Huawei set to back 1m AI developers in three years

William Xu, director of the Board and chief strategy marketing officer at Huawei Technologies Co, delivers a keynote speech at Huawei Connect 2018 held in Shanghai.


Huawei Technologies Co, a global technology giant, has planned to support one million AI developers and partners over the next three years, said on Thursday William Xu, the firm’s director of the Board and chief strategy marketing officer, at Huawei Connect 2018 held in Shanghai.

“Helping industries go digital is not something that any company can do on its own. To effectively go digital, industries and industry organisations need to work together,” he said.

Xu saidthe firm led the establishment of a platform that helps bring together industry organisations from across the globe. The platform aims to facilitate communication and collaboration between industry organisations, with the ultimate goal of collectively helping industries go digital faster.

“With the help of AI (artificial intelligence), we are joining hands with our ecosystem partners to help industries go digital,” he said.

Xu considers technology leadership as the foundation of a solid platform.The firm will continue to expand its expertise in AI and maintain its technological leadership with cutting-edge ICT technology, he said.

“We will make sure that our platforms remain open and fair. We have forged solid relationships with our ecosystem partners, and we are working together to build a thriving AI ecosystem,” he said.

According to Xu, the ecosystem contains four types of partnerships_ industry alliances, business alliances, open source communities, and developers. He said growing the industry and enlarging the market is far more important than increasing the firm’s own share of that market, and managing cooperative relationships with its ecosystem partners is more important than managing its own business growth.

“Working together with our ecosystem partners, we can leverage our respective strengths to deliver value to customers. We share benefits with the industry and our partners, and work together to achieve shared success,” he said.

“By creating synergy between platforms, AI, and the ecosystem, we are doing what we can to speed up the arrival of the intelligent world.”

By 2025, the global AI market is expected to reach US$380 billion,90 per cent of which will come from the enterprise market.He said the firm would prioritise on three main areas.

“First, we need to start with scenarios. We often ask what AI can do, but it's more effective to ask what we want it to do. What problems do we want to resolve?” he questioned.

“Second, industry insight_ this is where we will make many breakthroughs in industry AI. Human expertise and experience are invaluable, and we should translate these into AI skills.Third, practical value_ we need to remember that the reason we use AI is to create value, including business value, industry value, and social value,” he said.

To him, AI provides the most value in three types of scenarios_ repetitive, high-volume work, human expertise and collaboration across multiple domains.

“Many industries suffer from a shortage of true experts. Take the healthcare industry, for example. In China, there are fewer than 5,000 certified experts for screening cervical cancer. It would take 20 years to screen every woman in China that needs this service. However, if we use AI to assist in this process, we can increase efficiency by five to tenfold,” he said.

The most complex scenario for AI adoption includes smart traffic systems and manufacturing. Traffic light controls involve a number of different factors, like time, weather, how many lanes you have, road networks, and major events. The human brain is not capable of analyzing all of these factors at once and making the right decisions, he said.

During his speech, Xu gave an example of using AI in airports.

Currently, there are over 1,000 flight departures and arrivals at the Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport every day, with more than 120,000 passengers traveling through. Previously, only around 70 per cent of these flights used jet bridges when onboarding and offboarding passengers, but the airport wanted to increase this figure to 80per cent.

“The answer was AI. By adopting AI and modernizing its infrastructure, the airport no longer needs to use Gantt charts to manually arrange flight schedules. AI automates this process. Now, about 80 per cent flights use jet bridges instead of remote staircases. This means that every year, an additional 4 million people do not need to take a shuttle bus between the terminal and the plane,” he explained.