January 21, 2022

Beyond Going Long

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The strongest aspect of the Slovak IT ecosystem is the people

The strongest aspect of the Slovak IT ecosystem is the people

Do you remember the company’s beginnings in the Slovak market?

Fifteen years ago, we started in Slovakia as a company with 6 employees with big plans and visions for the future. Plus, 15 years is long enough to change everything. I remember how we used slow 2G networks, wired phones, and each had its own official fax office. We have gone from cash payments to card payments, but today, smartphone payments are on top. In addition, we use personal QR codes in our facilities, which have replaced cards and chips. However, our motto remains the same. We want to bring digital technologies to everyone, families and organizations, with high quality.

What are Huawei’s biggest successes so far? We can also mention pilot projects.

During those fifteen years, we helped transform 56Kbps analog networks to 1Gbps and 10Gbps in Slovakia, and supported many public institutions, particularly by offering a fast Internet connection of up to 100Gbps, In the future up to 400 Gbps. We have shifted from the old IT system to a stable and resilient network system.

We have been taking care of two networks of mobile operators for more than 8 years, thanks to which we have been directly involved in the implementation and modernization of the Slovak Internet. We’ve helped bring high-speed fiber optics directly into homes with our GPON technology. However, we have provided the greatest service to regular users with our small mobile data routers.

If you have connected to the mobile internet using a USB, 3G or 4G modem, it is very likely through a Huawei device. In recent years, we have introduced some of the best camera smartphones from the Mate and P series.

On the contrary, what were the biggest challenges you had to face?

I think we can all agree that the pandemic has taken us all by surprise. We practically had to switch to telecommuting from week to week, it was a whole new situation for all of us. The situation in the global market was also challenging, especially because of the dynamic relationships between countries and companies, but we made it through and feel more confident and confident.

The entire fifteen years have been marked by the challenges we face. We still remember to turn off the old phone system that was consuming a lot of power. Our new system contains only a third of the hardware volume and only a tenth of the power consumption. However, we were also able to implement LTE TDD network in Slovakia, the first in the entire V4 region, even for small municipalities.

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In your opinion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the ICT system in Slovakia?

Slovakia is an interesting environment for technology companies. In our view, the most powerful aspect of the Slovak IT ecosystem is the people. Slovakia has a lot to choose from. Many successful world-class companies have emerged from this environment, which is an excellent prerequisite for such a small country.

However, the problem lies in the lack of infrastructure, an effective system of public-private cooperation, as well as the inability to retain local talent in their country. Slovak industry lags far behind in systematic digitization. The vast majority of Slovak companies produce only partial components. However, the market direction is mainly determined by the companies that supply the finished products. Products are becoming more complex, and without a significant change in attitudes toward digitalization, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage their evolution.

To what extent should the state be useful in cooperating with IT companies operating in Slovakia?

I dare say that the IT sector is and will continue to be the fastest growing sector of global industry and commerce. Its development does not stop yet, as we are facing the repercussions of the Corona crisis for the second year in a row. This development gives us a unique behind-the-scenes look at information technology. It is better to develop the technology sector independently and without unnecessary interference and regulation. We have made progress over the past 30 years, mainly because of the determination of private IT companies to bring better and better products to the market. In the event that there is an excessive legislative burden on the IT sector by states or multinational organizations, we risk disrupting this natural ecosystem – increased prices, shortages of ingredients and materials, or reduced product quality due to reduced competition between suppliers.

In the end, only the end customer always suffers the most. Cooperation between the state and companies is critical to the IT sector, but it should focus primarily on identifying and brokering opportunities, removing barriers for local companies in global markets, or joint ventures, such as networks, artificial intelligence or the cloud.

Have you felt the so-called chip crisis in your company as well? How did you deal with it?

