A Dialogue with the Chief of Huawei TECH4ALL Digital Inclusion Office (I)
2020/10/13 17:11:00 本站


As we all know, new technologies like AI, 5G, Cloud Computing, and blockchain have provided unprecedented opportunities to tackle some of the most intractable problems. The rapid development of digitization could be the core of realizing the SDGs of the UN. As for private organizations, especially in those well-reserve technology companies, who can better utilize and manage it for promoting the common prosperity of mankind and the earth.


On July 29, 2020, is the global Tiger Day, we discussed Tian Yang, the head of the column of "Enterprises Participating in Biodiversity Conservation" and Xing Zhenchao, executive director of Huawei TECH4ALL Digital Inclusion Office. Together they further explored how to use technology to protect nature and promote sustainable development goals.


The trend of technology promotes inclusive development


ICT is the combination of information and communications technology, the integration of these two powers has revealed the new coming era. In the past, some would say technology is nothing valuable but just itself.


However, the public never stop the intense debate on the role of technology in changing society. Nowadays, either ICT4D or Tech for good or Digital for good or Digital gap is based on the uneven application of technology. These core concepts all present a tendency of new value: without a doubt that technology should be applied to solving more social issues and promoting inclusive social development.


According to the 2019 Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, about 1 million species of plants and animals are currently endangered, and many will become extinct within the next few decades. (Source: UN Official)

On September 25, 2015. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was formally adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit. There are a total of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which map out the urgent global development issues and covering key areas such as education, health, employment, energy, and the environment. Also aimed at specific targets to settle down within a short time.


Among them, ICT technology has become a vital infrastructure platform for sustainable Development Goals. According to statistics, the expression of "technology" in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development appears at least 50 times.


China also hight focuses on 17 SDGs. The famous 13th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development was approved by the 12th National People's Congress held in March 2016, which perfectly integrates with China's long term and also midterm development planning. Meanwhile, strongly considering the trend of digital technology development, China has also successively issued the Outline of the Digital Rural Development Strategy and the Outline of the National Informative Development Strategy. It's a meaningful step of integrating digital strategies into national development plans.


These urgent global issues by 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is closely related to our future.


The COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 is a powerful alert telling that mankind and nature are part of an interconnected system.


We need to have a holistic reflection on the relationship between humans, nature, and other species. Fortunately, some visionary companies are taking its advantage to carry out actions of nature conservation, biodiversity. And hoping that actions can also benefit for all, including protection staff.


In March 2020, infrared monitoring captured tigers trudging through deep snow. (Source: national forestry and grassland administration northeast tiger and leopard monitoring and research center)

July 29 of this year is the tenth year since the Global Tiger Day was established at the 2010 St. Petersburg Tiger Summit. We invited Xing Zhenchao, executive director of Huawei TECH4ALL through the program of "Enterprises Participating in Biodiversity Conservation", to discuss how enterprises can take part in protecting nature with the advantage of digital technology.


Huawei is founded in 1987, as the world's leading provider of ICT infrastructure and smart terminals. We are committed to bringing the digital world to everyone, every home, and every organization to build an intelligent world connected by everything. So far, Huawei employs about 194, 000 people and operates in more than 170 countries and regions, serving more than 3 billion people. - Huawei Annual Report 2019


On February 25, 2019. in the Mobile World Congress meeting 2019. Deputy chairman Kenhou Hu delivered a speech on "redefine digital inclusion", which launched the global digital inclusion program - TECH4ALL, hoping that applications and skills will be assigned to everyone, every family, every organization. Realizing digital inclusion vision through technology and together build an intelligent world that everything connected. (Source: Huawei official)

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2019, Huawei officially released the TECH4ALL Digital Inclusion Action Plan. Which officially declared that TECH4ALL is Huawei's initiative and long-term measures to address the topic of "digital inclusion".


"Digital inclusion" refers to the equal access to and use of information and communication technologies by every individual and group. Huawei hopes to use innovative digital technologies to alleviate global inequality and accelerate the goals of SDG.


So far, Huawei's digital inclusion team has been exploring for more than a year. What experiences and insights have they brought?


Case #1


Old mobile phones and AI technology protects the rainforest


It's of great importance that the rainforest plays a key role in the earth's ecosystem. Unfortunately, worldwide deforestation is a serious threat to the sustainability of this ecosystem.


According to the WWF, 80% of the world's deforestation is concentrated in 11 areas between 2010 and 2030. Therefore, these areas are named "deforestation hotspots". If we don’t take effective action on it, 170 million hectares of forest in these areas could be gone by 2030, which equivalent to more than 80 percent of the world's deforestation.


Wild animals in the rainforest. (Source: Rainforest Connection)

Topher White is the founder of Rainforest Connection, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of rainforest through technology. They found that it was not only inefficient but also dangerous to stop rainforest destruction by manpower. A tragic example in the Philippines, there were 18 deaths of forest rangers reported in the past decades, all killed by illegal logging group.


In 2019, Huawei started comprehensive cooperation with Rainforest Connection to jointly create an innovative system for information collection, network transmission, data storage, and multichannel intelligent analysis. The consensus was reached between them on the concept of using digital technology to protect nature.


Workers are installing the "Forest Guardian" (Source: Rainforest Connection)

This device called "Guardian", can protect the rainforest from illegal logging through abandoned mobile phones equipped with solar energy which could be transformed into monitoring devices that work continuously in the rainforest environment. Xing Zhenchao also shared the working mechanism of the AI algorithm in curbing illegal logging:


“The sound classification AI model is developed by Huawei's AI experts...


It can be used by any developer or organization for one-stop training and deployment of AI applications.


So far, it has helped increase the detection rate of chainsaw incidents to 96%. Which greatly improves the efficiency of forest guardians and further helping zoologists to protect endangered animals through song analysis.”


According to Xing Zhenchao, by June this year, the system had been deployed in 14 countries on five continents, protecting 3,300 square kilometers of forest, and extending beyond the forest to the ocean. Huawei hopes to continually support Rainforest Connection for global development. The next stage aims to protect 6,000 square kilometers of forest and 400 million trees from being cut down.

(To be continued.)