies worldwide, including 10 of the industry's top 20, to implement digital transformation. Huawei's solutions are widely used by electric power companies such as the Saudi Electricity Company, Turkish Electricity Transmission Corporation, Provincial Electricity Authority of Thailand, SGCC, and CSG .For more information about Huawei Global Power Summit, please visit https://bit.ly/32bYD9i

Building The 5G future On An LTE Foundation

The latest report from GSA shows, by the end of May 2020, 386 operators globally had announced they were investing in 5G, , among which 81 operators in 42 countries/territories launched 5G commercial services, including the most recent MTN 5G launch in South Africa.

5G, the fifth generation of mobile networks, will enable enhanced mobile broadband, mission-critical communications, and massive Internet of Things (IoT) communications between equipment.

However, today the immediate need is for online, digital communications, which can easily be provided by 4G or LTE networks. The good news is that LTE is also the foundation for the revolutionary move to 5G.

Narrowing the digital divide and empowering more of the world’s people with online connectivity is key to overcoming poverty and attaining a sustainable future. This will require constantly expanding LTE (4G) mobile broadband coverage and adoption.

Living and working online is becoming acknowledged as a human right. Sadly, billions of people remain excluded from the opportunities of the online economy, according to Emmanuel Coelho Alves, Senior Marketing Director at Huawei. 

“There is a need to redouble our effort for more digital transmission and inclusion to support United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and bring the excluded 3.9 billion of world’s population online,” he said, “It won’t be easy, but with cross-sector efforts from government and partners in the private sector, academia and civil society … we can achieve that.”

Alves was speaking at the recent online LTE Summit 2020 held by the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA).

Alves said that there had been progress in expanding global mobile broadband coverage, with almost 66% of areas now covered. Of these, 90% had access to high-quality networks such as 3G and 4G.

Around 80% of the world’s population now has mobile coverage, according to the latest GSMA report. Of these, more than 50% of connections are already on 4G.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are 456 million unique mobile subscribers, representing 44% of people, with this proportion expected to grow to 50% by 2025.

 

 

The GSMA report predicts that Africa will be the fastest-growing global region, with a compound annual growth rate of 4.6%. However, mobile broadband subscriber numbers remain significantly lower, with 239 million subscribers and a penetration rate of just 23%.

Bringing Africa’s people into the mobile economy will require ongoing expansion of mobile broadband services such as 4G, with penetration expected to reach 39% by 2025.

“4G provides an extremely good asset when you go later to 5G,” said Alves. “4G has been deployed widely in the past years. 4G is the capacity layer in city, leveraging massive MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) in hot spots with significant traffic.”

By applying a standard known as ENDC (E-UTRAN New Radio – Dual Connectivity), network operators are able to use both 4G and 5G schedulers together. 

It is also possible to use a technology known as DSS (dynamic spectrum sharing) to allow for real-time allocation of spectrum resources between 4G and 5G, depending on network traffic. This can be achieved with millisecond accuracy.

“Currently, 4G is the main mobile broadband layer, and what is replacing 3G,” said Alves. “But on top of this, 4G has flexible capabilities that allow 4G and 5G to work together from the network level.

Industry leaders believe that in the medium term, 4G will be the layer of choice for global mobile communications, while 5G will mainly be used in more industrial communications.

However, 4G networks already have the capabilities to guarantee an optimal user experience for 5G users, including services such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and cloud gaming.

It thus makes sense for national networks to invest in 4G to secure future growth opportunities, while already supporting leading-edge 5G capabilities.

Mohamed Madkour, VP of global wireless networks marketing and solutions at Huawei, said at the AfricaCom 2019 conference in Cape Town last year, that “all investment in expanding 4G and organising site assets will reduce the amount of money needed to switch on 5G in the near future. Every rand spent on 4G is thus a rand invested in 5G.”

Whether seen from a network operator or a policy perspective, 4G is thus not simply an interim step towards 5G. The 4G foundation already heralds the arrival of our 5G future.

4G Networks Support Communities Through Covid-19 Pandemic

Much of the current hype in the telecommunications space focuses on the roll-out of 5G technology, the new mobile networks that will power the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). But it is, in fact, 4G technology – LTE – that is providing lifesaving connectivity during the Covid-19 pandemic right now when communities need it most. 

Called Long Term Evolution to give it its full name, LTE is the network technology used by 52 per cent of the world’s mobile devices. As such, it is this 4G tech that has underpinned the innovative digital initiatives supporting communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The pandemic and the lockdown have presented humanity with mortal challenges. People, countries and organisations are rising to these challenges, often using our evolving telecommunications capabilities. However, the new era has come with opportunities, which innovators have also been able to grasp, thanks to 4G connectivity. 

This will remain the case over the medium term. 

“Until 2025, LTE will continue to do the heavy lifting,” said Henry Calvert, head of the Network 2020 future network programme at the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), “Our 4G networks will remain key… They will continue to be important for the next five-to-seven years,” he said.

Speaking at the recent 2020 GSMA LTE Summit, Calvert said that during the pandemic, LTE was coming to the fore in the provision of telehealth and telemedicine, as well as expanding network services to hot spots to support the ill through hospitals and other healthcare services.

Besides the significant role 4G plays in supporting health services, it also provides for the data and connectivity needs of the new lifestyles taking shape since lockdown. 

Calvert said operators report that data usage has increased by more than 70 per cent per customer during the pandemic, driven by online services and consumption of on-demand video services like Netflix, which recently reported adding 15,8 million subscribers in a year – more than double expectations.  

“There has even been a call to on-demand video providers to reduce the quality of video they’re deploying and encourage people to use standard-definition rather than high-definition TV to preserve the capacity in the networks for online education, online health and online businesses,” he said. 

“As transformation continues it’s been focused on expanding 4G capacity,” he said. “But the 5G transformation is clearly going to be needed in the future to meet online demands.” 

During COVID-19, 4G networks have also been instrumental in supporting contact-tracing apps, which can locate and notify the contacts of infected individuals remotely, while still protecting the privacy of users. LTE networks have also provided free data to support contact tracking to do as much as possible to ensure the infection isn’t spread any further. 

LTE also underpins the recent shifts in lifestyles, with large proportions of the population working, educating their children, shopping and socialising from home using online platforms. 

So critical is LTE to this new paradigm, that it must remain the priority infrastructure over the short term, while societies grapple with the pandemic. 

“Our GSMA intelligence groups show that there will be a short-term dip in 5G deployment,” said Calvert. “But that will quickly recover to normal levels. We still see launches of 5G networks, as we now know that delivering on the data demand that has been met by our LTE networks can only get better with 5G.”

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