2012 has been a year of change for us in the Labs. Here is a brief summary of what’s taken place.
In keeping with the Labs concept, we are here to experiment and try out new things and this meant that this year was marked by several changes. Most notably, some of our older APIs were put to rest so we could broaden our focus to share a wider range of our research through the use of blogs. It also meant that we redesigned our website, including a responsive theme for use on mobile devices.
We have divided our research into 6 Research Topics:
Included in each Research Topic is a hands-on area (under Files & Resources) where you can find prototypes and running code. These software and tools are free for you to try out but they have no defined commercial road map and could be pulled off the shelf at any time.
There are currently 6 APIs available in 3 categories:
Here’s a month-by-month recap of some of the key highlights from 2012:
We began in January by experimenting with webRTC on iOS. This clip shows a web app running in both our WebRTC-WebKit and an iPad, with WebRTC media going between the two.
In February, we were ready to release our Geo Location Messaging API which enables Location-Based Service Providers to push data content to clients in customer-selected locations.
Furthering our work on WebRTC, we posted a blog showing how a web app utilizing the W3C WebRTC API can interoperate with existing telephony services.
Later renamed Smart Cities, we introduced our Megacities Blog Series as a way to start a dialog about the challenges and issues unique to large urban centers.
With the support of Ericsson M2M technologies, China Agriculture University launched the Smart Fish Farming Project in Yixing, Jiangsu. The project allows real-time remote monitoring and control of the water quality where mitten crabs are raised, helping to reduce energy consumption, save labor cost and enhance productivity.
Released on Google Play in March, Ericsson Apps learns your preferences and uses your location to recommend other apps for you. You can read more about its features here.
Later in March, we told you about our Smart Home Services based on OSGi which includes Home Media, Home Security, Home Energy Management, and Landlord Services.
Our blog on Applying Stream Analytics to Utilities showed a proof-of-concept for smart grids.
Smart grids are also helping us to work on solutions for the utility and transport verticals. We showed our work on Electric Vehicle charging together with two external projects, the Stockholm Royal Seaport and Elviis.
Here is a video clip of Ericsson’s Electrical Vehicle Charge System from the Elviis project:
A key feature for the Internet of Things (IoT) is to ensure interoperability of various Smart Objects including their seamless integration with applications and services. In April, our researchers attended an interop event held by the IPSO Alliance in Paris, France. We tried out our own implementation of an OSGi-based combined IoT gateway/localized application server.
Also in April, we wrote about how stream analytics can help to predict the churning or loss of customers in favor of the competition. Our Proof of Concept (PoC) in collaboration with UPC Barcelona Tech aims at building a real-time, fully adaptive solution for churn detection.
This month, we showed you modeling of an electric grid that we worked with together with Tokyo University that allows users to specify whether they want to get their energy from renewable sources or from the general grid. As part of the project, we created a model of a microgrid system that has let us try new business models on a grand scale, to verify their robustness.
On May 22nd, we broadcasted the Ericsson Application Awards prize ceremony live from Ericsson Studio in Stockholm. First prize in the company category was awarded to MedAfrica from Nairobi, Kenya and in the student category, it was awarded Clio Squad from Shanghai, China.
On demand material is still available if you want to revisit this exciting event.
The 2013 edition of the Ericsson Application Awards is now running and there is still time for developers to join.
Later in May, we made a post about our work with WebRTC, announcing that we authorized Collabora Ltd., open source experts and the maintainers of GStreamer, to take relevant parts our implementation and further improve them in an effort to bring WebRTC to the WebKitGTK+ port.
Early in June, we made the official launch of our Internet of Things blog series. In this series, we will share our experiences in building prototypes and deploying them, discussing what kind of architectures and ecosystems are needed for the Internet of Things, and presenting some of our latest research results and ideas as well as important events in the area of IoT.
We continued with our Internet of Things theme to tell you about how IoT propels Ericsson’s vision of the Networked Society. One message we focused on was instead of deploying devices with a single purpose or application in mind, we should allow devices to serve multiple applications, and applications to employ multiple devices. This will allow a truly open market to develop and deploy the different solution components, enable commodity components to be used, and facilitate easier interconnection with existing applications and Internet services.
While the summer sun was heating up, we brought you some cool research about Smart Igloos. Built in the Swiss Alps as a part of the ExtremeCom 2012 conference, our igloo was equipped with sensors that could communicate with us via Facebook. The three key technologies used in this project were cellular networks for data transmission, delay- and disruption-tolerant networking (DTN), as well as the social web of things which you can read more about in the blog post.
What better way to spend the summer than heading to Italy? In July, we told you about our trip to Venice for the annual IoT Week and the second International IoT Forum meeting in the Venetian Style IoT blog. The week was jammed pack with information with industry leaders and academics coming together to discuss societal challenges like privacy, security and ethics. We also focused on technologies such as IPv6, RFID, sensors and actuators, cognitive technologies, AI, open data and the vast spectrum of IoT applications.
