With 5G in the bag Huawei’s back in the lab prepping its next move

via Flickr © Beige Alert (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © Beige Alert (CC BY 2.0)

  • It’s next phase will involve more basic research and new targets
  • It aims to update Moore’s Law and Shannon’s Limit which are old and run out of steam
  • Then it’s going to work steadily on winning tech leadership in cloud

Instead of continuing to focus on the ‘Race to 5G’ you can now expect Trump to broaden his China crisis pitch to include the ’potential security threats’ and geo-industrial challenges represented by China’s broader IT ambitions - cloud especially (can’t wait to hear 45 dismiss it as fake climate change?). To that end Huawei has been busy this week impressing (and/or frightening) about 650 industry-watchers at its Global Analyst Summit in Shenzhen.

But there’s a difference this year. Huawei isn’t aiming to overwhelm its audience by announcing or pre-announcing a plethora of products, firsts and patents. That was the behaviour of the ‘tactical’ Huawei. This is the new ‘strategic’ Huawei.

With 5G in the bag, it’s laid out its ambitions for cloud and next gen applications, garnished with ancillary technologies such as AI and machine learning, all enabled by new storage and transmission advances that it’s currently hatching with a huge R&D effort.

According to Huawei Director of the Board, William Xu, Huawei’s approach to now has been about staying ahead and meeting customers’ needs. Now it’s about innovation (still pandering to customer needs, of course, can’t leave that out) but chasing a global vision. This is Huawei’s Innovation 2.0 where the company focuses on long-term basic research to outflank rather than butt heads with the competition - on cloud in particular.

“We will adopt a new innovation strategy that enables us to achieve technological leadership. As we continue to explore the future, we seek to not only light the way forward for Huawei, but also the world at large,” Xu said

Woah! Trump will love that bit!

In fact when it comes to cloud, Huawei probably doesn’t have a choice in terms of approach. It needs to leapfrog rivals who are already well-entrenched and this new target market is not guarded by slow-moving technology rivals like Nokia and Ericsson so the cheaper/better approach is not going to cut it in competition with the likes of Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

Look out Shannon and Moore

The next stage for Huawei is all about theoretical breakthroughs and inventions, and to that end it says it will work (in an open way) with universities, research institutes, and businesses to drive progress.

  • So its first area for investment is basic scientific research and talent cultivation.
  • Next up is tech research. This is where it hopes to find those breakthroughs

Today, it claims, businesses are facing many engineering and technological challenges and the world is plagued with problems such as the Shannon Limit, the "memory wall", and the inevitable slowdown of Moore's Law.

Other areas include:

  • Exploring research future-proof technologies throughout the entire information lifecycle, from information generation and storage all the way to computing, transmission, presentation, and consumption.

  • Investing in optical computing to explore heterogeneous computing. Xu says that due to the limits of Moore's Law, it is very costly to process all data with only one type of computing architecture. Heterogeneous computing is an effective way to address this challenge. Huawei also sees optical computing playing a crucial role in AI which will in turn drive computational performance.

  • DNA for data storage. It sounds a bit Sci-Fi but Huawei claims it could be a viable way forward for storage.  A cubic millimeter of DNA, it claims, can store 700 TB of data, equivalent to 70 hard disks of 10 TB each. According to this calculation, a kilo of DNA is sufficient to store all of today's data. The capacity is staggering.

More detail on Huawei’s Analyst Summit and the information imparted can be found here, or catch some attendees' hot takes on Twitter #HAS2019.

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