Huawei Global Analyst Summit - Building a Better Connected World

26 Apr 2016

I recently had the privilege of spending several days in Shenzhen and Hangzhou, China at the Huawei Global Analyst Summit. As an American, I didn't realize how extensive Huawei's product line is, nor did I realize how well the company is doing on the global stage. Huawei is huge, and I mean huge. However, the company's unified communications and collaboration business is a very, very small part of the overall company's business. The theme of the conference was Building a Better Connected World, and the big focus was IoT, the cloud, and digital transformation.

Huawei's Enterprise go-to-market plans include focusing on several areas:

  • Hosting/cloud
  • Office collaboration
  • Command Center (Safe City ICP)

Huawei plans to fully "cloudify" all of its information and communications technology (ICT) products and solutions, and will be "an active promoter and leader in the cloud to enable telco and enterprise customers to be successful in the digital transformation." This will also involve redefining the customer experience through end-to-end synergy and the "ROADS experience" - Real time, On Demand, All online, DYI, and Social (yeah, this didn't really work for me).

I went to several break out sessions focusing on Huawei's Enterprise Business. While just a small part of the company's overall $60.8 billion business, Huawei's Enterprise business revenue increased 13% to $4.25 billion in 2015, with deployments in 67 countries around the globe. I found it interesting that the UC&C businesses, including UC, contact center, and video conferencing, have all moved to Huawei's Core Networking Group. This is most likely due to the fact that so much of what the company will be doing in UC&C will be cloud related. The cloud is huge for Huawei, which notes that communications and collaboration platform as a service (PaaS) offerings are emerging as a way for providers to embed their capabilities into business applications and processes. Currently, Huawei provides communication and collaboration solutions to operators and ISPs who provide UC&C services for enterprise users. In addition to providing on-premises UC&C solutions, Huawei can also provide hosted UC&C services for enterprise customers by working with operators and ISP partners.

Huawei is increasing its channel network, and in 2015, 76% of revenue for the Enterprise Group came from partners. Huawei is also investing heavily in its developer network, with the goal of building a network of over one million developers by 2020, and is investing $1 billion to fund its developer ecosystem. Huawei notes that to compete effectively it needs to enhance and expand its open system capabilities and support the growth of its developers and partners to provide value to customers. To that end, Huawei is focusing on creating an open platform that meets the needs of ecosystem partners and developers, while providing an eSDK platform to provide partners with standard interfaces and pre-integrated plug-ins for developers to connect to Huawei's products.

After the main analyst event in Shenzhen, a small group of analysts got to visit the UCC R&D headquarters in Hangzhou, China. In addition to eating some amazing food, sampling the local green tea, and touring around the area, we got to see demos of some of Huawei's phones, video capabilities (including new video kiosks and new video endpoints), as well as some of the impressive command and control capabilities.

Huawei Global Analyst Summit 1

Huawei Global Analyst Summit 2

While not as well known in the U.S. as competitors like Cisco and Microsoft, Huawei has a complete UCC and contact center offering. Its UCC product portfolio, currently called eSpace, for Enterprise Space, includes:

  • User terminals - IP phones, soft clients (SoftConsole, Desktop client, mobile client, web conference client), as well as various video end points
  • Call control - serving 100 to over 400,000 users
  • Service applications based on the Enhanced Communication Suite that includes IM, rich media (social, video sharing), presence, group, conferencing and collaboration (audio/video/web), directory, UM, and call recording, as well as contact center
  • Management system and access gateways.

The company is also focusing on communication-enabled business process (CEBP) solutions by providing the ability for its UCC components to be embedded into work process with multimedia communications. For example, Huawei is working with a large bank to accelerate their loan business by integrating Huawei's video conferencing capabilities into the loan process. The system is currently serving 40,000 employees worldwide to review the loan requests, run business meetings, and support training programs. The bank found that the time it takes to process and approve a loan was reduced by 60%. In addition, telephony costs were decreased by roughly 20%, as the bank employees can utilize the Huawei eSpace UC client with rich media communication tools, all over IP.

There's also a big opportunity to tie in Huawei's enterprise business with IoT. For example, Sherman Li, Senior Solution Sale Manager, CTO Office of Enterprise Business Group, told me that Coca-Cola has thousands of kiosks in Europe, and based on Huawei's IoT capabilities, the system can inform the service center to deliver products when the volume of product is low. In the future, Li expects the system to be integrated with the call center to do the dispatching to the kiosks.

While not something we generally think about when it comes to enterprise communications, we heard quite a bit about Huawei's Next-Gen Command and Control and Safe City solutions. The Safe City solutions are aimed at overcoming challenges in public safety and security, such as limited early warning, lack of multi-agency collaboration, and lack of awareness of the real situation. These challenges require situational awareness, efficiency in multi-agency collaboration, and video/multimedia capabilities - all things that UCC and enterprise communications provide.

Using Huawei's Integrated Communication Platform (ICP), providing IP telephony, UC, SMS, email social media, etc., the next-gen command and control center combines mobile video terminals, meeting room terminals, sensors, and closed circuit TV, all integrated through an eSDK to tie together the call dispatcher and call takers (or video takers in many situations).

The Safe City solutions, based on Command Center solutions integrated with Huawei's voice, video, and data solutions, currently serve 400 million people in over 100 cites in over 30 countries. For example, in Kenya, Huawei's Safe City program was able to reduce the time it takes to respond to a critical event, such as a riot or attack, down to 10 minutes, while the case-solving rate increased by over 40%.

Moving forward, Huawei will provide a single architecture serving both the enterprise and service providers. The company currently has two separate product lines that will be combined into a single architecture - the Huawei Enterprise Cloud Communications platform. This will be a unified cloud platform supporting voice, video, conferencing, presence, group messaging, etc., aimed at reducing customer TCO by 30%. It is based on an Open Architecture with API Interfaces and SDKs, with business application integration, offering cloud-based management, and on-demand service subscription.

While still relatively unknown in the U.S., Huawei is a strong global company that will be a force to reckon with in certain markets, especially IoT, virtual reality, 5G Internet, and SDN. I expect to see some innovations in terms of tying in some of these things, especially IoT, to its enterprise solutions. As with all vendors, the cloud is top of mind, and Huawei is investing in an open cloud ecosystem based on OpenStack. More importantly, the company is focusing on an open environment with SDKs and if the company can attract developers in North America, it can increase mindshare and markets share.



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