What happens when you bring together global innovators and disrupters? Magic

Connectivity and mobility are going to transform industry after industry, creating markets we can’t even imagine right now.

Ericsson Garage innovation startups

How does one company compete across that wide of a playing field?

Simple.  They can’t.  This is why building ecosystems – with startups, academia and established companies – are so important as we enter the age of 5G, AI and IoT, just to name a few developments.

The importance of partnerships and how they foster innovation was the theme at our first Ericsson Garage Summit this week at the Ericsson Studio in Stockholm.

I am uncertain of whether it was due to the dynamic mix of people or the diverse mix of ideas, but the Summit was an evening marked by openness and innovative use cases.

The event was kicked off by Sara Mazur, Head of Ericsson Research who talked about the journey of how the Ericsson Garage evolved and how it has transformed how Ericsson approach innovation. It was truly inspiring to hear her talk about how much innovation there is within Ericsson and how they’ve been working to turn those into commercial value, both for Ericsson and by working with partners.

In the future, the solution will not be one technology, it will be several technologies coming together in an innovation ecosystem

– Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm

Building innovation ecosystems and partnerships

We also got the chance to get to know Ericsson´s CEO Börje Ekholm and Åsa Tamsons, our new Head of Ericsson Technology and Emerging Busienss, during a fireside chat together with Hans Hassle, the founder of Plantagon International.

Plantagon is aiming to disrupt the urban farming industry with vertical farming indoors and gave some stark facts on why his ideas will be important for society in the near future.

“Food is a catalyst for many other technologies, for when you building out the infrastructure – energy, water, AI,” said Hassle. “We are trying to stay small but invite others to come along and do this with us.  Without that help, an innovative company like us can make it.”

The fireside chat was a relaxed conversation about innovation, ecosystem and partnerships. My favorite part was when Ekholm got excited about the developments and possibilities of vertical farming and talked about how important it is for Ericsson to go to market together with our customers. Åsa also mentioned the value of collaboration in solving real life problems, anchored by customers and partners.

Watch a video interview from the event with Mia Kleregård of Plantagon.

Video interview from the event

The live Dragon’s Den

We also got to experience the final of the Ericsson Incubator Program, during which five startups were given the opportunity to pitch their idea in front of the live audience and a very tough jury comprising of Börje Ekholm, Åsa Tamsons and Agate Freimane, the investment manager at Norrsken Foundation in Stockholm.

The competitors included:

HypeLabs: a small company from the US that has developed an interoperable cross-platform mesh networking software that improves connectivity on all kinds of devices, from mobile to desktop to IoT, allowing them to connect even when there is no internet.


 wants to inspire the next generation of female technologists and increase the proportion of women studying and working in STEM fields. To do so, they are creating a mobile platform for coding education coupled with customizable hardware devices.

EverTracker: provides a logistics platform that enables supply chain and logistics managers to gain full control over processes. Clients connect existing data sources to their platform, from GPS to RFID and manual scans.

Build-r: autonomous robotic drywall mounting for increased productivity and fewer worn-out workers.

SarvAI: offers a robust computer vision prototyping platform, called Sherlock, which analyses visual data in real-time and in a customizable fashion.

The competition was really tough, and I can only imagine that the decision was very difficult but, in the end, HypeLabs was announced as the winner. First prize consists of a Launchpad to Silicon Valley and Berkeley’s Accelerator Program to kick start their business as part of Ericsson Garage Program 2018.

19 global demos and an inspiring mingle

The Ericsson Garage Summit ended this year with a mingle showcasing 19 demos from all over the world, a smorgasbord of futuristic use cases and early stage companies, and an atmosphere having a relaxed and exploratory vibe.

Participants came from several different areas and industries, ranging from Ericsson employees, to startup communities, to people working with early stage companies and startups. Soft saxophone tones played in the Ericsson Studio while people were forming new contacts and partnerships. It will be exciting to see what will come out of these relationships in the coming future.

You can see one of the demos – a connected wheelchair – in this video.

During the event, we also heard from Sándor Albrecht, founder of Ericsson Garage, and saw examples from the Garage in Beijing, including projects like the Narrowband IoT connected screwdriver, massive IoT landslide monitoring and a 5G connected drone project, among others.

To complement the discussions further, there were also presentations from a startup called GreenWake in France, which works with wireless IoT charging, a Hackathon for Good in Malaysia and an employee idea challenge from the Middle East.

It all really showed the ambitious global scale of the Ericsson Garage. Because if Ericsson as a whole is working on developing, say, 5G, we are working on 5G value and exploring the pain points of 5G and what we can do with it in the future. What’s one of the best ways to do this?  To gather disrupters and innovators in a room and see the magic that takes place.

For the people who could not make it to Stockholm the event was also live streamed online. But if you missed it don’t worry you can watch it online here.

And to learn more about Ericsson Garage, please check out our website!

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