Those of you that know me — know I love technology and innovation. I believe these two things more than any other will change the future of the world. For the better. And I am not alone.
Which is why it was a great honor to be asked to be a guest of Huawei. The global technology giant. To their event:
“Broadening the Innovation Landscape 2022”
This is where Huawei, whilst I was away researching remote work spaces in Madeira, announced a batch of key inventions. As part of its biennial “Top Ten Inventions” Awards held at its Shenzhen headquarters. But also live streamed to 80 different countries around the world.
Which was very useful for me as a remote working reporter on such matters. And I loved being in attendance.
The award is designed to recognize inventions that could:
- create new series of products,
- become important commercial features of existing products,
- or that generates considerable value for the company and the industry.
This value is not just for the company. But for the world.
According to WIPO’s (World Intellectual Property Organisation) report, in 2020. Total intangible asset value rose to an all-time high of $65.7 trillion. Representing 54% of overall listed global value.
Meaning more than half the world is “non physical”. Showing that the world is moving more and more into this new world. Where economies are investing more and more into innovation and creative industries. This is not just something for Huawei to consider but for the whole world.
It’s time to broaden the horizon as well as the landscape
Which is why there were so many brilliant and key people at the event. From all sorts of countries and societies and sectors. All that spoke about the future. Not just of technology but also about law and IP and about society as a whole. And how we must share as well as create Intellectual Property and innovations to make the world a better place. Something I believe strongly about.
A view shared by Manuel Desantes, former Vice President of European Patent Office. Who in his passionate speech implored technology companies to realise their present power. And that with this new world and given the vast number of changes in the world.
What matters most is no longer the number of registered patents or inventions. And that the IP system (and perhaps the culture of the companies and of the world) should assure that “the creations that merit protection are those that bring actual value”. On a social level with social impact.
He is right.
This new world, on the brink of the 4th industrial revolution has to look at what is socially beneficial. As well as what’s good for the economy. Not for any other reason. Except, without doing so none of us will have a world on which to grow an economy in the first place. And so it is great to see that many of the new inventions (maybe as they are made by the next generation) also have green and social impacts already embedded within them.
Patents and IP and the future.
Whether or not the number of patents is important. The sharing of IP and inventions can ONLY happen (as my video points out) when companies invest enough. In their research and development and into the people power of their companies. Which is something that Huawei does.
Not only showcased in the young people who had come up with these new ideas. But in the sheer amount the company invested inside its own business.
Not on marketing and sales and advertising, as other tech companies do, but on product. But not just products for now. But IP and inventions that are the backbone of tomorrow’s technologies. Be they Huawei’s or those licensing a lot more devices of the future.
As Alan Fan, showed in his interesting talk (and in his video here) that the value of Huawei patents has seen wide recognition in the industry. Especially in mainstream standards such as cellular technology, Wi-Fi, and audio/video codecs.
“In the past five years, more than two billion smartphones have been licensed to Huawei’s 4G/5G patents. And for cars, about eight million connected vehicles licensed to Huawei patents are being delivered to the consumers every year. With over 260 companies — accounting for one billion devices — have obtained Huawei’s HEVC patent licences through a patent pool”
And how is this possible?
As every year, Huawei invests more than a whopping 10% of its sales revenue into R&D. Huawei ranks second in the 2021 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard. And in 2021, the company increased its R&D investment to CNY142.7 billion, representing 22.4% of our total revenue. Over the past decade, Huawei’s total R&D investment surpassed CNY845 billion.
Which allows them to also lead in the number of patents it has. By the end of 2021, Huawei holds more than 110,000 active patents across over 45,000 patent families. It has:
- more granted patents (or “grantings”) than any other Chinese company,
- filed the most patent applications with the EU Patent Office,
- been ranked fifth in terms of new patents granted in the United States.
- for five straight years ranked №1 worldwide in terms of Patent Cooperation Treaty applications.
Even before the new inventions are unleashed onto the market. You can’t argue with those numbers. As the number of Huawei’s patent applications in China continues to rise. They exceeded 10,000 in 2020 and close to 12,000 in 2021. Today, no other company has more granted patents in China than Huawei. Which is impressive.
