CNME Editor Mark Forker spoke to Safder Nazir, Senior Vice President of Digital Industries at Huawei Middle East, onsite at LEAP 2022 in Riyadh, to find out more about the role Huawei is going to play in terms of propelling the digital transformation objectives set out by the leadership of the KSA, whilst he also spoke to Frank Dai, President of Huawei Cloud Middle East to find out more about their plans for a cloud region in Saudi Arabia.
Safder Nazir has been with Huawei since 2014, and during that time he has cultivated a reputation as one of the most prominent thought-leaders in the Middle East ecosystem.
During the inaugural LEAP IT symposium held in the Saudi capital, members of the ICT press pack were afforded the opportunity of having a press briefing with Nazir, who discussed in more detail how Huawei’s technologies and diverse portfolio of solutions are going to play a critical role in helping the country achieve its goal to become a global technological powerhouse.
A big focus during LEAP was examining the role played by technology in terms of supporting carbon neutrality. As Nazir pointed out the Huawei Digital Power business is focused on the intersection between digital and power electronics technologies, which are ultimately designed to create the environment and foundations needed to create zero-carbon ICT infrastructure in the Middle East, which is very much in line with the sustainability commitments that have been outlined by Saudi Arabia.
Huawei showcased the latest green energy-saving products at their impressive and futuristic stand during LEAP, some of which have shown to save 30% on power consumption compared to traditional products.
The impact of climate change is starting to influence government policy globally in a bid to combat the worrying changes to our planet, and it has been well documented that the IT industry is one of the most energy-intensive sectors in the world, so there is a responsibility on IT leaders to become more sustainable and energy efficient.
Nazir highlighted the role the Chinese ICT behemoth was playing in terms of helping Saudi Arabia become a leader in sustainability and said that Huawei’s strategy was firmly aligned with that of the KSA.
“Our datacentre facilities are designed to reduce our carbon footprint due to the prefabricated nature of how we do it, and secondly, we are delivering the lowest PUE (Power Utilisation Efficiency), and as a result we have the most energy efficient datacentre project in the world. We believe our energy goals are very well aligned with the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 program, particularly from a sustainability perspective”, said Nazir.
Nazir also pointed out how charging is going to be a fundamental pillar in the sustainability ecosystem – and pointed to the policies being pursued by governments globally, and the move by some of the world’s biggest automotive manufacturers to cease building self-combustion engines, to pave the way for a new era of electrification.
“At Huawei we have power modules, which essentially is our devices and products, so whether that is our routers, or switches we are always looking for energy efficiency. Huawei issues an annual sustainability report, and it has done so for several years, and sustainability is a KPI of our product lines in a bid to reduce the power consumption of our equipment. It is not only important for us to reduce our carbon footprint, but it is also very important for us to help our customers reduce their carbon handprint”, said Nazir.
TAKE ME TO THE CLOUDS ABOVE
Frank Dai, President of Huawei Cloud Middle East, delivered a keynote presentation on the main stage on Day 2 of LEAP, but prior to his presentation we were granted permission to attend a press briefing conducted by the man responsible for Huawei’s cloud business in the region.
Dai proceeded to give us a forensic briefing that shed more light on Huawei’s cloud strategy in the KSA, its relationships with industry players in the Kingdom since its entry to the market in 2004, and his expectations for LEAP as a leading industry conference in the future.
The dynamic Huawei executive kicked off the press briefing by referencing their longevity in the KSA marketplace – and noted how Huawei was the biggest partner of telecom players such as STC and Mobily.
“We have been in the KSA marketplace since 2004, and we have nurtured and cultivated relationships with some the biggest players here such as STC and Mobily, we are their biggest partners. I think it’s fair to say that over the last 20 years, we have been fully focused on the business of connectivity here in the Kingdom. However, I think over the next 20 years we will focused on digitalisation to really drive home the objectives laid out in the Saudi Vision 2030 plan”, said Dai.
Dai also acknowledged that it was now increasingly evident that Saudi Arabia was changing as a society, and he heaped praised on the vision and leadership demonstrated by the government in the Kingdom – and said that LEAP was a perfect example of just how serious the nation is about becoming a technological powerhouse not only in the Middle East, but on a global scale.
“LEAP is a fantastic illustration of just how serious Saudi Arabia is about becoming a major force globally in the tech and IT landscape. They have attracted huge participation from all the key industry stakeholders from across the region, and you know that it has the potential to get bigger and better, and it is set to become a key date in the calendar for all involved in the ICT business here in the Middle East”, said Dai.
As aforementioned above, Dai heads Huawei’s cloud business unit across the Middle East, and he stressed how cloud was going to be a critically important foundation in the building blocks for the new digital economy in Saudi Arabia.
“We firmly believe at Huawei that the whole world is going to be digital, and the key element of that digitalisation will be modern infrastructure. Huawei Cloud has the modern infrastructure that is ultimately required to support the entire society here as they attempt to embrace digital transformation”, said Dai.
He also echoed the sentiments expressed by Guo Ping on Day 1 of LEAP – and announced that Huawei is planning to introduce their ‘everything-as-a-service’ model to the KSA market, ranging from infrastructure, to technology, to experience.
“We are expanding our cloud coverage across the region, and as our rotating chairman Guo Ping announced during his keynote presentation on Day 1, we will launch a cloud region here in Saudi Arabia. We want to determine what the best architecture for cloud looks like. We really believe in our QingTian architecture that is designed to support customers to run and manage their workloads whenever it suits them the best, and we are very excited at what we can achieve here in the Kingdom”, said Dai.