Huawei appears to be seeking to stake out a central co-ordinating role in the evolution of 5G mobile applications. It has announced the formation of a series of new collaborative research initiatives, collectively known as Wireless X Labs, to focus on key application areas of the emerging 5G wireless technologies.
The announcement was made by deputy chairman Ken Hu in his opening address to Huawei’s Mobile Broadband Forum in Tokyo on 24 November. He said: “We hope the X Labs can become a new open platform where we can bring together technology providers, carriers and companies from all industry verticals to jointly explore the use cases for mobile communications in different scenarios, to do joint innovation on technology and business and to jointly develop an open ecosystem. We want X Labs to be an open platform.”
Hu said Huawei had identified several key areas to be explored and had established individual labs for each of these areas.
The mLab will focus on creating immersive user experiences for new mobile applications related to voice and to vision. “It will help us figure out how to deliver amazing experiences through a stronger network and to figure out how we can jointly develop successful business cases based on these immersive experience,” Hu said.
vLab will focus on industry verticals: connected vehicles, smart manufacturing, energy transportation and public safety. “We hope vLab will help us figure out how to make mobile communications an enabler of digital transformation in many industries,” Hu said.
The hLab will focus on how to take advantage of broadband to develop home application like security, entertainment, health, and education. Hu said: “We believe these could be a joint effort and we look forward to participation from all sectors.”
X Labs also has a forth component, according to Huawei literature, but not mentioned by Hu; X Labs innovation centre (XIC), which “focuses on fostering a healthy ecosystem with advanced prototype and IoT testing in conjunction with industrial partners.”
Huawei says four X Labs are planned in Germany, North America, Japan and China through” investment from Huawei and local industry partners, together employing the talents to study future scenarios.”
They will operate on a membership basis and hold annual meetings at the Global Mobile Broadband (MBB) Forum. Huawei also says it has 10 Open Labs globally that are open to all IoT industry partners and that are “focussing research efforts on the vertical industry. mobile video and games, as well as connected car and other fields.”
It gives as one example the NB-IoT Open Lab that “has recorded great achievements in relation to industrial chain incubation since its establishment in 2016 with more that 30 members having joined.”
The author travelled to Huawei’s Mobile Broadband Forum as a guest of the company.