Ericsson: Delivering solutions for sustainable cities in Networked Society


The world population is expected to soar to
more than 9 billion people by 2050, with roughly 70 percent living in cities,
according to the United Nations1.At the same time, Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) is extending its reach, with rapid deployment of
broadband networks and most countries adopting national broadband plans to
seize the potential of new technologies. Ericsson envisions that by 2020 there
will be more than 50 billion connected devices globally.

These two parallel trends – the explosive
growth of cities and the rapid uptake of broadband and ICT – are intersecting at
a time in which the world faces serious economic, environmental, and social
challenges to achieving a more sustainable development. In the Networked Society,
future cities can thrive without taking a huge toll on already scarce

Continuous transformation

In the Networked Society, people, knowledge,
devices and information are networked for the progress of people, business and
society. Fresh approaches are leveraged for higher efficiency and richer experiences – in
short, a continuous transformation powered by collaboration and creativity.
Cities are a major source of global innovation, and increasingly provide the solutions
to help make the world more sustainable. Solutions from ehealth, telecommuting
and video meetings, to mobile applications can support citizens to choose a sustainable
lifestyle. These new approaches address negative trends such as climate change
and social inequity, but have been limited in their uptake, partly because
existing policies and incentives lock us into traditional, non-sustainable patterns
of doing things.

What elements need to be in place for
sustainable cities in the Networked Society to deliver on their full promise? This
paper aims to answer that question by describing how the infrastructure in the Networked
Society is a key enabler to solve global challenges faced by our cities, which
have a vital role in helping to shape a low-carbon economy. We also explore how
transformative ICT solutions are being deployed across industry segments as
diverse as transport, building, utilities, health, banking, and the public

Just getting started

We are only on the brink of the Networked
Society, which will have a major impact on how our cities evolve. Ericsson has
launched the Technology for Good program to reinforce how technology can be a
force for good in the world, good for business, and to create an engagement
platform with our stakeholders in order to develop the initiatives that will
play a major role in redefining how we live our lives in the world’s future
cities – connected as never before, but with a much lighter footprint on a fragile



Sustainable development is widely regarded as
development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own needs”2.

At Ericsson sustainable development involves
the simultaneous pursuit of economic prosperity, environmental performance and social
equity known as the triple bottom line and is a continually evolving process
where the ‘destination’ is a set of characteristics of a future system.3 These
characteristics include employment rates, business investments, innovation, access
to healthcare and education, tonnes of CO2 per person, clean water and air, and
access to safe food, raw material usage, waste recycling, data availability, social
inclusion, and crime levels.

In the Networked Society, most of the world
population will live within a culture defined by increased openness,
transparency, knowledge sharing, peer collaboration and global
self-organization. This will fundamentally change the way we orchestrate
capabilities in society to innovate and collaborate, to create goods and
services, to govern, and to sustain. ICT has the potential to converge into a
single creative network” critical for sustainable development.



Cities have become the engine for humanity
and drive development in all industries. Some 50,000 people across the globe
move from rural to urban areas every day. The global urbanization trend makes cities
focal points for future investments. With more than US$350 trillion forecasted
to be invested4 over the next 30 years in providing basic infrastructure,
cities have the opportunity to accelerate investments in projects that tap the
transformative potential of ICT to build cities that are more economically,
environmentally and socially sound. 5This requires a bold vision – the difference
between taking a giant leap and a small step forward. In a transformative
solution, a physical meeting becomes a virtual meeting. In an incremental
solution, a transportation system is optimized.

So far most cities have taken small steps – missing
the chance for reinvention. Too often, increased connectivity has accelerated unsustainable
trends or marginally improved existing systems, rather than unleashing the
imagination to envision an entirely new way of conducting the life of a city.
Now, two changes are turning transformative solutions into concrete opportunities.

Society has accepted the magnitude of the
challenges before us. For example, the debate on whether climate change exists has
largely subsided; today’s focus is how to cope with it

Fixed and mobile broadband infrastructure
deployment is increasingly ubiquitous. The quality of connectivity is now at a
point where we can realize the full benefits of a networked city. The early
days of video conferencing were an exercise in frustration; today, telepresence
and web conferencing are increasingly the norm.


A study conducted jointly by Ericsson, Arthur
D. Little and Chalmers University of Technology in 33 OECD countries during
2011, quantifies the isolated impact of broadband speed. Doubling the broadband
speed for an economy increases GDP by 0.3 percent, the study showed. A 0.3
percent GDP growth in the OECD region is equivalent to USD 126 billion. Both broadband
availability and speed are strong drivers in an economy. In 2010, Ericsson and Arthur
D. Little concluded that for every 10 percentage point increase in broadband
penetration, GDP increases by 1 percent6.

