I had the pleasure of attending Huawei Connect 2017 from September 5-7,2017 at the New International Expo Centre in Shanghai. There were more than 20,000 ICT industry leaders and experts in attendance from over 150 countries and regions all exploring the direction of advancements in digital technology.
I was there as part of Huawei’s Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) programme which is outlined in “How Influencer Marketing Helps Huawei Build Its Brand” by Joy Tan who is President of Global Media and Communications at Huawei Technologies. On the ground, the KOLs are managed wonderfully by Walter Jennings, Vice President Corporate Communications. The other KOLs present were Marsha Collier, Diana Adams, Mordecai Holtz, Samuel Pavin, Shaan Haider, Bay McLaughlin, Dean Bubley, Craig Brown, Michael Waitze, Graham Brown, Emre Alkin, Florian Lindebner, Glyn Moody, Rhett Power, Will Townsend and Jim McGregor.
I also attended the Enterprise Business Group Track chaired by Joe Kelly, Huawei Global corporate communications leader. Yuan Qian, President of Marketing & Product Solution Sales Dept, Huawei Enterprise BG spoke on Huawei and Fortune Global 500 Companies winning in the New ICT Era Together. Renzo Valente, Head of Global Telecommunications at ENEL and Wang Zhengan, President of Access Network Product Line, Huawei delivered a talk on ENEL’s Road of Digital Transformations. Stephen Hu, Marketing Leader of Smart Building, System Dept, Honeywell Smart Building and Home Appliance Group, Greater China spoke about Honeywell and Huawei Sharing the Fruit of Smart Building Cooperation. Rob Newman, Head of Programme Management, Technology & Infrastructure, Dubai International Airport and Yu Xilin, President of Transportation Sector, Huawei Enterprises BG spoke about “Dubai International Airport’s Experience in Digital Transformation and Jiang Wangcheng, Deputy President of Huawei P&S Marketing and Solution Dept along with Alain STARON, SVP Digital Innovation, Veolia spoke about “Huawei Releasing its Latest Enterprise-grade IoT solution”. There was a discussion about the digital economy and how the digital economy assists in increasing the National Competitiveness, createing a new model for economic growth and bringing new development opportunities.
Walter Jennings, Vice President Corporate Communications and Joy Tan, President of Global Media and Communications at Huawei Technologies gave an excellent overview of the philosophy underpinning Huawei’s success. In a nutshell it is hard work. The company founder Ren Zhengfei has simply instilled a culture of putting the customer first. An excellent article on Huawei’s culture outlines an episode from their early years where in desert and rural areas in China, rats were gnawing the telecom wires which led to outages. The incumbent telecom companies providing service did not consider this to be their problem, but rather that of the customer but Huawei viewed the rat problem as one the company had the responsibility to solve. So they researched how to develop more durable equipment and materials – such as chew-proof wires to solve the problem. Doing this later helped them win several large accounts in the Middle East, where similar problems stymied the telecom firms.
Walter also shared the story of the famous Huawei Ad which shows a ballerina’s feet. One of her feet is in a satin pointe shoe and the other is bare and battered, with bits of bandage clinging to it. The caption reads “The journey is hard. And joyful”. He explained how it was a metaphor for Huawei employees’ hard work to innovate for its customers. It really was clever marketing. This very week, the great Robert Scoble noted the large Huawei advertising which greeted him at Sinagpore airport and he remarked “Why do I say Huawei Mobile is the one to watch? No Apple ads in sight and people wonder why Huawei just passed Apple in sales?”.
The company’s top priority was to introduce and popularize smart locks to improve user experience and enable all kinds of value-added services. In the past, although a variety of electronic smart lock technologies had certain strengths, they invariably had at least one glaring defect, for example, network compatibility, battery life, communication costs, or use. The NB-IoT solution provides strong coverage in poor-signal areas and a network capacity that’s more than one hundred times stronger than standard terminals. The payment process has dropped from 25 seconds to less than 5, while battery life has been lengthened from 1 or 2 months to more than 2 years, saving costs and reducing the need for frequent maintenance. Three key pillars support ofo’s tech upgrades: the company’s own platform, the commercial network provided by China Telecom, and Huawei’s intelligent chip-based NB-IoT solution. At the core is Huawei’s IoT solution, which includes smart chips, networking, and an IoT platform. Ofo’s cooperation with Huawei on NB-IoT smart locks is a stepping stone to further maximizing the company’s potential and raising standards for its entire industry. Huawei’s technology optimizes lifecycle management for locks, while the sensors on the locks collect information such as equipment status, user data, and operating data. They connect the front- and back-end industrial chains to achieve intelligent business management, allow the bikes to be located in hot spots, facilitate rapid maintenance, and boost marketing and VAS capabilities.
I also had the pleasure of recording a short video of some highlights with Marsha Collier.
Other highlights included the KOL Salon with Huawei Consumer Business Group’s Handset Product Line led by Sean Upton-McLaughlin, Relations & Product Marketing, Huawei’s Handsets Product Line and Li Changzhu, VP of the Handsets Product Line. We had a discussion about their high-end series handset product strategy, research and development, and integrated operation and delivery. We also had a presentation on their new Huawei Kirin 970 which is the worlds first smartphone SOC chipset with a dedicated neural network processing unit (NPU). This allows for native AI processing to be combined with cloud-based AI. The NPU will help Huawei devices to become more intelligent and provide a more personalised experience. Their vision is “Mobile AI = On-Device AI + Cloud AI.”.