In a GSM Association keynote before an audience of 1,800 industry professionals at the Mobile World Congress, Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg showed examples of innovation, research ideas, and business models that are already coming to life in the Networked Society.
He spoke about the impact of the Networked Society on individuals, businesses, and on a greater societal level. He revisited the company's vision of 50 billion connected devices, which could happen faster than expected. "When people start to have mobile phones, a PC, perhaps a connected GPS in the car and a connected meter in their house, that's already many devices in one family.
"With global mobile penetration at around 85 percent since Q4 2011, mobile subscriptions now totaling around six billion, and the realization that anything benefiting from a connection will have one, it won't take that long to add up to 50 billion," said Vestberg.
He demonstrated a social-network type of interface to maintain simplicity for interactions among devices. A conversation was played onstage between a bicycle, online calendar, and a shipping company. "The social web of things is a concept that we are exploring with customers, but what's most important is the combination of mobility, broadband and cloud services making our personal lives easier."
Vestberg invited the President of Universal Music Sweden, Per Sundin, to share the experience of how the music industry was forced to transform during the early 2000s. "Change will never again be this slow," said Sundin. "We learned that the key success factors are providing an amazing consumer experience, and enabling simple and reliable payment methods. Now, the Swedish music industry is healthier than it was 10 years ago," he said.
Vestberg concluded Sundin's presentation by saying if the music industry had been transforming now, the information and communications technology industry would be much more suited to support its transition. "Virtually every industry is looking toward mobility and connectivity, so this is a big opportunity for us as an industry," said Vestberg.
He presented progress from the Ericsson-Akamai alliance introduced last year in Barcelona as the Mobile Cloud Accelerator (MCA) solution. MCA has proven its ability to improve page-load times by 70% in a live commercial network. Bob Schukai, Global head of Mobile Technology for Thomson Reuters, told the GSMA audience that information in his industry is "business critical" and that a solution like the Mobile Cloud Accelerator makes a remarkable difference.
In an environment where populations are becoming more dense and demands on networks are more complex, and must be addressed more quickly than ever before, Ericsson also presented its approach to building heterogeneous networks, or HetNets.
Visionary demonstrations were also part of the speech, and Ericsson showcased projects within the automotive industry that provide machine-to-machine communication for sending traffic safety warnings to avoid traffic accidents, as well as innovative ways of using the mobile network to control the charging of electric cars and ensuring that the correct person gets billed wherever the car has been loaded.
In a follow-up to the capacitive coupling demonstration that premiered at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, Vestberg invited research scientist Jan Hederén onstage to show the transfer of data from one device, through the body, to a big screen.
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