This week, telecommunications experts will gather in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, the industry’s premier event and a chance for tech companies to show off their latest innovations in areas as diverse as 5G technology, artificial intelligence, and the cloud.
Although the cloud is far from a new idea, its true capabilities are only now beginning to be realized. Here are four ways in which the cloud will shape our lives over the next decade and beyond.
Building Digital-First Infrastructure
Cloud will provide the digital infrastructure of tomorrow’s cities, where an estimated 6 billion of the world’s population will live by 2045. Smart elevators and parking lots, driverless cars and drone taxis, trains and subways, farms and power plants — all will be safer and better managed, thanks to the cloud’s ability to store and analyze data.
The cloud will also be transformative for companies, especially small and mid-sized businesses, as data analytics, artificial intelligence and other capabilities become available as services. Because each industry has different needs, Huawei, a global tech company where I head up the communications team, is working on what we call the Industry Cloud: thousands of distinct, separate clouds, all working in concert across a digital ecosystem of different industry verticals. For example:
- A commercial aviation cloud will help airlines manage ground operations such as maintenance, fueling, baggage handling, and cabin cleaning, thereby increasing efficiency and helping flights take off on time.
- A utilities cloud will automatically repair faults in the power grid to ensure that homes and businesses get the electricity they need.
- A banking cloud will let financial institutions scan thousands of transactions per second to prevent fraud.
Regardless of industry or size, all companies need digital infrastructure to support their business operations. But cloud will change ICT from a support system into a production system. For example, OpenDesk, a London-based company, uploads furniture designs to the cloud and lets customers download the designs and manufacture the furniture locally. This lowers shipping and inventory costs, while reducing the company’s carbon footprint.