There are several main reasons for this crisis. The first problem is that the system lacks rational cooperation. There are only a few countries that specialize in the production of slides. If these countries are paralyzed, the entire supply chain will slow down. Ideally, the entire supply chain will plan future production together, preparing long-term market forecasts. The second thing people have to understand is that technology has no limits. Offer shall not be limited to one or two manufacturers only. Unfortunately, the chip manufacturing process requires the tech company to start making chips on their own. It requires a large investment and a lot of time. The only option we have is to learn to communicate more effectively and to think ahead. Huawei has felt the crisis like no other tech company. Fortunately, production resumed.

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There is a lot of talk about 5G at the moment. What changes will regular users or businesses experience?

For the average user, 5G will provide higher speed and lower latency, for better quality during video calls or when watching videos on Youtube or TikTok. In the telecom industry, many people are discussing how the use of 5G will solve problems in the industry or other sectors. However, it is a demanding process, especially with regard to the quality and durability of the optical network and its connectivity in all regions of Slovakia. If we look at countries with a well-developed 5G network, the biggest difference is innovation. For example, there is a new phenomenon called “Meta Universe” that involves AR/VR for teaching/games/production. Unfortunately, the topic of people living and working in digitization in the world is still a topic of debate in Slovakia.

The pandemic has examined almost every area of ​​our lives. How can technology help more with healthcare or education?

I can think of a few examples, especially when it comes to healthcare. We are currently experiencing a significant shortage of resources, especially in terms of highly specialized specialists and equipment. Often this affects the most vulnerable, people from the lower social classes or people who live outside cities. Slovakia will benefit from the creation of a stable communication platform for doctors and medical analysts, which would connect smaller hospitals with well-equipped hospitals. It requires a stable 5G network, high-performance cameras, sensors, scanners, etc. In China, medical professionals can access your medical records from anywhere. The next step will be remote surgery and remote training for doctors who do not have many years of experience.

Existing educational disparities have widened as a result of the global pandemic. For the future social and economic health of society and the renewal of society as a whole, it will be necessary to revitalize education systems in accordance with world standards. As part of the Huawei TECH4ALL programme, our goal is to leave no one behind in the digital world. We want to achieve the use of technologies to support rural development and quality in education.

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Huawei has launched many educational and sustainable projects. What are the participating projects and how are they exceptional? Who are they?

In 2015, we started the Seeds for the Future Education Program in Slovakia, the leading CSR program for the best STEM students from around the world. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education (2014) and students from Slovak universities also participate in the program every year. We have another year behind us, which took place in November 2021, in which 18 students from two Slovak universities participated. It mainly focuses on artificial intelligence, social engineering, sustainable business, or international management. However, we are also very proud of the 1000 Dreams project, where we donated toys and equipment to the new NÚSCH Pediatric Cardiology Center.

Introduce readers to the Huawei White Paper. What is it and what are the conclusions contained in the document?

The white paper, or Huawei’s white paper, is a document about the future of Slovakia’s digital ecosystem as it should work. In the white paper, we summarize the strengths and weaknesses of Slovakia’s technological infrastructure, compare differences in approach locally and globally, and assess digital skills and level of IT education in Slovakia. Our goal is to make people aware of what digital technologies can offer them, and how they can give them access to information.

As part of this commitment, we have programs to develop ICT talent (Seeds for the Future), a partner project to accredit professionals (ICT Academy), the 1000 Dreams program, which motivates young people to work in the ICT sector, a project focused HarmonyOS on our operating system. Other programs to create and support future talent within the HR agenda – Top Minds, Huawei Internship, New ICT Graduates The main idea of ​​the White Paper and Huawei in Slovakia is to collaborate with all parties involved in the digital future transformation.

What are Huawei’s next plans (goals, visions)?

We will make Huawei not only a Chinese smartphone manufacturer. We focus on environment, sustainability and green energy. We have also entered the automotive sector, producing software and hardware for self-driving vehicles. Education will be an important topic for us in 2022. We have the necessary experience and knowledge, and we know how to pass it on to the younger generation. I think it will not only help us, but the entire IT sector in Slovakia.