OTF2017: Huawei creates new business unit to accelerate telco digital transformation

Telecom Asia Special Project Team
21 Sep 2017

Huawei Technologies has formed a new business unit that provides consultancy and system integration services to telecoms operators to accelerate digital transformation and achieve new growth.

The new Consulting & System Integration (C&SI) department, which will be part of the company’s Global Technical Services (GTS) unit under the Carrier Business Group, will offer consultancy and end-to-end business solutions to help telecoms operators implement their digital transformation strategy and optimize return on investment (ROI).

“Although C&SI is a newly established operation, we expect it to be the biggest department in GTS,” Bill Tang (pictured), president of Huawei GTS, told reporters at a media briefing at the company’s annual Operations Transformation Forum (OTF2017) in Hong Kong this week.

Tang said the company will combine staff from various company departments covering software, hardware and consulting function to C&SI. He said the new operation was created three months ago with 5,000 staff globally.

Huawei GTS will expand the operation to serve telecoms operators in overseas markets. The company also seeks 500 business and solution architects as well as 100 data scientists for the new operation.

Ahead to digital transformation
Tang said the formation of C&SI is in response to the changing requirements of the firm's operator customers during their digital transformation journeys.

As telecoms operators shift their focus from the direction and architecture of digital transformation to digital business and services, they may encounter problems with network transformation and delivery of new business and services through the digitization process.

C&SI will leverage AI, big data and cloud technologies together with Huawei’s assets such as products and know-how to help telecoms operators resolve potential problems arising from digitization. Tang said Huawei has built an open ecosystem, working with over 70 partners for NFV/SDN, data center and IoT at its Cloud Open Labs. The Cloud Open Labs, launched last year, have already issued 47 certifications, verified over 60 evolution scenarios and carried out more than 10 proof-of-concepts.

“Our goal is to consolidate and share best practices across the industry ecosystem and develop new innovation to speed up digital transformation,” Tang said. “We are doing digitization as well so we can better serve our operator customers and enable their digital transformation."

C&SI aims to help telecoms operators accelerate digital transformation by developing blueprints and architecture models, such as Huawei’s Digital Mastermind, for telcos to follow. C&SI is already working with operators including PCCW-HKT, Globe Telecom in the Philippines, Safaricom in Kenya, and Viva in Kuwait, said Tang.

$200 million investment, AI to be widely deployed in telecom
Tang said Huawei GTS will spend $200 million over the next three years on technologies like AI and big data to further improve operators’ operation and network efficiency.

Ocean Sun, director of service strategy and architecture at Huawei GTS, said Huawei GTS has launched six projects with telecoms operators in Asia and Africa to explore use-cases and verify the functionalities for AI. Initially these projects focus on using AI technologies to improve predictive antennas, field operations, network planning, maintenance and optimization and radio optimization.
In field operations, for instance, telcos can use AI to intelligently dispatch work order to their engineers to the right location, said Sun.

The Huawei executive said that AI is still in an early stage for scale deployment, but he expects the technology will be increasingly deployed telecoms operators in near future.

"Operation and network efficiency will be a big headache for telecoms operators as they move towards 5G, and we expect to see more and more operators to deploy AI and data technologies to improve their network and operational efficiency," he said.

“This is why we are investing $200 million over the next three years in building these capabilities.”

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