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Huawei announces "enterprise intelligence" cloud

Huawei this week revealed a cloud artificial intelligence (AI) platform it calls Enterprise Intelligence, as it announced its intention to climb into the 'top five' bracket of cloud providers.

The new platform was revealed at the Chinese tech giant's annual conference in Shanghai, called Huawei Connect, by the current 'rotating CEO' Guo Ping.

Ping stressed Huawei's plans to provide the technology infrastructure for its 30-plus partners, 14 of which signed up since last year's Connect and are working with Huawei for the first time.

For example, this year businesses such as GE and Honeywell have chosen Huawei as their cloud partner to deliver IoT solutions in industries ranging from security to energy.

Fried eggs

Digital transformation is provoking a choice among business leaders, said Guo Ping, where they are faced with picking between proactive or reactive change. He likened this to the possibilities contained within an egg - broken from the inside out they bring life, but broken from the outside in, they're only good for frying.

"Embracing digital transformation is the only way forward," Ping said. "This is an era of greatness. Many great companies will emerge." Huawei's goal is to "capture the opportunity", he added, but the company will "refuse to be opportunistic".

He was followed to the stage by Mr Zheng Yelai, president for the IT product line, who pointed to some facts and figures that suggest Huawei has captured some of these opportunities: it has increased its share of the private cloud market to the number one spot in China, grown its user base by 278% since March this year, won itself an OpenStack Platinum rating, and contributed roughly 4,500 new features overall to its cloud suite.

It has also brought in some more big name businesses such as Volkswagen, using high performance computing for simulation design, and Philips' medical wing uses the Huawei cloud to manage 8.1 million medical devices.

Huawei didn't mention the 'top five' cloud providers by name, but it is safe to assume they are looking to compete with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM in the fast-growing global cloud market.

Enterprise Intelligence

One of the big announcements for the day was Huawei Enterprise Intelligence (EI), which the company is billing as a cloud for hire with basic platform services such as deep learning, graph analysis, AI training, machine learning, reasoning, and indexing platforms.

The specific scenarios where Huawei touted EI as working well were in real-time video processing, plus 'dumb' device identification - like understanding that an egg is an egg, for example - and in document and image recognition. It also has general API services like natural language and voice recognition. Mr Zheng Yelai noted that at the moment, the optical character recognition is 97.37 percent accurate.

Mr Yang Xiaoling from Chinese financial services firm CPIC joined him on stage to talk the audience through its most recent announcement, a 'robo advisor' that asks the user six questions before figuring out a risk portfolio, all running on Huawei technology (and has been used 2.2 million times since its launch last Friday). The company will also be using optical character recognition to help it process and settle claims.