What are the key success factors in the wireless industry?
For the wireless industry to succeed, it depends on a combination of various factors. Ray Williamson, director, European product management, Huawei Wireless explains what they are
Capturing the key success factors in an industry as rapidly developing as the wireless industry is a challenging endeavour. Telecommunications operators are constantly confronted with multi-faceted challenges around performance, cost, size, energy consumption and more, all of which need innovative solutions. As diverse as the challenges facing the wireless industry are, as numerous are the factors that contribute to a successful wireless enterprise. To align these factors for long-term success, however, striving for technological leadership – creating innovative solutions that drive the industry forward – is key. This can be achieved via nurturing talent, cross-industry and academic research collaborations, and a commitment to continuous innovation.
The wireless industry is constantly testing the boundaries of both mobile communications systems and also the underlying science and technology on which they are built. It is crucial that companies in the industry continuously seek to innovate to drive the intelligent transformation of our world forward, to remain a driver of growth and progress. Ultimately, this is what success in the wireless industry depends on, and it requires a long-term commitment to technological leadership.
Any organisation is always only as good as its people. As such, our human resources are the most valuable asset of the wireless industry. To foster innovation and become a leader in technology, organisations must create a highly motivated and collaborative working environment. Whilst in other industries this may be limited to the workplace, ICT vendors must think further – nurturing the talent of tomorrow and beyond, and tackling the upcoming challenges for the sector, such as the digital skills gap. ICT companies must become part of the solution and actively tackle this issue, for instance with initiatives such as the Huawei ICT Academy Programme, which, in partnership with educational institutions, is piloting women-only STEM classes to increase diversity and help students achieve globally recognised ICT industry certifications.
To drive innovation beyond the industry sector, collaborations with partners and customers are crucial, too. Successful partnerships are driven by a keen focus on your area of expertise and an efficient eco-system of partners who help to create and deliver innovative solutions. For Huawei, that means building out platforms such as X-Labs, which are dedicated to discovering, developing, and nurturing new applications in cross-industry collaborations with companies such as Bosch or ABB. When it comes to collaborations, partnering up with universities is crucial too as it serves a number of purposes at the same time – such as nurturing talent and skills, and fostering technological innovation through R&D investments. To drive success in an industry that is driven by fast-paced innovation, a company has to commit to substantial investments in R&D partnerships. In 2020, Huawei spent $21.8bn on R&D, making it one of the top 5 companies globally in terms of R&D spend.
Future vision and continuous innovation
The coronavirus pandemic and climate change are both two excellent examples of the challenges which the wireless industry faces. The digitalisation of our working world and everyday life has been accelerated by the pandemic, whilst tackling climate change requires cities to become greener and smarter. Both the coronavirus pandemic and the need to become more sustainable therefore challenge our networks to significantly level up. Innovation in materials science remains instrumental to make products smaller and more energy efficient.
Mathematics and AI-powered platforms are key to managing increasingly complex networks more efficiently. Mathematics, for instance, has enabled us to extend the classic Shannon theorem of the single channel to multi-channels, thereby maximising network capacity. Currently, 1.3bn connections are supported by our cellular networks. By 2030, we will need to support 100bn connections. Preliminary work on 6G is underway, but in the meantime innovation of our current wireless networks has to continue. In pioneering the innovative development of 5G to 5G Advanced, Huawei is responding to these challenges to build a bridge from 5G to 6G.
For the wireless industry to succeed, it depends on a combination of various factors including nurturing talent, research collaborations across industries and with academia, and a commitment a future vision and continuous innovation beyond the scope of what is currently technologically possible – this is what is essential to pave the way within the wireless industry and beyond.