Eagles are known for their powerful vision which helps them easily spot new opportunities. That’s why Project "Eagle” was the perfect codename for the Enterprise Virtual Cellular Network (EVCN) solution, the latest idea to emerge from Ericsson ONE. An innovative 5G connectivity solution for enterprises, EVCN is designed to enable employees to quickly and securely connect to their employer’s dedicated 5G global network. Let’s explore why it’s set to overhaul the IT sector.
In one-two sentences, what is this new solution?
We are digitalizing and accelerating IT – bringing it into the 5G era – by creating an enterprise virtual cellular network that addresses an enterprise’s need for secure and seamless connectivity. By connecting hybrid workers to multiple clouds, we are enabling a seamless user experience and supporting security and reliability.
EVCN in a nutshell
EVCN modernizes IT infrastructure and removes the need for third-party software applications and fixed network infrastructure, thereby reducing deployment and management related costs. This enables a complete paradigm shift, with connectivity no longer being delivered from the employees’ office headquarters; this means employees no longer need to connect to a "network" at the office or at home, instead, you become your own network, i.e., connection point. This greatly simplifies the IT infrastructure while also providing a service that is richer and more suited to the current needs of end users in comparison to site-based architecture. The simplification of the IT infrastructure also has a knock-on effect, enabling a more sustainable/lower carbon footprint solution and lowering first-time costs and maintenance-related expenditure.
What challenges are you trying to solve?
EVCN is a managed IT service which enables enterprises to have their own 5G global corporate network. The need for this type of offer was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic when, virtually overnight, employees were forced to work from home for an extended period. Suddenly, all the infrastructure and access points in the corporate networks were left massively underutilized. At the same time, IT admins also lost 'visibility’ of their users, with employees connecting remotely from home and public networks.
This presented the following challenges:
- Business issues: Businesses had to continue to pay for onsite connectivity, which still entailed a high cost and maintenance needs. When people started connecting from home, IT also lost ‘employee visibility’. In other words, IT was no longer able to easily ascertain how people were connecting, their quality of experience at any time, if their connections were secure and whether they had sufficient data.
- Employee issue: From an employee perspective, the remote experience was not as seamless as working from the office with capacity contention with other home users, a complex VPN setup, as well as unreliable broadband connections.
- Forward-thinking IT perspective: From an IT admin perspective in 2022, a new generation of laptops are already available with 5G embedded modems, and there are new architectures supporting connectivity to applications running in multiple clouds.
In 2022, the hybrid workflow workplace has now become the new normal with much of the workforce still working from home and employees are becoming more mobile. In this new environment, employees are really looking for a more consistent quality of experience regardless of where they connect from, and peace of mind that their connections are always secure and company assets protected.
How does the solution work?
EVCN plans to work with selected CSPs to provide secure 5G connectivity and aggregate global complexity by supplying each enterprise with its own abstracted 5G global network.
The corporate network will consist of 5G- enabled devices connected to a dedicated 5G mobile virtual cellular network powered by EVCN. This means there is no expensive infrastructure to maintain, nor any access point sitting idle on site. The initial focus is on providing secure connectivity to 5G enabled laptops and facilitating consistent user experience every time the laptop connects. To do this, EVCN is inherently ‘baking’ security into EVCN – in summary, when the computer is connected, security is enabled. EVCN intends to fully automate 5G laptop provisioning, while at the same time providing an admin portal to allow real time visibility and control of applicable data usage. This is a complete paradigm shift in how corporate IoT networks are delivered today.
What’s the current status of the project and what are the next steps?
EVCN passed Ericsson ONE Dragons’ Den (second funding gate) on June 29, 2022. We secured funding to build an MVP and have completed a successful Enterprise IT customer trial in D-15 (Mar'23). We built our technical solution in D-15 in collaboration with two external partners. The plan is to start onboarding users for additional trials in Q2 of 2023. In parallel, we also worked on business development, GTM strategy, lead generation and customer traction with internal and external partners. On May 26, 2023, EVCN passed Pioneer's Nest (third funding gate) and entered into industrialization phase.
What are the main benefits of developing the project within Ericsson ONE?
