Mobile World Congress 2017

ZTE working with T-Mobile and AT&T on car and driving technologies

Chinese telecom equipment provider also signs strategic cooperation agreement with Intel during Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 March, 2017, 2:28pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 March, 2017, 10:47pm

ZTE, the Chinese telecom equipment provider, is working with operators including T-Mobile and AT&T on services that will help car owners store driving information on their smartphones and give passengers in-car connectivity.

The Chinese company’s plans will enable operators to offer services including location-tracking and in-car wireless connectivity, as well as monitoring driving behaviour and the condition of their cars based on information sent to the “Cloud”, ZTE chief information officer Jane Chen told South China Morning Post at the Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona.

So-called cloud computing operations enable companies to distribute software and other digital resources online, like electricity from a power grid.

In line with ZTE’s ambition to roll-out 5G networks globally with advanced products, faster networks and processors allow technology companies to develop connected vehicle services targeted at car owners.

ZTE is also focused on Internet of Things (IoT) – the interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data – technologies for homes and industrial applications, as well as local government services such as automatic street lighting, Chen said.

ZTE’s “Smart City” solutions such as street lighting and car parking are used in more than 140 cities in over 40 countries around the world, as the company aims to develop its IoT business, diversifying from sales of networking equipment to telecom operators.

Everyone knows that everything will get connected in the future
ZTE chief information officer Jane Chen

The company is also working with China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom on Narrowband IoT for smart parking, logistics and manufacturing.

With more than 1,000 engineers working on developing the company’s own IoT technologies, ZTE will also work with technology partners as part of an “ecosystem” strategy, according to Chen.

“Everyone knows that everything will get connected in the future,” Chen said, adding that ZTE’s strategy is designed to encourage partners to develop new applications compatible with its technologies, similar to the approach adopted by WeChat.

Last year, ZTE set up the Global IoT Alliance, with partners including Intel and Qualcomm on the development of IoT technologies.

It has just signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Intel during the Barcelona event, whereby the two companies have agreed to collaborate on research of future key IoT technologies, including experimental verification, evaluation, and research and development.

Chinese equipment supplier Huawei is also heavily engaged in IoT research and development as well as deployment, with a series of similar solutions to ZTE, such as street lighting and car parking, with plans to expand its IoT networks to 20 countries worldwide by the end of the year.

Chinese equipment providers are pinning their hopes on growth from the IoT segment as returns are high and the sector has immense growth potential.

IoT systems including devices and software may become a $470 billion (HK$3.6 billion) market by 2020, according to forecasts by industry consultants Bain & Company.