Experience Ericsson at new Santa Clara facility in the heart of Silicon Valley

If you want to win in mobile, you need to be able to transform, to recognize the need for new directions and take decisive action. This has been true for all of Ericsson’s 140-year history, most dramatically in the shift to mobile, 3G and then 4G, but it’s never been more important than today, as we navigate the convergence of the IT, media, and communications industries and move fast into 5G, cloud, the Internet of Things and other new, disruptive markets.

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This need for transformation is also what makes Silicon Valley so important for us. Today we’re opening our new facility in Santa Clara – in the heart of Silicon Valley – and while the buildings are new and state-of-the art, featuring a dazzling Ericsson Experience Center, there is perhaps greater power to what our move symbolizes during an era of massive industry convergence and evolution.

What are the five tech trends you need to keep track of? Get new insight from Ericsson CTO Erik Ekudden!

Embracing disruption in media

We are now at the brink of a significant period of disruption in TV and media. We like to say TV will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 40. We’re ready for this, recently unveiling our TV as a Service vision, showcasing agile, cloud-based services and solutions from our MediaFirst product suite. And we recently partnered with Google to extend our reach into the Android TV ecosystem, Google's operating system for the set-top-box.

We’re also at the forefront of tackling the challenges of streaming bandwidth and mobile viewing experiences through our end-to-end, cloud-based TV solutions. In a recent report, Ericsson ConsumerLab found that for all the recent advances in mobile networks, smartphone users still face the same amount of issues with performance.

One key reason for this? Streaming video.

For instance, in South Korea, one-third of smartphone users watch live streamed videos broadcast by other users, averaging 10 hours per month. And almost a third of smartphone users across 14 markets in Ericsson ConsumerLab’s online survey said they have watched live video streams of celebrities on Facebook, while around a quarter of smartphone users watch video game streaming and e-sports competitions.

These evolving demands change users’ expectations of their mobile networks, and we’re only at the beginning of this shift.

Virtual reality and augmented reality

But let’s take a real step into the future. Today in Santa Clara, we are featuring demos of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These are perfect examples of convergence, as media experience transcends the screen and embeds itself into our activities at work and on the go.

We’ve already launched PIERO Augmented Reality, a cutting-edge software system that enables broadcasters with a rich suite of graphical tools, including the ability to overlay 3D graphics in real-time during live studio productions and sports games.

And we’ve also introduced a range of high-profile TV services with BT, including the UK's first Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV) channel.

But let’s look at two areas that push the envelope even further.

Productive mobility 
Productive mobility is about the workplace of the future – the power to move, the freedom to be everywhere at once, the right tools to get things done better and faster.

A VR interface can replace a wall of screens with expanded desk space, giving supervisors front-seat insight into what their employees experience. Remote feeds can be shared via AR-enabled headsets, along with access to tutorials, checklists, voice guidance and visual cues from supervisors. Expert knowledge can become a scalable resource.

This is where critical mobile network developments come in. Many of the most exciting AR applications require instant environmental interpretation, and rapid delivery of contextually relevant information and functionality. VR – in particular 360 stereoscopic video – greatly raises the payload overhead of rich media.

Fixed and mobile broadband network advancements like fiber and 5G deliver higher throughput with lower latencies. New network designs find patterns among massive data sets, enabling rapid, intelligent predictions about the network, the things connected to it, and the users engaging with it.

In the Futurist Reports, an inside look into the technologies of tomorrow from the AT&T Foundry, Ericsson, and RocketSpace, we examine drones and their vast potential to remake the media landscape.

From the report:

Just imagine a drone flying down the side of a waterfall, with you fully immersed in the experience, without even leaving your couch. Moving beyond mere entertainment, combining truly immersive VR with drones will provide opportunities for educators to bring their students to historical sites such as the Great Wall of China or the Giza pyramids. Oil refinery inspectors will be able to check every minute aspect of a fractionating tower from their office desk.

Transformation through partnerships

So these are exciting yet challenging times. Fulfilling the potential of 5G, VR and AR is no small task, and we believe it can be better accomplished with partners. This is why we are active in the Silicon Valley ecosystem with companies that have their headquarters here – like Google, Apple, Alchemist Accelerator, and Plug and Play – as well as larger multi-nationals with an important research presence here such as Volvo and Toyota.

And being in the heart of Silicon Valley also gives us a chance to meet new partners and reach out to unknown startups with potentially game-changing ideas.

The world is changing, and we all need to keep moving fast to keep up. With our heritage of global reach and standards, we’re a key player in this new world and look forward to our new Silicon Valley campus being at the heart of a global transformation.


This is a guest post by Per Borgklint, former Senior Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer and Head of Business Unit Media and Head of Segment Support Solutions.

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