By Ison Rocky A

Ugandan ICT students currently undergoing training at Huawei’s Technologies Co. Ltd Headquarters in Shenzhen China, have appreciated the one-week hands on training that has exposed them to the latest technology trends and what the future of the ICT Industry will be.

The students who include eight in their final year, one in second year and one in her first year were the successful ones picked from four public Universities in Uganda to benefit from the Huawei Seeds for the Future Programme 2018. This is after their proposals about using ICT to improve certain issues in the health, education, agriculture and transport sectors were the best among the 35 presented by University students.

During their time at the Huawei headquarters, which is built on an area covering 2.2 km², the Ugandan students were exposed to the different networks like the 3G, 4G and also made to understand more about the cutting-edge technologies trends such as 5G, Internet of Things (IOT) and Cloud computing. They had a hands-on practice in Huawei Technologies’ most advanced labs and were also taken on a guided tour of Huawei’s Exhibition hall of digital technology.

The students described their training at Huawei as a great eye opener into the emerging and dominating technologies in the world today. They were particularly ardent about the cloud computing which enables data to be stored in the clouds so that one can easily access it from any place on a monitor without a computer.

Kasumba Robert a final year student of Software Engineering from Makerere University said he liked the future potential of Huawei 5G network which will open doors to an all connected world. “With an all connected world, my proposal on helping farmers get information about the common crop and animal diseases as well as pests will easily come to life and many homes shall be able to share the much-needed information easily and cheaply or at no cost at all”, Kasumba said.

Oola Gerald a finalist of Information Technology at Muni University said the training has shown him that implementing the technologies and embracing them is not as hard as he earlier thought. “I have learnt that in order to leverage on the emerging 4.5G and 5G technologies which will dominate the world in the not so far future, I should incorporate remote sensors such as thermometers and blood pressure sensors in my health care proposal in order to have the data processed quickly”.

The students were also passionate about the Internet of Things (IoT) which is the connection between objects, humans and other things using sensors. Karasira Cosmas a year four Computer Engineering student at Busitema University said the Seeds for the Future training has opened up his world to the evolving technology. ”IoT technology can surely be used in the project of installing closed-circuit television camera in our city and towns to curb the rampant crime, safe driving, improved health care and smart homes to mention but a few”, he said.

Mangeni Ajambo Cleopatra a Makerere University finalist of Computer Science said she enjoyed the networking lessons and was looking at the challenge ahead to improve her skills. She also noted that with a 5G network capable of transmitting data at up to 20 gigabits per second (Gbps), IoT and Cloud computing, the health of a patient with chronic disease can be closely monitored in real time because there will be immediate communication between the wearable gadgets and smartphone.

“With this training I can now say that I am ready to make my contribution to the digital community. I am going to teach my colleagues about the 5G technology and how to build a 4G base station” said Kirembwe Andrew an Information Technology student finalist from Muni University.

As for Annet Mary Nakate a third year Information Systems student from Muni University, she has learnt the basics of networking especially when it comes to modern technology and was also exposed to smart farming.

Mugisha Samuel a second-year student from Muni University said what he found most interesting was the Phone tracking and Quick Response (QR) technology that can help improve the standards in Uganda. He added that the infrared technology he was exposed to can contribute much to his automated solar powered incubator proposal.

Obbo Peter said when he returns to Uganda he will enlighten his friends about the 5G network and encourage them to embrace it since only a few know about the 4G and cannot even tell the difference.

Nanyonga Berinda a Software Engineering finalist from Makerere University described the training as very educational and a mind questioning experience. “Every second I spent in this training is so memorable to me and I would wish to pass on the skills I have learnt from the Chinese people to my colleagues,” she said.

The youngest on the team Abigaba Hilda a First-Year student from Lira University said the training hadn’t been so compatible with what she was learning, but she was however happy to get exposed to the future potential of the 5G network.

According to Huawei’s Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility Holy Ranaivozanany, the Seeds for the Future programme was initiated by Huawei Technologies to nurture the talent for tomorrow that will contribute to building the Information and Communication Technology Industry. “We create a pool of talent that will probably be working for Huawei in the future, or with our competitors and customers but really contributing to the industry. It is important that we give the students a hands-on experience and chance to try and build the networks themselves”, she said.

She added that 108 countries are so far benefitting from the seeds for the Future programme and a total of 3,660 people have benefitted from the 2 weeks study tour to China since it was initiated in 2008. She also pointed out that many of those who come to Huawei headquarters for the training are inspired by Huawei’s story to believe in what they would like to do in the future and how technology can make a difference in their respective countries. “We hope that in the future these students can apply these technologies in their countries”, she said.

Huawei’s Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility said the programme will continue for the next coming years and she hoped it will continue giving the young talents an open mind and enable them to make a difference by being innovative and bringing in new technologies so as to effectively contribute to the development of the ICT Industry.

The Huawei Seeds for the future programme has been running in Uganda since 2016 and a total of 30 students have benefitted.  In China the Ugandan group was twinned with ten students from Myanmar.

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