CTO of Huawei: How 5G Will Change the World

Paul Scanlan, CTO of Huawei shares how the company's newest technology can be used to tackle the world’s biggest problems. What are the opportunities, how is mobile technology involved and what are the restraints? 

Super Technologies

Paul Scanlan, chief technology officer at Huawei Carrier Business Group, takes the stage at Oslo Business Forum to get the audience excited about “transformative technologies,” especially, fifth generation networks (5G), artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT). 


With more than 30 years’ experience in the Telecom and IT industries, Scanlan has broad experience across most technologies having worked in a variety of senior capacities. He is an expert in the Business of Telecommunications - managing of all aspects (concept to operations) of Telecommunications Carrier / Service Provider businesses


Scanlan tells the audience that super technologies can make the world a better place. But people are not coordinated nor informed, and noise gets in the way, i.e., politics, so there is a huge challenge to actually get going, he says.

Learning from Singapore

Imagine a cocktail-making machine serving you up a cocktail according to your mood, says Scanlan That is novel AI, but behind the scenes AI needs platforms to be able to work, which is where supercomputers come in. 


This is what Huawei does, he explains, creating supercomputers to power transformative technology. Combining 5G, IoT and AI is all about better services and giving customers the best options.

Huawei looks at the market in terms of big-picture ecosystems and connects the different parts together to serve the global customer. Scanlan explains the process with an anecdotal idea where you can make all the cars in Singapore connected. Singapore is an ecosystem of a small population and even fewer cars. 


Read more: How do established companies innovate and change? How do we come up with new ideas?


The technology needed to create connected cars will not be expensive and carbon emissions would be reduced, and as a result credit can be collected for the carbon savings. This is a great idea in theory, but the network of people involved must collaborate to make the process work, which is where the challenge lies.

Scanlan turns the focus on his talk onto 5G, Huawei’s powerful innovation project. He asks the audience if 5G means faster. He answers himself with a “no.” 


He says that 5G is about money, because there is a lot of money to be made. It is a smarter option than fiber or fourth generation (4G), but people need to be educated about its opportunities, and again, collaboration is key.

The Holy Grail of 5G

Transformative technologies, such as 5G, can help to tackle global issues that will save everyone time and money, explains Scanlan. When you learn about its countless benefits, not least the reduction of carbon emissions and improving the quality of healthcare delivery, you can see the long-term financial gains. But without the magic of collaboration nothing will happen.

Scanlan talks about the manufacturing industry, which benefits from 5G in many ways, but if the 5G networks are physically installed far away from the manufacturers in other parts of the country, then there is no benefit. Or if a connected ambulance is not able to get a solid network signal because of poor 4G connectivity then its smart tools are rendered useless. 


The people in these complex ecosystems need to see the big picture, understand the goals and collaborate across industries, only then, transformative technologies will work. 

“If we educated the world on what 5G really is, we could make a difference to the planet.

-Paul Scanlan

It is counterproductive to get in a tangle with politics. Huawei is about connectivity and innovation for a better future. We must pull together to get stuck in and reap the benefits, urges Scanlan.


Read more: How do established companies innovate and change? How do we come up with new ideas?


Text by Rosanna Bueler Mount