Dear industry colleagues and fellow citizens of the new digital economy, I have been invited to ITU in Geneva on 22 February 2017 to share my (and Ericsson’s) perspective on digital transformation, industry and market evolution, and technology trends and shifts that impact and shape the ICT industry.
Ahead of that meeting, I would like to share with a wider audience five key insights that provide context to industry, market and technology evolution in the ICT domain:
- Mobility is the largest technology platform: The telecom industry has delivered the most scalable, flexible, high-performance and cost-effective technology platform in existence today. Through its evolution over four generations, the mobile system currently has over 7 billion subscriptions worldwide and covers more than 90% of the planet. Even the Internet today has less than 4 billion users, and is looking to mobile systems to expand this reach.
- Industry transformation via digitalization and mobility: As more and more industries transform via digitalization and mobility, there is an opportunity to extend the telecom platform to onboard industries beyond smartphones. Transforming enterprises span across a wide range of industry verticals such as media, automotive, manufacturing and healthcare. However, while the logic of extending the network platform to such industries and enterprises seems infallible, they presently may not share this view owing to their belief of having unique requirements, telecom operator inflexibility, and differing stages of digital and mobile maturity.
- External environment influences technology evolution: As we enter into the era of the fifth generation of mobile systems, the external environment has dramatically changed. The evolution needs to be context aware. Some examples:
Socio-economic landscape – Redistribution of wealth, a rising middle class, ubiquity of social media and entrepreneurship are up-ending traditional businesses.
Geopolitical landscape – An emergent Asia, fast developing Africa & Latin America, a struggling Europe and a resurgent North America are impacting divergent approaches to policy and regulation, and conflicting technology-led economic ambitions.
Enabling technology development – The increasing pace of technology creation and adoption in all spheres of society and business are making tremendous strides in base, enabling and application technologies.
- A new collaborative approach needed for the ‘Ecosystem of Ecosystems’:The success of the mobile network platform is owed to collaboration, standardization, interoperability, and a well-integrated ecosystem. However, the ecosystem around the broader ICT industry needs to expand further to embrace transforming industries that have their own incumbent ecosystems. This means that we need to establish an ‘ecosystem of ecosystems’ with many different types of industry verticals. Collaboration across ecosystems – a balance between standards and non-standard approaches – is the way forward. The sheer scale of requirements and consequent expectation on network capabilities will drive collaborative innovation and competition.
- Networks and related technologies have increased relevance: As posited in the previous insights, the successful transformation of industries will depend on the realization of extended capabilities of the network platform. The role of the future network is to connect hundreds and thousands of new device types with a potentially infinite number of applications via the technology trifecta of Mobility/Access, Data and the Cloud.
Ericsson’s technology vision envisages the creation of a horizontal and programmable network platform connecting devices and clouds, and enabling innovation in application creation and speed of deployment.
Top tech trends shaping the network
In addition, here are my picks for five key technology trends that will shape the evolution of this future network.
SPREADING INTELLIGENCE THROUGHOUT THE CLOUD Connected smart machines, such as robots and autonomous vehicles, are fundamental to the evolving Networked Society. Enhanced cloud architecture that can distribute and share machine intelligence will enable smart, connected machines to work on an increasingly higher level.
SELF-MANAGING DEVICES Combining sensory data with artificial intelligence (AI) techniques enables the data from massive numbers of sensors to be merged and processed to create a higher-level view of a system.
COMMUNICATION BEYOND SIGHT AND SOUND Communication will evolve in a highly remarkable way over the coming years, as interaction between human beings and machines evolves to include additional experiences and senses. The Internet you can feel is on the horizon.
FUNDAMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES RESHAPING WHAT NETWORKS CAN DO The laws of physics are the only real restriction on the development of communication networks. Ericsson is firmly committed to pursuing innovations that challenge present system limitations to help us reach beyond what is possible today.
WEAVING SECURITY AND PRIVACY INTO THE IOT FABRIC In a world where everyone’s personal and financial information is available online, cyber security and privacy are very serious issues for consumers, corporations and governments alike. The rapid rise of wearables, smart meters, and connected homes and vehicles makes security and privacy more vital than ever.
NOTE FROM ITU: On 22 February 2017, Mr Aniruddho Basu, VP/Head of Strategy and Technology Practice, Ericsson, will explore technology trends in his ITU Talk, ‘ICT Trends: what to look out for in 2017’. Mr Basu will look at how ITU can track and leverage changes in rapidly evolving technologies, market trends, and regulatory frameworks, covering topics such as, intelligent technologies and standards, innovations in spectrum allocation, trends in tactile communications and the socio-economic impact of ICT. Watch the live webcast here: http://www.itu.int/en/talks/Pages/ict-trends.aspx
Aniruddho Basu is Vice President, Strategy & Technology Practice for the Ericsson Group, and is also the Principal Advisor to the Group CTO & Head of Strategy. His responsibilities include technology foresight & strategic intelligence, strategy development, strategic engagements and technology partnerships. He is additionally responsible for product and network security for the Group. Aniruddho has 20 years of experience in the ICT sector and has worked for a number of multinational companies, and has been with Ericsson since 2003. Within Ericsson he has held roles spanning Sales, Business Development, Product Development, Strategy and Portfolio Management. He holds an MBA in International Business, and a BE in Electronics & Communications.