Cloud and AI dominate Huawei Connect 2017

The event was held at the New International Expo Centre in Shanghai, China.

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Cloud and AI dominate Huawei Connect 2017 Over 20,000 ICT industry professionals, thought leaders, and analysts attended the event.
By  Alexander Sophoclis Pieri Published  October 18, 2017

At this year's edition of Huawei Connect, the company's annual conference, ICT industry expo and forum, the main focus was solely on the Cloud. Under the theme Grow with the Cloud, Huawei Connect brought together representatives from more than 150 countries, who were present to discover the latest developments from the China-based ICT solutions company, as well as witness some of the latest advancements in digital technology first-hand.

Hosted once again at the New International Expo Centre in Shanghai, China, the three-day event saw over 20,000 ICT industry professionals, thought leaders, and analysts in attendance, in addition to elements of Huawei's extensive partner base, which includes the likes of SAP, Accenture, ICS&S, Microsoft, HGST, and Intel.

Here are some of the biggest announcements made during Huawei Connect 2017.

A solid investment

Revealed during Huawei Connect 2017, the company's newly minted enterprise service strategy has been refocused towards expanding its service capabilities within the Cloud space. Aiming to better support its customers on their respective Cloud transformation journeys, the company revealed that it will dedicate $500m over five years to the endeavour, which will comprise of four key cornerstones: cloud innovation, creating a digital platform, support smart operations and enabling business.

As part of this new strategy, Huawei is expected to commit resources to the development of novel service solutions, while also enhancing the capabilities of its Global Service Centers (GSC). Critical to its forward progress will be the research and development of industry clouds, which the company expressed it will increase annual investment by more than 50%. Additionally, Huawei is set to devise new certification schemes for the benefit of ICT professionals.

"With the emergence of a ‘Cloud Only' era, Huawei is adopting a long-term cloud transformation service strategy to support our enterprise customers in their journey to the cloud. Our services strategy centres on the concept of ‘Grow with the Cloud' and becoming an industry cloud enabler," commented Sun Maolu, President of Technical Service Department for Huawei Enterprise Business Group.

Part of the initiative will see the creation of all-scenario services and integrated verification for enterprise services. To date, the company has established a number of labs in China to support this endeavour. This includes the establishment of a disaster recovery and migration facility, safe city verification centre, planning and design verification lab, as well as a financial services verification centre.

A clear focus on the Cloud

Huawei's announcements for the Cloud included the launch of Connection+Cloud, a new initiative with a set strategy to support enterprises on their journey to the Cloud, with solutions centred on enhancing network connections and management.

The company also revealed six novel solutions that cover everything from hardware to software, data to connections, architecture and hybrid cloud. Incorporated into the firm's Huawei Cloud, the newly launch solutions include Atlas, an intelligent cloud hardware platform designed to tackle challenges in infrastructure resource pooling.
With capabilities drawn across high-performance computing (HPC), AI, and public cloud, Atlas is designed to assist users in maximising their hardware resource use, as well enabling more flexibility in terms of adapting to evolving service demands.

From a software side, Huawei DevCloud introduces new tools and process services aimed at enhancing the development experience, while the Huawei Cloud Internet-of-Things (IoT) platform helps improve overall connectivity. In the case of the latter, the IoT platform comes standard with device and SIM management capabilities, as well as support for scenarios involving Internet-of-Vehicles.

Tackling storage challenges, Huawei also unveiled FusionCloud Stack, a new solution that boasts 99.99% reliability in terms of enterprise storage services. Lastly, the company unveiled its FusionBridge hybrid cloud solution, based on OpenStack Cloud, which boasts an injection cascading architecture.

"Cloud is the most needed technology for governments and enterprises," commented Guo Ping, Rotating CEO Huawei.

"Huawei is very committed to building a cloud platform to support customer business needs and innovation. Our business model is not to monetise user data. We do not develop applications or touch the data in our public clouds. We provide technologies and services to help users monetise their data," he added.

