Technology

Technology (149)

To Connect The Unconnected With Innovations Towards Inclusive Growth

Twenty-three years ago, when former South African President Nelson Mandela spoke in Geneva at the International Telecommunication Union’s World TELECOM 1995, he underlined the importance of universal access to communication and information.

Mandela stressed the need to eliminate the divide between what he called the information-rich and the information-poor. His words were echoed by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ITU’s Telecom World 2018, he mentioned the words inclusivity or inclusive at least 6 times in his 20-minute opening ceremony speech. 

Information and communication technology is developing at an unprecedented pace sweeping us into a digital era, where information has become a more important resource than raw materials and energy. The information economy is characterized by processing and developing data, instead of industrial production. Access to information is now essential for individuals’ development and national inclusive and sustainable growth. 

The African Union Agenda 2063 has acknowledged the importance of digital inclusivity to bring the continent on par with the rest of the world as an information society. Many African countries have embarked on their individual digital transformation journeys, by providing government services digitally and expanding access to ICT to cover more areas. 

However, there are still many people on the continent especially from rural areas which still lack basic access to information. According to the GSMA, in 2017, the number of unique mobile subscribers reached the symbolic mark of 5 billion, with 3.5 billion of them using mobile networks to access the internet.

Despite this achievement, there are still 3.8 billion people who remain offline, out of which 1.2 billion are not covered by a broadband capable network – the vast majority of this uncovered population lives in the rural areas in developing countries. Africa is home to the largest number of developing countries. On average, 69 percent of the African population do not have access to internet, with many of those unconnected living in rural areas. 

A few months ago I travelled to Zambia where I visited Mushindushi, a small village 300 kilometres from Lusaka. There I heard that people usually climbed 2-story high ant hills to get network to make a call. Due to poor coverage, locals don’t usually carry their mobile phones with them including teachers at a local primary school.

Since we were planning to cover the area, I talked with one of the teachers and asked him what he was expecting the future to be with adequate network and access to Internet, he hesitated for quite a while without eventually giving me an answer.  This reminds me of a survey conducted by Facebook in 11 countries, which found that over two thirds of people who are currently offline did not know what Internet is, let alone how to benefit from this powerful tool. 

Rural coverage is an universal challenge not only for countries in Africa; deploying infrastructure in remote areas can be twice as expensive, while revenue opportunities are as much as 10 times lower, a combination that deeply affects the business case for carriers to deploy communication infrastructure. In other words, high prices of deploying infrastructure in rural areas, combined with a relatively weak demand for mobile internet services, results in a supply-demand equilibrium with low population coverage. 

Governments usually require carriers to cover specific locations in rural areas from the perspective of social development and realization of basic human rights. It is true that it is a social obligation to cover rural areas, but it is also true that there must be a sustainable commercial imperative for rural coverage. 

According to GSMA’s report titled Enabling Rural Coverage, coverage obligations that are too ambitious and disregard the realities of the market will be impossible to attain, “without creating any incentive to expand coverage”. 

To break this vicious cycle and help carriers go the last mile for rural coverage, Huawei leveraged its global R&D resources and come up with a site solution called RuralStar. With this innovation, a base station can be deployed within one week, shortened from one month, with total costs reduced by around 70%. Moreover, it uses special equipment to cut down the power consumption to about 200 watts, equivalent to the power of about five regular light bulbs. This allows it to use solar panels in areas with little or no electric power. 

For carriers, this innovation means that instead of covering a wide area including those sparsely populated places with costly base stations, operators can now flag and cost-effectively target relatively populous areas, where there is a larger user base for revenue generation; the payback period of investment in rural coverage can be shortened by up to 70% from 10 years to less than 3 years. This makes rural coverage a profitable business which in turn will benefit rural areas socially and economically. 

This transformation means dynamic economic performance stimulated by active flows of information, goods and capital; it means agricultural produce can be sold in time and at good price, and teaching materials can be available at any time in any place; it also means health workers which are usually scarce resources in rural areas can be just a phone call away. 

