The Digital Nervous System

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By Dr Zheng Zhibin, Translated By Keina Chiu | Through combining mathematics and physics to access big data, Huawei is creating a smart city supported by a central Intelligent Operation Center as the main coordinator of the entire digital nervous system. With the help of robotics and artificial intelligence, the Intelligent Operation Center gives us valuable insights that help us tremendously in terms of city management. With an omnipresent broadband network, we support high-speed data, video streaming, and speech-audio services.

Huawei also offers an Internet of Things (IoT) platform to gather and disseminate real-time information about the citizens’ health, traffic, the environment, as well as ICT infrastructure.

We believe that a smart city is a lifeform filled with limitless opportunities. Through a comprehensive nervous system, including a brain (control center) and nerves (web technologies and sensor networks), we continually work to enhance smart city operations by connecting the dots between mathematics and physics.

For smart cities to achieve perpetual growth, we need an effervescent platform, just like a fertilized piece of land that requires careful cultivation.

Process Over Results

Smart cities are always improving and developing. Currently, each smart city is distinctive by their uniqueness and working to innovate, which is what makes it so hard to say which smart city is the best.

For example, Barcelona is very famous as a smart city and this is a result of their good city planning in the 19th Century. For this, Barcelona sets a very good example for city planning.

In China, Dunhuang is a small city with only 30,000 dwellers that caters annually to 6-7 million visitors. Since 2013, it has  been developing a smart city through tourism. Over the past three years, this has greatly brought forward Dunhuang in so many aspects – including the city’s economic development, tourism industry, lifestyle sector, and cityscape. Hence, I’d say Dunhuang is also a very good example of a model smart city.

The ‘Platform + Ecosystem’ Strategy

Since smart cities are a giant system of countless intricacies, it is difficult to meet consumers’ demands merely through our own endeavors. Therefore, we prioritize the regulation of the ecosystem greatly, and truly hope that effaorts to convert traditional cities into smart cities can be facilitated through cooperating with our partners in the ecosystem.

A typical example of what we have for now is Weifang. Currently, we have invited a total of more than 50 experienced partners to transform the region into an Internet-of-Things City 3.0. Positive results have been yielded so far.

Huawei’s Visions For Greater China

Apart from developing Chinese smart cities – such as Shenzhen, Weifang, Zibo, Guiyang, and Huangpu in Shanghai – Huawei is also dedicated to developing smart cities on a global scale.

A typical example would be when the Saudi Royal Commission RCY invited us to help with the smart conversion of Yanbu City, an oil region by the Saudi Red Sea. This was to improve their investment ecosystem, and actualize reforms within the manufacturing industry.

Meanwhile, smart city development has already reached the third stage after three years of hard work. Subsequently, Yanbu’s gross economic growth has been upped by 16%, while citizen satisfaction has surpassed 90%.

Consumer Education – China’s Greatest Hurdle

At the moment, consumer knowledge is still the biggest challenge for smart cities. Other than that, we’ve also been facing major obstructions amidst business transformation processes while dealing with government clients during construction periods.

Smart cities must avoid being an “Information Island”, and focus on transforming data into reality. At the same time, they should possess a strong system of developmental infrastructure, which is vital in combating the challenges that arise amid the digitalization of conventional societies.

For this, we’d say the smart city project is our top priority now. Simultaneously, a competent support team to facilitate implementation is simply indispensable. Last but not least, ample capital and funding are also prerequisites for success.

We are sure that smart cities will be very effective in facilitating business, improving current policies, and in benefiting people’s lives.

About The Author

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Dr Zheng Zhibin is a professor-level senior engineer and the General Manager of Huawei’s Global Smart City Business Development. He is also the Vice President of the Cyber Security Association of China, and a “China Cloud” specialist of the National High-tech R&D Program (863 Program) under China’s Twelfth Five-Year Plan.

As an invited researcher of the China Smarter City Development and Research Center, Dr Zheng is also patent holder of over 100 innovations, with a specialization in areas of informatization, cyber security, smart city, accountancy, and big data. Dr. Zheng was the awardee of the Second Class Award of The State Science and Technology Prizes, which is the highest honor in People’s Republic of China in science and technology.

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