Start-ups can revolutionize their future with 5G

5G will enable a new wave of innovation in services and application for companies both large and small. But how to make sure that startups and other small companies are able to take advantage of 5G opportunities? Recently we brought Ericsson experts together with the startup community in Stockholm to discuss future technology and its application.

Start-ups can revolutionize their future with 5G

At this after work meetup, which we organized together with THINGS Stockholm, we met some 50 representatives from 20 different companies. In the form of a fireside chat, the topics discussed were “How is 5G different from previous generations – 3G & 4G?” and “In what ways can smaller companies engage with Ericsson”. We were really happy that the audience joined the discussions from the start of the sessions, showing the engagement they had with the topics.

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This discussions continued during the second part of the workshop, in which the floor was open for more informal discussion. Here, we got the opportunity to really learn about the new ideas coming from the startup community and how 5G can support them. Some topics were maybe to be expected, like machine learning, which is on the top of many people’s minds today.

But other ideas came up that don’t make headlines so often, even though products and services based on them could be in your home tomorrow. For example, how about connected furniture? Or 5G guitars? These discussions gave us great food for thought about new use cases and 5G applications.

How is 5G different from 3G and 4G?

Everyone expects the performance of 5G will be dramatically better, and that is a given. But where 3G & 4G were basically better mobile broadband systems, 5G will also be a platform for advanced services like remote surgery, autonomous vehicles and smart connected cities. These new services will need more capable networking, and this is provided by 5G, along with distributed cloud capabilities at the network edge. Software-defined networking and a cloud-based software environment give 5G platforms the flexibility to support a wide variety of use cases.

This is where small companies can take great advantage of 5G – they are able to create services and applications fully integrated with the network, and then deploy them rapidly in a virtualized environment. In our vision, 5G is an innovation platform for services, applications, and connected devices.

How can small companies engage with Ericsson?

Ericsson Garage – our in-house, open-door technology incubator – is one place where this engagement happens. Here we work alongside start-up companies and industry partners to create ground-breaking solutions to real industry challenges. Starting with the first location in Stockholm, it is now a global Ericsson initiative.

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Ericsson Garage is inspired by lean start-up methodology. We work with short development cycles in close dialog with customers, users and partners, to ensure the final version fulfills actual customer needs and pain points. For inspiration, have a look at some of the past and current projects that are running in the Garages worldwide.

You can send in proposals with any maturity direct to Ericsson Garage.

We also want to bring state-of-the-art academic research into real-life applications and products. One example of such efforts is the Kista 5G Transport Lab (a.k.a. K5), where Ericsson works with KTH and Acreo to solve concrete pains point in today’s networks. With funding from Vinnova and Ericsson, the project has also worked with several SMEs & startups on technology challenges where new research concepts can make an immediate impact on products and solutions.

As a first step towards concrete engagements, events like this are important, creating a space where start-ups, industry experts and researchers can meet, discuss ideas and technology opportunities, and learn from each other. When we learn about new ideas early and understand better what they would need from a 5G platform, I think we can make significant impact together. Both for a first step of an initial demo, and longer term for a successful product.

We are glad that the event generated new ideas that we are following up, with the goal of concrete joint actions.

Please check out more posts about Ericsson Garage, including green fintech, AI Everywhere and our Ericsson Start-Up Challenge!

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