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Comments Off on Digital agriculture and food tech – what’s new?

 

Earlier this month, I represented Ericsson at the international conference Sweden Foodtech Big Meet, a key event around the idea of building a next-generation food system based on tech, data, sustainability and health. Katarina Luhr, Stockholm’s vice mayor, opened the conference with a speech that stressed the importance of sustainable food and agriculture in the urbanization of today and tomorrow.

Sweden Foodtech’s long-term ambition is to build the world’s premier system for positive development of the food sector based on digital transformation and entrepreneurship. Key players include representatives of the current food system, research institutes, investors (including venture capitalists), global information and communication technology companies and new entrepreneurs shaping the future of food.

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Comments Off on ICT in education – perspectives from Myanmar

Photo credit: Telenor Myanmar

Last month in Myanmar groups of excited public high school students travelled to an ICT training center in Nay Pyi Taw to spend a week of their summer holidays learning about word processing and safe internet behavior. Back in October, another group of public high school students in Myanmar waited nervously for the results of the National ICT Awards competition that they had joined for the very first time. When one of them received a merit award, the joy and pride was palpable.

It’s hard to imagine now, but just five years ago it was both difficult and expensive to buy a SIM card in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. Connectivity was rare – if not totally absent – in the country’s public high schools at that time. If a rural government school did have smart phones, tablets or laptops available, in some case it wasn’t possible to charge them properly due to the lack of a stable source of electricity.

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Comments Off on Transformative technologies can provide education for all

Last week I was in Paris to attend the third advisory board meeting for UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report. Formerly known as the Education for All Global Monitoring Report, the GEM Report is an editorially independent, authoritative and evidence-based annual report that monitors progress toward the education targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.

One of the first agenda points was to welcome former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark as the new chair of the advisory board. As part of her introduction, she shared her thoughts on the importance of SDG 4 (education):

“Education is a key sustainable development goal because it’s so important in its own right but also because, if we achieve the education targets, it will enable progress across a whole lot of the other goals as well,” she said. “So it is important both for its intrinsic and its enabling value and so has to be regarded as extremely significant for the 2030 agenda.”

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Comments Off on Taking action to stem the trade in conflict minerals

 

Last week the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs arranged a meeting with several members of Teknikföretagen (the Association of Swedish Engineering Industries) to discuss the new EU regulations that apply to conflict minerals and provide a forum for knowledge sharing. I was at the meeting to represent Ericsson, listen to the other participants’ perspectives, and offer Ericsson’s point of view based on our experience of working to address the issue of conflict minerals in our own supply chain over the past several years.

For those who aren’t so familiar with the topic, tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold are the minerals that are usually referred to as conflict minerals. All four are commonly used in the manufacturing of a wide variety of consumer products, as well as in many of the electronic and electromechanic components used in heavy industry.
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Comments Off on The Future of Truth: Ericsson Innovation Awards 2018

Closely aligned with the theme of this year’s Nobel Week Dialogue, the theme of the 2018 Ericsson Innovation Awards (EIA) competition was “The Future of Truth”. We challenged students around the world to propose technical solutions that improve people’s ability to find, validate and share information in a fully connected world. More than 1,400 university teams representing 107 countries entered the competition.

Fifteen semi-finalist teams were selected to receive three months of mentoring by Ericsson experts to finetune their solutions before the four finalists were selected to come to Stockholm to compete in the grand finale event. All finalist teams received cash prizes and special opportunities during their all-expenses-paid visit to Stockholm, and had a chance of winning the grand prize of 25 000 euros.
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Ericsson operates facilities all around the world and in many places our employees don’t have the luxury of simply turning on a tap and filling a glass with cool, refreshing water. In places where this isn’t possible, we have long relied on either single-use plastic drinking bottles or larger water dispensing bottles that are large, cumbersome, difficult to store and heavy to carry around. India is one such location. With 25 locations in India that have approximately 10,000 employees, we have a lot of thirsty individuals who were creating a large amount of plastic waste – 25,000 bottles a month on average.
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Last week I had the pleasure of taking part in the Partnering for Change event in Stockholm arranged by Reach for Change and Tele2. The theme was Sustainable Development Goal 17 – Partnership for the Goals – a topic that is highly relevant for Ericsson as it is one of the cornerstones of our sustainability approach. While the event was just three hours long, it generated a fantastic dialogue and a myriad of new ideas about how the private and non-profit sectors can work together in new ways that amplify our collective impact.
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While the ICT sector has made some headway in terms of gender equality in the last decade or so, it continues to be male dominated, especially at senior levels. This is a serious problem, as our sector is facing a pressing need for new talent. For example, the European Commission has predicted a skills gap of more than 500,000 ICT jobs in Europe by 2020. One of the key reasons for this is that there are currently not enough students – male or female – choosing to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects at colleges and universities around the world. And the number of female technical students, while rising in some countries, continues to be disproportionately low.
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Ericsson’s Stefan Myhrberg discussing Connected Urban Transport (Photo credit: Erik Pihl, Future Earth)

 

Together with Future Earth, the UK Science and Innovation Network, TNO, WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and inno4sd.net, Ericsson co-hosted a two-day workshop in Stockholm last week on the topic of exponential climate action for cities. The purpose was to bring leading researchers, tech companies, innovators, international organizations (including the World Bank) and city representatives from across the globe together to start mapping out climate action areas in cities. The results, which include a suggestion for concrete systemic actions for cities, will contribute toward the creation of an Exponential Roadmap for the Climate Action Summit in California in September.

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Experts have long tried to understand whether the increased digitalization of societies will lead to drastically higher levels of energy consumption, with some arguing that the ICT industry’s environmental footprint is bound to increase at the same rate as the rapidly growing data volume. Happily, our growing body of research continues to show that this is not the case.

Earlier this year KTH Royal Institute of Technology published a report called ‘The electricity consumption and operational carbon emissions of ICT network operators 2010–2015’, which presents the latest findings in a long-term research collaboration between Telia and Ericsson within the frame of the Center for Sustainable Communications (CESC) at KTH. The research project was based on a unique data set with measured data from ten operators with operations in about 30 countries participating in the study (including Telia). The results show an approximately linear increase trend in annual electricity consumption and operational carbon emission that is more related to subscriber growth, which clearly indicates that the ever-increasing data traffic in ICT networks is not a catalyst for a corresponding rise in energy consumption of ICT network operators.
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