Stockholm hosted the 21st annual Global Forum this week, highlighted by forecasts of a heated-up world market in telecommunications, innovative R&D policy, and burgeoning e-government services.
The telecommunications industry as a whole appears to be recovering and prospering worldwide, and the meeting marked the powerful emergence of China on the world technology market, with Chinese telecom giant Huawei continuing to build its new international profile in its second year as a Global Forum sponsor.
Last year in Brussels, Huawei made a marketing splash through a commanding presence at Global Forum 2011. At Brussels, Huawei reported $28 billion in revenue. That year the enterprise employed 110,000 people, with 51,000 of them outside of China.
In 2012 at the Stockholm Global Forum, Huawei said revenue increased to $32.4 billion during its last fiscal year. Huawei produced a further $16.2 billion in revenue for the first half of 2012.
Huawei now has 150,000 employees, with 61,000 of them in research and development. The company has built five R&D centers in Europe and participates in over 130 standards bodies. Huawei boasts of serving one-third of the world's population today.
In strategy, Huawei seeks to move beyond its foundation as an infrastructure vendor into divergent technology sectors, including cloud computing; handset development to rival Apple and Samsung; and networking expertise to compete with Cisco.
Huawei wasn't the only vendor to make a splash at the Global Forum. Alcatel-Lucent described its own current approach to information technology: The company sees it not just as a communication device but instead, "a life device." They say that the network is best visualized as "the connection from the cloud to the hand."
As such, the net worth of this life network is more valuable than ever, and its impact is greater than ever. For example, Alcatel-Lucent reports that the day the Apple iPhone 5 was put on sale in New York City, network traffic there jumped 6%.
The company expects to engineer its own networks to deliver handset bandwidth at 10Mbps for every user, comparable to DSL levels today. They expect household bandwidth to be configured at 100Mbps per subscription. Alcatel-Lucent characterizes this ambitious enterprise as "the electrification of the 21st century."
Africa is emerging as the "new frontier" of wireless communications. Africa has jumped from 4.5 million people online in the year 2000 to 110 million in 2010. There are now 246 million mobile phones, and an astounding 700 million SIM cards in the 54-country continent.
Global Forum often forecasts world trends in the information and communication industries. Invitation-only delegates this year came from 35 countries and international organizations such as the European Commission and the World Bank, augmented by delegates from corporations large and small, and multiple government agencies.
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