The technologies that earned it five GLOMO awards
In late June, the GSMA held its 35th Global Mobile Awards, also known as GLOMOs, at MWC 2021 in Barcelona. The awards recognize innovation in mobile technology in a variety of categories, and are decided by 250 independent judges, comprised of technology experts, journalists, academics and industry analysts, including CCS Insight. Notably, one company, Huawei, took home five awards — a rare achievement worthy of closer analysis.
Best Mobile Network Infrastructure: BladeAAU
Huawei’s BladeAAU solution integrates 5G massive-MIMO antennas with passive antennas covering all sub-6 GHz bands into a compact single box, allowing mobile operators to quickly achieve large-scale 5G deployment in densely populated urban areas. Most cell sites around the world have only one or two poles, and much of that space is already taken by 2G, 3G and 4G antennas, so limited space for 5G antennas is a challenge for operators, as is power supply. To address this, Huawei designed a lean site solution integrating simplified baseband and radio units, antennas, energy, as well as mounting kits, enabling single-pole deployment and reducing the time and cost of installation.
Since its launch, the BladeAAU series has been updated to support 64 channels with integrated active and passive modules and a maximum transmit power of 320 W. The design has also been made smaller, making it more suitable to a broad range of deployment scenarios. The market has responded positively, with commercial 5G deployments in China, Switzerland, France, Finland and Ireland. The GLOMO award demonstrates how the innovative design features have dealt with practical and commercial constraints without affecting technical performance.
Best Mobile Innovation for Emerging Markets: RuralStar Pro
This connectivity and digital inclusion solution won within the Tech 4 Good category, which awards innovation using mobile technology to promote positive social and environmental change.
In 2021, Huawei launched RuralStar Pro, designed to be an effective mobile infrastructure solution for remote regions. In such areas, there are often low levels of existing communication infrastructure — be that fixed-line or mobile — as well as a lack of stable energy supply. RuralStar Pro integrates access (radio frequency and baseband functions) and backhaul in one unit, as well as Huawei’s smart energy storage solution, meaning it can run on renewable energy, without mains electricity or a diesel generator.
Early in the year, China Unicom deployed RuralStar Pro in Maopo village, in the Guizhou province, with equipment installation and commissioning taking only two hours — more than 80% faster than a traditional site deployment. Over 20,000 RuralStar base stations have been rolled out in more than 60 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East to provide mobile broadband and voice services. The technology has proven its worth during the pandemic, as network coverage ensured that online education was available in remote areas and facilitated medical services. RuralStar won the award for the way in which it accelerates rural network coverage and helps bridge digital divides.
Outstanding Mobile Contribution to the UN SDGs: Rainforest Connection and Huawei for Nature Guardian Project
Rainforest Connection is a non-profit organization that helps protect rainforests from illegal deforestation and poaching. It creates solar-powered audio monitoring systems called Guardians from upcycled mobile phones, placing them in rainforest canopies to collect environmental sounds and upload them into the cloud. The upgrading of pre-used Huawei mobile phones means they can work constantly for two years. Huawei also created a project platform combining equipment collection, storage services and intelligent analytics.
The Guardians make calls every second to servers equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) that monitor sounds in a rainforest, regardless of rain, sun and humidity. If human activity is detected, for example, the sound of chainsaws or trucks, rangers are notified in real time with location data, enabling them to investigate. These projects are now also using AI technology to understand animal sounds, providing information about habitat and ecological threats in a bid to help endangered species.
Collecting and transmitting sound data in these environments is hugely difficult, as is storing and managing the growing amount of data. An additional challenge was the analysis of data in real time to pinpoint illegal logging activity, which required development of a high-precision algorithm based on Huawei’s cloud and AI technologies, and sound recognition tools sourced from its ModelArts platform. Huawei took home the gong for how the project combined mobile technology with recycling and environmental protection.
Best Innovation for Covid-19 Response & Recovery: China-Japan Friendship Hospital and Huawei for 5G Telemedicine Solution
In February 2020, the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Hubei, China was the first to use digital auscultation — a diagnostic procedure in which a medical examiner listens to sounds in the body to find defects or conditions — to acquire the pulmonary sounds of patients critically ill with Covid-19. Indoor 5G coverage from China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom enabled these sounds to be sent to Huawei’s central AI platform in real time for analysis by specialists. This made it possible to diagnose oedema — swelling caused by trapped fluid — as the main characteristic of pulmonary sounds of Covid-19 patients. This was a world-first, providing valuable clinical references.
Other telemedicine applications based on 5G technology, such as remote CT scans, ultrasound and pathology consultations, have been developed at the hospital and were essential in response to the crisis, allowing medical specialists to provide online training and reducing the risk of cross-infection. More than 700 hospitals in China have now rolled out 5G and started smart telemedicine projects.
The GLOMO was awarded in recognition of the role 5G-based smart healthcare has played in combating the pandemic — an example that also underlines the potential for delivering more distributed medical services, improving diagnosis accuracy, and boosting healthcare efficiency.
Best Mobile Innovation for the Connected Economy: China Southern Power Grid, China Mobile and Huawei for 5G Smart Grid
China Southern Power Grid (CSPG), together with China Mobile and Huawei, built a full-service smart grid demonstration area in Shenzhen, applying 5G-based networking in all power service phases, from transmission to consumption, and including remote control, teleprotection, advanced metering, distributed automation, demand response and distribution management functions. Huawei combined standalone 5G with network slicing and mobile edge computing to create a private network for CSPG on China Mobile’s 5G network.
The implementation of 5G network slicing was particularly innovative, enabling CSPG to divide its network into two physical slices — power production and control, and management and information. Network slicing is a fundamental 5G capability, and this project is testament to the merits of network slicing in digital transformation.
The GLOMO award validates 5G-powered smart grids integrated with other technologies — for example, edge computing, AI and machine learning — as essential for safer, more efficient, reliable and greener energy.
Overall, this series of awards underlines not only the breadth of Huawei’s research and development initiatives, but also how the application of 5G-based technology platforms can deliver positive results for a wide variety of specific, and often challenging, environments.
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