Huawei has been working with governments across the globe to help them build a national digital foundation based on "one cloud" and "one network"; to promote the construction of national digital infrastructure; to further open key opportunities in various markets such as government, healthcare, education and emergency response; and to accelerate the digital upgrade of the public sector.
Huawei leverages its wide-ranging ICT capabilities of cloud-network synergy to deliver basic computing support and high-speed network services for inclusive digital services and converged public governance.
In an interview with Huawei’s Global Public Sector team, they delved into the latest developments and business scope of Huawei's Global Public Sector and shared their future strategic direction and vision of how to promote the upgrade of national digital infrastructure.
“One cloud means we are focusing on providing cloud services and cloud infrastructure to the various segments of public sector. We are building government cloud, education cloud and cloud to all these segments, as well as network, which is also very important. We are building the government’s national backbone. We provide the networking for the schools, hospitals and various scenarios. And at the same time, we are looking for ecosystem partners across the globe to provide end-to-end solutions for global government and public sector,” said Simon Zou, Huawei’s vice president for global public sector.
Huawei’s one cloud, one network strategy has so far covered more than 700 cities in more than 100 countries across the globe. Among the major successful projects that serve as a good example is their partnership with the government of Thailand. Huawei sees Thailand as a promising digital hub in Southeast Asia for its policies as well as its constant support of the digital economy.
Among Huawei’s remarkable projects in Thailand is at Srinakharinwirot University (SWU), which is seen as a global demo site for smart education, and this also sets a new standard for the digital transformation of universities and colleges across the globe. Huawei's Intelligent Multi-Service Network Solution for Higher Education now serves as a complete response to the complex network requirements of SWU by offering campus-wide network connectivity, multi-network convergence and high-speed interconnection. “We provide the connection to millions [of] students across the world so they can have the internet access to the content they should enjoy. By doing this, we provide the students the equal rights of education,” Zou added.
Aside from education, Huawei has also helped Thailand streamline its government operations by deploying its cloud technology in the country’s Government Data Center and Cloud (GDCC) project to support cloud adoption and transition in government.
Key Challenges in Different Public Sectors Worldwide
While Thailand has proven to be at the forefront of digital transformation in the region, not all its regional neighbors are on the same track.
However, since the pandemic, many governments have updated their digital agendas. Koh Hong Eng, global chief public services industry scientist of Huawei, said, “We’ve been working with many governments around the world on digital transformation, and we could tell very clearly that COVID has actually accelerated their digital agenda. Most governments have realized that digital agenda is no longer an option, it’s mandatory for the survival of a country, not just competitiveness.”
Koh, however, pointed out that no two governments are the same, especially for a big country. He has identified three key challenges that different governments are facing. First, many countries still lack the basics of connectivity and computing capabilities.
Koh explained, “Digital transformation should be for the people, but without data, you cannot have digital transformation. And data is the new crude oil…so digital transformation needs to create values from the raw data. And without the pipe, you cannot have the oil. That pipe is always neglected, and that is challenge number one in many countries.”
The next challenge is that many governments today have existing ICT infrastructures that are mostly silos. Koh stressed that having a single point of service is important. “No government can have a super department or super ministry, having a person as a teacher, a doctor [or] even police at the same time. That’s impossible. So, in any government – whether national level or city level – you need different professionals to provide different services. So, as a result, we tend to build silos infrastructure, and this is not people-centric…Digital transformation to me [is]you start with computerization, then go with digitalization and digital transformation; you should be people-centric. You want to provide people-centric services, whether to the citizens, to the businessmen [or] to the foreigner.”
And another challenge that many countries still face is literacy and talent. Koh offered these as among the highlights in the digital transformation agendas of many countries, specifically in Thailand’s digital vision.
Building a Robust Digital Infrastructure
Vision and leadership, governance and structure, and a good local technology ecosystem — these are the key factors for a successful digital transformation according to Koh.
He said that the digital agenda of a country covers three areas, namely: digital government, the most important, followed by digital economy and digital society.
Koh said that for a digital economy to be viable, there needs to be trust. This means everyone – including citizens, businessmen and foreigners – must trust the government when they use the products or services of digital transformation.
Koh cited Singapore as an example: “We built data centers around the world to run Huawei Cloud. We have five availability zones in Singapore to support Huawei Cloud. We have many Huawei Cloud customers outside Singapore. It means these customers trust Singapore when they use Huawei Cloud based in Singapore. This is why digital agenda must be backed by a strong government, strong governance that people can trust.”
Furthermore, Huawei suggests the need for three types of cloud depending on the security, sovereignty and privacy of a government’s services and data. And Huawei has the technologies and services to support these three types.
Koh names the first type as the public services cloud, where all e-government services can be accessed via the Internet. Second is the administration cloud, which is a platform for different ministries and departments to share information so as to offer people-centric services. Some of the customer details and citizen details will be there too. The third type of cloud is the security cloud, which is for very sensitive and very private data such as health records, criminal records and even the annual treasury budget.
Meanwhile, from the supply perspective, Koh sees the public services cloud being offered by a private company, including Huawei or its partner, so long as it has its data center within the country’s jurisdiction. The administration cloud will likely be undertaken by the ministry that has the overall responsibility for ICT, he said. And finally, for the security cloud, it would be with the respective ministry that is in charge of a particular service, such as the Ministry of Health for health records.
Since Huawei is creating the core driving force for a country’s digital transformation, it also offers its one-stop full-stack data center. Zou explained, “To construct a data center, first you need to understand the customer requirements; secondly, you need to have a precise engineering on location selection; thirdly, you need to design the data center. And you need to have a full capability to make the data center construction starting from level zero, which is the basic infrastructure – electricity, power supply – to make the data center more efficient. And you need the level one devices which is the data center facility devices like the modular data center to ensure the data center will be running. Then level two devices, which are the computing nodes, and the storage nodes. We are very proud that Huawei offers this full stack of capabilities.”
And amid the continuing move by many countries to digital transformation, Huawei is committed to becoming a key contributor to their digital economy, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.