Huawei’s industry vision offers glimpse into its priorities

At Huawei’s annual analyst summit in Shenzhen this week, the Chinese technology giant unveiled its predictions about what the future holds from a technology perspective in its Global Industry Vision (GIV) 2025 report.

The crystal-ball-gazing exercise involved the use of its own “unique research methodology” that combines a mix of data and trend analysis, honed through years of supplying IT products and services to global markets.

The predictions are not too far off from other reports that we’ve written about at Computer Weekly:

More data, sensors and robots

According to the GIV report, there will be 40 billion personal smart devices and 100 billion connections by 2025, largely driven by the growing footprint of the industrial internet of things (IoT). And with more and better connections, data traffic will grow exponentially, and most of it will be from video. The cloud virtual reality market will reach $292bn by 2025.

Not surprisingly, Huawei expects the penetration rate of smart assistants to rise to 90% by 2025, with 12% of homes having smart service robots. And with help of robots, some 246 million people with impaired vision will live normal lives.

Rise of “intelligent” technology

Essentially about the impact and role of AI in society, this prediction builds on current expectations that AI will speed up industry development through better decision-making and analysis. When applied to autonomous vehicles, AI will enable safer roads and improve last-mile connectivity. By 2025, Huawei expects 60 million vehicles to be connected to 5G networks, and that all new vehicles will be hooked up to the internet.

In manufacturing, the convergence of IT and operational technology (OT) will accelerate, generating returns for innovation and industries. Smart city technologies will also enable urban planners to create sustainable living environments and improve the lives of residents.

A booming digital economy

All of these developments are expected to drive the world’s digital economy to new highs. By 2025, Huawei predicts the global digital economy will be worth $23 trillion. AI will be widely accessible, giving birth to new industries and boosting existing ones.

Now, anyone who has been tracking the industry closely would not be surprised at Huawei’s predictions. What’s interesting is that the predictions are aligned with what Huawei is doing to serve three main groups of customers: carriers, enterprises and consumers.

Think embedding AI capabilities in carrier networks, providing infrastructure and IoT platforms for businesses and developing mobile devices for consumers. It has also been partnering governments to roll out smart city projects around the world.

While I was expecting Huawei to be bolder (perhaps something on how software is going to change the world or Affective computing), the report is a good barometer of Huawei’s priorities in the years leading up to 2025 – to continue building on its strengths in the carrier and consumer businesses, and develop new capabilities in the enterprise space.

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