In this interview, the Vice President of Global Transportation Business Unit, Huawei Enterprise Business Group, Mr. Wang Guoyu, talks about developments at Huawei to create wonderful passenger experience:
Do rail, air and other transportation modes collaborate on solutions to provide seamless travel experience for passengers? Or are the industries still operating in silos?
In fact, what you asked is just the current situation. I believe that operators in the transport sector realise the situation and almost all of them want to change it, break the different silos, and build the platforms. Transportation moves passengers and freights in the physical world, combining railway, subway, road, airspace and so on. Telecommunication moves data in the digital world, through different data centres, applications and systems. Transportation digitisation will provide seamless journey for passengers.
This year, the Coronavirus Disease has made significant impact. For example, it made online transactions and working from home a new normal, which means digital transformation is becoming essential for many industries. The main challenge of transportation remains the conflict between increasing mobility demand and inefficient transportation. For instance, in many airports, punctuality is only 75 per cent. In large cities, during peak hours, vehicle speed can be less than 10km/h.
To improve transportation efficiency, Mobility as a Service for passengers and Multimodal Transport for logistics are more popular. They integrate passenger flow, freight flow, business flow seamlessly across multiple transportation modes.
MaaS is the focus of public transportation. It is combining railway, subway, road and air to meet passengers’ travel needs, lowering the cost and improving efficiency. Technologies such as 5G, Internet of Things, cloud, big data and Artificial Intelligence will definitely play a key role in MaaS.
Huawei offers a comprehensive transportation solution, which leverages Information and Communications Technology technologies to digitise all transportation elements, including passengers, freights, vehicles and business. This solution consolidates multi-source data into the unified data lake, so we can develop algorithm and data model, and build an indicator system for scenario-based solutions.
It takes a long time to achieve digital transformation. What should we pay attention to during the process?
I think there are three points to be considered. First, for digital transformation, we need to begin with the overall architecture and design from the top down. We have developed an innovative solution architecture consisting of three horizontal layers and three vertical business flows.
At the first layer is the infrastructure connection layer. The 5G, IoT and machine vision can fully connect all objects, such as people and vehicles, and streamline all airport service and systems. 5G can deliver enhanced performance, including higher bandwidth, lower latency, and more dense coverage, to support passenger online services and smart inspection robots.
The second layer is the platform. It is based on cloud, providing unified storage resource, computing resource and network resource. All these three are the basic digital resources. We use this unified platform to provide big data technology to facilitate data value, mine the data value and share the data service. The third layer is the application layer. In this layer, we can gather ecosystem partners with extensive industry experience, and more AI-based applications. For passenger flow, cargo flow and flight flow, we need to identify key scenarios along these business flows, to develop scenario-based solutions.
Second, life cycle management is very important to digital transformation. It starts with consultation and planning, then proceed with system development and integration, and we need continuous operation and maintenance to help the customer keep the industry’s position.
Last but not the least, one tree doesn’t make a forest. One company also cannot achieve so much alone. Vendors, partners and customers need to work together to build an open ecosystem to realise this vision.
Huawei’s strength is within digital technologies, but partners and customers have the industry know-how. The combination of the two can create chemistry, and this collaboration of chemistry could potentially be the secret to success.
How can we apply AI, IoT and big data during airport digital transformation?
The development of big data, IoT and AI will have significant impact on the aviation digital transformation.
For example, Shenzhen Airport takes the lead in implementing intelligent stand allocation. Originally, it takes about four hours to manually allocate stands to over 1,000 flights every day and night. The intelligent stand allocation system uses AI algorithms. We consolidate more than 60 operation rules to reduce the allocation time, and the result we can reach from four hours to one minute. So, we can improve bridge-to-aircraft docking rate and bridge turnover rate. After deploying this system, more than two million passengers can board and disembark through contact stands instead of shuttle bus every year.
Shenzhen Airport also launched a flight support process system based on big data, which deploys IoT and machine vision to collect data on key ground support nodes, as accurate as 95 per cent. This system monitors the whole flight support process, detects and handles exceptions in real time, and improves the airport’s punctuality rate.
The smart airfield ground light solution is another reference. We use IoT and AI technology to control the ground lights instead of manually. We plan the taxi path and detect aircraft conflicts. So, we can reduce aircraft taxiing time, increase the efficiency of runways and taxiways. Normally it takes at least 20 minutes from landing to docking. If three minutes can be saved for each flight, the taxiing efficiency can be improved by at least 15 per cent. Shenzhen Airport handles more than 1,000 flights every day, and this solution helps to save 3,000 minutes every day.
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