Have you ever stopped to think about how mobile networks work?
As a consumer, I know I can pick up my phone anytime and use it to browse the internet or message my friends. I also know that in some places my mobile signal is better than others. And just like everyone else, I get frustrated when I have to wait for videos to buffer when I’m on the go.
But what about the backend? Have you ever thought about how the pieces come together to make our mobile networks work hard for us every day?
I never thought about that until recently. And once I started exploring it, a whole new world of tech opened up to me.
I’ve had the best time exploring Huawei Technologies over the past few months. In June, I visited the Huawei HQ in Shenzhen to get an insider’s glimpse of how the tech giant operates. (If you want to read more about that, just go here.)
Huawei is the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world. Ever since my visit to Shenzhen, I’ve continued my exploration of ICT tech from Huawei’s unique perspective. It’s been an inspiring journey of learning.
I’m planning to attend Huawei Connect 2016 in Shanghai. My flight leaves for China in just a few days. I’ve been to a lot of tech conferences before, but never one with 15,000 people!
At that conference, Mr. Zou Zhilei, President of Huawei’s Carrier BG, will make a major speech about the 3rd phase of telecommunications. This is the phase where carriers reach deep into verticals to help them modernize.
It’s all part of the journey to developing an all-cloud mobile network.
In this article, I’d like to show you how mobile networks are evolving, and how Huawei is leading the way.
I’ll explain the 3 Phase ICT Transformation Vision, and why the 3rd phase is especially interesting.
I’m looking forward to getting even more details about this in Mr. Zou’s speech at Huawei Connect.
(I took this picture at the Huawei campus in Shenzhen, China)
The 3 Phases of ICT Transformation
According to Huawei, the transformation of ICT industry happens in 3 phases.
This ICT (information and communications technology) transformation happens at a high-level. As consumers, we all feel these changes in the form of new services offered by our telecommunications carriers.
Remember when we were talking about what happens behind the scenes to make our mobile networks so awesome? This is what this transformation is all about.
Mr. Zou Zhilei explained these 3 phases in his recent speech at MWC Shanghai 2016.
In order to explain why these 3 phases are important and inevitable, let’s take a look at where we are with mobile networks today.
We expect a lot from our mobile network, and our demands are just beginning.
- We want a faster network (5G), and one that can handle the advances in IoT.
- We want more cloud services, and we want them to be secure and flexible so we can experience real-time feedback and innovation.
- We want more people in the world to connect to the Internet. (Read more about this at Global Connectivity and the Digital Economy: A Comparative Analysis)
- We want to use these advancements (in all verticals) to move our global economy forward as we move into the digital era.
Sound complicated? It is.
Telecommunications operators have a lot of pressure on them right now. They want to meet our ever-growing demands, but it’s not easy.
These telecommunications operators are offices filled with equipment. That equipment which can no longer meet the demands of consumers will be replaced with an efficient, agile online system.
So what are the 3 phases of ICT transformation on the journey to an all-cloud mobile network?
Phase 1 (Network Communication) ended around year 2000 or a little after that. In phase 1, it was all about networks which were reliant on physical connections. Back then, equipment vendors were critical to the equation.
Phase 2 (Horizontal Application) occurred between year 2000 and 2015. In phase 2, it was all about applications. This is the time when many Internet companies emerged.
About the time Phase 2 began, I started my own tech journey. I remember all the Internet companies that became successful fast during this high-growth phase. Everyone was talking about “the Internet” and what the possibilities were.
What happened to move this transformation into Phase 3?
Internet-driven growth has slowed down a bit in the developed countries. In Phase 2, the Internet itself was like a vertical. But in Phase 3, the Internet transcends into diverse vertical industries and starts reshaping traditional industries. In other words, the entire scope of the Internet market is and will continue to change.
So here we are at Phase 3. It’s an exciting time!
Phase 3 Is All About Vertical Industries
Phase 3 of this fantastic transformation will be the phase for the next 2 – 3 decades.
“In the third phase, the Internet reshapes traditional industries, and it is an unstoppable trend.” – Mr. Zou Zhilei, President of Huawei’s Carrier BG
In this 3rd phase, carriers reach deeper into verticals to help them modernize and grow.
Right now, Huawei has major projects underway in industries as diverse as oil and gas, retail, banking and trains. There’s no end to where and how 5G will revolutionize the world!
Operators will leverage cloud-based strategies to redefine traditional industries, and go vertical.
By implementing these cloud-based initiatives, operators will improve speed, efficiency, agility and flexibility. These things will help them meet consumer demands.
Imagine what it would be like if operators could share resources in real-time and innovate with software developers and other operators. It would be a mutually beneficial relationship for everyone!
A cloud-based ecosystem of innovative services designed to meet the changing needs of consumers will evolve.
Now put on your “user hat” for a minute.
What is one of the biggest trends you’re seeing online?
It’s a trend that’s changing how we learn, how we spend our time, and how we market our businesses.
It’s the use of video, right?
Google Brainlab predicts that by 2017, 74% of Internet traffic will be video. (source)
I remember reading this in a Post Planner article recently…
“According to eMarketer, people are now watching an average of 5 hours, 31 minutes worth of video every day. Compare that to the 21 minutes a day in 2011 and that puts video on pace to surpass TV viewership by the end of 2016.”
What is your experience? Are you watching more video content now than you did a year ago?
I’d be willing to guess the answer is yes. I rarely ever watch TV anymore — but I watch video constantly.
Making sure our video needs are met is a prime directive of Huawei. They are working hard to ensure that all aspect of our video experience are spot on.
Huawei is equipped to help operators transition into a cloud-based infrastructure.
If you want to know the quality of a network, check their video capability. You can use that as a standard of measurement. The carriers that build integrated video platforms will win big time.
There is one thing that Mr. Zou Zhilei said in his speech at MWC Shanghai 2016 that stuck with me, and I’d like to share it with you.
He said, “I believe that, as long as operators proactively embrace the opportunities presented in the cloud era, where HD, VR/AR, and live streaming become the norm, in the next three to five years, they will reclaim their leading position in the industry value chain. At Huawei, we’re confident that this will be the case, and we are both ready and willing to partner up with operators in the next steps of their digital transformation journey.”
Just typing that quote makes me excited to see what the future holds. The foundation of new ICT hinges on cloud computing, big data, networks and IoT. I have a feeling 5G is going to blow our minds!
I’m grateful I was born in the era of digital transformation because it’s an exciting time to be alive!
If you’re going to be anywhere near Shanghai over the next 2 weeks, come to Huawei Connect 2016 at the Expo Center and find me. I want to say hello to you!
And when you’re there, be sure to pay special attention to Mr. Zou Zhilei’s speech about this 3rd phase of this ICT transformation. If you miss it, no worries, I’ll write about it so you’ll still be updated.
This stuff is a big deal. It’s going to affect all of us. There are truly no limits to how 5G is going to change the world for the better!
I want to know what comes after this era. I’ll probably be long gone before the next phase starts… but I still want to know what happens next.
I saw the “Star Trek Beyond” movie last weekend, and my favorite part was seeing the everyday use of futuristic technology. Do you remember the scene where the guy goes into the phone booth, dials a number, and then teleports to his destination? That was great!
I’m looking forward to all the advances in mobile networks over the next several decades. The best is yet to come!!! If you’d like to continue the conversation, tweet me at @adamsconsulting. Thank you for reading my article.