Innovation opens a door for the unconnected and under connected people to a world of numerous possibilities for development. With this innovation-driven connectivity comes opportunity and the potential for more inclusive growth and sustainable development.

 

More Than 86% Of Businesses And Organizations Uses AI By 2025

By 2025, more than 86% of businesses and organizations will use AI, and data utilization will reach 80%; AI services will be everywhere, creating an intelligent world that will reveal endless vistas of opportunity, according to a research by Huawei, a global leading ICT solutions provider. 

The latest research titled Global Connectivity Index (GCI), shows that to most countries in Sub Saharan Africa(SSA) have embarked on the road to a digital economy, but they are at different stages of this journey. The bulk of the SSA region countries lie at the start of the digital economy transformation road. To tap into the inherent value of technology and ICT particularly for its people and businesses, SSA region countries must establish and complete the foundations including ubiquitous broadband, national data centers and cloud technologies. 

Chen Zhijun, president of Huawei Enterprise Southern Africa Region, said, human society is at the threshold of a fully connected, intelligent world, businesses and organizations need to find the right path to make the most of this intelligence. To create a platform for businesses and organizations to exchange ideas and stake their claim in the intelligent world, Huawei is going to hold HUAWEI CONNECT 2018 from October 10th to 12th, 2018 in Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Centre, China. This event will be joined by the best minds in the industry – including global ICT leaders, industry experts, and ecosystem partners – to chart the way forward and explore new opportunities. 

At HUAWEI CONNECT 2018, participants will be able to dive deep into industry trends and share ideas with industry leaders; Learn about Huawei's AI strategy and full-stack solutions for all scenarios, which help businesses and organizations go intelligent to seize opportunities and increase efficiency; explore new advancements in technology and digital solutions, and share innovations and best practices in AI, cloud, 5G, IoT, and video; Discover new ideas, prospects, partnerships, and business opportunities.“The door to the intelligent world is opening. To avoid being left behind, every developer needs to know where AI is heading, how to extract value from it, and keep moving forward. AI is ushering nations, organizations and businesses into a golden age of competence, creativity, and productivity. To seize the opportunities, businesses and organizations need to proactively activate intelligence for their growth and long term prosperous.” Chen said.= 

 

A Look At Ecommerce And Business Culture In Uganda

Traditionally in Uganda, business has been created based on the standard models of manufacturing, distribution, and retail. It often involves opening up a brick and mortar store that services an identified segment of customers.

Only 5 years ago, entrepreneurial urban youths were interested in apprenticeships or focussed opening up retail shops and boutiques. Today, however, the wealth that is breeding a new generation of millionaires in Uganda is being created through new and unconventional business opportunities.

With a steady increase in Internet connectivity, Internet world stats puts Uganda at 31% penetration rate, more and more Ugandans are embracing e-commerce. E-commerce refers to commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet.

Fiona Karungi is the sole proprietor of Pretty Perfect Uganda, a jewelry and accessories store. She started her business as a shop on Instagram, a social media site, but “felt it needed a more permanent home”.

One year down the line, she created prettyperfect.com, a website that she believes has given her brand more credibility.

“Because we had decided not to go the brick and mortar route, a website was ideal. On average, we receive about 250 orders monthly, 20% of these are from the website and the remaining 80% from Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp,” Fiona says.

Another budding entrepreneur Vaolah Amumpaire runs a hardware store online. “Wenahardware.com is Uganda’s first hardware only online store that seeks to revolutionise buying of construction materials and everything else used by constructors,” Vaolah says.

The government’s activities.

In October 2016, the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and National Guidance through its mandated agency National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) commenced the trial provision of free wireless access to the Internet in Kampala Central Business District and parts of Entebbe.

A quick call to NITA-U reveals that 169 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Local Governments (LGs) are now connected as well as 284 residential and commercial sites.

However, in July 2018, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), following directives from the government, imposed a tax on Over The Top (OTT) services involving applications that offer voice and messaging over the Internet. Users are charged 200 shillings ($0.0531) per day for services such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. That amounts to around $19 per year in a country where gross domestic product per capita was around $615 in 2016, according to World Bank figures.

