Huawei Analyst Summit: IoT evolution, R&D efforts ongoing

Huawei's annual analyst summit featured a slew of new terminology (Big Video is a thing now, as is NB-IoT) and reiteration of perennial challenges: latency, and skyrocketing data growth across all sectors.

"Everything we're doing is [designed to] cope with explosive growth in data traffic," said Eric Xu, deputy chairman of the board and rotating CEO, in a Q&A session after his opening keynote. Xu said the volume of future data traffic would be "as massive as the Pacific Ocean," adding that the firm's hardware and cloud initiatives are "all geared towards data traffic."

Xu introduced Huawei's “All Cloud” strategy during the keynote, adding: "The last ten years was all about IP, the next ten will be all about cloud." According to Computerworld Hong Kong: "The company's latest cloud strategy focuses on improving the end-user experience...[and] will also involve the 'full cloudification' of products and applications over the next two to three years."

Narrowing the IoT

NB-IoT is the latest wrinkle in the developing Internet of Things. "A consensus is building among operators around narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT), the emerging technology for deployment of LPWA (low-power wide-area) networks," wrote Joseph Waring on Mobile World Live: "The technology is designed to provide coverage in hard-to-reach places, supporting a massive number of low throughput, ultra-low cost devices, with low device power consumption."

A keynote by Patrick Zhang, president of the marketing & solutions department, focused on the IoT and the current emphasis on low power consumption and open APIs. Zhang described the NB-IoT as a "cellular network for massive things," featuring sensors with ten-year battery life and fast response "at the 1ms level."

Zhang also described his firm's hardware approach to the IoT including multiple-purpose devices aimed at both consumers and businesses.

Focus, persevere, breakthrough

A media roundtable with President of Corporate Communications Joy Tan gave a longer-term view of Huawei's evolving corporate culture, based on the theme "focus, persevere, breakthrough."

The firm typically invests about 10% of its revenue in R&D, and Tan said they employ 5,700 engineers in India, "mostly in R&D." She also said the localization rate for Huawei's 176,000 employees overall is 72%.

Tan added that one of her firm's strategies is improving brand awareness. "Building our brand & channels is not a short-term strategy," she said. "It requires time and effort" – efforts which seem to be paying off in markets like Italy and Spain, where Tan said Huawei enjoys "high brand awareness."

She added that Indonesia is one of the firm's "key markets" and the entire Southeast Asian market is growing rapidly. "We use our premium-brand position to help drive other market sectors," said Tan.

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