Interview with Edwin Diender: CDTO and VP, Huawei Enterprise - Leading the World in Digital Transformation Smart Cities
Edwin Diender, CDTO and Vice President, Global Government Business Unit, Huawei Enterprise joins Dinis Guarda in this new series of interviews for citiesabc to discuss his profile and background, his work in Huawei and what this tech leading global player is doing in Digital Transformation, 5G, AI and his cutting edge ideas and solutions in Smart Cities and related strategies and solutions.
Edwin Diender has a considerable background with an MBA in International Business and Marketing and a PHD in the areas of business economics and sustainable business models. Edwin is considered a thought leader and blue ocean strategist for Huawei Enterprise where he is part of the Global Government Business Unit. He is a frequent speaker at events around the world and has a career that has spanned multiple countries, cultures, languages, starting with his native country, The Netherlands, North America and more recently out of China.
These quotes from Edwin Diender highlights his blue ocean thinking and 360 approach to business, technology and infrastructure:
“If you look at where Huawei comes from and where we sit, is that the systems and services that already are out there are built on different pieces of technology, and it now needs to work together. We need to aggregate all these different information systems, and we need to pull all this information from these information systems into a backend infrastructure; and we need to blend it, and we need to structure all that data from an unstructured point of view. But we also need to do something with the right language that it’s been written in, or the right format that it’s been stored and archived in. (...) if you look at the top 10 of what generates the world’s GDP [Gross Domestic Product], they are cities. I think, five or six in the top 10 are cities, and only three or four of them are actually countries. So, the world’s GDP is comprised and combined by the GDP of cities, and we don’t necessarily mean a city-state like Singapore, as an example. Between quotation marks, I say, “real cities,” so, there is a country that has a capital city and a lot of other cities, one of those cities is contributing to the global GDP more and is in the top 10 of the world’s GDP.”
Edwin has been an early adopter and leader on a range of cutting edge technologic solutions and also on how to relate that with business innovation ideas and necessary pragmatism and putting in practice critical elements. This is something unique in the business world, especially when it comes to managing and being one of the leaders of one of the biggest tech players on the planet such as Huawei.
Some of Edwin Diender's expertise subjects comprehend the most relevant areas of digital transformation as a journey and a horizontal leverage between productivity, incentives and efficiency. His work and career comprehends also a work in leading big organisations, build solutions and adopt new tech and related leadership solutions. He has been doing this from a strong effective change management perspective: he is utterly focused on how to deal with complexity and velocity to accelerate processes and increase optimisation from IP and communications as a service, business models innovation mechanisms, big data to safe and smart cities, to enterprise solutions. Edwin Diender is a modern leader that understands the complexity of technology and leading global technology players and also the ideas necessary to adapt to our times of change and continuous disruption and crisis.
The video Interview was based on these questions
1. Profile overview and career
3. Your role in Huawei
4. How do you see digital transformation
5. The role of smart cities in the present global technological developments
6. How you see 5G tech and AI working together
7. The role of Huawei in innovation and digital transformation
8. The circumstances of Covid19 and the effects in the world economy and tech companies
9. how the social distance will change work circumstances and how companies like Huawei can help
10. Highlight some of the case studies of Huawei in the Coronavirus global scenario
Edwin Diender leading work in smart cities solutions, technologies and platforms
Edwin Diender is a unique Tech and organisation strategist, accustomed to larger concepts from digital transformation to smart cities in leading the world in technologies such as 5G and smart cities aligned with AI and the necessary efforts to create “digital twins” for our society and organizations, especially cities.
This concept is important for Edwin Diender. As one of the Huawei responsibles for intelligent and smart city solutions, Diender believes Digital Twins can help with the implementation and deployment of technologies, and more importantly, their correct use within the city’s needs.
In 2017, Mr. Diender introduced the Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) as the Brain and Nervous System for Smart Cities and since then he has been a global strategist for smart cities and the related systems and services. His work touches the areas of scalability and the idea of creating: “networks of smart cities, smart regions and smart nations”. This is a concept critical for our times and special in the present times when the world economic elements and cities and nations are changing with the Covid-19 / Coronavirus Pandemic but also as entire countries and organisations plus its people have to become digital to keep their businesses afloat.
Some of Mr. Diender's achievements include in 2016, the First Safe Then Smart, as a principle for safe city to smart city transformation. In 2005, he co-developed and launched Secure Converged Communications in Europe. Other of his career highlights comprehend the 1st IP-communications platform that he pitched ‘as a service’ in the Dutch market in 1998.
