Huawei Unveils ICT Nation as Part of US Enterprise Push

The company wants to bring together vendors and partners to help businesses adapt to their changing data centers, officials said.

Huawei Technologies is looking to take advantage of the converging communications and information technologies to build a community around its wide range of products and to continue its push into the U.S. enterprise market.

At the Interop 2013 show in Las Vegas this week, Huawei officials launched ICT Nation, an initiative to build a community of tech vendors and channel partners that will help the company create broad strategies and solutions around the trends that are quickly transforming enterprise data centers, such as cloud computing, mobility, big data and converged infrastructures.

At the same time, Huawei unveiled a number of new offerings and efforts that touch on a range of areas, from software-defined networks (SDNs) and cloud data centers to bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and broadband networks.

The massive Chinese tech vendor offers a broad portfolio of products and solutions, putting it in a strong position to help enterprises develop integrated data center strategies that enable them to take advantage of the ongoing changes, officials said.

"We're creating an instrument for the community to help with that transition," Jane Li, chief operating officer of Huawei Enterprise USA, told eWEEK.

The ICT (information and communications technology) is already recognized and well under way in other regions, and Huawei is playing a role in helping businesses, partners and other vendors address it, Li said. Company officials want to do the same in the United States, she said. Enterprises and other customers have any number of vendors who can sell them good data center gear, from servers to switches, but what they need is help adapting to such trends as ICT, BYOD and mobility, Li said.

"Right now there is no common place they can turn to," she said.

Many of the conversations Li has had at Interop with partners, developers and other vendors have been around Huawei's ICT Nation effort. The transformation is happening, and all those involved are trying to find a way to address it, she said, adding that a community like ICT Nation will give them that avenue. The hope is that in a year there will be solutions on the market that have come out of ICT Nation and that are helping customers in various verticals.

"ICT is big," she said. "We're just at the tip of the iceberg."

The company established the Huawei Enterprise USA unit in 2011 to help it make inroads into the enterprise technology market in the country. Huawei is a well-known vendor overseas, and sees the United States as a growth market for its broad range of products, from networking switches and routers to storage, smartphones and other mobile devices, and software.

Over the past year, much of the attention Huawei has received in the United States has been about its dispute with the government over the use of Huawei equipment in U.S. carrier networks. A congressional report last year indicated that lawmakers saw Huawei and fellow Chinese tech vendor ZTE as national security threats because of their close ties to the Chinese government.

Both companies disputed the findings, but U.S. officials still cautioned U.S. carriers about using the companies' equipment in their networks and reportedly in March made not using Huawei gear a precondition to approving the deal between Sprint and Softbank. The ongoing dispute led Eric Xu, Huawei executive vice president and one of Huawei's rotating CEOs, to say last month that the company was "not interested in the U.S. market anymore."