On February 25, 2019, Huawei’s Deputy Chairman, Ken Hu, unveiled a new digital inclusion initiative, Tech4ALL, during his speech at ministerial program during this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC2019). In his speech titled “Redefining Inclusion,” Hu outlined Huawei’s plans to help 500 million additional people around the world benefit directly from digital technology in the next five years. He called on governments, industry organizations and business partners to act together to promote digital inclusion for all.
A small village in Nigeria, called Tobolo, which is 550 kilometers away from the capital city, Abuja, has opened its their first mobile base station. “With connectivity to the rest of the world, new shops have opened, trade has increased, and people can get medical help when they need it,” said Hu.
The villagers in Tobolo are fortunate. However, in Nigeria, there are still 36 million people who don’t have access to the internet. That’s about 20% of the population. Globally, the gap is even bigger. According to GSMA, more than 1 billion people are not covered by mobile broadband services. And 3.8 billion people are still offline. That’s half of the world’s population.
Connectivity is the bedrock of digital inclusion, and Huawei has been working hard to fill this gap through innovation. They have developed innovative transmission and energy solutions for special rural base stations. They are small, easy to install, and they can run on solar power making wireless networks easier and cheaper to deploy, and helps rural carriers get their investment back faster.
Huawei has also worked last year with the European Union of the Deaf to create a mobile application called StorySign. With this application, you hold your phone up to a book. Using AI, a cartoon will sign the story and highlight each word on the screen. This helps deaf children overcome reading barriers, and it also makes storytime in the family more interactive and more fun.There are about 34 million deaf children around the world, and digital technology like StorySign is making a real difference. Right now it’s available in 10 different sign languages.
Huawei also put together an action plan they called Tech4ALL, which focuses on the three priorities: Connectivity, Applications, and Skills.
- For connectivity: continue to lower the barriers in terms of cost and coverage through technological innovation.
- For applications: empower the ecosystem, and help developers to create more applications for different communities and industries.
- For skills: work with governments, local communities, and other industries to enhance awareness of digital skills and provide necessary help.
And through their Seeds for the Future program, in past ten years, Huwaei has helped more than 30,000 students from more than 100 countries to enhance their digital skills.
Huawei says that all these are only beginnings. They aim to bring digital to every person, home, and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.