By Telecom Lead Team: Doing
business in the networked society requires opportunity and creativity,
according to Ericsson’s President and CEO Hans Vestberg who offered new
deals and proof points in his keynote appearance at the Consumer Electronics
Show (CES) 2012.
Vestberg described the potential inherent in
intelligent, real-time communication when devices learn to manage simple tasks
to help us through our daily lives. “When you start to use the combination
of software, sensors, and hardware, then you can improve processes and enable
new ideas to turn into business. The result will be greater than anyone can
imagine,” Vestberg told the audience of thousands in the room.
Vestberg listed the advantages that the ICT industry
can bring to other industries. In particular, Ericsson can ensure that any
device can be identified, can communicate with payment systems, preference
systems, and send and receive relevant information in real-time. The benefits
can be realized in business as well as personal contexts.
“Our role is to make connectivity
everywhere and in real-time possible. Your role is to innovate on top of that,
and perhaps come up with consumer devices that will be launched here at CES in
one, two or five years,” he told the show attendees.
Then, Vestberg described cases in which Ericsson is
changing communication, in the realms of gaming, personal transportation, and
shipping. An agreement with Maersk Line, the world’s largest shipping company,
was introduced onstage.
Maersk Line and Ericsson have developed a unique GSM
and satellite solution that will offer connectivity in the last unexplored
territory in modern communications: the sea. The possibilities are endless for
the shipping industry, and Maersk Line will lead the way in exploring the
possible improvements that will result from this collaboration.
“The implementation of this network will
represent a noticeable improvement in connectivity at sea, and we look forward
to exploring the benefits this will bring to Maersk Line and our customers in
the future” said Mike White, president of Maersk Line Inc, who was onstage
with Vestberg to present the deal.
He described the company’s ambition of a more customer
focused way of doing business, striving for reliability, and making business
easier for its customers.
The emotional aspect of the Networked Society was
highlighted with the appearance of Christopher Mikkelsen, one of the
co-founders of Refugees United. Ericsson partners with United Nations
High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and operator MTN to enable a global,
secure search engine for displaced people looking for loved ones. 65,000 people
are now registered on the service.
In his finale, Vestberg invited onstage Carlo Ratti of
MIT’s Senseable Cities Lab to introduce a collaboration between Ericsson and
MIT that will aim to reveal patterns of human behavior by looking at volumes in
mobile data traffic. “The network is not an abstract concept –
rather it allows us to connect and come together. We can use it for work
and leisure – and, as the collaboration between Ericsson and MIT will show
– as a tool to reflect and better understand ourselves,” said Ratti.
Vestberg concluded his CES appearance by demonstrating
new technology, so-called “capacitive coupling,” in which a
photograph was transferred from a telephone, then hand-to-hand, through the
human body, to the large screen without using radio signals.
“Ultimately, we are the network,” he said in describing the research
project. Vestberg added that it’s hard to predict exactly how the
Networked Society will shape up, but that we can be prepared by embracing the
new mindset and enabling new solutions.