Huawei Technologies, China’s ICT major, is on a mission to help governments and transportation authorities understand how a highly secure and reliable communication system is not only crucial to the safety of passengers but will also transform the way railway operators run their businesses for the better.
Dong Wu, vice president, ME Enterprise Business Group, Huawei Technologies, made this observation in a special interview with Arab News.
Dong Wu joined Huawei in 2001 and his key responsibility is to drive the enterprise business in the Middle East market.
His career progressed as a datacom expert leading the global datacom technical sales in Huawei. His valuable contribution was instrumental in laying a solid foundation for Huawei’s MENA datacom market.
He earlier served as the director of datacom for Huawei Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
According to Dong Wu, there will be a greater convergence of mobile and transport communications in the coming years, as the MENA region has become the world’s fastest growing market for rail projects with planned investments in the railway sector of more than $ 250 billion.
An increase in metros, trams and monorail projects will also lead to the rail market almost doubling in size over the next decade, he said, citing a recent MEED Railway Report.
What are the hot railway topics on the agenda in the region?
Over the years, the range of communication solutions for railway has advanced to new heights. From Global Systems for Mobile Communications for Railway (GSM-R), datacom, transmission networks to high speed railway communications (HRC), all of these technologies are experienced by commuters in some form or other when they board the train. While some aspects of this technology may not be visible to the eye, railway communications technology ensures that passengers get from A to B in one piece.
Tell us about your research and development program in relation to railway communications?
Huawei has over 20 R&D centers across the world lending support to its operations. It is also one of the pioneers in ICT for the railway sector. GSM-R (Global Systems for Mobile Communications for Railway) is one of Huawei’s pioneering communication solutions. It is a critical component of railway communications that allows information to be processed from computers in the dispatch room to control train networks and traffic. Without reliable communication between railway traffic controllers and the train driver using GSM-R, the consequences could be disastrous and unthinkable. It has been conducting research in developing GSM-R and other pioneering communication solutions since 2002, with huge investments being made every year. Almost 50 percent of its global resources are dedicated to product development. Huawei’s GSM-R technology is a window on many innovations that differentiates Huawei from the rest of the ICT railway market.
How is Huawei helping to unify the Gulf region through technology?
High Speed Railway Communications (HRC) System is another solution that demonstrates Huawei’s innovative spirit. Based on Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology, also known as 4G technology, LTE helps to define modern railway communications today.
The successful test of HRC on the Maglev train in China is a milestone not only for Huawei but also for railway communications. It demonstrates to the world that Huawei’s HRC systems is not only a pioneering approach to communicating but also has the potential to become a commercial application for a railway system where millions of urban commuters live and move every day.
Some of the successful projects in the region demonstrate Huawei’s innovative spirit in the railway sector for communications technology in the Middle East.
The global ICT vendor was awarded a huge project (in partnership with SELEX Elsag) at the end of 2012 to deploy mobile networks, optical and IP solutions for the Etihad Rail project and is set to connect urban and industrial areas of the UAE and open new links with Saudi Arabia and Oman. The wireless network will guarantee highly sophisticated mobile communications along a 266 km portion of the railway line. Not to forget building the region’s first ever 3G network in 2008 with Etisalat in the UAE and the Dubai Metro that now links up to its 18 stations, allowing passengers and retail owners the experience of Internet access while on-the-move from their smart mobile devices.
How many patents have been awarded to Huawei Technologies?
Huawei Technologies is the main contributor of industry standards with nearly over 18,000 technology patents awarded worldwide, and they continue to reaffirm its strength in delivering future technology-oriented solutions, to serve modern railway communication needs across the globe and the Middle East today. Rolling out over 20 projects around the world covering a total length of 8.000 km of railway tracks in GSM-R, the leading ICT vendor demonstrates its innovative capabilities in a range of communication solutions thanks to its vast experience in wire line, wireless and IP technologies in the telecom market for the past 12 years.
Serving communications network for 45 out of 50 of the world’s top telecom operators in addition to its strong presence in the Middle East with employees of almost 4,000 across 12 countries places Huawei in a unique position to address the railway communication needs of today.
Huawei will continue to demonstrate that its unique position in telecoms will help to develop innovative solutions for communications technology across industries, including modern high speed railways today.