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Huawei Roadshow 2015: Software defined, 5G and Cloud to define the network future

Huawei Roadshow 2015: Software defined, 5G and Cloud to define the network future

Huawei Australia's bosses and guest speakers take to the stage to articulate their vision, and challenge government policy

Joe So, CTO, global industry solutions, Huawei Enterprise Business Group

Joe So, CTO, global industry solutions, Huawei Enterprise Business Group

Huawei Australia CEO, Zhao (James) Xichu, took to the stage to update Huawei's partners and customers on the state of the business, which boasted $US46.5bn in revenues in 2014.

That number already looks like it will be surpassed in 2015: this year the company has recorded $US28.3bn in revenues, up 30 per cent year-on-year.

Zhao told attendees that the Chinese telecommunications giant is spending 10 per cent of its sales revenue on R&D and innovation, and has 80,000 employees dedicating their time to the task, with 3442 new patents filed.

The company is focusing on five key areas for 2015: datacentres, Cloud, business analytics, broadband and the Internet of Things, across the private and public sectors.

"We want to efficiently transform their economies for the digital age," he said.

By 2025 there will be some $US100bn spent on IoT, 35 per cent of which will come from business alone.

As part of these five focuses, the company will be sticking to its guns and utilising open standards.

"The development of networks has helped to advance social progress. Open networks have encouraged information flow and sharing, provided more opportunities for innovations, lowered the costs of innovation, and has helped improve the world's health, wealth and prosperity," he said.

The company is also dedicated to cybersecurity, a key concern with the Cloud, Big Data and IoT taking off faster than expected.

Huawei has been a key partner building the National Cybersecurity Centre in London and in Hanover, Germany. The company is currently working to build a simular cybersecurity evaluation centre in Australia, despite recent questionable spying claims by successive Australian governments.

"Cyber security is not a single country or specific company issue. All stakeholders – governments and industry alike – need to recognise that cyber security is a shared global problem requiring risk-based approaches, best practices and international cooperation to address the challenge," he said.

"This is a continual effort, and Huawei is committed to providing best-in-class products and services to meet the needs of our customers. We take cyber security seriously and have invested substantial resources into our efforts to promote and improve the ability of our company, our peers and others to provide the best-possible security assurance and ensure a safer and more secure cyber world for all."

Zhao was followed onstage by Jie So, CTO, global industry solutions, Huawei Enterprise Business Group. So outlined the rapid changes that are overwhelming the industry, namely that technology is now business and outcome driven.

"It's different today compared to the past. ICT is no longer process driven, its a complete revolution."

Not only is the rise of Cloud and mobility changing how whole societies operate, its changing how businesses are run and how we all compete internationally. So calls it Industry 4.0 - the fourth key change in business. The first being steam and water powered industry, the second electricity, the third being computer based automation, and finally the industrial internet.

"ICT has changed from playing a supporting role in the business, to being the core value of a company. We call this BDII - Business Driven ICT Infrastructure," he said.

After the long official definition, So summed up:

"Let me make it simple, the joint development of ICT infrastructure to enable core driving force of a focused business operation, by collaborating with different stake holders."

BDII can be divided into three different focuses: 1) All ICT needs to be business needs driven. 2) The product ecosystem, namely apps, needs to drive innovation. 3) The infrastructure needs to be up to scratch to deliver on these promises.

"We are the only company in the world to provide end-to-end business solutions," he said.

"Tell me any other company in the world that can do this?"

The company's focus on open standards means that if any customer doesn't like what Huawei or any other company is doing, they can switch with a minimal of fuss - So believes that standardisation is now more vital than ever, especially with the world of IoT around the corner.

Gartner Research's Michael Warrilow then outlined the challenges the channel as a whole is facing. Australia is in the unique situation as an early and heavy Cloud adopter. He says we are "actually doing Cloud too fast."

Too many companies have gone "all in" to the Cloud and are getting serious sticker shock - throwing legacy apps and infrastructure into the Cloud hasn't magically made everything better. A lot of older apps, long used to effectively unlimited data usage inside company datacentres, have never had to face up to the as-a-service demands of the Cloud - and companies are paying for it.

The channel has to rapidly adjust to the role of trusted advisor, overseeing this new age of outsourcing Warrilow calls "dynamic multi-sourcing".

"You are less the ICT provider, or doer, and now more the ICT broker," he said.

"Software defined is something you're all going to have to get used to, unfortunately."

Australia Information Industry Association CEO, Suzanne Campbell, CEO, had some hard words for the government's approach to ICT.

Currently the industry is worth 5.1 per cent of GDP, and contributes $79bn to the Australian economy a year, and employs 600,000 workers, or 5.2 per cent of the entire workforce.

The nation's trade in ICT totals $5bn, of which $2.9bn is imported, and $2bn exported.

In a world where ICT is colonising every other industry, Australia is woefully behind.

"We are a net importer of ICT and that is not a sustainable model as a country," she said.

Campbell said that ICT is worth more than the mining industry, which makes the Government's favouritism in that area bizarre.

"ICT is the fastest growing sector in the Australian economy," she said.

The tech sector has the potential to contribute $109bn to the economy, and another 540,000 jobs by 2033.

While Australia is a high level user and adopter of ICT, but it is a relatively low level producer of ICT. We have high penetration rates for broadband and e-commerce, but this isn't capitalised on. Australia has fewer ICT specialists and a smaller share in R&D compared to other OECD countries, she said.

The AIIA is projecting a shortfall of more than 100,000 ICT workers over the next five years. Only 3 per cent of Year Six students use ICT in schools for technical tasks - well behind comparable countries, she said.

Read more: Wanted: Young Victorian innovators

Even more embarrassing, for a supposedly small business focused government, is that less than half of all Australian small business have a Web presence - well behind other countries.

This lack of monetary and policy incentives for startups is hurting Australia badly, and has seen world leaders such as Atlassian leave the country for more ICT-business friendly shores.

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Tags datacentredata analyticsHuaweiZhao XichuJoe SoIT education3d printing5Gbig dataSuzanne CampbellIoTMichael WarrilowClouddrones

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