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Team OwnLabs wins Ericsson Innovation Awards 2018

  • Team OwnLabs from Senegal has been selected as the overall winner of the Ericsson Innovation Awards 2018
  • The solution from OwnLabs seeks to address the lack of school labs in Africa by offering physics, chemistry and biology classes in virtual reality via a smartphone
  • 1,444 university teams representing 107 countries entered the competition, concluding with the grand final ceremony at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, on May 17
Press release
May 17, 2018 19:46 (GMT +00:00)

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) has announced that Team OwnLabs, from Senegal, is the overall winner of the Ericsson Innovation Awards (EIA) 2018 competition. The four finalist teams competed in the EIA 2018 grand final held at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, on May 17, 2018.

Aligning with this year’s Nobel Week Dialogue, the theme for the competition – The Future of Truth – challenged student teams to answer the question of how technology can improve the way we find, validate, and share truth in a fully connected world. Exploring this theme, 1,444 university teams representing 107 countries entered the competition to present their innovative solutions.

Team OwnLabs, from the Ecole Supérieure Polytechnique de Dakar and Université de Ziguinchor in Senegal, seeks to address the lack of school labs in Africa by offering physics, chemistry and biology classes in a virtual reality environment via a smartphone.

Erik Ekudden, Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Ericsson, says: “The mobile network platform is the most important innovation platform globally. It enables local ideas and initiatives to quickly scale to a global market. We drive technology leadership in the industry with strong ecosystem partners with university collaborations, startups, and established companies. Being at the forefront in commercializing great technologies and business ideas is key to us. The Ericsson Innovation Awards is one way for us to spur innovation and thought leadership with a world-wide challenge which brings new perspectives and unorthodox thinking into the creative processes.”

The simplicity of OwnLabs’ idea to help young people find truth through experimental science and reach their full potential was the motivation behind the jury’s decision. 

“The team was able to make virtual reality come to life through a very good use-case scenario,” says Curtis Ludwig, Head of Employer Branding at Ericsson. “The judges were completely inspired by their idea and we hope they are able to make a lasting impact in Senegal.”

The jury for the 2018 Ericsson Innovation Awards included Mattias Fyrenius, CEO Nobel Media, Patrick Mesterton, CEO and Co-Founder of Epicenter Stockholm, Marina Petrova, Professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and Anita Frisell, Head of Technology Development & Execution at Ericsson Research.

The runner up results are:

Second place - Team Alfred, Stanford University, Columbia University, and Rochester Institute of Technology, United States. Alfred is an AI-powered personal assistant that gathers information, identifies bias, and sifts through the noise.

Third place - Team TL;DR, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi Technological University, India. TL;DR’s platform summarizes and simplifies user agreements to help consumers make informed decisions.

Fourth place - Team Open Sesame, Tongji University, China. Open Sesame is a platform that reviews and verifies retail reviews and ratings to ensure a more reliable shopping experience.

About the competition

The Ericsson Innovation Awards is a global, annual competition that gives students around the world the opportunity to develop new, innovative ideas in collaboration with Ericsson experts. For more information on the finalists, their solutions, and the 2018 competition, visit the Ericsson Innovation Awards 2018 site. 


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Ericsson enables communications service providers to capture the full value of connectivity. The company’s portfolio spans Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services, and Emerging Business and is designed to help our customers go digital, increase efficiency and find new revenue streams. Ericsson’s investments in innovation have delivered the benefits of telephony and mobile broadband to billions of people around the world. The Ericsson stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and on Nasdaq New York.