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Huawei looks to ISPs for enterprise business growth

The Chinese technology bigwig is counting on internet service providers to fuel its enterprise business in the South Pacific region

With more enterprises embracing emerging technologies such as the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), telcos and internet service providers (ISPs) have been under pressure to revamp their infrastructure.

According to IDC, 80% of organisations in Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, will leverage commercial IoT platforms to develop and deploy IoT applications by 2020, while 50% of video surveillance content in the region will be used to provide more context around the data collected by public safety and transportation applications.

For a while now, Chinese technology giant Huawei has been working with ISPs to alleviate the strain that these applications are putting on their networks across the South Pacific – a region that includes countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand – where its business grew by 112% in 2018.

At a conference in Bali, Indonesia, Huawei said it was looking to continue its growth momentum with a slew of products that would help ISPs transform their legacy infrastructure into a more open, agile and secure model that could handle a cloud-driven economy.

These include the industry’s first datacentre switch with an embedded AI chip and the OceanStor Dorado 3000 all-flash storage array, among others. Huawei said these new products were developed amid industry consensus that traditional ISPs in Asia-Pacific would find themselves in a fully cloud-driven era by 2020, with accelerating AI innovation and data explosion.

Citing research by IDC, Huawei said ISPs were reducing traditional IT spending, in favour of spending on cloud-based infrastructure, software and services. Specifically, enterprise spending on managed cloud services will grow to nearly $18bn by 2022, driven by the need to optimise returns on investment, reduce costs and the lack of cloud expertise in the region.

The ISP segment currently accounts for 63% of Huawei’s enterprise business in the South Pacific region, according to Daniel Zhou, president for South Pacific at Huawei’s enterprise business group. This market is set to grow, given the uneven pace of development of internet infrastructure in Asia-Pacific.

“Huawei aims to capitalise on our global expertise and experience to work with the countries that could benefit from support to reshape their internet infrastructure and networks, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, India and Thailand. At the same time, we are committed to tailoring solutions for more advanced digital development needs of countries such as Singapore,” said Zhou.

“As the application of clouds in the Asia-Pacific internet industry accelerates, Huawei will continue to provide leading and innovative solutions for ICT infrastructure, such as clouds, datacentres and networks, helping customers build an open, flexible, agile and secure infrastructure platform to accelerate business innovation and remain competitive in the digital age,” he added.

AI boost to efficiency

The use of AI is central to Huawei’s offerings for the ISP segment. In describing Huawei’s intelligent computing strategy, company vice-president Winson Lu said the use of AI would help to automate datacentre management to improve power efficiency and performance.

Internally, Huawei is also building up its AI expertise. At its warehouses, for example, it claims to have optimised picking routes using AI, and increased efficiency by more than 30%. It has also improved the accuracy of its stock estimates from 30% to 80%.

Eric Xu, Huawei’s rotating chairman, had noted earlier than these internal AI efforts would be incorporated into AI offerings and made available to enterprise customers. “We have been pushing the application of AI technology in every part of our operations to improve efficiency,” he said.

Sanjay Kr Sainani, senior vice-president and CTO of Huawei’s global datacentre facilities business, said intelligent cooling systems, for example, could reduce energy costs by 10-15% while predictive maintenance capabilities would minimise operational and manpower costs.

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