The FINANCIAL — On February 23, Huawei Deputy Chairman and Rotating CEO Guo Ping gave a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress 2016. Along with the CEOs of Ford and PayPal, Guo shared his thoughts on “mobile is connected living”.
In his keynote speech “what should we do before 5G”, Guo commented that it will be a long time before 5G is deployed on a large scale, and industry players must ensure they do not miss out on opportunities. Guo also said that three things should be done before 5G arrives: increase connectivity, enable verticals, and redefine network capabilities. These initiatives will help address the uncertainties brought about by new technologies and new business models.
According to Guo, by 2025, there will be 100 billion connections globally, and the connections among the 7 billion people on earth will only account for 10% of the total. The majority of connections will be between people and things, and between things and things. Guo highlighted a case from the manufacturing sector, pointing out that 99% of equipment with sensors has yet to be connected to the Internet. Therefore, the first thing to do before 5G arrives is to increase connectivity. Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is the key technology supporting large-scale IoT. It will make static things smart and interactive, which means many things in the world will begin to “talk”. As sensors and cameras are widely deployed, their connection to the Internet will turn the physical world into a smart, digital world. This will enable people to better observe, analyze, and use data from the physical world so as to better understand this world. Then, time and space will no longer be an issue when it comes to communication. Full connectivity will lead to a better digital life and create huge business opportunities.
Guo continued, saying that the second thing to do before 5G arrives is to enable verticals. According to a UN report released in 2010, the ICT industry has long been supply- rather than demand-driven. Vendors previously provided services based on available technologies. However, things have now changed. The ICT industry has already seen its business model shift from being supply-to demand-driven. As various smart city applications emerge in areas such as power grids and transportation, consumers will demand more from networks. ICT has become a new tool that verticals can use to increase their competitiveness. The ICT industry should seize this opportunity, develop a deeper understanding of verticals’ needs, and help them go digital.
Increasing connectivity and enabling verticals have both led to higher requirements for networks. Guo added that the third thing to do before 5G arrives is to redefine network capabilities. As the hub of connections, carriers need to establish software-defined architecture, achieve agile operations, and significantly improve user experience, for example, by providing minute-level service provisioning. They also need to develop Big Data operation capabilities to effectively increase operating efficiency and explore ways to monetize Big Data. In addition, carriers need to choose a strategic partner that possesses integration capabilities. They also need to develop their own integration capabilities and help establish a more open and innovative ecosystem.
Based on one forecast, the total digital transformation market will grow to US$15 trillion by 2025. “We must not wait for the future to come; instead, we should work together to create the future,” Guo was quoted as saying. “Before 5G arrives, we need to get started. We need to increase connectivity, and create new business models and new business value. This is necessary to support the integration of verticals and enable the digitization of traditional industries, thus driving forward the digital revolution.”