All eyes were on Huawei this CES Asia, held this year on the company’s home turf in Shanghai, China. Presented by Huawei Chief Strategy Officer Shao Yang, the company’s keynote delineated an all-new strategy to revolutionise consumer technology as we know it.
Stressing their impartiality, Huawei also reinforced its know-how and legacy in networking and smartphone manufacture. This was key to the company’s new future in being the great unifier across platforms, in a move christened the “1+8+N” strategy.
Huawei’s “1+8+N” strategy involves putting smartphones as the one “main gateway” for consumers, with eight “secondary gateways” that include wearables, accessory devices, along with automobiles and home appliances. These serve in various way and combinations to deliver an innumerable variety of services and capabilities – all in five main categories.
Instead of using individual apps to access and control individual appliances and accessory devices, Huawei through 1+8+N will aim to simplify and magnify smart technologies. It will do it by supercharging smartphones with all the available connectivity solutions, while ensuring compatibility across platforms. This means that accessing accessory devices could be as easy as bringing your device close.
5G is at the heart of this push. Huawei believes this is the main way many current limitations can be overcome. For example, vehicular technology is currently limited by very slow upgrade cycles. Handphones receive new iterations every year, but cars take slightly longer. Through AI and our smartphones, we can then take advantage of the superior GPS sensors and audio systems on our vehicles – something already in the works in collaboration with German automobile manufacturer Audi, along with several Chinese automobile manufacturers.
Televisions, too, have become devices only used by those under 6 and over 60, Shao quipped. With Huawei’s connectivity and know-how through HiShare and HiLink, Televisions, with IoT, can be transformed into powerful tools at the centre of every household. A ring on the doorbell would immediately stream footage from your doorstep; queries to voice assistants could display on the large screen.
This does sound like Apple’s famed ecosystem– with a twist. Huawei dreams of universal compatibility – across brands, device types and functionality. For example, televisions lack touch input; earphones lack sensing capabilities; cars lack close attention by users. By acting as secondary “gateways” interconnected through users’ smartphones, these inputs are able to provide a more holistic network of functionality.
Huawei also aims to cut down on mobile applications used to control these devices. By providing features similar to that of Google Home, but leveraging on their networking and AI expertise, Huawei intends to expand capabilities to beat its competition.
The punchline came at the end of the presentation. With a lengthy statement in bold behind him, Shao Yang outlined Huawei’s new identity in light of the show-stopping US restrictions that emerged just weeks ago. He declared:
Every revolution owes itself to the courageous who are competitive. In this bitter competition, the winners will be the victors of the next generation, defining the next battlegrounds. Losers will be in perpetual retreat, falling further and further behind.