Web Summit: Huawei appeals to developers to make most of 5G
Web Summit 2019 has just wrapped up, with one of the most intriguing talks coming from the chairman of Chinese technology firm Huawei, Guo Ping.
Guo’s talk focused on Huawei’s idea of 5G+X. “This X can be AI, big data, VR or AR, among other technologies,” said Guo. “I believe that in the future, 5G+X will create countless opportunities for entrepreneurs,” he went on to say, comparing the potential of the technology to the introduction of electricity itself.
“The rollout of 5G commercial networks is occurring more [quickly] than expected. As of now, 40 carriers in over 20 countries are using 5G networks commercially. We predict by the end of this year, we will see 60 commercial 5G networks. [...] The average 5G user consumes three times as much data as a 4G user. 5G can achieve speeds as high as 20 Gb/s with latency as low as one millisecond. Supporting 1mn connections per square kilometer, 5G can ensure a superior experience for the internet of things.”
A raft of existing use cases of 5G technology were given by Guo, including musicians being able to remain in time while playing together over the internet, owing to real-time, low-latency communication, as well as reducing the need to inspect pipelines in person, thanks to high definition video streaming from remote locations. “The applications and software built on top of [5G] is what generates value. [...] Huawei has been working with carriers to create a foundation so app and software developers can fully unleash their potential,” he said.
The talk was in line with the company’s attempt to build its own “next generation” ecosystem of technologies, owing to the cold shoulder being shown to the company by the US government. Guo duly closed his discussion with mention of Huawei’s developer program, which was previously revealed at the company’s Huawei’s Connect 2019 event. Backed by $1.5bn of investment over five years, the stated foci of the program include an open ecosystem, the development of new industry standards and shared availability to developers.
(Image: Web Summit)
The Talent War for Skilled Tech Workers
Post-pandemic, our biggest problem might be a lack of skilled tech talent. As companies move forward with their digital transformation plans, they aim to hire new staff and train their current employees. Out of 750 UK companies polled in a Studio Graphene digital report, 45% plan to hire new tech staff in the next 12 months and more than half (53%) intend to invest in training for their current workers.
Companies are realising that their survival now depends on a limited pool of qualified technology workers. Among the hardest-hit economies are those in Brazil, Indonesia, and Japan, but even the United States and the UK will experience the squeeze. “It’s pure supply and demand”, said Alan Guarino, a Korn Ferry vice-chairman. “Companies are paying more...but there’s still a shortage of high-skilled workers. Technology is the thread that runs across every aspect of business”.
Which Jobs Are In Demand?
According to a 2021 IT salary report by Robert Half Technology, the most in-demand tech jobs of the year include information security professionals, cloud architects, database administrators, systems analysts, and DevOps engineers, among others. But in those fields, it’s difficult to find hires with significant experience, multiple specialisations, and a high level of expertise. And multinationals such as Google, Apple, and IBM usually scoop them up.
Regardless of the exact role, companies need workers who can implement advanced security systems, target cloud and network vulnerabilities, document risk points and failures, and abide by new industry tech regulations. This will likely mean that companies start to take certifications like the ones pioneered by Google and Amazon, instead of insisting on four-year undergraduate degrees.
But even as coding boot camps and year-long certification programmes have ramped up to try to close the gap, smaller tech firms and startups struggle to compete with their bigger counterparts. Remote work doesn’t help matters. “Hire-from-anywhere policies will only heat up a tight candidate market”, said Ryan Sutton, a district president of technology staffing services at Robert Half. “Companies who were already having a hard time recruiting are no longer just working against local competitors, but potentially desirable companies across the country”.
How Can CIOs Solve the Crisis?
As governments try to do their part—Poland offers residency and potential citizenship to skilled tech workers, India offers broad IT, telecommunications, and cybersecurity programmes, and the Netherlands lets its foreign employees earn 30% tax-free income—company executives must take measures of their own.
Some CIOs have started looking to other countries to source expert talent. In the United States, where 80% of U.S. employers state that tech recruiting is a significant challenge, some firms are looking to Mexico, where 20% of college graduates have engineering degrees. As a result, tech companies such as Cisco and Intel have sourced labour from both the U.S. and Mexico.
To compete, here are some first steps:
- Invest in cybersecurity and cloud development training programmes
- Hire based on skills and expertise, not necessarily degrees
- Outsource to other countries with high percentages of skilled engineers and programmers
Overall, companies that broaden their search for talent and upskill their current employees will be best equipped for digital transformation. As Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “Our research shows that, on the whole, UK businesses have adopted a long-term mindset [towards] technology and innovation”.