WinWin Issue 43
Tao of Business
President, ICT Strategy & Marketing, Huawei
Green & Development, Choosing Not to Choose
--At the Huawei Green ICT Summit held at MWC 2023, Peng Song, President of ICT Strategy & Marketing, Huawei, delivered a keynote speech entitled "Green & Development, Choosing Not to Choose". Peng points out that an "AI big bang" is underway, and that AI is set to bring new benefits and opportunities to carriers. He also notes that it requires better ICT infrastructure, due to higher bandwidth and increased computing power leading to a rapid increase in network energy consumption.
Today, the industry pursues advanced ICT technologies for efficient and prosperous society development, in the hope that everyone can live happier, healthier and safer in a green world. In this article, I focus on the relationship between Green and Development. I will detail Huawei's perspective on the relationship between green and development in the ICT industry. In particular, should we choose to prioritize one over another? Let me give you Huawei's answer before I start: We should not choose one or the other. Rather, we should choose not to choose; let me explain how.
AI big bang: a new intelligent era
There is no doubt that we are witnessing explosive growth of a new influx of AI applications. It's safe to say that the interaction model between these AI apps and users will rapidly expand from text to voice, images, and videos. In addition, AI training will evolve from a centralized model to a distributed one. A new intelligent era is fast approaching. This will bring three major opportunities and benefits to carriers:
• First, carriers will have new sources of revenue; for example, they can provide new toC and toB AI services.
• Second, carriers will be able to provide even better customer service experience; for example, improving the quality of customer service calls.
• Third, carriers' network operations and maintenance (O&M) services will become much more automated and intelligent.
All of this will supercharge the development of ICT infrastructure. We estimate that by 2030, the computing power of AI will increase 500-fold, and the demand for AI interactive data will increase 100-fold. In addition, changes to AI training models will pose higher requirements on network architecture.
However, such massive AI growth and great development opportunities will naturally drive up network energy consumption, which is estimated to grow 25-fold by 2030 if we fail to innovate or take action. This presents a huge challenge for our green initiatives.
So, which one should we prioritize: "green" or "development"?
Green & development, choosing not to choose
As the famous legal scholar Cass Robert Sunstein once noted: "Choice can be an extraordinary benefit or an immense burden. In some contexts, people choose not to choose."
In the ICT industry, I believe we should sharpen our focus on both green and development together. Green is the prerequisite for achieving development, while development provides the means to make green a reality. As for the choice between green and development, we choose not to choose, but rather to take them both.
Three advancements accelerating green & development
When we work with carriers around the world on green and development initiatives, we often find ourselves in situations where choices need to be made in those three areas. In these situations, we also choose not to choose.
First, for energy efficiency, we focus on both improving network energy efficiency and reducing absolute energy consumption, especially during idle time. We choose not to choose and take them both.
Second, for the use of renewable energy, we focus on both deployment scale of renewable energy and intelligent scheduling of green power. We choose not to choose and take them both.
Third, for user experience, we focus on energy saving that does not impact network key performance indicators (KPIs) or user experience. We choose not to choose and take them both.
Next, I will explain how Huawei has managed to choose both in these three areas.
Energy efficiency up, energy consumption down
Last year, we proposed the concept of "More Bits, Less Watts" to improve the energy efficiency of networks in active mode. This year, we have extended this by introducing a new concept to reduce the absolute energy consumption of networks in idle mode: "Zero Bits, Zero Watts".
When traffic load is low, intelligent shutdown can help save energy based on frequency domain, time domain, spatial domain, and power domain.
In particular, when mobile traffic load is extremely low, we can put active antenna units (AAUs) into deeper dormancy. Only the power supply units remain on standby. AAU hardware shutdown can be realized without any issues thanks to our material and technology innovations. This can reduce AAUs' power consumption from 300 watts to less than 10 watts when their traffic load is extremely low.
Deployment scaling and intelligent scheduling
Now, let's move to renewable energy. In the past, we paid more attention to the scale of green power deployment. Now, we also focus on intelligent scheduling of renewable energy.
From the site perspective, we take a "One Site, One Policy" approach for renewable energy planning to increase planning and deployment accuracy.
From the agility perspective, intelligent scheduling reduces the time needed from days to minutes. This helps to maximize the power generation, conversion, and utilization efficiency of renewable energy, thereby creating greater economic and green benefits.
To implement intelligent scheduling, Huawei has introduced site awareness capabilities to obtain multi-dimensional information about a site. Such information includes the weather, electricity price, battery status, and traffic volume. Intelligent dynamic scheduling algorithms are then used to optimize load-based power availability, power generation efficiency, and overall power consumption costs.
Guaranteed KPIs and guaranteed UX
Finally, but certainly our natural goal, is user experience. Traditionally, we used to focus more on network energy saving and network KPI assurance. Now, we also focus on ensuring user experience. Our optimal energy-saving policies are tailored to different network scenarios. In low-traffic scenarios, such as ski resorts in summer or beaches in winter, we maximize energy saving while ensuring that basic network KPIs are met. However, in higher-value scenarios like those for fixed wireless access (FWA) or VIP users, we aim to ensure optimal user experience in addition to energy saving.
This means we have to shift from relying on human experience to relying on data to develop and implement energy-saving policies. With this data-driven approach, energy-saving policies that meet customers' network performance and energy-saving targets are generated within minutes based on data collected from live networks. And the policies can be implemented within milliseconds.
Standardized indicators and visible management system
To achieve these three advancements, we should have a set of standardized indicators, based on which we can create a visible and manageable O&M system for green operations.
Over the past year, Huawei has worked with multiple carriers and standards organizations worldwide to promote the standardization of green indicators. Going forward, we will work with our carrier customers to build tools for these green indicators to be visually manageable and also optimizable during the journey of network operation.
To conclude, in the ICT industry, we should choose not to choose between green and development. Without doubt, we can pursue both of them together. In productizing these three advancements, Huawei has developed the Green 1-2-3 solution. Within this solution, "1" refers to one index for green network construction; "2" refers to the focus on two scenarios: high energy efficiency and ultra-low energy consumption; and "3" refers to a systematic three-layer solution that covers sites, networks, and operations. Peng closed his speech by highlighting Huawei's willingness to work with operators worldwide to strike a balance between going green and development, in order to accelerate green ICT development.