In light of these findings, Ericsson has launched
the Networked Society City Index7. This framework provides city mayors, local
authorities and decision makers with a tool to measure and assess a city’s ICT maturity
and the resulting triplebottom- line benefits. ICT maturity reflects ICT
investment, taking into account network penetration, performance and level of
use in each city assessed.

The index can be used to inspire dialogue
with decision makers on how to use ICT to enable organizational and societal
success. For example, it looks at how ICT can be part of increasing the access to
and quality of healthcare and education, creating jobs, mobile money or virtual
banks, reducing CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases, optimizing resources such
as water, reducing waste, and supporting citizens’ sustainable lifestyles.

From an environmental perspective, there are
still challenges in developing an index with environmental indicators,
primarily due to lack of consistent data from cities. CO2 emissions are however
reasonably well developed as an indicator.



Cities must therefore tackle the largest
carbon reductions. In 2008, the Climate Group on behalf of the Global
e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), with independent analysis by McKinsey &
Company published the Smart 2020 report which found that ICT is a key sector in
the fight against climate change and could enable emissions reductions of 7.8
Gt CO2e in 2020, or 15% of business-as-usual emissions. In economic terms, the
ICT-enabled energy efficiency translates into approximately £600 billion
($946.5 billion) of cost savings. But the ICT industry must keep its own
growing footprint in check to deliver on this potential.9

Since the landmark report in 2008, combined
with wide-scale broadband deployments in most parts of the world, many cities
have already begun to explore transformative solutions focused on smarter ways to
create the cities of the future. Here are just some of the transformational possibilities
in the daily life of a city, with the smart use of ICT.

Climate and energy

Smart buildings that utilize connectivity for
security, energy and climate monitoring, and are net producers of renewable

Sensors that aid in climate adaptation, warning,
for example, of pending storms, increased water or pollution levels.

Smart energy solutions that are more
efficient and can improve currently very inefficient delivery in a fossil
fuel-based economy.

Information management systems to gather,
track, control, and reconfigure to optimize and manage resources such as water
and energy.


Integrated transportation and communication
solutions, to substitute and optimize travel.

Public sector

Connecting cities with suburbs, other cities
and regions

E-government services, that reduce need of
paper and reduce number of travels needed



Digital health and remote monitoring solutions
that support healthier lifestyles and reduce the need for travel and paper

Food initiatives where it is possible to
choose healthy and appetizing food with a low-carbon/

water footprint and plan meals in order to
avoid waste


Cloud based computing solutions can transform
how ICT is applied in formal education (schools, universities) as well as
informed, lifelong learning.

Sustainable lifestyles

Dematerialization that allows for consumption
of a service instead of a manufactured product, for example, an e-book, video
on demand, or a virtual meeting.

Safety & security

Disaster and management solutions that use
remote sensor alarms alerting people at risk for severe weather or natural

Data availability projects that provide, for
example, dynamic information to optimize systems while protecting personal
integrity. This includes cloud services to optimize resources.


The Ericsson White Paper, Assessing the
climate-positive effects of ICT, looks at the potential CO2e emission
reductions of ICT-based services. A life-cycle perspective considers the
environmental impact of both the ICT-based service and the service it replaces.
The method includes analysis of the infrastructure of ICT systems as well as
conventional systems. It introduces a figure called the potential reduction
ratio”, the direct emissions of the new ICT-based system in CO2e in relation to
the enabling effects in CO2e, ie compared to the traditional way to deliver the
service.10 Here are two cases.

E-health in Croatia

Connecting 2,400 primary healthcare teams in
the 20 counties and the capital, Zagreb, the Healthcare Networking Information
System provides electronic reporting and booking, updates patient records, and
digitalizes prescriptions and referrals, eliminating the need for printouts
when sent to pharmacies, hospitals and laboratories. The e-referral and
e-prescription services can potentially reduce CO2e emissions by up to 15,000
tonnes per year while the two services only add 330 tonnes of CO2e/year from
operation and manufacturing activities.

The potential reduction ratio over a 20-year
period is as much as 1:45, depending on whether infrastructure is included and,
to what extent.

Smart Work at TeliaSonera

Ericsson, Swedish telecom operator TeliaSonera,
and the Centre for Sustainable Communications at the Royal Institute of
Technology in Sweden, pooled efforts in 2010 to attempt to quantify the ICT
sector’s own environmental impact and the difference it could make to other sectors.

