The 4th Industrial Revolution is upon us

This is an opinion article by an external contributor. The views belong to the writer.
The 4th Industrial Revolution is upon us
Huawei has been at the forefront of 5G development and deployment, with over 30 5G contracts secured so far in Europe.

Huawei has been a trusted partner in Europe for over 18 years now. It is one of our most important markets. But it feels like more than that – it feels like a second home; we have grown up together here, learning from each other along the way.

And we see our future here as well. This year alone we announced that we are investing millions in Germany, Romania, France, Spain, and the UK. Just last month we unveiled a 70 million Euro Research and Development investment in Ireland.

It is Europe’s values of openness, innovation, and the rule of law that have made it the powerhouse of mobile communications it is today. We at Huawei share these values.

Innovative European companies have brought 2G, 3G, and 4G to European citizens and the wider world. The lifting of mobile roaming charges has helped Europe’s competitiveness and has benefited European consumers.

And the introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation is an excellent initiative which reinforces the core European value of the protection of citizens’ privacy.

We believe the model applied in GDPR can also be applied to cybersecurity, helping Europe to continue to be a leader in the 5G era.

I believe Europe and Huawei share the same vision when it comes to technology: that it should benefit consumers and citizens.

Since the company was founded 30 years ago, we have been working to bring digitalization and connectivity to everybody, regardless of where they are from or where they live. We don’t believe it’s a luxury – we believe it’s a fundamental right. But with rights of course, come responsibilities.

This is why we actively encourage all stakeholders, no matter who, to take responsibility for improving cyber-security, and the standards of that security together. And it’s also the reason we have made cyber-security our top priority at Huawei.

Huawei has an excellent record all over the world. We comply willingly with all local regulations and laws.

But we understand that change brings uncertainty, and uncertainty can lead to anxiety.

This is why we welcomed the EU coordinated 5G risk assessment released on the 9th of October. We believe it is an important step towards developing a common, fact–based approach to cyber security and delivering safe networks across Europe. As the process moves into the next phase, we will work closely with everyone to help mitigate any risks that may be identified, and put peoples’ minds at rest.

We want your trust – we understand it is important. I firmly believe that over the last 20 years in Europe we have been both a trusted and trustworthy partner.

But just as important as trust is verification. This is why we want to work with, and are open to suggestions from all European Governments, customers and partners. Verify us, don’t just trust us.

Europe is open and inclusive – and it is this openness and inclusivity which allows us to work together effectively. We must understand each other’s points of view, and reconcile each other’s interests. This exchange of ideas will move us forward together. No-one will benefit – least of all the consumer - if the development of the digital future becomes fragmented.

We are on the cusp of a 4th Industrial Revolution. A revolution driven by 5G technology, Artificial Intelligence and technological innovation, unimaginable just a few years ago. The possibilities are endless. And the advantages for consumers and citizens equally so.

Huawei can bring something special to this moment – the most advanced 5G technology available. Harnessed with Europe’s tech-industry environment I believe this can unleash Europe’s true potential. It is my wish that within the next 20 years, the leading global companies in the tech field will be European.

The result, I believe, will be a European model for a global digital future – based on free and fair competition, rooted in security; then Europe will have achieved true Digital Sovereignty.

The first Industrial revolution was forged in Europe out of industry. The second and third industrial revolutions were led by America, through mass production and digitalization. Now, I think it is only fitting that the 4th Industrial Revolution should again see Europe at the forefront –and I want this to be in partnership with Huawei, a company that shares Europe’s vision of a connected world, embracing digital technology, for the benefit of all its citizens.

Abraham Liu is Huawei’s Chief Representative to the European Institutions and the President of its European Public Affairs and Communication Office.

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