The European bet of Huawei


Erdal Arikan is an engineering professor at Bilkent University in Ankara and no one would confuse him with a rockstar. But Huawei is treating the Turkish academician with such veneration that he gave him the inaugural speech of the Eco Connect Europe conference that the Chinese company celebrated this week in Rome. And there are reasons why Arikan is the inventor of mathematical algorithms of polar coding that increase the efficiency of data transmission channels by extending their capacity. Since last year, the polar algorithms are part of the 5G network standard and all telecommunications providers have to use them. And to do so, they will have to pay a substantial license in Huawei, which in return for funding the research of Arikan when the researcher remained without public funds became the owner of his intellectual property. Last year alone, the company allocated 63 million euros to fund 230 technical collaboration projects of 180 academics in over 100 European universities and research institutes, mainly focused on 5G and artificial intelligence; In one way or another, the results will be reflected in their products.

All of this is part of Huawei's gamble on our continent when it expands outside its home country. With the US market closed for political reasons, the Chinese company was unloaded in Europe, taking advantage of the interest here to avoid losing the 5G train. If the player searches for "Huawei" on Google, probably the first results will refer to P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro, i smartphone The latest high-end brands, but the business of the company are mainly telecommunications networks: telephone operators account for exactly half of over 90,000 million dollars (almost 80,000 million euros) Last year they became leaders in this segment market after dethroning Swedish Ericsson. With this division as the main sale of engines and phones (40% of revenues) that grows well above the industry average, to the point of threatening Samsung's leadership, Huawei now aims to thrive in the reach of companies, which today provide only 10% of the business.

The domain of connectivity is one of its tools. Through operators such as Orange and Deutsche Telekom, Huawei now provides cloud computing to private companies and public bodies, noting that their data centers are in Europe and comply with local data protection regulations. The company also offers applications such as information cards for municipal command centers where data from all sensors distributed by the city appear in real time; among other things, in previous exhibitions it was the example of Chinese megacities such as Shanghai or Shenzhen, but this year the simulation was centered in Barcelona, ​​as a preliminary to the Smart City Expo which will be held in next week at the Gran Fira Street.

The latest addition to the Huawei catalog is a cloud specific to the Internet of Things, which manufacturers of connected objects, from water meters to hotel room locks, can hire to distribute quickly its products The automotive sector is another of the sectors in which the company is entering strongly: by the end of this year, the PSA group (Peugeot, Citroen, Opel) will have four million connected cars Huawei, which already offers car manufacturers a wheel-based data center capable of handling signals acquired from 16 cameras, six-millimeter radar, 16 ultrasound and eight types relationships, in response to the increase in sensorisation of current vehicles. The company has a development center dedicated to autonomous driving in Munich and works with the hypothesis that car brands will have this year chips to be incorporated into models that will come by 2020, so that two years later They can travel for the first toll roads connecting Europe and passengers can hire driverless journeys between large towns with rates of around one hundred euros per order.

Following everything is Huawei's secret weapon: artificial intelligence. The Kirin 980 processor of the aforementioned Mate 20 already includes a specific machine learning module that optimizes the consumption and performance of the phone and contributes to its functions of photography, integrating lenses and correctors designed in collaboration with Leica. Consumers can already enjoy the results in night photography, but in Rome we have also seen a prototype application for the same mobile phone that will affect any physiotherapist or sports trainer: real-time recognition of the position of one or more people moving and overlapping a virtual skeleton in the image. Huawei has announced that it will soon incorporate its intelligent algorithms for Ascend chips for connected objects – like a new Wi-Fi access point that multiplies the capacity of simultaneous users – and for network servers, with the dual purpose of optimizing their performance and protect them from cyber attacks.

As a spiker, Huawei has announced that it will join the battle of digital butlers with its own assistant, although in a complementary way to the Google Assistant they bring their mobile phones and Alexa included in other devices. It will also strengthen its services for mobile devices: the video platform already contains 4,000 films and television series; The catalog of graphic themes to personalize phones, which serves 2.5 million downloads per day, is expanded with exclusive images of museums such as the Paris Louvre or Van Gogh in Amsterdam and the Netflix series; The backup cloud already receives 12 million new photos every day from Europe; and next year Huawei Pay will start operating, a payment service with the mobile phone in collaboration with Visa. And if Apple does business with the services, Huawei can also increase it: it has registered 460 million users, almost 70 million of them outside China.


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