Ericsson and TeliaSonera measured the impact
of TeliaSonera’s use of ICT-based smart work solutions such as teleworking,
flexi-working, virtual or telepresence conferencing and flexi-office.
TeliaSonera’s goal was to reduce air business travel, car travel and the need
for office space. Using 2001 as a baseline year, the study found that between

Smart work initiatives reduced CO2e emissions
(CO2 emissions plus all other greenhouse gases and effects) by 40 percent per employee – or over 2.8 tons of CO2e per employee per year

Scaling the results to country level, the
study found that similar initiatives could reduce some 20 percent of Sweden’s
CO2e by 2020

Scaling to a global level could potentially
reduce global CO2e emissions by 2 to 4 percent, if reductions of 20 to 40
percent were achieved per employee over a 10- to 20-year timeframe.


Top of the agenda for the design and progress
of any city is to meet the strategic challenge implied in undertaking an
environmental, social, and economic perspective. ICT can support a city’s
sustainability objectives, but identifying the roadmap raises a number of

How can a future-proof ICT infrastructure be
built and integrated with already existing ICT systems?

How can a common infrastructure provide
services today and in the future to different stakeholders such as utilities,
transportation, enterprises, consumers etc. in a resource- efficient way?

How does one address the complexity of the
eco-system, including designing a services eco-system that can scale and meet
the needs of both current and future software and end-user device development?

How can we meet stakeholders’ requirements
for separation of services and different levels of security as well as the
introduction of new business models?

Which partners and clusters to engage with in
the eco-system?

How can cities, especially in developing markets,
leapfrog some of the unsustainable consumption patterns by utilizing broadband infrastructure
to a range of sectors that provide needed services to society?

A well-conceived strategy can deliver
transformative solutions in a number of areas, including transportation, utilities,
education, health and enterprises. Ericsson, as a leader in building efficient
ICT infrastructure, is involved in a number of interesting projects to develop future

Controlling the meter

In Italy, Ericsson delivered a complete advanced
metering management service to utility ACEA for 1.5 million electricity meters
and a customized metering middleware systems integration and managed services.
The benefits: a higher level of customer satisfaction, operational efficiencies,
increased energy distribution optimization and efficiency, greater
end-user/consumer awareness of environmental impact and improvement options and
more home energy-management options.



Wireless buses

In Curitiba, Brazil, Ericsson provided a
solution connecting public buses to 3G mobile broadband networks. The
electronic ticketing and fleet management systems enable controllers to access
a wide range of information about their fleet and monitors the route, stop
time, speed, distance traveled, date of departure and arrival. The electronic ticketing
reduces the need for paper. The fleet management system offers route
optimization, reducing the fuel needed to run the fleet.

Virtual work

Ericsson Business Communication Suite (BCS)
is a suite of applications combining voice, data and messaging services with
advanced multimedia conferencing and collaboration tools into a Unified Communication
(UC) offering towards the enterprise market. The Improved flexible and mobile
ways of working heightens the efficiency of virtual meetings and cuts back on
the need for onsite meetings, resulting in less travel.

Education, up in the clouds

With PC as a Service, Ericsson employs a
cloud infrastructure, allowing hardware (computing), software, security and
storage as a service, an innovation with exciting. possibilities for example, small
to medium-sized enterprises and education. Cost of ownership shrinks by 40
percent with a lower upfront cost than traditional computing. Low power
consumption is another plus. All together, the reduced total cost of ownership gives
more people the opportunity to get an education. Virtual education also
translates into less paper and travel.



The sustainable city value chain comprises
several interconnected layers relevant to ICT:

Infrastructure – Including high speed
broadband (fixed and mobile)

Enablers – Support systems to enable
infrastructure to work effectively (including smart metering, billing,
security, application/ content management, and network management systems)

Devices – Including PCs, phones, tablets,
in-home devices that can be used to deploy smart city applications

Applications – to provide businesses and
consumers with solutions to live and work efficiently while minimizing
environmental impacts (e.g. e-ticketing, e-government, e-metering solutions).

A range of stakeholders need to work in
partnership to develop, build and operate this complex and interconnected value
chain. This includes governments, ICT infrastructure and service providers, content
providers, and 3rd party service providers. Ericsson provides
support for stakeholders for the different value layers. For example one of the
foundations for a sustainable city is the broadband infrastructure. With that
in place, a number of services and solutions can be delivered, for example: mobile
healthcare, online education, and e-government. Citizens and officials realize
greater opportunities for increased education levels, access to health care and
to governmental services, and more efficient transportation systems. Finally,
many applications can function jointly in order to generate more value; for
example, combining on-line mobile phone data with positioning information yields
dynamic information about the transportation system such as a bus delay or
traffic jam.


