Kathy Gibson reports from virtual Huawei Connect – Digital transformation has a lot to offer the transport industry in creating a comprehensive ecosystem to ease the movement of people and goods.

This was the overriding message from the Huawei Transportation Summit held alongside Huawei Connect.

Ma Yue, executive vice-president of Huawei Enterprise Business Group (EBG) and president of Huawei EBG global partner development and sales, explains that transportation links cities and is decisive factor in metro development.

“This development not only increases the productivity and happiness of people, but facilitates the movement of freight and goods, providing the driving force to growth.”

Everyone is aware of the problems plaguing transportation, Yue adds. City dwellers live with daily traffic congestion, while airline travelers have to cope with long queues, delays and a high level of late departures.

“The demand for travel and freight have increased but the efficiency of the systems are facing big challenges.”

We talk about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), Yue says, and the transport systems need to mirror this.

“5G and other ICTs are reshaping the world. 4IR aims to usher in an intelligent world. To achieve full connectivity, we are enabling the transportation that supports it.

“Smart transportation will being a new where will can enhance safety, efficiency and experience.”

Comprehensive transportation goes beyond simply upgrading rail, land, air and water transport systems, Yue adds. It needs to embrace all of these transport systems into one comprehensive systems.

“We provide the connections and computing capability; and word with partners to build comprehensive smart transportation systems and enable convenient travel and smooth logistics,” he adds.

Wang Guoyu, president of the global transportation business unit of Huawei Enterprise business group, adds that transport has been an important driver in each stage of human development.

For instance, the development of steam trains opened up new opportunities for the movement of people and goods.

“In the computer age, high-speed rail and aviation has already witnessed tremendous growth,” Guoyu says. “The industry has now come to a consensus that artificial intelligence (AI), 5G and other technologies will bring about a new transport revolution.”

He adds that artificial intelligence (AI) has had a tremendous impact on society. “From the information age to the digital world, data is key. Visualisation is underpinned by data.

“Together with land, capital and other production elements, data has now become a valuable commodity.

“Transportation enables mobility in the physical world; in the virtual world, data enables mobility.”

Guoyu Points out that there is similarity in the business and service flows for land, air, water and rail transportation. “They are all about the flow of people or goods, end to end and door to door.

“The demand from transportation is for technology to facilitate this flow.”

Typically, the transport industry is capital-intensive and highly specialised. “We believe it is different from other traditional industries in that it has to realise the digitalisation of the infrastructure – all the objects need to be digitised.”

He adds that the various different sub-sectors – construction, operations, maintenance and more – are digitised, cloud can be threaded through the process.

“In the future, we will move from scenario-specific digitalisation to digitalising the entire industry.”

Key enablers of this are AI and 5G, Guoyu says. “4G changed our lives; 5G changes industry and the means of production.”

“5G can help us achieve infrastructure utilisation, while AI can be applied in various sectors to empower transportation, feeing labour from hard, dangerous and repetitive work.”