Keynote Huawei: How does the 5G impact the Smart City and face the major challenges of cyber security?

What is the impact of 5G on the smart city?

5G is coming, and will probably bring with it a transformation of the economy, business models and ways of thinking. The goal of this ReadyForIT 2019 conference was to reveal how this new generation will impact the smart city and the cybersecurity issues that come with it.

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What are Monaco’s smart city objectives?

Frédéric Genta is responsible for the technological infrastructure of the principality of Monaco, i.e.  telecoms, the cloud, IT, satellites and frequencies. He is also responsible for administration, health, education, mobility, the smart city and everything concerning the digital economy and governance. Monaco recently announced an ambitious program based on several principles:

  • The Principality wants to be the first country to work on these topics because it has the capacity to do so and is working on all levels.
  • It is simpler to work on an area measuring a mere 2 km² than much larger countries, where many decisions are taken by municipalities.
  • Digital technologies and 5G are considered the country’s next stages of development.

To bring about this digital development, the Principality is working on all of the following elements:

  • Solid foundations: fibre infrastructures, a sovereign cloud, laws and a trained population. Therefore, initial upgrading needs to be done.
  • Education: by 2021, every student will have individualised school exercises and the teacher will act as a coach to help every student develop at his or her own pace. Monaco will become the first country where one hour a week of programming classes will be mandatory for all students.
  • Autonomous shuttles: autonomous lines will provide mobility within the country by 2021.
  • Administration: it will be completely dematerialised by 2021.
  • Economy: all these changes need funding and professions with high added value will be required. In such a small area, every square metre must be as profitable as possible.

Monaco has chosen to be an innovation "funding nation" and hopes to attract progress investors in all its forms. The country hopes to attract financing for specific segments, for which it has real credibility, such as "real estate tech" or "clean tech", through the creation of a digital ecosystem.

Monaco’s model is also based on security and sustainable development with people at the heart of it all. Major substantive work is being done to strengthen the laws and create trust, leading Frédéric Genta to predict that "Monaco will move forward very quickly on digital technologies.”

How great will 5G’s impact be?

The first Motorola phone was launched a few decades ago, representing the first generation of mobile technology. Then came 2G, 3G and 4G on which many business models and companies were created. Alibaba and the GAFAM owe their very existence to mobility.

However, this was not what the creators of 4G had intended, because they had no idea how important mobility or its influence on the economy would become. Because of this, when 5G arrives, we already know that its impact will be enormous, even if we don’t yet know how. 5G will redefine the digital world in the form of new devices like foldable phones or connected glasses, for example.

What solution does the Chinese group propose for the smart city?

5G represents an essential medium for the smart city that will not only redefine the digital world but also have a significant economic impact. The smart city cannot be built in a day or by a single company. Its architecture is based on four major pillars:

  • Sensors: phones, cameras and vehicles collecting data
  • Network: composed of wireless (2G, 3G, 4G and IoT) and optical fibre
  • Data: cloud, data centre and all data collected in the same physical or logical place, which will have to secure data processing and redistribution
  • Applications: getting the right data to the right users

Huawei plans to build the smart city like a nervous system based on 5G. It has to be humanised, because it is made for humans and not machines. Automation must help improve analysis in order to identify risk and repair it in the event of a cybersecurity fault.

The Chinese group is not responsible for data processing or for helping build the infrastructure transmitting this data to data centres. It isn’t responsible for applications either because there are already so many of them. However, it can contribute to mobile and fixed networks and technologies.

Huawei has created a platform dedicated to selling secure data storage. The company also plans to participate in the creation of an intelligent operations centre for the smart city, identifying risk and reporting it quickly and automatically.

What is Huawei’s vision?

The group is establishing a platform strategy for a large number of applications, and an ecosystem strategy based on the cloud, connectivity and terminals (not just phones, but the IoT as well). Because it has become necessary today to communicate with machines, 100 billion devices will soon be connected by 5G and optical fibre. Huawei is moving ahead on several proposals:

  • Working within the telecom ecosystem, participating, contributing and sharing know-how and viewpoints along with other market players.
  • A single standard for 5G, which is the only way to secure products. Standardisation limits the risks of espionage and security vulnerabilities.
  • Certification and testing the products that are created. Weiliand Shi explains that "Traceability, from the concept to delivery, as well as after-sales maintenance" are the only way to demonstrate that a product is clean.
  • A budget for discussions related to procedures and organisations. Huawei wants to become an even more serious cyber security company, which is why its founder reinvested $2 billion last year to strengthen and rebuild the group's security system.

Speakers: Frédéric Genta, Principality of Monaco; Weiliand Shi, Huawei Technologies France