Enterprise Intelligence

Designed to support the forward progress of its Cloud business unit, Huawei announced the launch of its Enterprise Intelligence (EI) solution during Huawei Connect 2017. The new platform helps businesses realise the benefits of artificial intelligence within a Cloud environment.

Its features include basic platform services that comprise of machine learning capabilities, general AI services including API services such as visual and voice recognition, as well as enabling the design of scenario-specific solutions.

Additionally, with the goal of devising a heterogeneous computing platform, Huawei has combined its experience with system engineering, hardware, and supporting software to deliver three types of intelligent cloud services.

"The best cloud must be able to deliver the services that customers need, and AI needs to create more value for enterprises. To make this happen, we have to integrate single-point techniques and apply them, together, in sophisticated enterprise scenarios," commented Zheng Yelai, president of Huawei's Cloud BU and president of the IT product line.

"We're positioning Huawei Cloud as an enabler of the intelligent world. It provides AI, IoT, computing, and storage capabilities that provide enterprises with more innovative, intelligent cloud services. Through Huawei Cloud, we are essentially exposing our most formative achievements and practices in R&D - which we've built up over many years - to governments, enterprises, partners, and developers."

The utilisation of Enterprise Intelligence helps firms improve efficiency of several of their business functions. One example includes the optimisation of supply chain processes, whereby EI can formulise the most efficient packing arrangement depending on the physical characteristics of the goods. Providing a 3D view of the container as well, EI can improve efficiency of container usage by 6%.

To illustrate the potential and capabilities of its new offering, Huawei brought two of its end-users onto the stage. The first to present was Yang Xiaoling, CDO of China Pacific Insurance Company (CPIC), who shared his company's experience in integrating Huawei's Optical Character Recognition (OCR) with its system.

The addition of OCR allowed CPIC to automatically process scanned medical documents attached as part of a claim. Sharing an estimation that OCR would help the company cut labour costs by more than 50%, CPIC looks to take the implementation further by adding deep learning to develop ideal solutions beneficial for the insurance industry.

Huawei's second end user to take the stage was Li Qiang, Division Chief from the Shenzhen Traffic Police Bureau, who delved into the concept of intelligent urban transportation. Working closely with Huawei and utilising their AI, the Bureau is able to pre-filter traffic violations images, which in turn helps to improve screening efficiency substantially.

Microsoft Apps on Huawei Cloud

One of the biggest moments during the annual ICT conference was the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Microsoft and Huawei. Building on their long-standing collaboration in the Cloud, where Huawei has offered Windows Server and RDS for SQL Server, the new agreement will see the availability of Microsoft's applications on Huawei Cloud.

The strategic cooperation will give customers access to hosting and various enterprise applications as a service, while both firms engage in joint marketing activities and eventual market expansion. The signing of the MoU was conducted by Zheng Yelai, president of Huawei's cloud BU and IT product line, and Alain Crozier, CEO of Microsoft China.

"The fourth industrial revolution, driven by technology innovation, is creating opportunities for customers to achieve more across nearly every industry. As a global leader in enterprise IT, Huawei is a strategic partner for Microsoft in the mission to empower organisations as they transform," commented Alain Crozier, CEO of Microsoft China.

"Our increased collaboration will drive innovation as we build a seamless platform to benefit customers through industry-leading technology. Together, we are confident that we will lead, and win, in the era of digital transformation by focusing on what our customers need."

Integrated Solution Partner Program

Aiming to continue its support for its global partner base, Huawei has introduced a new Integrated Solution Partner Program. Bringing together solution partners that were previously attached to separate programs run by the company's Enterprise Business Group, Carrier Business Group, and the Products and Solutions unit, Huawei revealed that it is investing $250m in partner programs in 2017. The latter includes a $70m towards co-marketing.

Hoping to attract new partners to its already 1,000 strong global base, the newly announced program will focus on the development of technical and sales resources surrounding Huawei-based solutions. Additionally, the ITC solutions provider is expected to expand the number of Huawei OpenLabs under its fold. Currently standing at 16 facilities across the globe, the number of sites is expected to reach 24 by 2020.

To date, over 100 solutions have been released and are now available on the Huawei Marketplace.

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