At Huawei Connect 2023, industry insights converged, spotlighting the harmony between tech innovation and ecological sustainability
Europe is at a crossroads, navigating the dual paths toward sustainability and digital innovation. Insights gathered from Huawei Connect 2023 offer a clear perspective. Discussions on consumer benefits from innovation, the surge in solar power, and the transformative potential of ICTs collectively emphasize the pivotal role technology plays in shaping Europe's future.
Ken Hu, Huawei's Rotating Chairman, asserted in his opening speech at Huawei Connect 2023: "Huawei has been working side-by-side with our European customers and partners for more than 20 years now, in Europe for Europe." This commitment underscores Huawei's extensive support for Europe's digital transformation and green initiatives, setting the stage for the pivotal discussions at the conference.
ICTs Accelerating Local Businesses
In his enlightening talk titled "How Innovation Benefits Consumers," Michel-Edouard Leclerc opened with a profound statement, highlighting the rapid transition from "All IT to All Cloud to All Intelligence" in an incredibly brief period.
As the CEO of E.Leclerc insights shed light on the monumental strides taken in technological advancement thanks to ICT solutions transforming their logistical framework, empowering the supermarket chain's growth. Leclerc's emphasis on this swift evolution underscores the imperative of technological integration in enhancing consumer experiences and propelling the retail industry forward.
Solar power surges in Europe: Navigating hurdles on the path to sustainability
At the session titled "Solar Accelerating the Green Energy Transition in Europe: Opportunities & Challenges," Dries Acke, Policy Director at SolarPower Europe, highlighted the remarkable reality of solar's surge in Europe.
According to Acke, the statement "Solar is booming in Europe" echoes the sentiment within the industry. The installation of over 40GW in the EU in 2022, marking a 43% surge from the previous year, signifies more than just a trend—it marks a seismic change in energy production methods. Notably, the Netherlands leads with over 1 KW per person in solar penetration, solidifying its role as Europe's solar powerhouse and an economic catalyst, employing 648,000 individuals.
However, amid these achievements lie pressing challenges: policy hurdles, inflationary pressures, grid limitations, and the need for a skilled workforce underscore the necessity for robust frameworks.
The path forward involves integrating solar power seamlessly into grids, posing questions about preventing price cannibalization and managing grid demand peaks. This journey towards a greener future hinges on technological advancements and policies that ensure a sustainable, efficient, and integrated energy landscape, demanding both innovation and regulatory progress for a balanced, thriving green economy.
Technology as a key in driving the future sustainability of Europe
In the landscape of digital transformation, Roberta Bigliani, VP of Industry Insights at IDC EMEA, envisions a future where the evolution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) reshapes industries and society.
Amidst macroeconomic challenges like inflation, recession, and staffing concerns, she emphasizes the need for heightened digital agility and skills. Bigliani underscores resilience as key to navigating these disruptions, highlighting that digital maturity significantly enhances performance outcomes.
She stresses that digital transformation is not merely an enabler but a fundamental strategy, emphasizing the importance of establishing robust foundations and sharing data within enterprises.
Looking ahead, the journey involves a shift from aspiring to be a platform or digital entity to embracing AI ubiquity, particularly with the rise of Gen AI.
This transformation necessitates mastering digital business, starting with the construction of a sturdy digital infrastructure and a clear execution roadmap.
Bigliani encourages action over inaction, promoting the development of partnerships, ecosystems, and continual reskilling and training of personnel as crucial elements for success in this digital expedition.
Ultimately, Roberta Bigliani's vision underscores the critical importance of adaptability, skill enhancement, and strategic foresight in the face of evolving technological landscapes and economic challenges.
Enabling digital sustainability
Luis Neves, the Global CEO of GeSI, emphatically champions the pivotal role of digital innovation in steering our world toward sustainability. With fervor, he underscores that our focus has veered away from the urgent reality surrounding us—a planet on the brink of ecological catastrophe. Drawing a powerful analogy, he deems climate change as the contemporary "atomic bomb," a formidable threat demanding immediate attention.
Neves asserts that within two decades, for humanity to endure, a seismic shift in our business paradigms and mindset is imperative, shifting toward sustainable practices. He staunchly believes that technology will be the linchpin in forging a brighter, greener world.
However, he emphasizes the criticality of measuring our progress in this journey. Unyielding in his stance, Neves proclaims that the ICT sector holds the key to combat climate change, urging for urgent intervention. He backs this assertion with statistics, highlighting the profound impact digital technologies wield in accelerating progress and mitigating detrimental trends.
Neves advocates for a greater contribution from digital technologies while acknowledging the need for a deeper understanding and mitigation of their negative impacts. With over $3 trillion earmarked for R&D in the ICT sector, Neves envisions a future where technology not only advances but becomes a beacon of sustainable progress.
Latest Progress of EU's Twin Transition, with a special focus on the Digital package
Ibán García del Blanco, Member of the European Parliament and S&D Coordinator to the Committee on Legal Affairs, delves into the profound shifts driving the EU's Twin Transition, shedding light on the pivotal Digital package. "We're steering a course to make Europe resource-efficient and competitive," he emphasizes, stressing the necessity of digitalization, skill-building, and regulation to facilitate this transformation.
García del Blanco underscores the exponential growth in ICT energy consumption, poised to reach a staggering 30%, warranting urgent attention to mitigate its impact on energy and raw materials.
He highlights the pivotal role of the Regulatory AI and Data Act in aligning with these objectives, framing it as a pioneering endeavor toward safe, ethical AI practices while advocating for flexibility and progressiveness. "Our aim is to ensure technology works inclusively for all people," he asserts, underscoring the paramount importance of balancing innovation with social responsibility in the EU's digital landscape.
It’s time for action
As Europe stands on the cusp of a pivotal transformation, these collective insights from Huawei Connect 2023 echo a resounding call to action. The fusion of green sustainability and digital prowess is not merely a vision but an imperative reality.
It's time for stakeholders across industries, policymakers, and innovators to unite, leveraging technology as a catalyst for sustainable progress. Embracing these principles—innovation with responsibility, digital agility, and a commitment to a greener future—will not only shape Europe's landscape but also forge a global paradigm of progress. The time for action is now, as every decision today defines the contours of tomorrow's Europe.
Journalist, The Smart City Journal