A 1% tax on mobile money transactions was also introduced at the same time. It has since been revised from 1 to 0.5 percent by Parliament.

A growing industry

We visited Jumia, the leading online shop in Uganda, with an average of 300,000 visitors monthly. The bulk of Jumia’s orders are placed online via mobile. Most customers buy mobile phones, electronics, and household goods like detergent and sugar. 

The headquarters of Jumia, along Lumumba Avenue in Kampala, is a colourful collection of unassuming buildings that house Jumia’s services like Jumia Food and Jumia Travel. The common area is furnished in African print beanbags and pallet seats; a TV is mounted on the wall and remains off. In one corner of the lounge, an employee takes a Skype call.

Outside, in the parking lot, a fleet of delivery agents on motorcycles prepare to start their day. In the lounge is a painting of Africa on the wall with words like “Africa”, “Internet” and “leadership”. The organisation maintains a “startup attitude”. Jumia says.

“We truly believe in the power of the Internet and how it can change everyday lives, especially in Uganda,” says Neville Igasira Iguundura, Jumia’s Chief Marketing Officer. “You can save time and money by shopping online.”

Other local e-commerce sites include Kikuu, Parple Rayn, Dondolo, UgKart and 2fumbe.

Why trade online?

E-commerce offers a whole range of opportunities, like marketing, especially on social media, that can generate more sales. A website also offers customers around-the-clock, convenient service, that can boost your business.
E-commerce is an ideal way to take your brand from a traditional brick and mortar store to an innovative, well-loved brand.  

Due to the Internet’s accessibility, millions of people across the world can view your website at any time, meaning that for those looking to expand their businesses and reach out to a larger audience, you have many more opportunities to do so.

Juma Farid is a traditional healer with his own website and a sizeable social media presence. It provides him with an avenue to reach a wider clientele.

How to start

Social media is the simplest way to sell online. In Uganda, Facebook is the most popular site over 2 million Ugandans and presents a cost-effective way to reach all these people. Despite the social media tax, many Ugandans have found a way to circumvent this by the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that mask the users’ exact location.

There are also tools like freewebstore.com and www.mozello.com that help build free online stores.

Digital Technologies Provide Fertile Ground For Uganda

Every day, the African tech sector uses some of the most basic mobile technologies in the world to create new disruption. A rising generation of technologists, coders and entrepreneurs are stepping up to solve some of our continent's most pressing problems. 

Entirely new industries around payment solutions, crowdsourcing and entertainment media are springing up in tech hubs in Kenya, Nigeria and other countries. 

The rise of companies like Jumia, Africa’s very first ecommerce platform, and Safeboda, providing transportation solutions in East Africa is encouraging and opening up new ways for Uganda to grow.

Below we look at some of the players and the ways they are contributing. 

First things first, the role of mobile 

For many Ugandans, the mobile phone is not just a communication device but also the primary channel to get online, as well as a vital tool to access various life-enhancing services. According to GSMA, mobile adoption in the African region has grown rapidly in recent years: overall subscriber penetration reached 44% in 2017, up from just 25% at the start of this decade. 

A report by Jumia earlier this year indicates that 77% of their website visitors use the mobile phone to log in.

 

Access to mobile connectivity is vital in empowering consumers and driving economic growth. The technology enhances access to many essential services, including education, health and utilities, while also enabling business models that support the efficient and sustainable delivery of key services through mobile-based platforms such as mobile money. 

Businesses are going online 

Jumia provides world-class, affordable and convenient online services to consumers in Africa that help them fulfill their basic everyday needs. We help them “save time and money”, Jumia says.

Online marketplaces provide the digital infrastructure to help businesses grow – both those trading on the platform, and those providing supporting services. 

Joyce Akello has been trading on Jumia for close to two years now as a home-and-living retailer. It’s been life changing for her and her family. She remembers when she was earning 300,000 UGX a month at an unsatisfying job. “I now make at least 800,000 UGX in sales per week on Jumia, and have grown to open up my own shop.” she says. 

