This is going to be so much fun!
“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but 'That's funny...’” ― Isaac Asimov
My first employment at Ericsson in the late 90s was to drive three subprojects where we created training material for new employees. Remember, in those days, the internet was in its infancy and most training was led by a teacher in all too gloomy classrooms, with some computer-based support. What we wanted to do was to create digital material equivalent to the teacher led training, so that every engineer could to their own training when they had the time to do it.
One problem we encountered was that many of the connections to Ericsson offices around the world was limited to 64kbit/s ISDN connections. Distribution over that network would have proven to be too heavy for the internal network, so all of the training material were created like games, distributed on CD-ROMs. However, we did break some barriers in the creation of these interactive games. We managed to get a heavy technical training about Radio Signaling in 3G to work on old 386 computers with moving graphics and sound.
When I started working with customer presentations in 2000, we promoted mobile internet using WAP on phones with black and white screens and dial-up connections. Little did we think of how fast the adoption of mobile data would be, only a few years later. Color screens, GPRS connectivity and stylish phones started the revolution, and when mobile broadband was introduced in 2006 and the iPhone in 2007, the world truly changed. With the introduction of 4G in 2009, we geared up where mobile broadband became the foundation for data communication we see today.
The growth is still extraordinary, with 54 percent growth from Q1 2017 to Q1 2018, and video is still the driver for growth. In 2023, we estimate that 75 percent of all traffic on mobile networks will be video. But 4G did so much more to boost traffic, and it is obvious that 4G has done things we didn’t foresee when we created it, something my colleague Shannon Lucas also reflected on in the blog post from June 1. Coverage of 3GPP technologies has already reached 95 percent of the world’s population. In five years, 20 percent will have 5G coverage. This will do dramatic things with access to education around the world.
Ericsson is involved in the Connect to Learn program. It is an educational program through the Millenium Promise that gives scholarships, primarily to girls, to finish secondary school. What Ericsson does is to make sure that these schools, today in around 25 countries, are connected with mobile broadband. And through the cooperation with the Earth Institute and Columbia University, the students in the program have access to qualified education, wherever the school is located, online. On their tablet computers the teachers can plan their days with the students, and the students can pursue their tasks on theirs.
So how does all of this relate to the quote I started with? Well, in my view, and over my 18 years of experience meeting customers and talking about all things mobile, there has never been a eureka moment in all the technology shifts over the years, from GPRS to 4G. I have always seen the development as a fun area to dig deeper into. And now, when the first generation of standalone 5G just got standardized, augmented and virtual reality on the point of a big breakthrough, I again look at the whole thing like this:
“This is going to be so much fun!”