Huawei sets out IT and big data ambitions

NICE, France--Huawei intends to place a strong focus on IT and big data in future as the China-based equipment manufacturer faces the same transformation process as the rest of the telecoms industry, according to two of the companies' executives.

Speaking to FierceWireless:Europe at TM Forum Live, here, Shawn Jiang, VP of IT product line solution sales at Huawei, said IT and wireless networks are the two main areas of investment for the company. In around five years, IT could account for around half of its business, Jiang added.

Indeed, Jiang said the company is seeing the strongest growth in IT, noting that Gartner has already listed it in the challenger quadrant as a storage vendor. Huawei intends to support telecoms operators as they also seek to transform their business processes, moving from a silo-based structure to a horizontal architecture and adopting technologies such as network functions virtualisation (NFV) and software-defined networks (SDN) to improve their agility and shorten time to market.

"We need to be a good IT company, not just 'CT'," said Jiang. "The industry faces a big change…this means a big opportunity."

Raymond Meng, big data chief architect within Huawei's carrier software business unit, also noted that big data, data analytics and data monetisation are key focus areas for the company as telecoms operators seek to exploit customer and network data to improve their insights into customer behaviour.

Meng added that big data as a service or analytics as a service could be only around two years away, but said this very much depends on how the industry evolves. He noted that the challenge for the telecoms industry here is that it lacks the skills to build big data infrastructure, and would need to work with partners in this area as well as try to recruit more people with the right skills.

Furthermore, Meng noted that traditional analytics tools are not smart enough, and said this is an area that Huawei wants to solve through the use of artificial intelligence, for example. He stressed that data privacy is also a key concern, saying customer data would stay with the operators and can also be masked where required.

Meng said big data is moving through several phases, and will become more complex over time. He also envisions a time when data can be exchanged in a type of public marketplace, although that is some way ahead.

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