Education is evolving

Fundibots is a Kampala based company that provides hands-on, practical Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education to children and youth in classrooms, communities and universities. They incorporate robotics, art and creativity to enable very diverse groups of students achieve strong learning outcomes.

Through their various school programs,  they also design curriculums, facilitate hands-on robotics training workshops, speaker presentations, science project assistance and guidance, career and skills development, mentorship. 

Providing Financial solutions 

The technology behind mobile money has revolutionised Uganda’s mobile economy. Mobile money technologies have become pervasive regardless of the quasi-inexistent banking system. The mobile economy in Uganda was valued at $12.26 billion as of March 2017. 

Startups like Ensibuuko that provides a cloud-based microfinance software for community-level financial entities in Africa. It extends modern electronic banking infrastructure to financial service entities in the developing world, helping savings and loans cooperatives go paperless and become more efficient by digitizing how they manage customer data and transactions.

It allows for web services even in rural areas with poor telecom infrastructure. The Ensibuuko software is also integrated to the mobile phone network and allows users to access their account via mobile phone — they can check the balance, make deposits and withdraw. This improves access and quality of service delivery. 

A huge opportunity for job creation  

Good-paying work has come with some of Africa’s tech innovations, such as SafeBoda, which has more than 6000 licensed motorcycle-taxi riders in Uganda and has recently opened up a riders’ academy to offer professional training to boda boda riders. This goes a long way in reducing road accidents and supporting safe movement of passengers in Kampala and other areas.  

Today, Jumia Uganda has over 500 vendors selling on its platform. These range from large businesses like Anisuma (who might employ 2-3 people to manage their Jumia sales) to SMEs (who typically employ 1). These people are managing their online stores and dropping off products with Jumia. 

Sources: GSMA 2018, NatGeo, Jumia Mobile Report 2018

 

Huawei Introduces Global ICT Skills Competition To Uganda

Huawei, a leading global Information and Communications Technology solutions provider (“ICT”) has today registered 800 plus I.T students from Universities all over Uganda to take part in the global Huawei ICT competition.

This is the first round of registration that happened between 17th and 18th September 2018 at Makerere, Kyambogo, Muni, MUST, Lira, Gulu and Busitema University respectively.

With the theme “Connection • Glory • Future”, the Huawei 2018-2019 Global ICT competition aims to provide a platform for global ICT talents to compete and communicate, promote high-quality ICT talent development, and drive the growth of a robust and sustainable ICT talent ecosystem.

The registered students are expected to access learning material in the various courses and certification portfolio provided by Huawei free of charge such as Routing and Switch, Data Centres, Cloud computing, Network and transmission among others. They shall also acess simulation tools, online mock tests and written examinations for the top 100, of which three will be selected to represent Uganda in the regional finals in South Africa in December 2018 and in the global final in China in April 2019.

Mr. Liujiawei, the Managing Director of Huawei Uganda noted that through this competition, the students will be able to connect to industry learning technologies to prepare for their careers early enough, acess to various learning tools and resources from Huawei and also the Ugandan students would be able to compete with other various other countries in Africa and the world if they manage to pass the preliminary stages.

“This is not only a competition, but also a platform for Ugandan I.T students to obtain professional acknowledgment from the ICT industry through the Huawei Certification. When the students pass their examination in the competition, they shall also receive Huawei Certification. They shall also receive other awards from Huawei such as Mate Book device, mobile phones, trophies, job and internship offers. Our target is that we over 1000 Ugandan students register to participate in this competition this year”, He added.

Speaking at the Roadshow at Makerere University on 17th September, Kidega Moses a 4th year student of Software engineering and the President of ICT at Makerere University commended Huawei for the great free opportunity given to the students to learn and to compete favorably with other students around the globe.

He adds that “we are very excited about this as students. Huawei has done something that has never happened before at Makerere University and thought outside the box to reach out to the young innovators who have the solutions and ideas for this world”.

