Welcome to the first all-digital edition of Ericsson Business Review. We started EBR back in 2006 – almost an eternity in this digital age – and now we’re excited to evolve the publication in a new direction and take advantage of the opportunities provided by a digital platform.
For since 2006, things have changed. Not only has the telecom and ICT industry seen fundamental shifts in technology, user behavior and consumer expectations, but it seems like almost every industry – from medicine to transportation to communications – is up for major change and disruption. From social media to smartphones and from new business models to explosive growth in new services and applications, EBR has been there to both reflect the change and keep looking ahead into the future.
Our new web platform – and accompanying newsletter – is a direct result of all this change. Like almost every communication outlet, we now strive to meet our readers on their smartphones and tablets, rather than on their coffee tables, and hope that the ideas and arguments expressed here can find an audience on social media as well as in ”old-fashioned” conversations around the office water cooler.
We also hope this digital shift will lead to a more direct dialogue with our readers, as well as giving us a chance to publish a more continuous flow of thought-provoking insights. With this in mind, all four articles in this edition reflect, in their own way, the reality of an ever-faster-moving business world.
Our lead article examines the emergence of 5G, which may not take the form you expect. We also have a high-level look at the challenges of modern cities and how they will play a central role in the development of society and ICT going forward. We talked to Ivo Bures, who is helping the operator Ooredoo become more agile in the face of higher user expectations and individuality. And, finally, Kosta Peric of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation uses a Hollywood metaphor to examine the mobile and digital challenges of the banking and financial services industry.
In the first edition of EBR, we wrote:
“This is not a sales brochure and we will not serve you ready solutions on a plate. There are as many solutions as there are different operators and different markets. Because this is about the future, what we hope to give you is as accurate a picture as we can to guide you.”
This was true then, and it’s even truer now. So we hope you find these pieces useful, and we look forward to exploring the future of the Networked Society together.
Head of Strategic Marketing
5G will integrate new and existing radio-access technologies, rather than be based on a single breakthrough technology, and this will mark the next phase of a radically transformative global process – the connectivity revolution. And while it’s too early to know exactly what 5G will mean for individual players or industries, there is no doubt it will disrupt value chains and enable new opportunities on an unprecedented scale both within and across industries.
The world’s cities are often congested and complex, but they are also among the planet’s most exciting places to live. Research for Ericsson’s Networked Society City Index has found a strong correlation between the ICT maturity of a city and the way that city stakeholders can use ICT to bring social, economic and environmental benefits to the population.
By mining the vast amount of data produced by the array of connected things within any city, ICT can contribute to efficient day-to-day city management and help leaders and citizens alike negotiate the challenges of their current rapid rate of development.
For an operator, being agile means being fast and flexible enough to remain in control and gain the time it needs to look ahead and deliver great experiences, says Ivo Bures, of the Qatar-based operator Ooredoo. And operations and business support systems (OSS/BSS) are the key to both meeting the challenge of growth and turning it into opportunity.
The banking and financial services industry needs to show flexibility and creativity to adjust to the relentless pace of change today, writes Kosta Peric – the deputy director of the “Financial Services for the Poor” initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. There particularly needs to be a change in mindset, from capturing consumers to empowering them. And within that change, a mobile focus is a no-brainer, Peric writes, along with investments in social media and big data analytics.