Ericsson Technology Review, Issue 2/2019

The rise of the innovation platform

Magazine   |  

There’s no doubt about it: society and industry are transforming at an unprecedented rate in response to new technologies in areas such as the IoT, distributed computing and AI, and connectivity is playing a pivotal role. Self-driving vehicles, intelligent manufacturing robots and real-time drone control are just a few examples.

The trends I highlighted in 2018 as the five to watch were right on target, and they have only continued to grow in strength and relevance over the course of the past year. In this year’s trends article, which you can find on page 28, I build on last year’s conclusions and share my view of the future network platform in relation to an updated list that now includes six trends. The evolution characterized by this year’s trends points to 5G and beyond, toward the future definition of 6G.

I truly believe that the defining characteristic of the future network platform will be its ability to instantaneously meet any application need, anytime. Achieving this requires ubiquitous radio access, security assurance, zero-touch networks, and distributed compute and storage – four of this year’s six trends. The other two trends – the Internet of Skills and cyberphysical systems – are important examples of use cases that a future network platform needs to support.

The other articles in this issue of the magazine address critical issues such as trust enablement, the extension of computing resources all the way to the edge of the mobile network, the growing impact of the cloud in the telco domain, overcoming latency and battery consumption challenges, and the need for end-to-end connectivity.

At Ericsson, we see significant value in blockchains as a trust enabler and potential disruptor that can enable completely new business models in the digital asset market. A decade after its launch, blockchain technology is still one of very few internet-age technologies that can facilitate trust online. In this issue, we explore its potential in telco.

Service exposure and APIs will play a key role in creating solutions that enable operators to provide computing resources across the whole telco domain to the edge of the mobile network – a capability that is essential to meet the requirements of use cases in areas such as the IoT, AR/VR, Industry 4.0 and the automotive sector.

The transformation of virtual network functions into cloud-native applications (CNAs) is already underway, and we are determined to make it as smooth as possible. We’ve developed an application development framework that includes a set of architecture principles, design rules, and best practices that guide the fundamental design decisions for all our CNAs.

As the IoT continues to expand, latency and battery consumption issues are a growing challenge. The new ‘inactive state’ in the standalone version of the 5G NR standard overcomes those challenges, and increases overall system capacity by decreasing the processing effort in the network.

We know that future industrial automation will be highly dependent on operators’ ability to provide deterministic connectivity end to end, and Time-Sensitive Networking is quickly becoming the standard Ethernet-based technology for converged networks of Industry 4.0. Our TSN article explores the benefits of combining TSN features with 5G URLLC capabilities.

I believe that the contents of this issue demonstrate that the network platform has the potential to offer all the connectivity, processing, storage and security needed by current and future applications. Please feel free to share it with your colleagues and business partners. You can find both PDF and HTML versions of it at: www.ericsson.com/ericsson-technology-review.

Erik Ekudden
Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Group Function Technology