At the MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2019 in Barcelona recently, Cordelia Wilson, ERTICO’s Communications Manager, had the pleasure to sit down with Jan Ellsberger, Vice President Industry Development of HUAWEI and ERTICO Partner.
‘As a Swede and European, it is a very interesting time to be with Huawei! Over the last couple of months I have watched a lot of confused discussions in the media and amongst politicians about the company and I have heard many misguided allegations. Now here at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, I am happy that there are finally more facts behind the conversations played out in the press and elsewhere. Initially the economic value of technology innovation was put aside and the focus was purely on the political, consequently mixing technology with politics. We should leave the industry to do its job and the politicians to do theirs. It is up to policy makers to set the boundaries for the industry to work in. Industry needs clear statements and direction about the global technology security requirements that every player and vendor in the marketplace needs to fulfil. What many people seem to forget is that Huawei’s supply chain consists of many different suppliers from all over the world including China, and in many cases exactly the same suppliers are used by our competitors too.
It is true that we have become increasingly noticeable as a brand name in Europe particularly in the consumer segment with our line of very innovative mobile phones. For example, here at the Mobile World Congress we launched our latest innovation: the foldable handset. But we have a wide range of offerings from video chipsets for TVs and set top boxes, consumer devices, ICT components for car manufacturers, infrastructure and services for telecom operators, cloud infrastructure offerings, variety of enterprise solutions, and of course a leading role in 5G. What is so impressive to me is the breadth of innovation that is taking place in China and the technology leadership that Chinese manufacturers have to offer. In Huawei, out of 180,000 employees approximately 50% are employed in research and development. As one of the top 5 R&D investors in Europe, Huawei has invested massively and will continue to invest into Europe’s future. As a European I see this as very positive, making use of this technological leadership will enable Europe to develop leading solutions and innovation contributing to the growth and sustainable business that our continent needs. To give some perspective, the number of base stations deployed in one city in China may be greater than those deployed in one or even several countries combined in Europe. This huge scale give experience and insights which fosters an innovative ecosystem that is unparalleled in the world at the moment, something Europe has access to and can further refine and exploit.
Looking back at 2G/3G/4G, 5G is a giant step in technology development and will expand into new application areas. 5G will basically become the central nervous system for society’s communication infrastructure – where ERTICO also plays a key role. ERTICO related application areas involving both 4G and 5G range from connected and automated driving, smart mobility solutions, to automated logistics and supply chain management. Just imagine how important 5G will be in assisting our manufacturing processes as well as the delivery of goods from place to place globally! On autonomous driving my feeling is that the vision of the fully autonomous car is not going to happen for quite a while – there are still many technology challenges to tackle. For cost and time to market reasons I think the first applications will be public transportation in specialised zones for example around an airport or in selected parts of a city, where vehicles will automatically drive with a portion of the control located in the 5G infrastructure rather than the vehicle itself being fully autonomous.
We are very proud to be an ERTICO Partner, we regard ERTICO as the leading organisation in innovation and policy development for intelligent transport systems and services. ERTICO offers the perfect platform in Europe to bring together industry with public authorities, cities, and policy makers to collaborate and push forward smart mobility solutions and drive innovation. ERTICO is unique in this respect. Not many organisations offer the advantages of a public/ private partnership like ERTICO does. Huawei is an integrated player in Europe and we are involved in a range of European projects such as those funded under Horizon2020 and in particular those supported under the 5G PPP, where we play a key role. From an industry point of view, this is a mechanism to gauge development before standardisation occurs – an important strategy for our company.
I find myself privileged to work fostering collaboration between Europe and China in these very interesting and changing times in our society. In the two years I have been in Huawei, I have learnt a lot and I very much enjoy my role in this fascinating company.’