​Huawei pushes 'full cloudification' for telcos

Telcos need to fully "cloudify" their systems architecture and services in order to continue competing, Huawei's CEO has said, with the Chinese giant to lead the way on digitalisation.

Chinese technology giant Huawei has unveiled its global cloud strategy, saying it will fully "cloudify" all of its products and services in order to drive the cloudification and digitalisation of telecommunications providers worldwide.

Speaking at the Huawei Analyst Summit in Shenzhen on Monday, Huawei's rotating CEO Eric Xu said that only through using the cloud, will telcos be able to continue competing with over-the-top (OTT) providers. Huawei will therefore use the cloud all of its own operations in encouragement for telcos to follow suit.

"Our strategy is to fully cloudify all our products and solutions," Xu said. "It's just like what we've done in the past years to drive all our portfolio to IP; we're going to do it again for all cloud, and ultimately to support the digital transformation and operation of our telco and enterprise customers."

Huawei will "drive the ecosystem" by selecting telco partners that are willing to utilise their existing relationships with enterprise customers, their networks and facilities, and their data to begin providing cloud services.

The three steps towards achieving full cloudification were identified by Huawei as being pooled hardware resources; fully distributed software architecture; and full automation for service provisioning and fault repair without human intervention.

Huawei also pushed its "ROADS" -- an acronym for "real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY, and social -- concept as a route towards digitalisation.

"From our point of view, the core of digital transformation or becoming a digital service provider is to define the clear target for that journey. At Huawei, we believe that target should be delivering a ROADS experience to its consumer and enterprise customers," Xu said.

"It requires agility and intelligence across the entire equation, including the network, the operating system, applications. All of those have to move to the cloud, and those are preconditions and technical pre-requisites."

Overhauling traditional operating systems to become cloud-based systems -- what Huawei called "cloud-defined networking" -- would be challenging for telcos, the current chief executive acknowledged, but is critical to staying in the market.

"When we look at digital transformation, the most tough part is probably the change or transformation of the operating system, be it OSS, BSS, or CRM. The entire operating system has to be transformed. And that system has to be changed from a traditional architecture to an internet architecture.

"Only in that way can telcos be agile, and can be competitive, and can they be as responsive as OTT players to customer needs ... that is very, very critical to determining their future competitiveness."

Being able to monetise the data they collect and own is another critical advantage that telcos have over OTT providers, with Huawei saying it would assist service providers in leveraging their big data stores through a new platform.

"For Huawei, our focus is to provide a big data aggregation, mining, and analytics platform that our partners can take and do their own application development [on] to create value for their network enterprise customers," Xu said.

"For the enterprise business, our core objective is to lead cloud migration of enterprise IT architecture; to lead the enterprise networking towards software defined; and to provide a big data platform to enable our partners to create value for enterprise customers ... the idea is to drive cloudification of enterprise IT, enterprise networking, and to drive cloud-defined migration as well."

Ryan Ding, Huawei president of Products and Solutions, also discussed the company's core strategy for the Internet of Things (IoT), saying the third prong of this is using a cloud-based connectivity management platform.

"Our strategy on IoT is to focus on connectivity," added Xu.

"And that's going to be an intrinsic part of our mission around building a better-connected world ... connecting more things to the network."

Huawei is also working on pushing its 4.5G networks in preparation for 5G in 2020. It has partnered with telcos on network technology worldwide, including Vodafone, BT, Deutsche Telekom, Singtel, Optus, and Tele Danmark Communications.

During 2015, Huawei shipped 108 million smartphones worldwide, and reported net profit of 36.9 billion yuan ($5.7 billion), a 33 percent year-on-year rise, on revenue of 395 billion yuan, representing 37 percent growth.

Disclosure: Corinne Reichert travelled to the Huawei Analyst Summit in Shenzhen as a guest of Huawei

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