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Huawei Puts Cloud, Video at Top of Its MWC Agenda

LONDON -- Huawei put cloud and video at the top of its MWC 2017 agenda in a pre-event briefing for the press and analysts in London Monday.

Huawei executives delivered multiple presentations about the vendor's focus areas for the coming year and, perhaps surprisingly, it took more than 30 minutes for 5G to even get mentioned.

The big push for Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. currently is twofold: to persuade network operators that video is the revenue growth engine in which they should invest and to expand its cloud-oriented product portfolio.

Of course, like the rest of the industry, Huawei believes 5G is a very important topic -- cloud and video are, of course, key components of the 5G story. The vendor's chief marketing officer for the wireless network product line, Yuefeng Zhou, did focus in on the evolution of mobile broadband towards 5G and noted that the vendor would have its first commercial 5G products ready for the market in 2018, when the standards are set to be released.

Video – a trillion dollar opportunity?
Video is one of a number of growth opportunities for communications service providers, according to Ken Wang, the company's president of Global Marketing and Solution Sales, who suggested the video market offers up "the next trillion dollar opportunity" for service providers.

There are other avenues of growth too, of course -- the general digitization of industries (energy, manufacturing, transport and so on) provides a $15 trillion opportunity by 2025, according to Huawei.

But putting video front and center is something Huawei believes makes sense right now and it matches operator strategic imperatives, according to its customer research: Expanding video service offerings can help to reduce churn and grow ARPU (average revenue per user) levels, noted Wang. And it's not just about video entertainment -- this is about enterprise video and video communications services too.

The question, he added, is whether the biggest advantage for network operators right now can come from investing in the underlying technology that can deliver a broader range of video services or investing in content.

Doubling down on cloud
Huawei is also going to be pitching a lot of cloud platform enhancements to the MWC crowds as the NFV era starts to embrace cloud-native capabilities and approaches such as DevOps and microservices.

The company previously unveiled its CloudRAN platform and, in November 2016, its CloudAIR proposition for mobile spectrum management that could open up new possibilities for the dynamic and efficient sharing of valuable capacity. (See Huawei Boasts Shared Spectrum Breakthrough.)

Added to that it has a number of additional propositions, including:

  • CloudFAN – Virtualization in the fixed access network, including shared OLT (optical line terminal) capabilities and cloud control of home networks.
  • CloudCampus – Systems that enable the delivery of cloud-based services for enterprise campus networks, moving on from the current resale of network elements to campus network operations teams.
  • CloudEPN – The cloud enterprise network (EPN), which is essentially Huawei's SD-WAN offering.
  • CloudMetro – The vendor's Cloud Metro Engine to enable virtualized functions such as a cloud BRAS (broadband remote access server), already deployed at China Mobile.
  • CloudDCI – Shared resources and centralized capabilities for data center interconnect (DCI) deployments.
  • Integrated Telco Cloud – The NFV infrastructure (NFVi) with integrated security, unified management of virtual network functions from multiple vendors/developers, automated service provisioning, multi-later fault detection and other core network functions. This comes, of course, with supporting systems integration services, which is where much value can be gained for the vendor and a lot of logistical efficiency gained for the network operator.

    All of the major network equipment providers will be heading to Barcelona with a suitcase full of announcements and proposals designed to entice mobile operators, much of it built around LTE-Advanced Pro (4.5G) and 5G products and migration paths: It's interesting to see how, as part of that pitch, Huawei has decided that its spearhead for 2017 should be video and cloud.

    It's certainly an interesting approach and, in many ways, a compelling story: What it needs, though, is much more flesh (in terms of economics and the timing of commercial offerings) on the bones of a carefully crafted marketing pitch.

    — Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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