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The power within: Ericsson employees fuel global change with their energy

  • In today's fast-paced world, the need for sustainable solutions has become more pressing than ever.
  • Israel Serra, a customer technical leader at Ericsson, has been working with “Green Radio” technology to create a greener and more sustainable future.

Solution Architect and Customer Technical Leader

A picture of Israel Serra in New York
In a New York-state of mind, reflecting on John Lennon’s song “Imagine”

Solution Architect and Customer Technical Leader

Solution Architect and Customer Technical Leader

As a child, the song "Imagine" by John Lennon had a profound impact on me. During my visit to New York a few years ago, this song constantly played in my head, resonating deeply, particularly the line, "Imagine all the people Livin' for today." If John Lennon were alive today, I firmly believe he would advocate for embracing technology for good.

What exactly is technology for good?

"Technology for good" is more than just a trendy phrase. In today's world, where the need for sustainable solutions is greater than ever, I find immense inspiration in being part of energy-saving projects. It's not about empty promises or grand gestures; it's about embracing responsible technology use and promoting eco-friendly practices.

Israel with the Imagine Mosaic in Central Park, New York

My team and I are passionate about making a positive impact and contributing to a greener, more sustainable world. Before I delve into the details of my work, let me take a moment to share my technology journey.

When I first joined Ericsson two decades ago – way back in the 3G era – I had no clue about the profound impact I could make in creating sustainable solutions. But boy, has this changed!

Picture this: my journey started as a fresh-faced student studying for a master’s degree in telecommunications engineering. I was itching to get my hands dirty and, when asked to join Ericsson’s exciting 3G deployment project, I eagerly jumped on the opportunity. Little did I know that it would mark the beginning of an incredible journey that would allow me to work with some of Europe’s leading communication service providers (CSPs), eventually leading me to my current role: Solution Architect and Customer Technical Leader for Ericsson’s Telefónica account, a leading CSP in Spain.

The nitty-gritty of my work

The common thread throughout my various positions has been a focus on radio and transport projects, ranging from rollout to optimization. As a technical leader for Telefónica Spain, I oversee and direct all projects related to this CSP. This involves reporting on all work conducted by Ericsson, from the initial design phase to final commissioning. Our aim is to make these processes more seamless and improve the customer’s experience.

However, my role goes beyond technical tasks, encompassing management, support, motivation and understanding customer needs. This holistic perspective allows me to contribute not only on a technical level but also on a moral and ethical level. It is not just about titles and milestones; it's about making a tangible difference. Every day, I witness the power of responsible technology use in driving positive change, and it never fails to energize me.

By now, I’m sure that you are wondering how I’m directly involved in this type of work? Let me explain.

Breaking the energy curve

In 2021, Ericsson partnered with Telefónica Spain to address a critical question: Can we deploy 5G and break the increasing energy consumption curve of mobile networks? This question remains significant as traffic demands continue to surge.

Deploying 5G in the same way as previous generations would lead to a substantial increase in energy consumption, posing a negative impact on the environment. To overcome this challenge, an innovative and sustainable approach was needed.

Israel running in the mountains

This marked the beginning of our 'Green Radio – Intelligent software solution for energy optimization' project, and we committed ourselves to achieving substantial results. As part of this project, Telefónica took the lead as the first operator globally to test Ericsson's Radio Deep Sleep Mode energy-saving functionality.

Through the deployment of various functionalities such as transmission, live mode and deep sleep mode, we showcased significant energy savings and translated them into operational expenditure (OPEX) reductions.

What are Power Savings Features?
Power Savings Features, or PSFs for short, are software functionalities activated in the mobile network, allowing the shutdown of electronic components, carriers, sectors and cells. Their purpose is to optimize energy consumption during periods of low traffic, with implementation dependent on the available hardware and software versions within the network.

From a non-technical perspective, the essence of "sleep" technology lies in reducing or turning off radio energy consumption to minimize energy consumption. Beyond the OPEX savings for operators, the primary benefit of this technology lies in its environmental sustainability, eliminating wasteful resource usage and focusing only on what is genuinely needed.

This innovative and sustainable approach not only brings about operational efficiency but also contributes to a greener future. By optimizing energy consumption, we reduce our ecological footprint and promote responsible resource utilization. Through these efforts, we are breaking the energy curve, paving the way for a more sustainable and eco-friendly mobile network infrastructure.

You can learn more about Ericsson’s unique approach to network energy performance in our ‘Breaking the energy curve’ report, here.

Technology of the future

When I started my career, companies were not as focused on sustainability as they are now. Back then, mobile technology was primarily focused on providing better throughput for activities like music streaming, video watching, and gaming. Similarly, personal awareness regarding the impact on the environment was also less prominent.

Israel biking in front of a field of sunflowers

However, as technology has advanced across the board, energy consumption increased and so did our awareness of the environmental impact. As a result, the telecom industry, along with many other industries, has placed sustainability high on its agenda and I believe it is heading in the right direction.

For me, it is heartening to see that we are more aware of the problem and actively working towards sustainable solutions. Looking into the future, I hope to see a world with greener cities, where biking is a more prevalent mode of transportation, particularly in major urban centers like Barcelona where I reside.

Just imagine the impact that a sustainable future can have on the lives of our children and future generations. Having two kids of my own, aged nine and twelve, further deepens my passion for driving sustainable change. It's incredible to witness how my work resonates with them, as they eagerly point out highways and cellular antennas during our drives. Their curiosity and enthusiasm serve as a constant reminder of the importance of creating a better future for our own children and the generations to come.

A bit more about me

Outside of Ericsson I love to run. I have always found a strong parallel between running and technology. After all, both revolve around adaptability and flexibility. Just as runners adjust their stride on different terrains, navigate unpredictable weather and adapt their race strategies, technology professionals must also possess the ability to adapt to evolving market demands, changing customer needs and emerging industry trends.

I’m also passionate about football (go F.C.Barcelona!), traveling, reading and, of course, music – jazz and heavy rock are my preferred genres.

Advice for people starting out in the tech arena

Israel on a mountain trail

I’m often asked what advice I would give someone else looking to start out working in a similar area. My first answer is always: “passion”, because passion for technology is paramount. While my role may extend beyond pure technical work, Ericsson is a company deeply rooted in technology. So, if you're not genuinely passionate about technology, it may not be the right fit for you.

However, keep in mind that within a company like Ericsson, there are diverse areas to explore, such as finance and business. It's important to find your niche and pursue what truly interests you. Ultimately, being passionate about technology sets a solid foundation for success in this dynamic industry. Of course, it is also important to remain flexible, embrace new technologies, frameworks and methodologies to stay ahead of the curve.

In the end, it's not just about talking the talk; my team and I are dedicated to walking the walk. By promoting responsible technology use and eco-friendly practices, we strive to make a positive impact in building a greener, more sustainable world.

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