Huawei: Hard to Pronounce? If you Care about the Future, Start Practicing Now!

By: Hillel Fuld (@Hilzfuld)

I am writing these words on an Apple iPad on my way back from a Huawei event in Shanghai. No one disputes Apple’s superiority in certain areas such as tablets and other consumer technologies. However, even the mighty Apple, the most valuable company on earth realized long ago that me writing blog posts on the plane using their tablet is not where the growth is. Want to know where the future lays? One word: Enterprise.

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Yes, Huawei is no laughing matter in the consumer space. The company, without the US market, is the number three largest phone manufacturer worldwide after Apple and Samsung. The Huawei P9 sets the standard for mobile devices in 2016. Simply put, it is phenomenal.  More on Huawei consumer technology here. But again, consumer? Meh.

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Consumer < Enterprise

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Huawei is single handedly dominating the mobile enterprise world and has been laying the infrastructure for our future connectivity around the globe for years now. You think your LTE is snappy? 5G is to LTE what LTE was to dial up, and that is a huge understatement.  The speeds speak for themselves.

If you are an American consumer, you’ve perhaps seen the Huawei logo enough times to recognize it if I showed it to you, but if I asked you to pronounce the name of the company? That is where the conversation ends. Here’s the thing, that is going to change fast.

Huawei, in many markets, like the one I am flying over right now, the Chinese monster of a market dominates the way BlackBerry once dominated the business world. One small difference? Huawei is learning from some of the casualties of the mobile market, like BlackBerry and Nokia, and the company is innovating faster than anything I’ve ever seen.

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Big data, 5G, automotive, virtual reality, and global connectivity are just some terms I heard thrown around over the past few days from the leading Huawei execs. This company isn’t playing around and while the US market has traditionally been strangely suspicious of Huawei, the company has basically said “No US? No problem. They’ll come begging when they realize that Huawei technology is running through the veins of all the leading technologies American consumers and businesses are using.”

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The group of key opinion leaders Huawei brought to Shanghai

Will Huawei have the brand recognition that Apple is so well known for? Nope. Does it matter? Absolutely not. If anything, the opposite is true. Apple, through its recent partnerships with IBM and others clearly realizes that it has to start making a dent not only in people’s pockets but in the enterprise world as well, because that is the future.

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Also? The iPhone 7 is a few weeks away and the leading rumor of what we expect to see in Apple’s next flagship? Dual lenses for better pictures. Where have I seen that again? Oh yes yes, the Huawei P9 in my pocket.

Listen, we all talk about the connected car, autonomous vehicles, and other technological dreams that are slowly becoming a reality but let me ask you a question…

When your autonomous connected car senses an obstacle on the road and notifies the system to brake, would you prefer that that communication take place over existing 4G/LTE technology that still causes your kids’ Barney videos on YouTube to buffer or would rather it take place over blistering fast 5G technology of which Huawei is the provider? Yea, that’s what I thought.

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You might not yet know how to pronounce Huawei or know quite what to make of this company, but if you are interested in what’s coming and what will shape our future, then repeat after me:

Hooo-waaa-waaaay.

 

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As you might have noticed, I like to interview people. Really important people. I literally made myself a list of individuals that I would one day, somehow, hope to have the privilege to interview. Some of them were a little out there. You know, people like the actress Alyssa Milano (remember Who’s the Boss? Good times.), Om Malik, the father of tech journalism, and even Steve Wozniak who founded this small company called Apple with his buddy Steve Jobs in their garage. I set myself some pretty high goals and so far, so good.