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Ready to create the digital future?

Ready to create the digital future?

Explore three building blocks for 2024

Foreword

Over the past 10 years, we have lived through an extraordinary digital revolution. The smartphone made information accessible anywhere, at any time. This created the app economy, which enabled transformative consumer-based services and business models. But, this is only the beginning. In the coming 5 to 10 years, we’ll see an acceleration of major global trends such as the further electrification of transportation systems, the pursuit of Net Zero emissions, the construction of more resilient supply chains and an embrace of industrial automation to increase efficiency and productivity.

These trends span across businesses and society, and they are key to government agendas on topics like greater inclusivity, addressing climate change and developing more competitive economies. They are also driving enterprises to look beyond the front end to digitalize their entire operations.

What will it take to create this digital future? We see three key technology enablers: high-performing mobile networks, artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud. Within these three enablers, high-performing networks are the foundation, as without wireless connectivity, the other two technologies cannot be deployed at scale. These networks will be available everywhere, and easily accessible for a broad ecosystem of businesses and developers to build on.

Now, let’s explore three areas where this digital future is already becoming a reality.

New and advanced applications

So, what comes after the smartphone? Extended reality (XR) devices – which include augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices among others – are set to connect the digital and physical worlds in real time. These devices will provide a paradigm shift based on digital representation and immersive communication, meaning we will soon be able to explore mixed-reality environments, limited only by our own imagination.

To go truly mobile with attractive devices and advanced experiences, XR devices and applications will rely on network capabilities such as distributed edge cloud computing. By providing low-latency resilient networks, the remote control of operations and more human-centric capabilities will become a reality. On the consumer side, new gaming and learning possibilities will be opened up.

Digital twins

Digital twins are a prime example of what digital representation will enable. Within these virtual replicas, you’ll be able to create simulations of almost anything to conduct testing and experimentation without risk or disruption. For example, an engineer wanting to test a new feature on an existing machine won’t have to stop production (or even leave their desk!) with AI processing and analyzing data being fed into a virtual replica.

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Holographic communications

By 2030, AR will become a mainstream, all-day experience, and virtual meetings will feel as if every attendee is in the same place, even those people who are on the go. Using the latest in spatial computing and positioning, holograms will have a complete awareness of environments and react to physical objects within them, making the holograms more fluid and giving a true sense of presence and intimacy within the physical world.

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Communication services will evolve from today’s messaging to immersive conversational platforms, enriched with new capabilities such as generative AI.

 

Our gamified future

Gaming will become more prevalent by improving the way we absorb information across various industries and settings. At an automotive factory, workers will learn the working parts of a car from a digital twin in the form of a game, allowing consequence-free mistakes to be made, as well as progression-based research and development.

At school, students will be able to explore far-off places with each other in a gamified way thanks to AR and AI technology. With rich, interactive experiences like this, it will be possible to improve student engagement in a world where attention spans are increasingly hard to hold.

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A new realm for ways of working

The demand for new services and applications is accelerating toward an open global network platform that is flexible and scalable.

Enterprises of all sizes have already largely moved from data centers to cloud with applications on demand rather than on premises. The same will happen for networking. High-performing networks will be combined with cloud services for a more secure, convenient, and cost-efficient IT and communications infrastructure.

A new realm for ways of working

Indoor connectivity

By 2030, many industry processes will have a flexible hybrid work model, with workers being able to operate from anywhere in the world through a shared network environment, without limitations to software or connection.

But in order to achieve this, improved indoor connectivity is a crucial component of providing ubiquitous access to services and applications. Furthermore, it’s imperative to ensure access to applications and services through secure networks.

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As we move towards 2030, every product, solution, service and operation will embrace AI, making our world more productive and sustainable.

 

Industry 5.0

Warehouses and production fleets will become entirely autonomous. AI and robotics will execute physical tasks, reducing injury risk and enabling effective collaboration between workers and robotics through voice and gestures – so that workers can focus on other tasks, putting human centricity at the forefront. This will allow for quicker decision-making from workers, as well as leaving dangerous jobs to the robots keeping the safety of human operators top of mind.

Discover Industry 5.0

Autonomous transportation

In order for completely autonomous transportation to become part of daily living, high-performing networks will be required to manage connectivity at scale. Security across digital platforms will need to be considered as network management systems evolve to accommodate the accelerating needs on the network, and to simplify the introduction of applications.

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Pioneering solutions for a more sustainable world

Given the scale of the challenges the world faces and the exponential technologies at our fingertips, sustainability remains a critical priority, with most companies and governments aiming to achieve Net Zero in the coming decade.

By electrifying production fleets and reducing energy consumption, smart grids could generate net annual emission reductions of 0.7-2.1 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency.

“By 2030, solar photovoltaic and wind-based solutions are expected to provide 60 percent of Europe’s energy capacity.”


McKinsey

By 2030, solar photovoltaic and wind-based solutions are expected to provide 60 percent of Europe’s energy capacity.

Zero-energy devices

Zero-energy devices – which are devices that do not require batteries or manual charging – can harvest energy from the environment around them, from the vibration of train tracks to harnessing solar energy with photovoltaic systems. Together, with the help of AI, zero-energy devices can improve productivity, minimize the use of chemicals (in battery production, for example) and reduce waste.

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Zero-energy devices

Energy sharing

As individuals and communities, we will no longer simply consume energy, but create and share it too. By decentralizing the power grid and connecting it with a single and intelligent communications network, we can transform the existing power setup to support a digital revolution. This means we will sustain ourselves through any form of power disruption, such as extreme weather interfering with the power infrastructure or unpredictable demand and generation causing blackouts.

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Final thoughts

Final thoughts

Ericsson CTO Erik Ekudden wrote the following in his 2023 Tech Trends:
 

“Our vision for the future is a connected and sustainable physical world that is both digitalized and programmable, where humans are supported by digital intelligence and immersive experiences.”


Making this digital future a reality can’t be done alone. It requires ubiquitous, high-performance and differentiated networks, with capabilities that are accessible to a broad ecosystem of businesses and developers.

We also envision the creation of a global network platform that will require cross-industry collaboration to form an open network ecosystem of application developers and enterprises.

Ekudden wrote that the network platform “is a cornerstone of a digital future world that is distance-free: a place where the physical and digital worlds coexist seamlessly and where both humans and machines can connect, collaborate and engage with each other regardless of their geographical locations.”

What do you imagine is possible for the future for connectivity?

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