Ahead of next week’s Mobile World Congress, Ericsson [ERIC] has unveiled a series of new technologies that aim to make 5G more sustainable and effective for businesses.
The Swedish telecoms group is looking to use 5G to enhance the performance of drones and factory assembly lines, and will showcase some of these technologies live at the event in Barcelona, which runs from 28 February–3 March.
The Nasdaq-listed group predicted in its 2021 Mobility Report that 5G subscriptions will have raced to 4.4 billion by the end of 2027, up from 660 million. It believes that 5G will be the “biggest innovation platform ever”.
The company hopes that its new launches and the growing momentum for 5G adoption will power its share price, which has dropped by 21.8% over the past 12 months through 18 February.
Efforts to expand edge offering
One of Ericsson’s key launches ahead of the Barcelona event was its Edge Exposure Server, which is an addition to its existing Cloud Core Exposure Server.
Edge computing is a framework that brings enterprise applications closer to internet of things devices or local edge servers. It allows data to be processed closer to where it has been created, thus speeding up the process.
Despite its benefits, the growth of the edge market has been limited, argued Monica Zethzon, head of solution area packet core at Ericsson. She said that this is due to a lack of existing 5G coverage and issues with device identification, internet latency and data security.
According to Zethzon, the new Edge Exposure Server helps address these challenges by extending application programming interface (API) solutions to serve the edge and guarantee secure communication between applications and devices.
This, she said, would help improve services across a range of industries from manufacturing, transport and gaming to mission-critical services such as healthcare.
Zethzon said the new product would benefit connected drones and HD videos for manufacturing assembly lines, enabling operators to identify problems faster and reduce maintenance downtime.
Ericsson is also keen to tap into the automotive market, given the high level of data that needs to be both uploaded and downloaded for connected or automated vehicles. “We are seeing a lot of interest from these manufacturers,” the group said.
Keeping devices connected to the cloud
Zethzon said that the edge would also enable communications service providers (CSPs) to improve the quality of their experience and “deliver new enterprise and consumer services” using drones, gaming and AR/VR.
Ericsson has also unveiled its IoT Accelerator Connect, which allows CSPs and businesses to scale their IoT offering across tens of millions of devices. The group said the new product would enable businesses to have “plug and play access to cellular IoT connectivity”.
Åsa Tamsons, head of business area technologies and new businesses, said that enterprises previously struggled to make full use of the IoT because of the fragmented nature of offerings from CSPs and the complexity of integration. She added that it often took even experienced developers a week to get the first device connected.
According to Tamsons, Ericsson’s Connect solution makes it easier for businesses to link cellular devices to public cloud networks like Amazon Web Services and Azure. It also helps speed up deployment and supports business developers to build IoT applications.
The future of 5G
Ericsson promised plenty of 5G future-gazing in Barcelona, with vice president of live marketing Matthew Smith describing upcoming innovations in the world of gaming, retail, entertainment and communications.
“The question we get asked most often from our customers is: What can we do to monetise 5G better? What are the untapped potentials?” he said.
“At Barcelona in our Factory of the Future we want to show people a virtual world where you don’t need clunky wires or a headset to see it. We will reveal holographic communications where you can interact with a 3D model, not an avatar, with low-impact fancy glasses. We will also show how handsets are evolving to deploy cool extended reality technology.”
The growth of 5G brings its own demands on energy usage and sustainability, though. According to Ericsson, data traffic has increased 300-fold in the past 10 years, with energy consumption up 64%. By 2027, it forecasts that total mobile traffic growth will zoom five times higher, powered by 5G technology.
Making devices more efficient
To make its 5G services more environmentally friendly, Ericsson has also launched Radio 4490, a dual-band radio delivering 25% lower power consumption at a lighter weight than current models.
It also rolled out a high-power version of the radio, which allows for up to 50% more output power. The two new radios have cooling properties and deep sleep mode functionality, reducing power consumption further.
In addition, Ericsson revealed beam-through antennas and multi-band antennas that make its radio towers more slimline.
“We are pushing the boundaries of technology,” said Per Narvinger, head of product area networks. “The secret sauce is the use of Ericsson Silicon, which pushes down power consumption. We are breaking the energy curve.”
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