Support, coaching, business development, funding and credibility – these are the first five things that spring to mind. Often when you come up with an innovative idea you are met with some resistance because product lines and solution areas already have their budgets approved ahead of time. This means everyone is working to deliver these products and budgets, so if you come up with an idea in your day-to-day work your manager is likely to say: “Oh yes, great idea, but you know we have X, Y, Z to finish and we cannot go messing around with something new!” Or that new idea will be altered to fit it into an existing pigeonhole. Ultimately, you might feel like you are hitting your head against a wall when it comes to getting employers to listen to your ideas. This isn’t the case with Ericsson ONE. Instead, they provide a springboard – a platform – that supports ideation, creative thinking, financial support and helps you move forward. You are also given the time to really focus on developing your idea.
Finally, working with Ericsson also really gives the project credibility when it comes to meeting with executives and other organizations.
Where does your drive for this project come from?
This is a multi-billion-dollar opportunity – which is very exciting! We’re working on something that we’re proud of and will have a positive impact on the employees’ daily performance. Also, since our solution is cloud-based, it will reduce the environmental footprint of enterprises; we strongly believe in sustainable practices.
Diala Abi Rached M.Eng.
Head Service Delivery & Operations, BGCP GNP Product & Engineering
Head of Service Delivery & Operations, BGCP GNP P&E. Diala has 18 years’ experience in cutting-edge technologies, innovation, and intrapreneurship. Proven record building and transforming organizations into dynamic and highly performing units with strong focus on customer satisfaction, operational excellence, delivery efficiency and margin optimization. She has global customer interactions with key CSPs in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Africa.
Andrew Pratt Ph.D.
Strategy Management, BGCP GNP Product & Engineering (Co-Founder)
Strategy Management, BGCP GNP Product Management. Andrew has more than 30 years’ experience in the telco industry enabling digitalization and IT transformation via simplified connectivity frameworks. His diverse approach to strategy and business development, combined with his market experience in Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America, is leveraged to bring technology innovation closer to the end user. With over 45 peer reviewed publications in international journals and conferences, Andrew is a key Ericsson contributor recognized for delivering significant business impact.
Wassim Haddad MSc.
Lead Mobile Security Architect,
BGCP GNP Product & Engineering
Wassim is a chief architect and an intrapreneur within Ericsson Business Area Technology and Emerging Businesses (BTEB). His current focus is on building new platforms to enable companies to migrate their IT infrastructures and services to 5G. He is also active in standardization forums and has more than 60 granted patents
Massimiliano Maggiari M.Eng.
Senior Expert Orchestration Mgmt. & Ctrl, GFTL Development & Execution(Co-Founder)
Massimiliano is an Ericsson fellow and a senior expert in OSS architecture. Since joining the company in 2006, he has held many roles across product development and product management in the OSS domain. Massimiliano holds numerous patents related to OSS and control plane-based networking, and an M.Sc. in electronic engineering from the University of Genoa, Italy.
Giuseppe Burgarella M.Eng.
Solution Architect, D-15
Giuseppe is a solution architect at D-15 Lab in Santa Clara, CA, working with partners on cutting edge innovation projects. His recent activities include 5GC and Ericsson Orchestrator integration with the new edge cloud platforms from the main global HCPs. Prior to joining D-15 Lab, Giuseppe successfully contributed to start several innovative projects that turned into product offerings in Ericsson Portfolio. He also has 10 years’ experience collaborating with Cattolica University of Sacro Cuore in Milan as professor and leading innovation events with Ericsson.
Jay Jay Chin
Head of Market Area IT, Ericsson Enterprise IT
Jay Jay is a seasoned IT executive with over two decades of leadership experience within Ericsson. Throughout his career, he has spearheaded various IT organizations at Ericsson and played a pivotal role in steering global digital transformations. Currently serving as the Head of the Market Area IT organization at Ericsson Enterprise IT, Jay Jay is at the forefront of driving innovation and is the driving force behind EIT's Industry 4.0 initiatives. Additionally, he serves as the key advisor for Project Eagle, contributing significantly to the transformation of Ericsson's enterprise connectivity into CSP’s cutting-edge 5G infrastructure.