TECH4ALL: Join Us in Building an Inclusive Digital World

ByCatherine Du

November 19, 2020

Catherine Du

At the closing and award ceremony of the Huawei ICT Competition 2019–2020 Global Final, I had the pleasure of presenting the TECH4ALL Social Contribution Award to the Singapore Polytechnic Team. I also gave a speech introducing the TECH4ALL digital inclusion initiative and outlined some of its key projects. This post includes the speech I gave at the event, more information about the ICT Competition and the winners of the TECH4ALL prize, and information about how you can join us in expanding digital inclusion through technology.

Catherine Du gives a speech on TECH4ALL at the final of the Huawei ICT Competition 2019-2020 Global Final

What Is TECH4ALL?

First, I’ll introduce TECH4ALL. You may know that Huawei’s vision and mission is to bring digital to every person, home, and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. TECH4ALL is also driven by this vision and mission, aiming to ensure that everyone can benefit from digital technology. 

Aligned with the United Nation’s SDGs, TECH4ALL is Huawei’s long-term digital inclusion initiative. As technology is increasingly pervasive in every aspect of life, ICT has become an enabler of sustainability. 

TECH4ALL focuses on four areas: equity and quality in education, environmental protection, inclusive healthcare, and balanced development. To achieve progress in these four domains, ICT is the key and its developers who are making dreams come true.

A Story of Rainforests & AI

Many of us love traveling to beautiful places. And the story I’m about to tell happened in a beautiful place called Osa Peninsula rainforest, which is home to a vast array of animal and plant life. However, like many other rainforest ecosystems, illegal logging, poaching, and insufficient conservation efforts threaten its existence.

In fact, the world’s rainforests could disappear in just 40 years if current trends continue.

Illegal logging accounts for up to 90% of all deforestation, which in turn destroys the habitats of flora and fauna and drives species to extinction. This fate awaits spider monkeys in the Osa Peninsula if we don’t act now. As a keystone species that disperses the seeds of various flora, they are essential to the well-being of the rainforest ecosystem. But every year their numbers continue to decline.

How can we stop this deforestation and protect the habitats of keystone species?

An NGO named Rainforest Connection has deployed Huawei’s cloud AI to develop a model to detect the sounds of spider monkeys and chainsaws used for illegal logging. These solar-powered “Guardians” use upcycled Huawei phones to detect forest sounds. Running autonomously, each Guardian can cover an area of 3 square kilometers and run 24/7 for up to two years.

Many partners are involved in the Osa conservation drive. The AI model for animal detection is helping biologists and rangers on the ground detect spider monkeys and illegal logging events, and identify other areas that require monitoring.

By the end of 2020, Guardians will be deployed in 18 countries across 5 continents. Moving forward, Guardians will be applied to other conservation programs.

We hope that one day the fight to save our rainforests will end; however, bridging the digital divide to leave no one behind in the digital world is a constant endeavor.

Read more about the Rainforest Guardian program.

Education for All with AI

Another story concerns a high school in Qinghai Yushu where many students from ethnic minorities study.

For minority students, English is their third language. To some extent, this has increased the challenge of minority students in learning English, especially spoken English. Huawei works with Emotech, an AI enterprise partner, to enable education by leveraging technology. AI is used to assist students to learn English. Huawei tablets are used to collect English pronunciation patterns in real time, and AI multi-modal technologies are used to compare the pronunciation patterns with English words. The platform gives suggestions on how to improve pronunciation in real time. In Qinghai Yushu Experimental Middle School, the original teaching method of one English teacher per class has changed to having a “private” English teacher for each student, greatly improving English teaching efficiency. Currently, 50 Tibetan students are using AI to learn English.

There are many stories like this. We’re finding that more and more young people first think about how to solve social problems with technology.

For example, last year and this year, the TECH4ALL award-winning project teams at the Huawei Developer Challenge focused on improving the quality of life for people with disabilities, including the visually impaired and deaf. For example, the sign language translator gloves project developed by the “Forever Young” team from Fuzhou University students uses Huawei Cloud services and EI’s speech recognition and speech synthesis technologies to convert speech and sign language in both directions, helping those with disabilities achieve barrier-free communication.

Innovation for inclusion relies on ICT talent. Today, is just the beginning – we’re always looking for new partners and developers to make a difference. Click the link to see how you can join us as a TECH4ALL partner.

Let’s make dreams come true together.

About the Huawei ICT Competition

The Huawei ICT Competition is an extension of the Huawei ICT Academy, which establishes cooperation between Huawei and universities and is part of Huawei’s TECH4ALL initiative. The competition gives students to pit their ICT skills and knowledge against each other.

This year, the Singapore Polytechnic Team won the TECH4ALL Social Contribution Award with their entry — Forever-Smart glasses, which was designed using NB-IoT technology and is intended to benefit people with Alzheimer’s.

The Singapore Polytechnic Team: Tutor Bochun and students Zhang, Qiang, and Fatima

Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.

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Catherine Du

Director, TECH4ALL Digital Inclusion Program Office, Huawei

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