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Huawei awarded for its COVID19 Network Operation Solutions in Africa

During the most crucial pandemic times, Huawei developed a solution to support network operation centers (NOCs) for swift communications in Africa. And today, the company has been recognized for this solution with a COVID19 response award at the 2020 AfricaCom virtual awards ceremony held in South Africa.

The Huawei O&M Autin grid-based operations solution won the prize, which recognises organizations and initiatives that have successfully deployed technology solutions in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Huawei was chosen as the winner from a shortlist of five initiatives on the continent. 

The AfricaCom Virtual Awards acknowledge the contributions of Africa’s tech community in fields including corporate leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation, connectivity, pandemic response, and building a more accessible, inclusive digital world.

Huawei developed the Autin grid-based operations solution for network operations and maintenance (O&M), using new technologies such as blockchain, grid-based transformation, and the intelligent station of operations to enable decentralized network management during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 170 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria – the most populous country in Africa – are served by four main operators from around 30 000 sites nationwide. Maintaining these large infrastructures requires hundreds of field technicians and 24/7 monitoring.

Lockdown and mobility restrictions during the pandemic placed additional challenges on operators, with increased traffic and restrictions on the number of workers permitted at network operations centers (NOCs).

To address these challenges, Huawei developed the Autin grid-based Operation, which decentralises network management by empowering field technicians with digitized tools to proactively monitor network quality indicators and respond to any degradation before subscribers are affected.

The solution not only provides a contingency for operators’ NOCs – essentially working as a “portable NOC” – but expands network monitoring capability with a grid-based operation.

A cloud-based, big-data digital platform is at the heart of the solution, leveraging machine-learning/AI, prediction algorithms, and knowledge-based intelligent rules.

A monetary incentive mechanism linked to network quality indicators motivates the field workers to embrace this mindset change. Finally, an intelligent command center – a “magnifier in the sky” – provides real-time visibility of network status, staff geolocation, and incident-resolution tracking.

“Grid-based network operation improves prediction capability and increases the agility of operators in responding to network incidents,” said Leo Lu, Huawei’s VP Global Technical Services for Southern Africa. “Field workers shift from being passive-reactive to being proactive thanks to cloud-based technology that gives them visibility and access to a knowledge database to resolve network faults.

“Intelligent dispatching and a network quality-based incentive plan are additional mobile features that improve field workers’ wellbeing and reduce their exposure to the pandemic,”

Concluded Leo Lu

In 2020 alone, Huawei has been at the forefront of helping countries in which it operates to handle the COVID19 Pandemic period swiftly than normal. In Uganda, the company donated IT equipment before resuming its annual ICT Academy competitions by leveraging elearning opportunities.

Hence, the COVID19 response award to Huawei may further inspire the company to deliver more community-driven projects on the African continent.

With an annual timeframe, recognition awards to foreign companies will attract more big tech companies to embrace Africa as a land of opportunity in a fashion similar to that of Huawei.

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