Our Visual Technology unit hosted a standardization meeting in Stockholm for the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). They met to issue a draft of a new video-compression format that is twice as efficient as current standards. It is predicted that by 2015, video will account for 90% of all network traffic. Outcomes from the meeting will help to pave the way for service providers to launch more video services with the currently available spectrum.
Later, we told about our work with the EU-based BUTLER project in a blog titled Bringing Stream Analytics to M2M-Based SmartLife Scenarios. Our contribution to BUTLER involves building on top of two proofs-of-concepts—Distributed Generation with Renewable Energy Sources (for the SmartHome scenario) and Real-Time Mobile Advertisement (SmartShopping)—as a basis for implementing the use cases defined in the project.
September was spent working behind the scenes on our new site, but we did manage to introduce our Data & Knowledge blog series where we compared data to oil. Good raw material and various methods—or tools—to store, clean, and transform it into something more useful will be instrumental. The goal of this blog series is, among other things, to address privacy, look at the boundaries of online analytics, and to determine how much data can be stored.
October was a busy month for us at Ericsson Labs. First, we launched our new website design and we told you about how we are broadening the scope of our work to include early research results from Ericsson Research.
We posted Part 1 of a series on Preserving Privacy in a Big Data World where we explained that privacy preserving data publishing (PPDP) is a field of research that focuses on manipulating user datasets to create user anonymity while still maintaining the value of the dataset. User data can be “mined” for insights or used to create recommendation engines, but in order for users to willingly share their data, the datasets must be anonymized in order to keep users’ sensitive information private.
Next, the team headed off to Seattle, Washington for the 2012 MobiCASE Conference to present our work on Semantic Reasoning for the Networked Society. We developed a reasoning framework marrying the merits of ontology-based reasoning (that enables interoperability) with other reasoning techniques. These techniques could be applied to a Social Web of Things scenario, where devices talk to each other in a similar way that people interact on social networking sites
Is my data in the cloud protected against unauthorized access? Does the cloud have good enough data backup? When I erase my data, can I be sure it’s really gone (including backups!)? Later in October we addressed the importance of security when the Cloud Goes Mobile.
As we move toward a Networked Society where every object that can benefit from a connection will be connected, requiring that billions or perhaps even trillions of devices be connected, we need to be ready. In our blog Addressing Things with IPv6, we showed how Ericsson is working to update networks to support IPv6 in order for more devices to have addresses.
With a lot of excitement, we released Bowser, the world’s first webRTC-enabled browser for mobile devices. Bowser enables web developers to add audio and video functionality to their mobile web applications
Next, we presented our approach to solving the click fraud problem in mobile advertising.
In November, we continued our exploration with anonymized data in Part 2 of Preserving Privacy in a Big Data World. By bisecting the k-gather algorithm, Ericsson’s anonymization algorithm can provide much better results making more specific predictions without revealing someone’s personal data.
Next, we headed to France for ETSI’s workshop on Machine to Machine communication. We did a live demo on how different devices can be wrapped and exposed as proper IoT devices. In the demo, we had a few “proper” IoT devices running CoAP in a 6LowPAN enabled IEEE 802.15.4 network, but also some legacy smart plugs from Z-Wave. The devices were connected by a gateway connected to the Internet that allowed us to demonstrate a few Smart Home-oriented services based on the Social Web of Things concept.
Together with CISCO, we tested new technology to help future home networks configure themselves automatically at the IETF meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. The test included having a set of home routers auto-configure themselves.
In mid-November, we updated Bowser and provided a live Bowser demo, making it possible to test audio/video communication without a server
We participated in an IPSO (IP Smart Objects) Alliance demo session at the 85th IETF meeting in Atlanta where we showed that it is possible to work seamlessly together across different vendors and platforms. The demonstration included IP-based light bulbs, control of city lights on a web-based platform, smart electric meters, and motion sensors. We demonstrated how social networking can be integrated with smart objects, using a user-friendly social networking interface instead of having specialized interfaces or applications.
Combining User Experience with Big Data was the topic of our final blog in November. The researchers from the UX Lab spent some time looking at Big Data and have discovered, among other things, that when we have large amounts of data, presenting and interacting with it becomes more of a challenge.
In December, we ended our series from Preserving Privacy in a Big Data World where we explained how users can get better services without sacrificing privacy through data anonymization. While not all users will have the same privacy concerns, when only some of the users sacrifice their privacy, it is possible to improve the overall anonymization quality with respect to information loss.
In our final blog of the year we showed you an experiment that was done connecting Bowser to a Smart TV.
On behalf of the entire Labs Team, we would like to thank you for your support this year as we navigated through some major changes. We are looking forward to providing more of our early research results in the coming year.
We wish you all the best in 2013!
Tor Björn Minde, Head of Research Strategy