Stockholm was the first city to be awarded
the European Green Capital title in 2010. The city of Stockholm operates with a
holistic vision, one which combines growth with sustainable development for the
benefit of its almost 850,000 citizens. Transport emissions are relatively low,
and all trains and many inner city buses run on renewable fuels. Furthermore, greenhouse
gas emissions have been reduced by more than 25 percent since 1990, and the
city council has the ambitious target of becoming wholly independent of fossil
fuels by 2050.11

A new urban district – Stockholm Royal
Seaport – is being developed in east central Stockholm near the Royal National
Urban Park. Between 2012 and 2030 about 10,000 homes and 30,000 workspaces will
be created. Modern architecture merges with environmental thinking to create a
vibrant district for sustainable living, business and recreation. The Stockholm
Royal Seaport aims to be an international model for sustainable urban development.
The vision is supported by four overarching goals in the areas of climate
change and ecological, social and economic sustainability. Advanced ICT
services will be available for those living in the Stockholm Royal Seaport to
support these goals, such as reducing CO2 emissions and changing consumption

The city of Stockholm has initiated Stockholm
Royal Seaport Innovation, an arena for innovation, learning and cooperation
within sustainable urban development. Several research and development projects
have been launched with partners, including the Royal Institute of Technology,
the Clinton Climate Initiative/C40, VINNOVA and companies dedicated to
sustainability including Ericsson.

Ericsson’s contribution to the Stockholm
Royal Seaport project is two-fold. The first, within the framework of Stockholm
Royal Seaport Innovation, is to serve as ICT advisor to the city of Stockholm
in the Stockholm Royal Seaport project and to lead the work on developing an
efficient and reliable generic communication platform as well as leading the
project to develop selected proof points. The generic communication platform
for fixed and mobile broadband will serve different industry segments and applications
in areas such as virtual meetings, intelligent transport solutions, e- and
m-health, smart grid, education, smart consumption. The idea is to demonstrate how
different ICT solutions such as substituting and optimizing transportation, virtual
meetings, and health solutions can contribute to the overarching goals of
Stockholm Royal Seaport.

The second main contribution from Ericsson is
the communication enablers in the Innovation Project such as Stockholm Royal Seaport-
Smart Grid Pilot” and Urban Smart Grid”. This project is aimed at developing a
sustainable electricity system in an urban environment and will be a platform for
future business and product development. This will enable connected homes,
meters, buildings, vehicles and harbours – a prime example of the Networked
Society. Since a smart grid also implies new business models, another goal is
to build clusters to explore new business opportunities.


Creating an integrated policy framework that
makes the link between ICT policy and policy in other areas such as education, health,
and transportation. Review of current policies that influence the provision of
key services such as mobility, housing and nutrition

Supporting policy makers in the creation of
cross-sector ecosystems and clusters comprising companies, cities, academia, and
other stakeholders. Many of today’s solutions are provided by clusters of
companies that have optimized their supply chains and developed their business
models in a high-carbon economy. In order to enable transformative solutions, we’ll
need new clusters

Providing pilot projects and case studies
that demonstrate the ability of ICT to realize sustainable development goals,
such as carbon reduction, employment, and education

Accelerating technology that supports triple
bottom line goals. Cities can encourage connectivity by initiating projects
that explore the possibilities of the Networked Society. Leading cities, for
example, can monitor use of connectivity, benchmarking against other cities and
traditional service to track the triple bottom line impacts.



ICT is central to the ability of cities to
grow in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable – meeting
the goals of the triple bottom line. The generic communication platform for
fixed and mobile broadband will serve different industry segments and
applications, to the benefit of all sectors

Policy makers and city officials have a
pivotal role in identifying and implementing strategies that drive ICT as a
means to strengthen the triple bottom line and provide transformative solutions
for more resource-efficient delivery of services. Planning, developing and
governing a city for a sustainable future requires a holistic perspective,
measures impacts and adjusts directions as needed

Recognizing the need for new business models
and ecosystems and partnerships is essential to address the needs of the
sustainable city

ICT can actively meet people’s needs while
supporting more sustainable urban lifestyles. Strategies need to offer the
right incentives to support a change in behavior.

As broadband infrastructure extends its reach
in every corner of the globe, we are only on the brink of what the Networked Society
can deliver. With its Technology for Good program and other initiatives to
shape more sustainable cities, Ericsson, as a leading ICT company, is excited
to be part of this journey.

By Team
[email protected]