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Huawei wants to unlock ASEAN’s digital potential

The Chinese technology supplier is working with communications service providers such as Converge in the Philippines to bolster their networks to support new digital services

Chinese technology giant Huawei is hoping to unlock the digital potential of countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), through closer ties with telcos that are looking to shore up their networks to support new digital services.

The company is already working with Converge, an internet service provider (ISP) in the Philippines, to build a next-generation network that is elastic and can adapt to new services, overcoming issues that the ISP was facing with its legacy network that hampered the roll-out and configuration of new services.

Speaking at an analyst summit in Shenzhen, China, David Wang, president of products and solutions at Huawei, said such networks would be imbued with artificial intelligence (AI) and self-healing, autonomous capabilities that will enable communications service providers (CSPs) to lower costs and improve operational efficiency.

“Our major challenge is not how we can serve our operator customers better, but to help them overcome their challenges,” he said, adding that AI can help to eliminate network issues, of which 70% are caused by human errors.

Like their counterparts in other geographies, CSPs in ASEAN have been under pressure to improve service levels, cope with growing data traffic, and deliver new services to support new applications such as the internet of things (IoT).

At the same time, they are prepping their networks to support 5G services. In Singapore, for example, Singtel and M1 have been testing 5G technology, with the latter having achieved the country’s highest transmission speeds of 35Gbps in January 2017. With greater throughput speeds, users will be able to download a full HD movie in seconds.

According to a recent study, ASEAN, whose growing digital economy generates about $150bn in revenue annually, has the potential to generate an additional $1tn in combined GDP by 2025 with a robust digital agenda.

The amount of cross-border bandwidth across the region has also grown 45 times larger from 2005 to 2016. This is projected to increase by an additional nine times by 2021 as flows of information, searches, communication, video, transactions, and intra-company traffic continue to surge.

The digital integration of ASEAN is expected to promote rapid growth of the digital economy, including safe and smart city developments, to bolster economic development and improve lives. Riding on this opportunity, Huawei is already working with some governments in the region to develop their digital infrastructure and applications.

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In September 2017, Huawei inked a deal with Mimos, Malaysia’s national research and development centre for information and communications technology, to develop public safety and smart city projects, including the use of advanced video analytics and facial recognition technology.

“I hope this venture will give Malaysia an intelligent system that can trace and analyse moving objects through video feeds, and detect abnormal behaviour so that the authorities can take appropriate measures,” said Malaysian deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Daniel Zhou, president at Huawei’s enterprise business group in the South Pacific region, said with technological innovation and an open ecosystem critical to the success of digital initiatives, close collaboration is key to ensure a solid foundation for a thriving digital economy. “Huawei is committed to improving the region and working with our partners for a better connected future,” he added.

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