The previous edition of Huawei Global ICT Competition in 2016 to 2017, attracted 40,000 applicants from 800 universities in 32 countries globally while the 2018 to 2019 version is expected to attract 50,000 contestants in 50 countries during the preliminary stage.

With registration still going on until 30th September 2018 through http://bit.ly/huaweicompetition2018 , Huawei targets to reach both Public and Private Institutions with I.T related courses to have their students enroll for this competition.

 

Huawei WTTx Wins 2018 ITU Global Corporate Award

At the ITU Telecom World 2018 held on September 10, Huawei's wireless to the x (WTTx) solution won the Global Corporate Award: Sustainable Development for the outstanding contributions in accelerating the global penetration of broadband connections and improving household and enterprise broadband connections.

This authoritative award aims to commend innovative technical solutions that improve global ICT indexes and speed up the development of broadband connections.

According to The State of Broadband 2017 released by the ITU, more than 53% of people around the world are connected to the internet. However, due to limited investment in ICT infrastructure and payment capability, 66.3% of households remain unconnected.

The home broadband penetration rate is only 42.9% in developing countries and 14.7% in underdeveloped countries. Improving home broadband penetration has become one of the top priorities for ICT transformation in all countries.

Innovative business models and rapid technological evolution are required to reduce the home broadband access cost and improve the population coverage rate. 

WTTx is a Huawei fixed wireless broadband access solution that supports continuous evolution. Based on existing mobile networks, WTTx uses Huawei's device-pipe synergy solution, service management and O&M tools, and innovative QoS differentiation technology.

These technologies help to provide stable, high-speed broadband access in various scenarios, such as households, small- and medium-sized enterprise VPN access, and wireless verticals.

Fixed broadband access on the mobile network with the largest population coverage will slash the costs of broadband deployment and user acquisition, increase revenue, and develop a win-win industry environment for governments, operators, and end users. 

The latest report published by Ovum, a market-leading data, research and consulting business, shows that WTTx has been deployed on over 200 networks in more than 120 countries to connect more than 50 million household users. WTTx is reshaping broadband connections, changing local communities, and economies.

WTTx also helps to provide better healthcare and education, create jobs, increase revenue, and is an important factor in building a smart city. WTTx aims to connect the unconnected and create a new and improved digital lifestyle for each household. 

General Manager of Huawei WTTx Domain, Qingwen Wang said: "It is a great honor for Huawei's WTTx solution to be so highly recognized by the ITU. WTTx can quickly provide basic broadband connections, upgrade the rate of existing fixed broadband connections, and continue to increase data rates.

Huawei hopes to strengthen WTTx industry cooperation with all its partners to bridge the digital divide and allow more household and individual users to enjoy an optimal WTTx wireless broadband experience." 

ITU Telecom Word is an annual telecom event attended by government telecom regulators, telecom operators, information providers, and small- and medium-sized telecom enterprises around the world. This global event aims to accelerate ICT innovations for economic growth, social equity, and social benefits.

The Global Corporate Award: Sustainable Development aims to applaud innovative solutions dedicated to enhancing the national broadband penetration rate, bridging the digital divide, and improving internet access. These solutions use ICT technologies to protect the environment, ensure social equity, and allow more people to access the internet.

Huawei Believes Healthy ICT Development Needs Support And Guidance From Governments

Huawei Technologies has launched a position paper during the ITU Telecom World 2018 in Durban, South Africa from 10-13 September.

The position paper states that ICT has the transformative power to boost sustainable socio-economic development and governments have a vital role to play in forming a favorable environment for the dynamic and healthy development of the ICT industry.

In the position paper titled “Telco: Investment, Innovation and Competition in ICT Infrastructure”, Huawei summarizes the development trends of ICT as observed around the globe and evaluates potential social economic development spurred by ICT, after conducting a regression analysis based on a data set of 125 countries for the period 2010 to 2016.

It concludes that every 16-20% increase in ICT investment brings 1% growth in GDP; so in order to fully unleash the potential of ICT in promoting economic growth and societal well-being, governments have a critical role to play in terms of supporting investment in ICT infrastructure, encouraging ICT innovation, and in guiding and regulating ICT competition.

