The right people, the right tools, the right time

13 February 2017

Working together and delivering connectivity are common-sense rules for the digital age

A few weeks ago, a tragedy on European soil reminded me, in a rather brutal fashion, about where the most important value of our work lies.

When Hotel Rigopiano in Italy was buried by an avalanche and the race against the clock to find survivors began, rescue teams were able to save precious time thanks to technology enabling them to detect survivors under the rubble. The system deployed, which consisted in a mobile communications network with an extremely rapid setup time, was developed by an innovation centre run jointly by Huawei and the Sardinia Region; it was launched just one month ago.

We often talk about the ‘vital’ role of mobile technology and local partnerships, but it is extreme situations like these that give the full meaning to this idea.

Joining forces with our European partners has enabled us to weather many storms in the past. In these times of change, we are more crucially aware than ever of the importance of reliable friends and trust-based partnerships.

The joint innovation centre that delivered the emergency technology is part of our large and growing network of European innovation hubs, which currently spans 18 R&D organisations in eight countries, as well as numerous centres run together with European telecom and ICT partners.

Our solid partnership with Europe enables us to advance with confidence. It relies on connections between like-minded people and common projects, but also on a framework in which such connections can grow, and such projects can thrive.

We have been delighted to witness the steady progression towards the objectives of the EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy. Throughout the past year, we have seen a number of vital strides towards implementation, including the ‘5G for Europe’ Action Plan and the comprehensive reform of European telecom markets, spelled out in the ‘connectivity package’.

Huawei is determined to continue playing an active part in making Europe’s digital transformation a success story. Putting our considerable global weight behind digital in Europe, we are working with policymakers as well as industry and research partners, in Europe and beyond, to support the process. We are contributing to technologies that harness the potential of Big Data, the cloud and the Internet of Things, and we are driving the 5G agenda in Europe, together with other European industry stakeholders.

Huawei has long placed a strong focus on 5G research and innovation. In Europe, we are participating in EU 5G research projects, including the 5G-PPP. Together with our European partners, we launched a 5G Vertical Industry Accelerator (5G VIA) and a testbed in Munich, Germany. We are also researching 5G technologies at Surrey University’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) in the UK, where we will be investing £5 million as part of the $600 million that Huawei is committing to 5G research globally by 2018.

As Europe is pressing ahead with its commitment to taking the lead on 5G, Huawei remains fully committed to supporting its European partners and driving Europe’s digital transformation process.

Of course, we cannot consider the vital impact of ICT technology without sparing a thought for the next generation. In such uncertain times, it is only by investing in education, and by teaching and practicing open-mindedness and global exchange, that we can prepare for a brighter future.

Huawei is proud to contribute to these objectives through its Seeds for the Future skills programme, deployed in Europe since 2011. This initiative selects gifted students for a study trip to China. By 2020, over 2500 European students will have taken the trip. In November 2016, we brought a group of participants to Brussels to share their vision of a connected future with European decision makers. As we prepare for the new tasks and changes that lie ahead of us, we aim to keep the hopes and fears of these young people in mind, and to be guided by their vision of technology-enabled progress. Together, we can meet this challenge.