More than 100 selected participants attended the event on September 24, 2015, ranging from operators and companies such as Scania, Boliden, SSAB, Volvo and Saab as well as academic research. Through lectures, demonstrators and seminars the participants got a deep-dive into the opportunities that new technologies will provide in the coming years.
Sara Mazur, Head of Ericsson Research, opened the event by giving an overview of how digitalization and mobilization are radically transforming industries and society when combined with the ability to connect everyone and everything.
"My ambition with this event is to nourish an active dialogue where we will share, learn and create new insights that will help us understand and influence our future," Mazur said.
The Networked Society is all about collaboration across knowledge domains. And that's why Ericsson Research increasingly looks for partners across the traditional borders of industry, society and academia. And although Ericsson has a very old and proud tradition of collaborative research, the focus on openness is even more important now than ever before, Mazur explained.
"As we move towards 5G, we see that it will be used in completely new contexts," she said. "From having delivered communications solutions primarily to telecom operators, we are now moving into new kinds of applications and a new breed of customers. This creates a lot of new opportunities. Ericsson's dual aim is that we want other industries and society as a whole to know what we can offer, and at the same time we want to learn more about the needs that they have in order to meet their demands and requirements."
As an example of industries coming together, Mazur mentioned a mining project that also involves ABB, Volvo, Boliden and Vinnova.
"I'm sure we will soon have more cases where we can contribute to changing industries, like media, gaming, music and learning. I would particularly like to see more projects where society, in the shape of cities or authorities within for example health care and education, participates."
The Ericsson Research Open Day was used to showcase Ericsson's wide variety of capabilities in different and sometimes unexpected areas and 15 demos were held to illustrate some of these.
The Automated Network Transport (ANT) demo highlighted the "analytics everywhere" trend and the first deliverable from the cooperation between the ITRL (Integrated Transport Research Lab), Scania and KTH in the 5G for Sweden context.
Seated before a game-console like screen, the ANT demo allowed visitors to drive a virtual bus through a 3D model of Kista and get a feel for how analytics, using information from mobile networks and data from various sources such as other connected vehicles can help drivers avoid obstacles. A connected Scania bus and a fully autonomous KTH concept vehicle were used for the demo all presented in real-time in a cloud environment.
A 5G radio test bed, with a base station and a mobile device communicating at several gigabits per second but falling back automatically to 4G (LTE) where there is no 5G network available, was shown as something that would suit time-critical machine-type communication.
And a 5G use case was also demonstrated in the guise of a toy-size excavator that could be maneuvered remotely to dig in a little sandbox.
The demo works just as well in large scale, as was shown during this year’s Mobile World Congress in collaboration with Volvo CE. A full-size excavator placed in Sweden was maneuvered from the exhibit hall in Barcelona – connected over the cloud.
"For us that is coming from the automotive industry, it's interesting to see that Ericsson Research has seriously started to widen its scope and reach outside of its traditional telecom areas," Isac Antblad, Director Connected Car IT Services at Volvo Cars, says.
"Our mutual journey with the connected car has started in earnest, and this area just keeps growing with new services," Antblad adds. "Here, I see that Ericsson is able to contribute even more with its competence in research."