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Connectivity of People and Devices Ensures a Better Future – Huawei Better World Summit 2020
August 3, 2020 News


“We envision a more connected, intelligent and innovative future. Above all else, we must ensure this is an inclusive, sustainable and better future by all, for all”, stated Catherine Chen, Huawei Corporate Senior Vice President and Director of the Board in her keynote speech titled “Shared Responsibility for a Shared Future” as part of Huawei’s “Better World Summit 2020” virtual event held last Wednesday.

In her speech, Chen touched on the current state of the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic and how mobile communications, the Internet and high-speed broadband have improved our lives, work and economies in many ways. With technology, people have been able to adapt to big changes and continue doing everything they can amid the global crisis.

However, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), more than half of the world’s population is still offline and has no access to digital technology. This means that a significant number of people have still not been able to enjoy the tremendous benefits that technology can today provide. Students living in remote areas, for example, were unable to join online classes during the pandemic as schools and universities embraced virtual modes of learning. Economically, countries are also badly hit, with unemployment at the highest levels since the Great Depression.


Technology Is Progressing Rapidly, but There’s More Work to Be Done

Chen said that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a stern reminder that we are still not doing enough and the current foundation of development is not as strong as we might think. To overcome this, we all must envision a future where connectivity and innovation are strengthened. “We need top-down designs, as well as bottom-up creativity and vitality. As the threat of COVID-19 gradually decreases, economic activity is returning to normal”, added Chen.

Many countries are already recovering and planning a better future through the advancement and deployment of ICT technologies. China has already kicked off its New Infrastructure plan, which includes 5G, AI, data centres and industrial Internet.

With 5G alone, this plan will support 800,000 base stations in 2020. According to Chen, this is set to drive the growth of China’s digital economy by more than 2 trillion dollars and boost the country’s economic recovery.

For the European Union, a 1.1-trillion-euro package has already been announced, in efforts to enhance economic recovery and employment. Chen welcomes these efforts by the European Commission “to review trade policies, drive open and rule-based trade and promote free and fair trade across the EU and around the world”. This will create fair trade opportunities for SMEs worldwide and maximise the impact of trade policies on sustainable development and digital transformation.

Regulators in many countries have also followed this lead in supporting policies for industries, driving digital economy and ICT infrastructure. Germany has developed guidelines that open up urban facilities to 5G sites, Vienna offers 27,000 euros in subsidies for each 5G site and the UK is also promoting fibre broadband, amending existing laws to ensure there is fibre access in all new buildings.

“Such policies are very helpful for infrastructure development and thus economic recovery across all sectors. Every industry must work hard to transform digitally because digital technology can bring huge benefits in efficiency and renewed growth”, Chen explained.

Some of these benefits include assistance to many industries, such as the healthcare industry, where an AI-assisted CT scan solution greatly increases the speed of diagnoses. In the logistics sector, 5G is used to remotely control bridge cranes, allowing containers to be moved more quickly and creating a safer working environment.  For the electricity industry, the combination of AI and drones is used for power line inspections without people on-site.


Sowing the Seeds for a Better Future

This fast and huge growth in the digital economy also calls for intensifying ICT skills throughout people, leaving little to no gap between the two. As for Huawei, the company flagship is its Seeds for the Future program. This program intends to develop local ICT talent, enhance knowledge sharing and promote a greater understanding of and interest in the ICT industry.

“As more industries adopt digital technology, they will drive the 2030 SDGs of the United Nations, especially in terms of climate change”, Chen stated, citing the overall benefit of ICT to the world. “ICT can enable significant energy saving and emissions reduction in many industries, such as transportation, energy, agriculture and manufacturing”.

Chen ended the speech with the note that we are now on track to building a better future together, “where no one will be left behind and everyone can enjoy the benefits of technology”.