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Huawei showcased all of its newest innovations at GITEX 2019, held in Dubai World Trade Center, where the focus was on how deeper integration of AI and the 5G ecosystem are driving the industry towards complete digital transformation. Alaa Elshimy MD & VP of Huawei Middle East was present at the event. In an interview with Telecom Review, he went into detail on some of the most advanced technologies launched at the event.

What are some of the most significant solutions that Huawei has showcased at GITEX?

Huawei has a long history with GITEX. It’s always been one of the best platforms for us to demonstrate the latest additions to our ever-expanding portfolio of solutions. This year we also held our fourth annual Middle East Innovation Day, which explored how new partnerships in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 5G are bringing digital services to more people, homes, and organizations than ever before.

I always find our stand at GITEX to be an exciting one, because there is just so much to experience. It truly captures the explorative efforts of Huawei’s continuous R&D so that we can realize a fully connected, intelligent world. We have a number of new technologies this year. The first I’d like to mention is the Dorado V6. This is a storage system that gives double the performance of any storage product that is on the market. On the market today, the highest IOPs storage performance is about 10 million IOPs. However, our product can offer 20 million IOPs, double the performance of the best alternative on the market. From a speed point of view, it gives you 0.1 milliseconds latency and this is also the highest in the industry.  The secret behind this is that we have our own processor and controller so it’s completely our own design. This is unique today from a competitive point of view and it can bring a lot of value to our customers.

We have our CloudEngine 16800 displayed here this year. It’s an AI native data center switch. Once again, it’s the highest performing one on the market. With IoT, 5G and the potential of having up to one million devices connected per one square meter, it is essential to collect all this data and send it to the cloud. Usually there is a bottle neck in the data center switch because of the amount of data. Unless you have a high-performing switch, you will have a bottleneck and this will be a challenge for the entire system.

In September we launched the Atlas 900. This is the world’s fastest AI training cluster that will help make AI more broadly available for different kinds of fields. This is going to cause a huge shift in the industry; it has the same computing power as 500,000 PCs.

There are other examples of where 5G and AI are working together. Our Audi car is attracting a lot of attention. It is an AI intelligent car which, instead of mirrors, has 360 degree cameras so you can detect any car coming from any angle. An example of AI in action is that you cannot open your door if there is another car coming. Similarly with V2X, if there is a child crossing the road in front of you, the camera will detect this and stop the car. If you don’t want to stop on the road for a red light, your car will tell you that you need to drive at a certain speed for a certain distance to avoid the red traffic lights. When many smart vehicles are on the road with this technology, they will be connected with one another and provide important information to other road users.

What is Huawei doing to make 5G accessible to everybody?

5G will bring infinite possibilities to individuals and vertical industries across the Middle East, especially because it will empower and enhance solutions that leverage the potential of AI and cloud. Since 2009 Huawei has invested US$4 billion in 5G research, so that we can usher in a digital era in which everything works seamlessly together. Huawei is exploring more than just the development of the network technology, by looking into business successes with our customers and partners, including operators around the region, so that we can continue to build a solid ecosystem that enables everyone and every connected thing. One way we will emphasize upon this in the region is with the upcoming launch of the Huawei 5G OpenLab in the Middle East, which was announced during GITEX. The OpenLab concept aims to boost 5G services throughout the region by prompting innovation and collaboration across markets, leading to a more open and therefore accessible ecosystem. This, in turn, will spur ICT development. 

How do you address security concerns in relation to 5G?

New technology, new services – they always come with some concerns for security. We are very aware of that and have taken user privacy and protection into the highest consideration. Risks are best addressed by fully understanding the requirements of diversified scenarios, which enables us to better define 5G security standards and technologies. 5G is more secure than 4G, because of slicing. Basically, the network is sliced and then a range of that spectrum is for one customer. It is dedicated only to that customer and no one else can have access to that network. We all had the same spectrum with 4G, so in this regard, 5G is much safer.

Will 4G be neglected now that the focus is on 5G?

Not at all, and for several reasons. For the time being, deployment of 5G will only be in certain markets that are ready for it – such as in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and so on. It will take some time before it is adopted on a wider scale, and considerably longer before it becomes global. 5G devices have only just been introduced to the market this year and are not as widely adopted yet as 4G smartphones. There are many markets around the world that have yet to upgrade to 4G, which will be the natural evolution of their network rather than skipping ahead to 5G. Even in those markets that are deploying 5G, it will work together with 4G, as it will be integrated into the same infrastructure and it complements the 4G network. When you have more customers and more demand and a full deployment of 5G, it will be easier to see the benefits but until then, 4G and 5G will be working together and everyone will be connected one way or another.

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