Huawei APAC CMO on tech’s ‘new confluence’

How 5G, AI, cloud, and IoT are converging to transform industries.
17 January 2020

A combination of technology will accelerate digital transformation across sectors. Source: Shutterstock

At the first International Conference on Digitial Transformation and Applications (ICDXA) Malaysia, Huawei’s Chief Marketing Officer of Asia Pacific Region, Neo Teck Guan talked about the ‘confluence’ of technology that’s shifting the future of industry. 

“Key technologies transform our societies and civilizations, right from the eras of agriculture to electricity, and communications. Each of these particular evolutions actually created some very impactful technology. Today, this evolution is driven by the use of new technologies like 5G, AI, cloud, and IoT.”

Teck Guan described this combination of technology as “the new confluence”, which is transforming how industries operate, and the rules of play for those companies in them. 

Take Alibaba’s ‘City Brain’, for instance— a road traffic systems in Hangzhou, China. It gathers data such as video from intersection cameras and GPS data on the location of cars and buses, crunches information in real-time and then coordinates more than 1,000 road signals around the city with the aim of preventing or easing gridlock.

In the world of manufacturing and production, meanwhile, IBM predicts the rise of cognitive supply chains, where programs can leverage predictive analytics and automation technologies to autonomously optimize processes for all members, without human oversight.  

 “What we see here is by the year 2025, this new confluence will power all countries and industries,” the Huawei CMO said. With that in mind, here are three examples of the confluence of technology, as cited by Teck Guan. 

# 1 | Drone domination 

Led by developments in super-low latency 5G, drones will emerge as crucial devices that can enhance safety inspection processes, reduce labor costs, develop predictive maintenance models, and bring in the new era in last-mile delivery. 

Last year, UPS received the ‘license to fly‘ drones for delivery, paving the way for major service expansion. The company got the green light to transport packages more than 55 pounds and to operate during the night. Initial deliveries will be made across hospitals and health-care sectors and gradually moving to other sectors. 

In the same vein, DHL has tested unmanned delivery through its thrid-generation “Parcelcopter.” The German company plans for the technology to assist in delivering to difficult-to-reach areas. 

In Pilsen, the Czech Republic, the city prides itself on a seamless and successful adoption of drones in its Integrated Rescue System (IRS) units. The city was awarded at the Smart Cities for the Future 2019 competition due to the deployment of a smart solution that greatly benefitted local communities and emergency service teams. 

5G promises massive data transfer in milliseconds. Drones embedded with sensors will be able to transmit and share data in real-time due to extended connectivity, providing instantaneous data analytics to support decision-makers during critical moments. With the combination of AI-inspired systems, drones may be able to ‘understand’ and respond automatically to situations. 

# 2 | Conservation efforts

Satellites and are able to monitor the pace of deforestation and receding ice shelves with high-resolution imagery, while software can identify trends or focal points without human intervention.

Recent research from Huawei Cloud, Futurewei, and Rainforest Connection found a more efficient way to protect and preserve rainforests. How? By listening to them. 

Full of information, yet low in data volume, audio data can capture and cover more acres of the forest as compared with image data, which is limited by the field of vision. Advanced sound classification models can analyze urban soundscapes better than people can; hence, the idea of leveraging sound data to monitor highly-dense rainforests came to be.

With the deployment of IoT and sensors in rainforests allowing round-the-clock monitoring and up to date recordings of the area. Researchers fed up to 22,000 real-world rainforest audio recordings to developing models and began labeling data to classify the sounds of chainsaw, trucks, poachers, gunshots, and animals.

In another example of how technologies are converging to provide breakthrough solutions, the combination of IoT and machine learning enabled the development of sophisticated sound classification models. The same model can alert the environmental law enforcement teams and conservationists of illegal activities taking place. 

# 3 | Aviation innovation

Faced by the pressures of competition and increasingly environmentally-conscious consumers, members of the aviation industry are some of the most eager adopters of emerging technology.

Singapore Changi airport already uses facial recognition for self-service check-in options and other services such as baggage drops, immigration, and boarding, significantly reducing wait time. 

The airport also relies on its facial recognition system to search for lost or late passengers. Taking a step further, Neo explained that airlines are looking towards mixed reality (XR) equipment such as virtual reality (VR) glasses to enhance airport services.

Ground staff will be equipped with VR glasses and provided data such as passenger information from the cloud and camera systems. Airport staff will be able to ‘see’ passenger’s information and provide guidance to lost passengers or helping late passengers to get on board via the quickest route. 

Cloud-based solutions are not just lifting the airline industry to greater heights but may soon be the backbone in running operations, storing passenger and flight information, and streamlining security measures. 

This is just an example of the impact of technology in the travel industry and many airlines are following, such as British Airways adopting biometric technology to streamline the boarding procedure and Delta partnership with IBM to explore how quantum computing can leverage the airline industry.