2024 WBBA Broadband Development Conference in Shanghai - Exploring Effective Paths for Artificial Intelligence to Reshape Cloud Computing and Broadband Industries

July 9, 2024

4 Min Read

On June 27, the World Broadband Association (WBBA) held its Broadband Development Conference in Shanghai. With the theme "AI Empowering Cloud & Broadband Excellence: Opportunities vs Challenges," the conference gathered global industry partners, experts, and scholars to discuss the effective ways AI can innovate cloud computing and broadband technology, foster industry growth, and begin a new chapter of development.

Key figures such as Zhao Zhiguo, Chief Engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT); Ke Ruiwen, Chairman of China Telecom; Li Zhengmao, Chairman of WBBA; and Mats Granryd, Director General of GSMA, attended and delivered speeches. Li Jun, Deputy General Manager of China Telecom, chaired the forum. Notable speakers included Tomas Lamanauskas, Deputy Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); Tang Yongbo, Senior Vice President of China Unicom; Wen Ku, Chairman of China Communications Standards Association (CCSA); Chen Banghua, President of Huawei Optical Product Line; He Zhongjiang, General Manager of China Telecom AI Science and Technology Company Limited; and Yao Zhenyu, Vice President of Lenovo.

Zhao Zhiguo emphasized that AI, as a strategic technology driving the new wave of technological revolution and industrial transformation, is deeply integrating with broadband networks, creating new opportunities for development. He highlighted the need to infuse AI into broadband networks, enhance network intelligence, leverage data value, and upgrade network capabilities to support the high-quality development of the information and communication industry.

Ke Ruiwen underscored the increasing necessity and urgency of cloud-network convergence in the AI era, noting that telecom operators are uniquely positioned with their network, computing, and vast data resources. He shared China Telecom's success with the AI+ initiative, which promotes AI applications like Smart Computing Connections and Big Models, and expressed hope for future collaboration with global partners to bridge the AI gap in technology and industry.

Mats Granryd highlighted AI's vast potential as a key future technology, emphasizing the need to explore its integration across industries to achieve significant value. He noted that while AI can enhance mobile communication operations and user experience, it also requires robust 5G, cloud computing, and infrastructure support. He called for attention to the ethical development of AI and collaborative efforts to ensure global benefits.

Li Zhengmao noted that cloud network broadband is accelerating AI's penetration across industries and fostering cross-border integration between emerging and traditional sectors. He stressed the importance of ensuring AI's safety, trustworthiness, and ethical application, and shared WBBA's commitment to scientific and technological innovation through AI Working Groups and industry research.

Tomas Lamanauskas pointed out that AI is widely used to improve service quality and operational efficiency across industries. He emphasized the importance of enhancing infrastructure and interconnectivity to unlock AI's full potential and called for collaborative efforts to establish sustainable development standards while managing AI's risks.

Tang Yongbo spoke about AI's role in transforming broadband networks from "optical broadband" to "intelligent broadband," injecting new vitality into network and business innovation. He detailed China Unicom's efforts to integrate AI into broadband core networks, transforming service capabilities and achieving end-to-end planning, construction, and optimization for enhanced digital intelligence services.

Chen Banghua urged industry partners to collaborate on innovations in DCN (data centre network), DCI (data centre inter-network), DCA (data centre access network), and integrated network technology to boost the fixed network industry's development.

Wen Ku noted that AI model training and inference require strong AI computing power and high-bandwidth, low-latency, reliable, and scalable networks. AI services need cloud platforms and broadband networks for real-time responses.

He Zhongjiang highlighted China Telecom's achievements in large-scale AI resource construction, AI data governance, and general AI layout, which support both internal digital transformation and external production.

Yao Zhenyu discussed the powerful synergy between AI and hybrid cloud, where cloud computing supports AI and AI enhances cloud efficiency. He shared Lenovo's initiatives in AI deployment, intelligent infrastructure, and digital transformation.

The panel discussion, featuring experts like Mark Oliver from Omdia, Abdoulie U. Bass from Gamtel, Peter Hu from ZTE, and Donny Janssens from Nokia, focused on integrating AI in cloud and broadband networks to improve user experience and network performance, create new business models, and foster industry collaboration.

At the conference, WBBA's Martin Creaner, Ookla's Victor Zeng, Tayeb Ben Meriem, and Chen Zhonghua released two whitepapers: "Network Evolution for the 5.5/6G Era" and "Fixed Networks Energy Efficiency Toolkit."

WBBA, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, is a global, industry-led, non-profit organization promoting the future development of cloud, network, and broadband. It serves broadband operators, manufacturers, service providers, policymakers, and financial institutions worldwide, fostering communication, technical cooperation, and innovation in global cloud and network infrastructure. The association includes 85 members, such as China Telecom, China Unicom, Swisscom, BT, Huawei, and Nokia.

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