ICT industry transitioning into intelligent economy era

29th March 2024 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The global information and communication technology (ICT) industry is undergoing a significant shift as the world transitions from a digital era into an era of the intelligence of everything.

As the now-entrenched digital era advances, ICT giant Huawei is preparing for the next technological leap.

Unpacking its plans and unveiling a series of solutions and products at the Mobile World Congress, held from February 26 to 29, in Barcelona, Spain, the company’s core theme was ensuring that it, and its customers, have the foundation to embrace the new, emerging era of the intelligent economy.

Over the past 20 years, the ICT sector has experienced many rapid changes, transforming the way we work and play, unlocking a $1-trillion opportunity, ultimately culminating in a new era that spurs questions around what type of networks are needed to prepare for this new intelligent world, says Huawei corporate senior VP and ICT sales and service president Li Peng.

The move from the digital era into the intelligent era will be rapid, says Huawei board member and ICT products and solutions president Yang Chaobin, pointing out that it took the industrial era 100 years to add 30% to global gross domestic product (GDP), compared with the digital era, from 2000, which took 20 years to achieve that same 30% addition to GDP.

The intelligent era, from 2025, is expected to take just five years to reach the same contribution.

“As evolving network technology continues to redefine information and value streams, and unleashes the power of ubiquitous connectivity, we will soon find ourselves in a fully intelligent world,” Peng says.

The rising intelligent economy is expected to be worth more than $18.8-trillion by 2030, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18%, compared with the digital economy’s CAGR of 6.1% and the traditional economy’s CAGR of 2.3%.

This will drive the rapid evolution to 5.5G and AI-native cloud infrastructure, enabling innovative application scenarios and business models in a world where it will be more efficient to create, transfer and process information.

“New Calling, cloud phones and glasses-free three-dimensional are getting more and more attention from consumers. For example, New Calling's value-added functions like virtual avatars are becoming quite popular. Users are also willing to pay more for services that deliver real-time experience, such as one-stop car insurance claims.”

Generative AI, already powering new types of connected objects and scenarios, such as digital/virtual humans and intelligent cars, continues to drive the mobile industry into the era of all intelligence, with next-generation AI phones having more powerful storage, display and imaging capabilities, Peng continues.

The AI-generated content applications will power the creation of over 100- billion gigabytes of data and drive over one-trillion gigabytes of data traffic, creating new opportunities for carriers.

Huawei predicts that, in 2026 alone, AI will be used to produce over 250-billion images and 70-million videos, completely redefining the world's approach to content creation.

“It is predicted that by 2026 more than 80% of businesses will harness AIGC in production, transforming 70% of design and development work. By 2028, 75% of software engineers will have AI assistants by their side, up from just 10% at the start of 2023,” Huawei Cloud CTO Bruno Zhang adds.

As 5.5G, AI and cloud converge, carriers can unlock the potential of new applications and capabilities.

Peng points to one carrier launching a special five-generation (5G) live streaming package to provide guaranteed uplink for high-definition seamless live streaming, with the carrier increasing its average revenue per user by over 70%.

In the transport sector, another carrier's 5G New Calling services provide accurate real-time positioning and interaction mid-call for applications such as car insurance claims.

“This enables car owners to complete one-stop insurance claim filing, on-site survey and claim settlement in the event of a traffic accident. The one-stop solution reduces the handling time from hours to minutes.”

Use cases such as these can help carriers successfully monetise the business-to- business-to-consumer market.

As everything can be connected from roads to warehouses, from land to sea, and from cities to the most remote places on Earth, the intelligent world will raise the bar for networks, and carriers should focus on high-quality networking, multi-dimensional monetisation, emerging services and generative AI to grasp these opportunities.

These new scenarios require better infrastructure, including new models for cooperative storage and computing between cloud, edge and devices, and guaranteed uplink speed, quality of service and latency is a must.

Higher network requirements are needed for this intelligent world, such as uplink ultrabroadband, real-time broadband communication and full-scenario Internet of Things.

“5.5G will be our fast-forward. Pioneers are already paving the way, from China to the Middle East, and, in Europe, we are seeing more and more 10 GB smart cities.”

Many leading carriers have already verified advanced 5.5G capabilities on commercial networks, covering a wide range of scenarios, including smarter connections for people, homes, vehicles and stadiums.

“The intelligent world is around the corner and the opportunities are endless,” Peng concludes.