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How Huawei plans to regain lost ground in the 5G market

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As the 5G patent race continues, Huawei will begin charging smartphone makers a royalty to use its patented technology.

5G technology could be critically important for future tech, especially in areas such as smart manufacturing, smart cities, medical devices and autonomous vehicles. And as the race to roll out 5G technologies continues, the battle for patents in this area of comms is intensifying.

Chinese tech giant Huawei is leading the charge when it comes to granted and pending 5G patent applications worldwide.

A recent report from IPlytics put its market share at 15pc, ahead of Qualcomm, ZTE, Samsung and Nokia. Many of these are standards essential patents, or SEPs, that form part of the 5G standard and must be made available to other companies on fair terms.

Now Huawei will begin charging smartphone makers a royalty to use its patented 5G technology. Last month, the company announced plans to charge smartphone makers a “reasonable percentage royalty rate” of the handset selling price and a per unit royalty cap at $2.50.

This per unit royalty cap is lower than that of some of its competitors, including Nokia, which announced a royalty cap of $3.48 in 2018.

What does this mean?

The royalties charge means Huawei has created a potentially lucrative revenue source in the face of challenges such as a particularly turbulent relationship with the US, a number of countries blocking Huawei tech from their 5G networks, and slowing revenue growth amid trade tensions.

Announcing the charge, the head of Huawei’s intellectual property rights department, Jason Ding, said the company hopes the rate will increase 5G adoption by giving implementers “a more transparent cost structure that will inform their investment decisions moving forward”.

“Huawei has been the largest technical contributor to 5G standards, and follows fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory principles when it comes to patent licensing,” he added.

The company is estimated to take in between $1.2bn and $1.3bn between 2019 and 2021 from patent licensing. The $2.50 cap only applies to smartphones.

According to a recent white paper from Huawei, it had more than 100,000 active patents worldwide by the end of 2020, which it attributed to long-term investment in innovation and R&D.

Earlier this year, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei spoke about plans to transfer Huawei’s 5G technologies to other devices.

“Everything that connects people or things are devices. That includes things like laser radar, ultrasonic radar and Doppler radar for self-driving vehicles, as well as household gas meters, water meters, TVs and security systems,” he said.

“Mobile phones are only one part of the device category. So, Huawei may transfer our 5G technologies to others in the future but will never sell our device business.”

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Power Capital takes majority interest in Terra Solar’s portfolio

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Terra Solar, a NovaUCD start-up founded in 2016, is giving up its sites in Wexford and Cork to Power Capital to develop solar farms.

Dublin-based company Power Capital Renewable Energy (PCRE) has announced plans to acquire majority interest in Terra Solar’s 400MW portfolio.

This will bring the company’s total solar assets to 840MW and boost its presence in the Irish solar power space.

A start-up that sprung out of NovaUCD, the University College Dublin accelerator, Terra Solar was founded by David Fewer and André Fernon in 2016. State-owned ESB was one of Terra Solar’s early investors, putting up €2.5m for a stake in the company.

Paris-based VC firm Omnes Capital will back the development of the solar sites over the next few years, which require around €200m to build out. Irish and international lenders will also back the development.

Power Capital director Peter Duff said that his company’s aim of becoming Ireland’s leading independent power producer has come a step closer with the deal.

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“Both Terra Solar and PCRE share common values and ambitions to help Ireland meet its 2030 targets and we are excited that Terra Solar chose us as a partner to bring these sites through construction,” he said.

The solar farm sites, located in Wexford and Cork, are a culmination of more than four years of engagement with local landowners, communities and planners, said Fewer.

“We will be retaining an equity stake in the developments and will be working intensively with all stakeholders over the coming few years to ensure that these sites are successfully constructed while equally continuing to grow our remaining development pipeline of 600MW.”

Justin Brown, co-founder of Power Capital, said that the company is currently in talks with other industry bodies about “increasing our foothold in the sector and we expect to see renewable energy being the dominant generator of electricity across Ireland within the next decade”.

Construction on the solar farms is set to begin in 2022 and the project is expected to be completed in the next five years.

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2021 iPhone photography awards – in pictures | Technology

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The 14th annual iPhone photography awards offer glimpses of beauty, hope and the endurance of the human spirit. Out of thousands of submissions, photojournalist Istvan Kerekes of Hungary was named the grand prize winner for his image Transylvanian Shepherds. In it, two rugged shepherds traverse an equally rugged industrial landscape, bearing a pair of lambs in their arms.

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With Alphabet’s legendary commitment to products, we can’t wait to see what its robotics biz Intrinsic achieves • The Register

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Alphabet today launched its latest tech startup, Intrinsic, which aims to build commercial software that will power industrial robots.

Intrinsic will focus on developing software control tools for industrial robots used in manufacturing, we’re told. Its pitch is that the days of humans having to manually program and adjust a robot’s every move are over, and that mechanical bots should be more autonomous and smart, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and leaps in training techniques.

This could make robots easier to direct – give them a task, and they’ll figure out the specifics – and more efficient – the AI can work out the best way to achieve its goal.

“Over the last few years, our team has been exploring how to give industrial robots the ability to sense, learn, and automatically make adjustments as they’re completing tasks, so they work in a wider range of settings and applications,” said CEO Wendy Tan White.

“Working in collaboration with teams across Alphabet, and with our partners in real-world manufacturing settings, we’ve been testing software that uses techniques like automated perception, deep learning, reinforcement learning, motion planning, simulation, and force control.”

Tan White – a British entrepreneur and investor who was made an MBE by the Queen in 2016 for her services to the tech industry – will leave her role as vice president of X, Alphabet’s moonshot R&D lab, to concentrate on Intrinsic.

She earlier co-founded and was CEO of website-building biz Moonfruit, and helped multiple early-stage companies get up and running as a general partner at Entrepreneur First, a tech accelerator. She is also a board trustee of the UK’s Alan Turing Institute, and member of Blighty’s Digital Economic Council.

“I loved the role I played in creating platforms that inspired the imagination and entrepreneurship of people all over the world, and I’ve recently stepped into a similar opportunity: I’m delighted to share that I’m now leading Intrinsic, a new Alphabet company,” she said.

The new outfit is another venture to emerge from Google-parent Alphabet’s X labs, along with Waymo, the self-driving car startup; and Verily, a biotech biz. ®

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