Eric Xu, rotating chairman of Huawei Technologies Co
Eric Xu, rotating chairman of Huawei Technologies Co

Huawei jockeys for edge in AI frontier

Corporate April 21, 2018 01:00


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THE adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and smart devices will drive enormous changes in the global community, said Eric Xu, rotating chairman of Huawei Technologies Co.

Xu said at the recent Huawei Analysis Summit 2018 event that the Chinese technology giant would build a fully connected, intelligent world through sustained investment in AI while focusing on information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices.

“Digital and AI technologies have created real benefits for people, for our lives at homes, and for organisations,” he said at the forum in Shenzhen, in China’s Guangdong province. “It's also clear that we face many challenges ahead. Despite all these gaps and challenges, our industry is in the midst of a great opportunity.”

Xu said the firm’s investments would drive the convergence of the digital and physical worlds, unlock new potential, and cultivate greater intelligence for everyone.

“Just imagine, when every person on earth has a smartphone linking all smart devices, we will all have full access to the digital world. This will bring whole new experiences and value in life,” he said. 

“We are working to incorporate AI throughout our entire network solution portfolio. We will continue advancing towards self-driving networks and addressing the industry pain points, including inefficiency and high costs.”

According to Xu, the firm is working hard to make the leap from smart to truly intelligent devices. In December 2016, it released a phone with intelligent functions – Honor Magic. Last year, it released the Kirin 970, a mobile phone chipset with an embedded neural processing unit. This chipset is used in all its flagship smartphones, including the Mate 10 and the recently launched P20 series. 

“This has significantly improved the experience across a number of user scenarios, including photography and voice processing,” Xu said.

The firm has built the HiAI platform that opened up our AI capabilities across three layers - cloud, devices, and chipsets - to enable its partners around the world to leverage the AI processing power of its chips and develop all kinds of new applications. This platform enables industry partners to develop “a limitless array” of AI applications.

Cloud services

Additionally, the firm has introduced AI-enabled services to Huawei Cloud, which forms the basis of its enterprise intelligence (EI) platform where all types of organisations, including enterprises and governments alike, can use AI to develop new products and services.

“Last year we clarified our position on AI as an enabling technology. Our aim was to use it to improve the competitiveness of the products and solutions we provide to our customers,” Xu said. “After another year of exploration, we have decided to integrate AI into our smart devices, networks, and cloud.”

Xu pledged to continue investing in AI. He said the firm would announce its complete AI strategy, along with a set of full-stack AI solutions for all scenarios at the Huawei Connect event, to be held in Shanghai later this year.

“We build a full-stack AI solution, and then through the offline team that engages with enterprises and our Huawei Cloud, we bring different AI services to all of our enterprise customers and application developers (companies and individuals), so that they have access to AI capabilities to solve their problems and challenges,” he said.

“We use AI in every aspect of Huawei's operations to see if AI can add value,” Xu said. “Through this internal experiment, we try to identify the possible value of AI in a company's finance, human resources, services, supply chain, and R&D, etc. These capabilities and experiences are then incorporated into our AI solution, while at the same time being made available to enterprise customers. Therefore, we have been pushing the application of AI technology in every part of our internal operations to improve efficiency.”

Xu said the firm would fully invest in 5G, and in the second half of this year it would be able to come up with end-to-end 5G solutions to meet the needs of certain customers. 

In the third quarter of next year, it will launch a mobile phone that supports 5G to meet the needs of early-adopter consumers. 


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