Over the last ten years, the focus of digitisation has been on the service sector. Indeed, Internet has reshaped banking, retail, and many other sectors.
In the future, the focus of digitization will shift to industries such as manufacturing. This is no doubt a huge opportunity for Europe. I believe that, enabled by Industry 4.0, Europe′s strong manufacturing sector will continue to lead the world in the digital era.
I am very happy to discuss Europe 4.0 and imagine what Europe will look
like in the future. I would like to share Huawei's views on Industry 4.0, a
strategic initiative that will support Europe 4.0. Over the last ten years, the
focus of digitisation has been on the service sector. Indeed, Internet has
reshaped banking, retail, and many other sectors.
In the future, the focus of digitization will shift to industries such
as manufacturing. This is no doubt a huge opportunity for Europe. I believe
that, enabled by Industry 4.0, Europe's strong manufacturing sector will
continue to lead the world in the digital era. Industry 4.0 will develop at
three layers: equipment, infrastructure, and applications. I would like to
share my views on Europe's Industry 4.0 and discuss how Huawei can contribute
to this initiative at these three layers.
First, Europe should step up its efforts to make equipment smart and
consolidate its leading position in manufacturing.
Europe already has a solid foundation in equipment manufacturing.
Certain developing countries have also seen rapid developments in their
manufacturing sectors. However, the high-end equipment that their companies use
still comes from Europe. European companies should therefore focus on going
smart to consolidate their leadership in this field. Simply put, making
equipment smart means installing sensors in a variety of industry and household
devices, equipping these devices with operating systems and software, and then
connecting them to networks. The commercial value of this move will be
enormous. In industrial scenarios, there is even greater potential to make
equipment smart. Let me give you an example. Smart equipment in a chemical
factory will be able to detect polluted water, dust, exhaust gas, and other
hazards in real time. This will help protect employee health, avoid accidents
and waste, and ensure effective management.
Here is another example. With smart power grids, equipment will be able
to analyse supply and demand, and identify and report problems immediately.
This will help avoid the huge waste and social impact caused by regional power
failures. You see, making equipment smart will create incredible socio-economic
value. In this regard, Huawei can supply highly adaptive network access modules
and device operating systems for European equipment. This will efficiently
connect Europe's unconnected equipment to the Internet.
Second, Europe should continue to lead the world in next-generation
communications standards, in order to create a functioning digital infrastructure
for Industry 4.0.
Today, the 4G standards advocated by Europe are very popular globally. I
believe that it has the capacity to – and should continue to – lead global
next-generation communications standards to adapt to the development of
Industry 4.0. Communications are no longer limited to people-to-people
connections – they now include connections between people and things, and
between things and things. Over the next ten years, connections will focus on
things and things, especially in mobile scenarios. With regard to
communications infrastructure, we need to consider the surging demand for
connections, capacity, and traffic. Existing technologies cannot meet this
demand, so we must move towards 5G.
We believe that 5G can support 100 billion
connections, a user data rate as high as 10 Gbit/s, and an ultra-low latency of
1 millisecond. This means that all industry needs will be satisfied, and that
the transportation, manufacturing, and energy sectors will be efficiently
connected. Then, a digital Europe will come into being.
Actually, many organizations such as METIS and 5GPPP have been
established in Europe to drive 5G development. Huawei has invested heavily in
5G and has actively participated in the EU's 5G initiatives. Not long ago, we
established the 5GVIA tested in Munich, Germany. Today I am happy to announce
the establishment of our new European Research Institute. The institute will be
located in Leuven, Belgium. It will coordinate the work of the 18 R&D sites
in eight European countries and will contribute to boosting 5G research and
Horizon 2020 research objectives. We hope that our vertical industry partners
can further support 5G initiatives to put 5G standards into commercial use and
create an environment conducive to innovation.
Thirdly, we expect European companies to achieve greater success through
collaboration at the application layer.
The application layer is where the value of Industry 4.0 resides. It is
also where European companies will face challenges during their transformation.
To enable Industry 4.0, they will need to make full use of their data assets.
As its automotive, energy, machinery, and equipment companies complete their
digital restructuring, I believe that Europe will build strong application
development capabilities within these vertical industries.
Yet, challenges remain because user demand is always changing. Today,
most drivers trust the quality of European cars. In the future, however, they
will probably raise new concerns: Can European cars provide higher levels of
safety? Can services like assisted driving and adjustable insurance be
To bring in innovative ideas and integrate resources from a broader
industry ecosystem, European companies should open up, collaborate more with
other industry players around the world, and turn competition into cooperation.
Europe needs to develop leading vertical industry apps, and bring them to the
global market. For a long time, Huawei has worked closely with Europe's
software developers and operational technology providers to build a healthy
At this year's CeBIT, we signed an MoU with Fraunhofer on joint research
and development of Industry 4.0 scenarios. We also signed an agreement with SAP
on Industry 4.0 cooperation to deliver ICT solutions for transportation, oil
and gas, manufacturing, and other sectors.
To conclude, Industry 4.0 will be a huge and complex ecosystem that
relies on information made available in real time through networks. To realize
Industry 4.0, all stakeholders must form alliances and work together. This
includes equipment manufacturers, ICT solutions providers, research institutes,
We will leverage our leading ICT solutions such as mobile broadband, Big
Data, and cloud computing to innovate jointly with our European partners. We
believe that we can contribute greatly to the development of Industry 4.0, and
help this continent become a leading market and leading supplier.
* Guo Ping is Deputy Chairman & Rotating CEO of Huawei