Huawei CEO announces labs for mobile

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Huawei rotating CEO Ken Hu announces X Labs for mobile broadband research, covering three major markets

Huawei has announced a plan to bring together operators, technology providers and vertical industry partners to explore use cases for mobile applications, drive innovation and promote an open industry ecosystem.

Ken Hu, deputy chairman and rotating CEO of Huawei, announced the project, X Labs, and called on operators to build application-centric networks and help establish an open ecosystem.

“At Huawei, we aim to support and enable the mobile ecosystem. We have made a lot of progress, and we want to do more,” said Hu, speaking at the company’s seventh annual Mobile Broadband Forum, held in Tokyo.

He said that X Labs is a research platform designed to explore three separate areas of mobile communications – people, verticals and household – with three separate units, mLab, short for mobile user experience lab, vLab focusing on vertical applications, and hLab, focusing on connecting more households and developing smart home applications.

Hu said there was “a wild world of mobile applications”, with several key enabling technologies, including mobile broadband networks, sensors, man-machine interfaces, cloud computing, big data and AI, which themselves are developing at a lightning pace.

“The first opportunity we see is in video. Video has become the most popular form of content delivery in media, social, and professional communications, like marketing. Video and images now account for more than 60% of mobile network traffic.

Beyond video, the second major opportunity for carriers is in the household market, he said. Of the two billion households in the world, 1.3 billion don’t have broadband connections, and 300 million have connections slower than 10 Mbps, said Hu.

The vertical market is on the verge of explosive growth, said Hu. He encouraged operators to identify specific opportunities that can best leverage the capabilities of mobile communications, and then adopt a fresh mindset when it comes to collaboration.

“I firmly believe that in the future, all services will be delivered through mobile applications,” said Hu. “When the [Apple] App Store first launched eight years ago, it only had 500 apps. In six years, the number reached one million. It doubled in another two years. Today, we have over two million in the App Store and five million apps in the Android app stores. This is truly explosive growth.”