Journey to Stockholm – The TL DR version

Team outside headquarter
Rishabh Banga

Software Engineer

This time last year, I was extremely happy to learn that TL;DR, the team that I had been mentoring for the Ericsson Innovation Awards 2018, had made it into the final four teams! The long months of preparations leading up to this moment had finally paid off. From 107 countries, 1,444 teams registered, and the team I had been mentoring were among those chosen for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We were about to travel to Sweden to present at the honorary Nobel Museum in no other place than home to our HQ and Sweden's capital, Stockholm.

After arriving in Stockholm, the first day was spent at our Ericsson Headquarters having mentor-mentee catch-up time. It was a delight to meet the other finalists and their fellow mentors. In the following days, my team went through round after round of pitching in order to practice for the big event. The audience ranged from various Ericsson executives and researchers in smaller conference rooms to my fellow Ericsson colleagues during larger, more open presentations in the lobby. I must be honest — it was exciting but also nerve-racking, not only for my team but also for me as a mentor, especially when we got to pitch at the Ericsson-like "Dragon's Den" space in our incubator, Ericsson One.

With each pitch, we gathered feedback to make our product and our presentation even better, while plenty of hot chocolate acted as our source of energy. The organizers arranged a visit to the Ericsson Studio for all competing teams, and it was a perfect occasion to blow off some steam. There, we were all briefed on how Ericsson was applying 5G and IoT (Internet of Things) technology through various use cases, ranging from connected street lights to landslide warning systems; to connected bikes/cars and an Ericsson driverless bus. We were also lucky to get to see some of these cases in action.

On the day of the finals, the whole of the Nobel Museum was reserved for us alone. All the finalist teams and their mentors, a selected group of Ericsson employees, and industry leaders and academia were gathered. The moment of truth had arrived.

All teams made their pitches and then we were left to wait (and have some food of course) for the results. About an hour after we'd finished our pitch, the results were announced: team TL;DR was awarded 3rd place and a prize of €5,000 to develop their idea.

To be honest, we felt a bit disappointed at first. Recovering from all the last-minute tweaking and rounds and rounds of pitches, it took a moment to realize that we had competed against the best teams in the world and had finished in 3rd place out of 1,444. It seemed we didn't do too badly at all!

Looking back, the whole experience was so inspiring! We got to collect many happy memories during the event, from the last days of pitching at HQ, to meeting the other teams, spending time in the Nobel Museum, and of course visiting beautiful Sweden.

The Ericsson Innovation Awards is a global university student competition that gives chosen participants the opportunity to drive changes and bring ideas to life. If you are a university student working to reach the next level of achievement, we challenge you to put your learnings to use and compete for a Grand Prize of 25,000 euros and a trip to Stockholm to showcase your idea.

Don't miss out! The final date to register is April 27, 2019. Find out more here.


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