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Huawei’s Derek Hao on why smart cities and IoT will boost its enterprise biz

Huawei’s Derek Hao on why smart cities and IoT will boost its enterprise biz
Derek Hao

Chinese telecommunications equipment-maker Huawei recently launched its enterprise arm in the country alongside its network and consumer businesses. The company claims that the Indian government’s digital initiatives are helping it quicken the pace of its growth in the country. Given this, Huawei has set up its global programme called OpenLabs, which will focus on developing smart city innovations in India.

In a conversation with TechCircle, Derek Hao, president of Huawei’s enterprise business in India, talks about the firm’s OpenLab programme and why investing in smart city solutions will enhance its growth even more in the country. Edited excerpts:

How has the enterprise business been working out in India?

Our enterprise business group (EBG) operations have been growing at a good pace and show promise of continued acceleration buoyed by the government’s digital initiatives and policies. Our EBG business has grown at a rate of 60% between the first and third quarter of last year and is expected to continue to grow at least at the same rate. In fact, the growth from India for EBG is considerably higher than in most foreign markets we operate. Huawei is going to focus on very specific solutions under EBG.

What India-specific investments has Huawei made in India and why make them now?

The investments are the joint result of the growth we are seeing from the market and also the opportunity it presents. We are investing $23 million to open two OpenLabs in India and Thailand as part of a phased investment plan over the next three years. India’s lab will be the twelfth such facility in the world.

What exactly will this lab do and what is planned strategy for it?

Built as a part of Huawei’s Global OpenLab Programme, the lab, which will be based in the company’s Gurugram headquarters in India, will aim to provide a one-stop information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure support for smart cities and digitisation transformation for enterprises. It will be used for joint testing and solutions deployment.

The lab will focus on driving smart city innovations in areas as diverse as IoT, smart pole, smart building, smart campus (perimeter alarm, smart parking, energy efficiency management and visitor management), smart transportation, intelligent video surveillance solutions, and convergent command and control solutions.

It will also act as an open, flexible and secure platform for joint innovation with customers and partners. In today’s competitive environment, enterprises need to evolve fast so that the time to market is cut down drastically.

The lab will be connected to Huawei’s global OpenLab network allowing a universal exchange of ideas about new business models, market needs and technical solutions. It will operate through four functional centres: a partner development centre, joint solution innovation centre, talent training and certification centre, and an industry experience centre.

As part of the lab operations, we will also offer ICT training to nearly 400 personnel per year, provide ICT career certification to 250 engineers per year, and provide proof of concept (PoC) training to nearly 100 engineers annually.​

​​​​​​How does the OpenLab programme help Huawei’s India business?

The idea of the lab is to quickly respond to new market opportunities and develop competitive, commercialised solutions by testing them in a real-live environment. 
Our plan is to partner with system integrators, independent software vendors, independent hardware vendors and consultants for OpenLab in India. 
Currently, a total of 211 of Fortune Globe 500, including 48 of the top 100, have chosen Huawei as their partner in digital transformation. Companies such as TCS, Tech Mahindra, Cognizant and Infosys are also partners.

Where are the other OpenLabs located and how much has the company invested in them?

Up until the third quarter of this year, we launched 12 OpenLabs focusing on enterprise customers and they are in Gurugram, Bangkok, Singapore, Munich, Paris, Dubai, Istanbul, Mexico City, Cairo, Johannesburg, Moscow and Suzhou (China). These labs facilitate joint innovation and solution launches with more than 700 partners across areas such as smart cities, finance, transportation, energy, manufacturing and media.

In the future, we will continue to invest in the OpenLab programme and we will set up more than 20 facilities globally. Over the next three years, Huawei will allocate nearly 1,000 personnel globally and will invest a total of $200 million in the programme.

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