Walk into 2021: Follow the Map
It’s one thing to just talk and talk — it’s quite another thing to stop talking and start walking.
And so, just before Christmas — nearing the end of a year we’ve all been waiting to see the back of — it was announced that Huawei’s 5G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) network gear passed 3GPP’s Security Assurance Specifications (SCAS) testing with flying colors. This, after passing the Network Equipment Security Assurance Scheme (NESAS) audit conducted by GSMA back in August 2020.
And what does this mean for the bigger picture as the new year begins?
With the ravages of COVID-19 seemingly set to be with us for some time yet, and with widespread international travel unlikely to arrive anytime soon, the importance of connectivity is going to be magnified ever further. And that extends across the board, from distance learning for students unable to physically enter schools and universities, to video calls to loved ones physically separated and scattered across the globe.
Read more: Bridging the Education Gap in Bangladesh
Why Standards Matter
We live in a uniquely challenging era, facing uniquely testing times. And although, collectively, we have proven ourselves capable of remarkable feats of endeavor, in all domains, roadblocks — sometimes of our own making — appear seemingly around every bend.
There’s an obvious, pressingly important case study here.
The global effort to develop effective vaccines in response to COVID-19 has been truly — truly — remarkable, whether we’re talking Pfizer-BioNTech (an American-German collaboration, driven by Turkish-German scientists), Oxford-AstraZeneca (a British-Swedish pharmaceutical company, hand-in-hand with Oxford University), Russia’s Sputnik V, or China’s Sinovac Biotech — and there are many more.
Here, we see global cooperation — built on trust — at its finest. And yet, vaccine skepticism is rife. Mon Dieu, reports have it, that less than half of the population of France would be willing to accept a vaccine. As is, in some sense, their right.
Of course, diverse opinions count. Nonetheless, we live complex, hyper-modern lives. So, although I’m no aerospace engineer (and I suspect you aren’t either), I happily entrust my safety to the experts in that particular field every time I step on a plane. The same is true for cars and trains. For subways, bridges, and underpasses. For the household medicines in my bathroom cabinet. For the products I buy in the supermarket. For the kibble I feed my pooch.
Simply stated: I have no grounds to doubt that which I know nothing about. And indeed while it is true that we should educate ourselves, our social — indeed global — contract, the way we lead our lives, requires that we do place our trust in experts and, indeed, each other.
This is where bodies such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) step in, to ensure — on all our behalves — that airline manufacturers adhere to certain, internationally agreed upon and accepted standards. Individual nations, of course, also have their own standards bodies across sectors and across industries, to stop pursuit of mere profit cutting safety corners and endangering us all. And in terms of COVID-19 vaccines, the US has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In New Zealand the equivalent body is called Medsafe.
To cycle back to where we began, the global telecoms industry has the likes of the GSMA and 3GPP to uphold objective, impartial standards — setting out an agreed universal pathway, a map if you like, and walking us all along it, as our achievements become ever greater the farther we go.
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.