At the launching ceremony, Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General, said government should make ICT policy not just sectorial but national. The development of ICT and relevant infrastructure cannot be realised by solely relying on participants in the ICT ecosystem. Instead, it requires support and guidance from governments.

 “Our objectives are clear: connecting the unconnected, providing people with more advanced technologies, developing new applications, and facilitating other ecosystems. And to succeed in this endeavor, we need more innovative public-private partnerships.” said Zhao. 

Phillippa Biggs, chief content coordinator of ITU Broadband Commission for Digital Development said policies for an enabling environment are a must for broadband, including enabling policies and regulation to help co-investment of cross-country interconnection, USF for broadband roll-out and promotion of utility infrastructure synergies. 

Zhou Mingcheng, Vice President of Huawei Global Government Affairs Dept., said ICT has become a fundamental feature of modern society, and fast and healthy development of ICT industry requires supports and guidance from governments in stimulating investment in ICT infrastructure, encouraging ICT innovation and regulating competitions.

 

Jumia, Picfare In Back To School Campaign

Jumia Uganda has partnered with principal stationery company Picfare, as part of their Back to School campaign that will run until 10th September, 2018.

This partnership is in addition to other existing partners like Sai Office, the official distributors of brands like Dell, Lenovo, Epson, Office Point and Nikon in East Africa, as well as shoes manufacturer Bata.

“With this partnership, Picfare will get closer to more customers who prefer to buy online. Online shopping provides an opportunity for customers to give feedback, something that Picfare is always open to.” Deepak Chadha, Picfare’s General Manager commented.

'Back to School' is a 10-Day Promo happening from the 27th of Aug - 10th September, 2018. This event promises to be fun with a whole lot of great deals for students at all levels, vouchers and amazing prices to be won.

Jumia says its customers will shop for deals of up to 75% off on Back to School items including stationery, personal care, groceries, mobile phones and electronics.

PHOTOS: Goat Races In Perfect Return At Speke Resort

The Royal Ascot Goat Races returned on Saturday at Speke Resort Munyonyo, six years after taking a sabbatical. By midday, Speke Resort lakeside was buzzing with the arrival of revelers who wore colorful and artistic fabrics representing a myriad of cultures and style.

 

The guests at this years Royal Ascot Goat Races were composed of people from different backgrounds. These included corporates, entrepreneurs, socialites, cultural leaders, media personalities and children. The plan was to have as much fun as the day could provide.

 

Many revelers used the event as a family day out. Many could be seen with their children having a good time. The kids play area with bouncing castles, swings was equally busy. 

The days’ MCs Patrick Salvado Idrigi and Malaika Nyanzi kept the crowd engaged through the day and offered commentary as the goats raced with the help of a cart pusher.

In total seven races were on card. Each goat that won a race, its owner took home a prize from the organizers and sponsors of the event, Tusker Malt Lager.

 

The day also saw prizes for Best Dressed Couple; Best Dressed man; Best Hat; Best Dressed Lady; Best Dressed Child, Best Goat Name, Best selfie; Best couple Selfie; Best Goat Impression and cute Group Selfie being given out.

The event under the hashtag #GoatRacesKla trended on social media for much of the day.The hospitality tents were equally active as guests were treated to sumptuous meals and silky drinks.

The owners tent, hosted by Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, was the most active. It was spacious, with free drinks and food. It was flocked by some of this city’s big celebrities and business tycoons.

 

Bebe Cool and Fik Fameica performed for the happy revelers who through the day had made use of the various alcohol selling points. Acrobats and various dance troupes had earlier entertained revelers during goat racing breaks.

 

The biggest prize was a return ticket for the best dressed couple to Dubai courtesy of Emirates Airlines. The best dressed man and best dressed lady won accommodation for two for one night at Speke Resort Munyonyo and Protea Entebbe respectively.

The best dressed child won a free pony camp treat at Speke Resort Munyonyo and the person with the best hat won a free outfit from Halo collections.

