“Cooperative innovation” is the key to building a fully connected, intelligent world. It also recognizes that we cannot go it alone – collaboration is essential to overcoming current technological bottlenecks and unlocking our intelligent future.
For us, cooperative innovation comprises three dimensions:
- Industry insights
- An innovation mechanism
- An open and cooperative innovation platform
1. Industry Insights
In my last blog post, I outlined Huawei’s Global Industry Vision – our exploration of 10 ICT-powered trends that are shaping the intelligent future towards 2025.
Based our industry insights, Huawei believes that society will evolve into an intelligent world over the next two to three decades, underpinned by ICT infrastructure.
For more information about these trends, you can download the Huawei GIV@2025 whitepaper here.
2. Innovation Mechanism
Huawei’s four core business areas cover the carrier, enterprise, consumer, and cloud domains. We focus on ICT infrastructure by providing end-to-end solutions and products for information distribution, presentation, transmission, processing, storage, and data inference.
Over the past three decades, innovation has remained at the heart of our products and solutions. Our R&D innovation is driven by reality (real customer requirements) and theory (the cornerstone of progress in science and technology).
Sustained investment in R&D is a key Huawei strategy – we invest more than 10% of our revenue in R&D every year. In 2018, our R&D expenditure totaled US$15.8 billion, ranking fifth in the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard 2018 and accounting for about 14.1% of our annual revenue. Over the last decade, our cumulative R&D expenditure has exceeded US$70 billion.
In 5G, we’ve invested US$4 billion and hold 2,570 5G patents – 20% of all 5G patents and the highest in the industry, representing our leadership in the development of 5G.
Read more: 5G’s Rapid Rollout
3. Open & Collaborative Innovation Platform
Over the past 30 years, we’ve been innovating in technology and engineering based on the needs of our customers, which in turn has driven our success.
We call this Innovation 1.0: We’ve anticipated the general direction of the industry and formulated the correct strategies, keeping our product R&D on track, given that products and solutions have guided our industry.
Our previous focus and research on telecommunications has built the foundation of our current 5G leadership and helped us bring connectivity to more industries. In recent years, our research into smartphones, AI, computing, and cloud have gathered paced, gradually positioning us as an iconic world brand for science and technology.
Today, the industry is encountering bottlenecks because of a lag in theoretical innovation. This has led us to evolve from Innovation 1.0 to Innovation 2.0.
The core of innovation 2.0 is making theoretical breakthroughs based on vision and the invention of basic technologies. To achieve this, we will adopt multiple methods, including:
- Supporting university research
- In-house labs
- Multi-path technology investment
Nevertheless, the uncertainty with theoretical breakthroughs and inventions remains very high. It also means that we cannot innovate alone – we need to share results and capabilities together. The idea of Huawei’s Innovation 2.0 spans open innovation and inclusive development, which unites universities, research institutes, academia, and industry.
We have a strong history of cooperative innovation with customers and industry partners across a variety of platforms that enable us to cope with industry changes and challenges. These are as follows:
- Joint Innovation Centers (JIC): Our platform for poweringjoint innovation with leading customers and partners. JICs help us jointly define and incubate products and solutions, design new business models, and build industry ecosystems.
- Wireless X Labs: Our open innovation platform for carriers and vertical industry partners. Members of our Wireless X Labs jointly explore future scenarios for wireless applications and drive innovation in business and technology like AR/VR and vertical industry applications.
- OpenLab: As a development and collaborative platform for ecosystem partners, OpenLab isn’t just a lab; it’s also a platform for cultivating solutions and verifying partners. OpenLab has a strong role in boosting product competitiveness and adding business value for customers. It’s also characterized by its global operations, proximity to industry customers, and commitment to building local ecosystems.
Whether it’s 5G, AI, cloud and big data or digital solutions for various industry verticals, we’re willing to cooperate for joint innovation.
Innovation, though, isn’t just the pursuit of technology. It also delivers intrinsic value to society and industry. But while technology promotes progress, challenges remain. At present, 50% of the world’s population remains unconnected to the Internet. And even in Europe, 43% of the population still lacks basic digital skills.
Huawei has been working to narrow the gap and promote digital inclusion, which is encapsulated in our action plan TECH4ALL, which focuses on three priorities, technology, application and skills, in four domains: health, education, development, and environment. In the next five years, our goal is to have helped 500 million more people to benefit from digital technology.
At the end of 2017, Huawei issued its new vision and mission: bring digital to every person, home and organization, for a fully connected, intelligent world.
This is a grand vision and it requires extensive open cooperation to achieve. But, we believe that together we can build a better connected, intelligent world.