Every place has a story
There are places all over the world that have an amazing history, where stories about families, natural wonders or cultural events have transpired. Some of these stories have shaped entire areas and faiths, but have been considered too small to be included in popular history books, or too insignificant to be granted their own guided tour. Although these stories will be long forgotten, they will have left an indelible mark on the world’s history.
When supply chain expert Henrik Söderlund joined Ericsson in 2009, he’d been living in one of these history rich places in Estonia for years. When he moved to the US, he realized his family story might never be told, and therefore decided to find a way to share these and other peoples tales from places that have a historical significance.
In one sentence - what is this project about?
Our tagline is Every place has a story, or EPHAS for short – it is a location-bound platform that uses 5G, Edge and Augmented Reality to share historical events.
You have a background within manufacturing and supply chain management, how did you come up with this idea?
It all started when I was having a glass of wine with my wife. We left Estonia to start a new life in the US, but every summer we’d return to Estonia to spend time in our house in the idyllic countryside. The house has been in my wife´s family for generations and has a rich and fascinating history. We believed that people passing the area would be interested to know more about its history, and we wanted to find a way to share these stories with them. After some research, we couldn’t find a platform where we could truly tell our story in an engaging way and at the same time reach the right audience. Ideas started spinning in my head.
One night it came to me - what if Augmented Reality, 5G and geo-tracking could be combined to tell stories? Every place has a story – and so EPHAS was created.
What do you want to achieve with the project?
The vision is to create a platform – similar to YouTube – for sharing mixed-reality content and stories. I want to create a space where storytellers can share stories that are connected to specific locations, and to monetize this in a recurring way, for example, by allowing tourists to tailor their trips or tours based on specific interests. The platform will be location-bound, and deliver unique experiences based on the user’s interest.
We would meet the needs of two distinct groups - the storytellers and the consumers (tourists). The platform will be a place where storytellers and historians can share their stories. With relevant stories, consumers can enrich and deepen their experiences and knowledge based on their interests and the places they visit. Consumers could also customize their own experiences and the content they see.
What’s the next step for you?
We are setting up a brand new team within Ericsson and we’re working with external partners and customers to establish new collaborations. We’re currently building an minimum viable product which will be tested at a leading museum in Northern Europe in the summer of 2020.
We’ve also signed with an external institution to apply for extra funding in addition to our investments from Ericsson ONE.
What are the benefits of developing your project within Ericsson ONE?
Intrapreneurship is the drive to create something, big or small, within an organization. It is the power of having the support of Ericsson, while being able to operate independently as a startup. This is the recipe for success as an intrapreneur, and it has enabled the development of the project in many ways:
- It has given us the opportunity to innovate and develop new technologies
- Helped us build relationships with potential customers outside of Ericsson. In this case, it was getting to meet with the museums
- It has allowed us to think creatively beyond othe traditional ways of working at Ericsson