Accelerating the integration of audio codecs
This year, our Software Engineering student Philip got the chance to travel north to join the Ericsson Research internship program. Here he is learning more about audio coding in a project aimed at integrating new audio codecs into different platforms.
Students from many different fields join Ericsson Research for internships or thesis work. You could be next. Follow our blog to learn about the students at Ericsson Research this summer.
Philip is a student at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. With two years done and three to go, Philip was looking for new opportunities to apply the skills he has attained during his studies.
Name: Philip Nord
Unit: Audio Technology
Education: Software Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology
Location: Luleå, Sweden
He had already acquired experience through developing mobile applications both for fun and for profit, in parallel with his studies. During his second year in Gothenburg, he ran a startup-project called Hamna, creating an app making life easier for boat owners. He also participated in different hackathons like #gbgstartuphack, where his team Altru was the jury’s choice in 2018. Now, Philip has taken the next step and joined our audio technology research team in Luleå for the summer.
Philip’s task was to explore audio codec integration. “Codec” comes from coder and decoder; they are the algorithms used to compress audio signals to save bandwidth when transporting them through the network. The purpose of the project was to gain experience in how to best integrate codecs into modern operating systems.
“I’d never reflected on how integral audio codecs are to almost all consumer products today. But like everything else that ‘just works’, audio coding is easy to overlook.”
Adapting to the research mindset
Philip says that the opportunity to spend the summer researching a specific area has been a good way to practice his investigative skills. He also mentions how the transition between his studies and the research internship have confirmed how we should never stop learning new things.
Project framing was open by design, and while Philip says this made him apprehensive at first, he stresses how rewarding managing his own work has been.
“When I was first assigned the task, both the science area and the tools I would be using were new to me. The languages and tools were initially outside my fluency, but the project has been a great opportunity to challenge myself with learning new technologies.”
Being an intern at Ericsson Research
Every year, Ericsson runs internship programs in different areas. Philip applied to the R&D program at several locations. When offered the chance to spend the summer in our northernmost office, he saw it as an opportunity to get to know the city of Luleå as well as nature in northern Sweden.
“It was exciting in many ways to spend the summer here in the north, but it was of course hard to know what to expect. Initially, I imagined Luleå would be small and remote, but I was proven wrong as early as the first week. Even though the Luleå office is not as big as the one in Stockholm, you really feel that Ericsson is a connected company. It’s been great getting to know my colleagues here in Luleå and discussing my progress with colleagues in Kista.”
Evolution of Voice Services
From the first Ericsson telephone built by LM Ericsson in 1878, voice communication has been under constant evolution. With almost every new network standard, more sophisticated audio codecs have enabled consumers to experience higher quality communication than before. During the summer, Philip has had the opportunity to get to know real veterans in the field, who have been part of the journey from GSM to 5G.
“Being able to work with industry professionals is very cool. At first their technical language level was hard to keep up with, but I’ve learned to be honest and speak up when there is something I don’t understand. That really sped up my learning curve and made me appreciate the team spirit in the office.”
Today, the latest communication services revolve around VoLTE, which will take yet another step forward with the release of 5G. As stated in an Ericsson white paper on VoLTE: “With 5G access, we can expect more use cases, including interoperable communication services, based on VoLTE technology. Examples discussed in the industry include augmented or virtual reality combined with video communication, and 3D video calling.”