At GITEX this year, Huawei invested a great deal in expanding their presence compared to its participating in the event’s previous editions. The vendor played a critical role in the region’s transition towards the ‘new normal’. With distance learning and remote working on the rise, Huawei Cloud seems to have consolidated its impressive position within the market.

A Telecom Review journalist sat down with Omar Akar, Huawei’s Vice President and Managing Director of new Cloud and AI Business Group in the Middle East, to discuss the role Huawei Cloud played throughout the pandemic and some of the strategic partnerships that they leveraged to ease the region’s transition into the ‘new normal’.

Could you tell us a little bit about Huawei’s presence at GITEX this year?

We are very proud to be participating in the 40th edition of GITEX. I think that this year, by far, has been our biggest presence at the event- we strongly believe that this year. Specifically over the COVID-19 pandemic, we really wanted to take this opportunity to reconnect with people and our customers and to update them on the evolution of technology, especially during 2020. This is an opportunity for us to show them how we can combat COVID-19 through remote collaboration tools which we are demonstrating and the evolution of artificial intelligence and 5G technologies and their contribution to the digital economy.

We are very excited about our participation this year and I think that this is the most we have invested in our GITEX presence than any previous year. We did this in an effort to showcase that we are here to reconnect with people and that things are going back on track. 

How has this year been for Huawei’s Cloud and AI Business Group?

We are growing significantly. In fact, the company has geared the majority of the investment on technologies that contribute to the digital transformation agenda, one of which is 5G- as you may know, we are pioneers in delivery 5G technology. We strongly believe that cloud and artificial intelligence are key cornerstones in enabling the digital transformation for the majority of enterprises- Huawei has invested a lot in this area.

Today, we are the fastest growing cloud worldwide. We are growing triple digit year over year and we have already deployed 45 availability zones across the globe that deliver cloud services. They have more than 1 million subscribers who are already using Huawei Cloud, more 200 financial institutions and 350 e-government institutions. It is a very mature cloud, we have deployed thousands of applications in our marketplace.

We have partnered with a large ecosystem to deliver industry-specific solutions that can accelerate the digital transformation of all industries, digital finance: smart education, smart healthcare the smart city and many others, five years.

I like to refer to it as more of a digital transformation platform rather than Cloud. I believe we are pioneers and delivering digital services on our cloud. We are proud to say that one of the strongest availability zones is deployed in UAE and in partnership with G42- we are very proud of that partnership.

Having the UAE as a pioneer in delivering cloud services to the entire Middle East region and being able to partner with G42 to do so is definitely one of the key achievements for us this year.

Due to the consequences brought about by the pandemic, we have seen widespread digital transformation across the region. Could you tell us about the role that Cloud played in this? How did it ease the transition to remote working/learning?

First of all, I have to say that the digital transformation agenda, we all thought that it's something that is going to happen in the future- probably towards 2023 or 2024. We were shocked to find that, specifically with the pandemic, everyone is accelerating digital transformation and we have noticed that the majority of the organizations that were able to maintain their leadership position and the relevant industries have already accelerated the implementation of digital transformation.

At Huawei, over the course of the pandemic, we have seen the importance of remote collaboration and that in every aspect of our lives. From video conferencing to remote education, the remote experience has become a part of our daily lives.

Huawei has accelerated its investment in this area. We have developed a very unique remote collaboration tool that can facilitate the collaboration of people. We've invested in Idea Hub which is a Smart Office intelligent collaboration tool that combines all the necessities of a Smart Office- from conferencing to remote projection to intelligent whiteboarding and many, many other capabilities in one solution.

We have worked on deploying the smart education platform which is a cloud platform in collaboration with Ankabut. We are proud of this partnership too as this is where we are delivering the platform to facilitate and accelerate remote education in the UAE. This is how we have contributed to the education sector during the pandemic.

Cloud is playing a major role, one of which is delivering collaboration tools and capabilities to maintain the connected world and number two is that we have utilized it in the education sector in specific with Ankabut. Education was one of the sectors where we strongly believed that we needed to pay a lot of attention to because it was heavily impacted with the pandemic and the virus. Definitely cloud and AI are key enablers of the intelligent world as we move forward.