Cross-industry partnerships will be pivotal to Singapore’s digital future when its economy eventually recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 virus, according to multinational technology company Huawei.
At the Huawei Ecosystem Summit 2020 held in Singapore last week, the company called for closer collaboration with its local partners to boost joint-solution innovation as Singapore doubles down on its push towards a digital future.
Said Mr Nicholas Ma, CEO of Huawei International: “COVID-19 is an accelerator of digital transformation. Technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G will reshape and transform our lives. It’s time for us to reach out, band together and discover new opportunities.”
In particular, remote education, telehealth and AI applications will be part of the post-pandemic new normal, he added.
At the beginning of this year, Huawei launched its regional headquarters for its cloud and AI business in Singapore to serve the Asia-Pacific region.
“When it comes to AI ecosystem-based collaboration in Singapore, we are happy to work together with the academic community and businesses to promote AI development, which advances both the technology and industries as a whole,” said Mr Jeffery Liu, president of Huawei Asia Pacific.
AN OPEN ECOSYSTEM TO FACILITATE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
At the summit, Huawei revealed that it will invest S$5 million in Singapore this year to nurture the ecosystem and strengthen joint-solution innovation with local partners. While Huawei will work with businesses across a range of industries, it will initially focus its efforts on four core sectors: Government, finance, transportation and Internet service providers.
“Organisations will need to redesign their services to adapt to the new normal. Digital technology powered by 5G, cloud and AI will be pivotal in this transformation,” said Mr Aaron Wang, managing director of Huawei Singapore Enterprise Business Group. “Under Huawei’s AI strategy, we will focus on connectivity and computing in Singapore by building an open ecosystem with our partners as we believe it will empower digital transformation for numerous industries, and help our ecosystem partners boost immunity eventually.”
Huawei has already established over 28,000 partnerships worldwide, with an annual growth rate of above 10 per cent for the eighth consecutive year. Some 86 per cent of its enterprise business group’s revenue was contributed through collaboration with its partners.
In Singapore, with the help of its partners, Huawei Singapore Enterprise’s 2019 revenue increased by 20 per cent year-on-year, with a 68-per-cent increase in total certifications obtained by business partners.
RESKILL AND UPSKILL
Huawei is also promoting the acceleration of training and upskilling for information and communications technology (ICT) professionals.
Local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can access and explore industry-focused digital transformation solutions that are supported by Huawei through its 5G-powered AI Lab.
The lab’s capabilities have been further enhanced through its integration with the Virtual AI Academy. Under this platform, Huawei will offer Singaporeans free online training opportunities with over 140 sets of courses in AI, 5G, cloud computing and big data. These courses are designed to train and certify all levels of users, from amateurs to professionals.
Since the start of Singapore’s Circuit Breaker measures in April, Huawei has partnered with local firms to enroll over 300 local ICT professionals at its Virtual AI Academy for training as part of a trial run. By the end of 2021, it aims to certify 1,000 ICT engineers here.
In addition to online courses, the academy offers trainees hands-on experience through its simulation labs in AI development. In the third quarter of 2020, Huawei plans to launch cyber range courses to equip SMEs and partners with relevant cybersecurity skills.
Prior to launching the academy, Huawei had been working with Nanyang Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and the Singapore University of Social Sciences to help next-generation talents hone their digital skills.
Huawei has also launched its Asia Pacific Ascend Partner Program to grow Singapore’s pool of professional AI developers. Huawei and its partners will offer local developers support in AI development, knowledge transfer, go-to-market and strategic resources.
GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS
AI, cloud and 5G technologies have already propelled some industries on the path towards the future.
In healthcare, for instance, Concord International Hospital in Singapore uses Huawei IdeaHub, an intelligent whiteboard, to conduct telemedicine collaboration and remote video consultations to reduce cross infection among medical staff.
Meanwhile, schools have adapted quickly to the pandemic with online learning. In Singapore, inter-school competition National Chinese Challenge will be held online for the first time in its seven-year history. It will be hosted on the online education platform Ulearning, jointly developed by Huawei Cloud.
The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the importance of digital transformation for business continuity. In the era of intelligence, a mutually beneficial ecosystem enables all stakeholders to use their strengths to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
“As the saying goes, if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together,” said Mr Ma. “Together, we will build a thriving ecosystem and usher in a fully connected, intelligent world.”