Connected, cloud era needs better networks

Increasingly connected and driven by analytics to improve customer experience, societies will need the support of more robust infrastructures able to cope with the deluge of data flowing through the network.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

SHANGHAI, CHINA--Networks will need to keep pace with increasingly connected societies and the need for deeper insights to improve service delivery and support digital transformation.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) era beckoning, everything soon would be connected and data-driven and customers would no longer look to simply buy a platform or individual parts, said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, during his keynote at Huawei Connect 2016 held here this week. They would be looking for an experience and no activity would occur in isolation, he said.

Intel describes the phenomenon as a virtuous cycle, in which all things that are connected including wearable devices, autonomous vehicles, and M2M systems will require connectivity to send data through to the cloud to be analysed and push back down the analytics so experiences can be changed.

Supporting this continuous feedback loop also would require collaboration between multiple companies, since no one organisation would be capable of producing all the ingredients needed, Krzanich said.

He further stressed the need for infrastructures that were able to cope with the large volumes of data and network traffic generated today.

The average person currently produced between 600MB and 700MB of personal data a day, he noted, and this was expected to climb to 1.5GB by 2020. By then, autonomous cars were projected to generate as much data as 3,000 people combined.

"That's a lot of data and a huge network load, but also represents huge opportunities to optimise [network performance] and create value," he said. It underscored the importance of 5G networks, which Intel believed would be critical to support this emerging environment.

These networks would need to be flexible and able to deliver the highest possible throughput, he noted, pointing to the reason the chipmaker was working with Huawei on 5G initiatives. Cloud infrastructure also would need to be flexible so they could adapt to data flow between various workloads, he added.

Krzanich said: "In our increasingly smart and connected world, we need fast, intelligent, and efficient wireless networks, cloud technologies, and analytics capabilities to create amazing new experiences in our everyday lives."

During a media briefing, ZDNet asked about the potential of building more intelligence into device chipsets so smartphones, for instance, would be able to handle data analytics and relieve some workload from the core network.

In response, Huawei's rotating CEO Guo Ping said it was essential to build up computing capabilities not only in the device, but also in the network and cloud. He added that the Chinese company's main strategy also revolved around these three components, which it believed were critical in supporting intelligent societies.

In his keynote, Guo also highlighted the importance of industry collaboration--a point that was frequently touted by other Huawei executives during the conference.

He said the company believed that, in the cloud era, building a bigger pie was more important than fighting for a bigger piece of a shrinking pie. It also adhered to the philosophy that managing cooperation was more important than managing the competition, he added, noting that the former proved more challenging since it meant all parties involved would need to work together to deliver better services for customers.

In addition, Huawei believed sharing benefits with others would be important to drive the evolution of the cloud ecosystem, he said.

According to the company's president of products and solutions, Ryan Ding, Huawei also had been boosting its support for developers to encourage more to build applications and services on its platforms.

Last year, it announced plans to invest US$1 billion over five years to galvanise 1 million developers on its platform by 2020. Since then, US$200 million had gone towards developing an "open enablement platform" and improving developer experience, while US$100 million was used to create a global marketing platform to help developers tap new business opportunities, Ding said.

There are currently more than 25,000 developers registered to build on Huawei platforms, he said, adding that this community has developed more than 800 applications, to date.

Based in Singapore, Eileen Yu reported for ZDNet from Huawei Connect 2016 in Shanghai, China, on the invitation of Huawei.

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