Huawei launches demo smart city

Huawei is fitting out Weifang, China, with its smart city kit to demonstrate NB-IoT applications and its OceanConnect Internet of Things platform.

Huawei has announced the launch of a "demo city" in Weifang, China, to showcase its narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) smart city applications and OceanConnect IoT platform.

Announced during its annual Huawei Connect conference in Shanghai, Weifang will use Huawei's city-level IoT platform to access, manage, and collect data from sensory equipment spread across the city in real-time.

Huawei said it has already enabled smart lighting applications across Weifang, using it to monitor the status of street lamps, automatically adjust brightness, and detect faults, with the system designed to save 80 percent of traditional electricity usage and 90 percent of previous maintenance costs.

The Chinese networking giant has also integrated eight services with its NB-IoT network, including a remote-control system, Wi-Fi hotspots, video surveillance, environment monitoring, and statistics.

Huawei said its goal is to develop the "nervous system" of smart cities, with the company having deployed its smart city solutions throughout 40 countries in over 100 cities across the world.

"ICT advancement is accelerating the growth of the digital economy, which is a driving force of global economic development and transforming cities across many areas including governance, transport, living, social interactions, and employment, promoting the sustainable development of cities," said Huawei Enterprise Business Group GM of Global Smart City Solution Department Zheng Zhibin.

"The underlying connectivity in these smart cities will be critical to unlock the potential of the digital economy. Huawei is focused on improving connectivity capabilities within cities, and is creating the nervous system of better-connected cities through an IoT platform, achieving better awareness [and] connectivity among smart devices."

Huawei and the Government of Weifang City have also established the Huawei-Weifang IoT Innovation R&D Centre and the Huawei-Weifang Smart City IoT Industry Alliance.

China's Longgang District Government is similarly working with Huawei on developing a smart region, including through the government's own digital transformation to speed up approvals and other applications.

"The transformation also achieves integrated online and offline approval services, allowing Longgang citizens to submit applications or reports to the government through online business halls, mobile apps, WeChat, and other channels," Huawei said.

Huawei has this week also announced that it will partner with Accenture to establish a consolidated information management platform powered by the former's FusionCloud solution for Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG).

The Huawei-Accenture agreement will see Huawei provide its hyperconverged infrastructure FusionCube, OpenStack-based cloud operating system FusionSphere, integration server, software-defined storage, and network hardware; while Accenture will design and implement SIPG's new management platform.

SIPG, which works across port handling, stevedoring services, warehousing, logistics, and real estate development services, will use this to "streamline" its operations, as well as to implement new engineering, human resources, master data management, and business intelligence systems, Huawei said.

"The integration of Huawei's FusionCloud with OpenStack ensures the openness of the cloud platform. This will enable SIPG to establish and manage the private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud, resulting in the provision of more innovative and valuable services," president of Huawei's IT Cloud Computing and Big Data Platform Product Line Matt Ma said.

Huawei is similarly leading the digital transformation of Hamad International Airport in Qatar in an effort to improve security, customer experience, and efficiency via the creation of prototypes and solutions for IoT and autonomous machines throughout the airport.

Huawei and SoftBank partner on 5G

Huawei has also announced partnering with Japanese carrier SoftBank to demonstrate 5G networking use cases for business customers.

The four use cases demonstrated by Huawei and SoftBank were real-time ultra high-definition (UHD) video transmission, immersive video, remote control of a robotic arm with ultra-low latency, and remote rendering by a GPU server.

The first demo involved a UHD camera capturing outdoor scenery of the Odaiba Tokyo Bay area, compressing the data, and then transmitting it through a 5G network with throughput of over 800Mbps to a UHD monitor. According to the companies, such technology could be used for telehealth and remote education.

The immersive video demonstration then captured scenery with a 180-degree camera with four lenses, broadcasting this footage in real-time to smartphones and tablets over 5G, which it said could be used for AR and VR.

In their third use case, Huawei and SoftBank played a game of air hockey using a remote-controlled robot arm -- technology which they said could eventually be used in factory automation, as it attained latency of under 2ms.

"A camera installed on top of the air hockey table detected the puck's position to calculate its trajectory. The calculated result was then forwarded to the robotic arm control server to control the robotic arm," they explained.

"In this demonstration, the robotic arm was able to strike back the puck shot by the human player on various trajectories."

Lastly, remote rendering by a GPU server saw the two use edge computing to execute HD computer games and HD computer-aided design (CADs) playable on tablets and smartphones.

"A GPU server located near a 5G base station performed rendering, and the image generated by the GPU server was sent to the tablet over the ultra-high throughput and ultra-low latency 5G network," they said.

"This technology can be applied to check the CAD data at a construction site with a tablet or to enjoy a HD game application on a smartphone."

SoftBank, which recently bought robotics company Boston Dynamics from Google parent Alphabet, is also working with Chinese telecommunications technology solutions provider ZTE to trial 5G over sub-6GHz spectrum at 4.5GHz across Tokyo.

ZTE and SoftBank have been collaborating on pre-5G technology research and development including Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) technology and 5G New Radio (NR).

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