As 55% of patents are now from China. Which ranks top in innovation. And also has 3 tech incubators in the top 20 rankings globally.
And according to Alan Fan, it is not just in China. Huawei’s annual patent applications in the United States have been around 4,000. With an average of 3,000 new “grantings”. And as you can see above in 2021, Huawei ranked fifth in terms of new “grantings”, totalling 20,000 patents in the United States.
But what about us in the UK? And Europe. According to the European Patent Office. Huawei was the largest patent applicant in Europe in 2019 and 2021.
But what about the future? The future is collaboration.
One thing that impressed me the most about the inventions event. Wasn’t always the inventions — even though some were stunning. But it was more that it is the next generation that is coming up with them. And this is possible due to the emphasis Huawei places on working with universities and graduates. And not just in China.
As it disclosed at the event. It has 20 research centres in Europe, including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, Poland, and others. And that the number of patent applications by Huawei’s local R&D teams has been on the rise every year.
Which means this is working. This cross-cultural approach links into my own beliefs about diversity of thought. And how it is the companies of the future of work that understand this that will be the most successful. Which seems to be what we are seeing come to pass at Huawei. As you could see with the young researchers and inventors of the 10 inventions at the event.
My personal favourite inventions from the 10 showcased.
These are not in any order. And you can find more about other research inventions for Huawei here. But the invention was led by the speaker Xi Zheng. Who was part of a group of researchers and developers. That had created something I had been talking about for a while. Almost as a future thought. Which is now a reality. As I explained in my video.)
Where before making wholesale changes to complex systems. For Huawei this might be a network to make sure we have faster wifi and better connections. You make the calculations using a “mockup” of the real world with a digital twin.
You HAVE to do this first. As the real-world concept is so complex. For example, her project had 12,000 different base stations in a sector containing more than 3 million people. And so countless devices. To make the system more efficient, you can play around with the ideas you have first with the digital twin. And then make the changes in real life. These changes accounted for an increase in 12% in efficiency.
But for me it’s also cutting down the human cost time. Using AI and technology to make work better and safer and more productive and efficient. This is what I am all about. Which is why I also “liked” the invention that helped astronomers. With the huge amount of data, they have to get through. With the new inventions of the AI system and the new computers the calculations used to take 100 seconds to do. Now the calculations are down to 1 sec.
Which might not sound a lot in time. But this is by a factor of 100. And so human workloads that were originally months are now just days.
But it’s not just us humans that benefit from these inventions. It’s the planet as well. As each idea that saves on power — helps save the planet. And so the adder neural network, another winner in the broadening innovation event. Which significantly reduces power consumption and circuit area by up to 70%. Which has to be great for the world’s environment.
The reason why all these inventions and innovations are so important. Is today, in the post pandemic world new technologies such as:
- artificial intelligence,
- cloud computing,
- big data,
- the Internet of Things,
- and even the metaverse
They all will change the way we live and work. And as someone that talks a lot about the future and the future of work. This is really important for me. The technology of the future has to save us time as well as help save the planet , we want to have time on, too.
About the Author.
Ex marketing agency owner, digital trainer, Ted talker, keynote speaker, serial tech startup founder and now media spokesperson Dan Sodergren’s main area on interest is the #futureofwork, #remotework,#data, #greentech and #tech startups. He is co-founder of www.YourFLOCK.co.uk with Michal Wisniewski
In his spare time, Dan is a digital marketing and technology expert for the BBC. Donning the cape of consumer champion on shows like BBC Watch Dog, the One Show and RipOffBritain and marketing tech specialist for SuperShoppers and RealFakeAndUnknown. His favourite being reviewing the newspapers from a tech POV for BBC Breakfast.
He is also a host and guest on podcasts and webinars speaking as a futurist. As well as being a guest on countless radio shows. And a remote reporter / content creator for tech companies at tech events and shows.
His main interest is in the future. Be that the future of marketing, or the future or work or how technology will change the world for the better under the #Tech4Good and #Tech4All movement.