Another thing worth mentioning is that in 2019, Mr. Diender developed and introduced the Universal Framework for Smart City Construction, visualized via the principle of Rubik’s cube. He has been globally involved in several (government) initiatives and programs; scaling from small up to medium and large roll-outs across the value chain. Mr. Diender is experienced in bringing to-market concepts and solutions for Smart City/Safe City and eGovernment, including Collaboration-enabled Business Process (CEBP), Big (Video) Data Analytics, and the Economics of Smart Cities. At the end of 2011 Mr. Diender joined Huawei to help establish Industry Solution Sales practices for the WEU region.
He became spokesperson to global analyst organizations and international media in 2013. Mr. Diender is a coach and mentor to new recruits and employees and a part-time lecturer in Huawei University. Mr. Diender is a contact to non-profit boards, standardization bodies and advisory councils (eg. UN-Habitat, ABAC and WEF). In 2015, Mr. Diender was appointed CTO in the UC&C Marketing and Solution Sales department in Huawei Headquarters, in Shenzhen. He is awarded Most Valued Professional (MVP) in Huawei Enterprise. In 2016 he became Vice President of the Government & Public Sector Business dept. Since 2018 he is vice-leader of the Marketing & Solution Sales dept., High Level Executive Communications Leadership Team. Mr. Diender currently holds the position of Chief Digital Transformation Officer in the Enterprise Business Group, where he helps customers and partners with business growth, innovation and their digital journey, focusing on Smart City/Safe City Economics, eGovernment and Government Cloud, Big Data Analytics and Digital Transformation for Smart Cities, leveraging the Universal Framework for Smart City Construction.
Edwin Diender is a forward thinker and a business strategist whose professional experience has always been linked to digital transformation and sustainable business models. For Diender, technology is actually helping us go through all the challenges we, as humanity, face, including the current Covid.19 pandemic. Because, as Diender says, “technology helps us do better what we already do best.”
Technology And Covid-19 Pandemic
In that context, the Covid-19 coronavirus has become an international pandemic. Countries and governments have had to set up measures to contain the transmission of the virus. Schools and universities have had to shut, hospitals and healthcare systems are being tested while a third of the global population is on lockdown. Governments, businesses and cities are relying now more than ever on technology. In fact, as Edwin Diender pointed out, those most digitized countries, cities and institutions have a better response against this crisis: “Covid-19 proves the importance of Digital Transformation and technology.”
For the Huawei CDTO, there are many examples of how technology is helping go through this pandemic, from Big Data, AI, 5G or Video Conferencing solutions to more inclusive and innovative applications such as the Digital Twins concept. For example, AI and Big Data can help with diagnosing patients in a faster and more accurately way, even remotely. High-end videoconferencing technology allows clinical collaboration between medical specialists and to diagnose and consult, check on patients and even to make sure that self-distancing is being enforced.
There is also the Digital Twins concept. A digital twin is a digital representation of a physical object or system. The technology behind digital twins has expanded to include large items such as buildings, factories and even cities, and some have said people and processes can have digital twins, expanding the concept even further. Digital twin technology has moved beyond manufacturing and into the merging worlds of the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and data analytics. As more complex “things” become connected with the ability to produce data, having a digital equivalent gives data scientists and other IT professionals the ability to optimize deployments for peak efficiency and create other what-if scenarios.
Digital Twins of hospitals or hospital operations can use cloud-based services to help them collect data and analyze and share it faster and in a more reliable way. In this Covid-19 crisis, digital twins technology can predict models and different scenarios allowing decision-makers, doctors and specialists to act accordingly.
Building Smart City Strategies: AI, IoT And Data
In a smart city scenario, all technologies need to work together to become efficient and useful for the city, and that needs planning, vision and strategy. As Diender said: “Although technically speaking we have great systems and services, making indeed a digital platform, for Huawei it would be more on a conceptual level as well. We’re looking at it as something like the principle of a platform. A platform that’s capable of linking different programs and initiatives that would allow and help a city, or a residential area, or what have you, move higher up the value chain. And these different programs and initiatives combined eventually could lead to, let’s say, a Smarter City.”
“Artificial Intelligence would be a component where you could think of pieces of technology that do not require any pre-configuration, any pre-staging, and maybe not even configuration, or onsite implementations. What we mean by that is to for example consider Artificial Intelligence almost like the brain of a child, full of potential and waiting for that potential to be unlocked; via learning-by-example, and learning-by-doing,” said the expert.
Another important technology is IoT. “One example of the Internet of Things in Smart Cities is where all things connected create a more holistic view of anything and everything that goes on in a certain area, which is very key for City Managers to understand what goes on in their city and if they need to anticipate it. The Internet of Things allows us, together with backend infrastructures where big data analytics and Artificial Intelligence components sits, to help us in the decision-making tree and to shorten the decision-making process. To be more on point, if you like; or because of the time-saving component within it, it gives us more time to rethink, or to think better about the decision that we’re about to make, which lowers the level of mistakes, actually,” added Diender. “As said, having technology that allows us to do better what we already do best.”