Huawei Recognizes Dr. Erdal Arikan, Father Of Polar Codes

Huawei presented a special award to Turkish professor Dr. Erdal Arikan, the inventor of polar codes for 5G, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of communications technology.

At the ceremony, held at Huawei's global headquarters in Shenzhen, the company also honored more than 100 Huawei scientists and engineers who are working on standards and basic research. Basic research is key to industry development. Theoretical breakthroughs, often made after decades of focused scientific effort, help set the direction of technological progress.

With 5G just on the horizon, the paper on polar codes that Professor Arikan published in 2008 defined an entirely new approach to maximizing the rate and reliability of data transmission. Polar codes are the world's first channel coding scheme to bring us up against the threshold of Shannon's limit, or the maximum rate that data can be sent with zero error at a particular bandwidth.

Polar codes significantly improve coding performance for 5G. At the same time, they reduce the complexity of design and ensure service quality. In 2016, 3GPP (the international standards body responsible for 5G standards) adopted polar codes as the official coding scheme for the control channels of 5G New Radio (NR) eMBB interface.

At the awards ceremony, Huawei founder Mr. Ren Zhengfei presented a medal to Professor Arikan. The medal, designed and manufactured by the Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint), features an engraving of the Goddess of Victory with a red Baccarat crystal, symbolizing the importance of new communications technology in leading the world forward.

After receiving the medal, Professor Arikan delivered an acceptance speech. "I am honored to be here today receiving this award," he said. "It gives me pleasure to acknowledge that, without the vision and technical contributions of Huawei directors and engineers, polar codes would not have made it from lab to a standard in less than 10 years. And as engineers, there is no greater reward than seeing our ideas turn into reality."

Huawei Rotating Chairman Eric Xu also spoke at the event: "5G standards are the result of a worldwide effort to drive progress in basic research and wireless communications technology. For these standards to take shape, it took more than 10 years of hard work from tens of thousands of scientists and engineers, along with dozens of companies around the world.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Professor Arikan, as well as his peers in academia, fellow scientists, and Huawei employees who have all contributed to 5G."

In 2010, Huawei recognized the potential in polar codes to optimize channel coding technology, so the company invested in further research to build on Professor Arikan's work. Through years of focused effort, the company has made multiple breakthroughs in core polar code technology, helping polar codes move beyond the realm of academic research and see the light of day.

"The birth of 5G standards is only the beginning of a new journey," Xu added. "We will continue to work hard to ensure that 5G technology – including polar codes – creates greater value for society, and sooner.

At the same time, we hope that the close collaboration between companies and the academia, like the one between Huawei and Professor Arikan, will continue, and give rise to more scientific marvels that drive the development of the ICT industry and society as a whole."

At the awards ceremony, Huawei also honored more than 100 of its in-house scientists for their work on basic research and standards. In particular, the company wanted to recognize their successful research in 5G New Radio and their eight groundbreaking innovations, including new waveforms and new coding schemes.

These scientists worked closely with industry partners to verify key technologies and drive the standardization process, making an important contribution to 3GPP's 5G Release 15 standards.

Thanks to their pioneering work, Huawei was the first company in the world to complete 5G testing for all phases of IMT-2020 development (a collectively held vision, set by the International Telecommunication Union, for mobile network evolution by the year 2020), with results that far outperformed the key indicators for all three 5G usage scenarios defined by the International Telecommunication Union – enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra-Reliable and Low-Latency Communications (URLLC), and massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC).

As a major contributor to 5G standards, and a core patent holder, Huawei is committed to following the FRAND principle for all patent licensing. That means Fair, Reasonable, and Non-discriminatory patent licensing – a principle that the company has adhered to in the past, and will continue to adhere to moving forward. Huawei aims to build a robust 5G ecosystem together with other players.

Strong R&D investment has been a core focus at Huawei for years, investing nearly CNY400 billion in R&D over the past decade. Moving forward, Huawei will increase investment in basic research by earmarking 20% to 30% of its annual US$15-20 billion R&D budget to basic research alone.

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