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Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei has established itself over the years to become one of the major global players in the telecommunications industry, and has enjoyed phenomenal success. Huawei is the third biggest manufacturer of smartphones behind Apple and Samsung and continues to expand its operations rapidly despite coming under intense scrutiny in the United States in recent months.

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At ConnecTechAsia 2018, the Chinese vendor showcased its latest range of innovations and technologies and mesmerized attendees at the ICT event which was held in Singapore. Telecom Review was onsite at ConnecTechAsia 2018 and managed to secure an exclusive interview with Dr. Guo Feng, Chief Technology Officer, Enterprise IoT, for Huawei Enterprise Business Group.

In a candid interview the prominent executive highlighted the benefits of enterprise IoT adoption, addressed the security concerns surrounding the Internet of Things, and offered his insights and predictions into emerging technologies being tipped to revolutionize and transform our societies.

How important of an event is ConnecTechAsia for Huawei and what differentiates it from other industry events?

ConnecTechAsia is one of Asia’s most significant Information and Communications Technology (ICT) events, gathering key stakeholders within the industry to share best-practices and showcase cutting-edge technologies and innovations. This is very much aligned with Huawei’s vision to bring digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.

As a leading global ICT service provider, Huawei has successfully enabled our customers from across various verticals in their business achievements for the past 30 years, and continuously worked with the partners within the ecosystem to push for a breakthrough in a new digital era.

Can you outline to us what you think are the primary opportunities and benefits for businesses who adopt enterprise IoT?

The main benefits of adopting enterprise IoT are improved customer experience, new business model and revenue streams, better O&M efficiency and more competitive products and services.

Additionally, the adoption of enterprise IoT offers various opportunities. However, businesses across regions and industries have different priorities. In China, for example, manufacturing enterprises are more interested in leveraging IoT to improve factory operation visibility and intelligence and monitor the quality of their products. These enterprises are also looking at energy consumption optimization, which will be particularly attractive to industries such as oil and gas.

Other companies like Schindler Group are more interested in bringing the benefits of IoT to the front-end, directly to the end customer. Schindler Group has a partnered with Huawei to develop smart IoT components for seamless connectivity of elevators and escalators. Under the Internet of Elevators and Escalators (IoEE), Huawei and Schindler developed a Connected Elevators Solution that enables Schindler to better monitor, analyze and leverage data generated from its elevators and escalators, and support the unified connection and management of Schindler’s one million elevators around the world.

Can you illustrate to us what you feel are the main challenges and barriers for enterprise IoT adoption?

The challenges from IoT adoption come from various aspects, such as the lack of skilled workers, high costs, selecting the right solution from the variety available in the market, etc. In my opinion, the most challenging issue is the validity of the business model.

As with any new product or solution, the decision for a business to adopt something new is typically evaluated based on the amount of value the new product/solution can potentially bring to the business. However, with the adoption of IoT, businesses would need to undergo a fair amount of change, redefining their traditional product portfolio and more to fully reap the benefits of IoT. The success of digital transformation is highly dependent on the focus and will of the business to embrace technology adoption.

The Internet of Things has been hailed as one of our greatest opportunities, but has also been labelled by some as one of our greatest weaknesses due to security concerns. How important is security in accelerating the adoption of IoT?

Security is considered a major concern for enterprises in their adoption of IoT. Security for IoT is mainly on the terminal, where enterprises meet the challenge of sourcing devices from various channels and vendors with different levels of technical capability and limited security consideration due to hardware and cost constraints. Unfortunately, there isn’t a security standard for IoT now and the requirements vary for different industries.

At this point of time, it is recommended that enterprises take the issue of IoT security seriously, taking the counsel of capable consulting company to identify a decent level of security and avoid any possible mishaps. 

Apart from IoT, what other emerging technology do you think will have the biggest impact for enterprises embarking on digital transformation journeys?

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Blockchain are all emerging technologies which will bring impact to the enterprises. However, these are still under development and there have been success stories and lessons to be learnt from mismanaged expectations about the outcome of such technologies. Their development will still require some time to improvise and build successful business cases.

Can you outline to us what your primary objectives and goals are for the rest of 2018?

Huawei’s primary objective and goal is to continuously contribute to the ecosystem through our innovations and technologies to build a more intelligent and fully connected world. To that end, Huawei will be announcing several new products and solutions at Huawei Connect 2018 in Shanghai this upcoming October. Stay tuned!  

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