To conclude our Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2023 Ericsson Executive news Q&A focus, we talk to Åsa Tamsons, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Area Technologies and New Businesses.
Tamsons joined Ericsson in 2018 to lead Business Area Technologies and New Businesses. The business area’s focus is to drive strategic, new high-growth businesses for Ericsson.
Business Area Technologies & New Businesses changed in scope following a recent reorganization. What is the new remit of the business area?
BTEB has from its foundation had the mission to create and scale businesses to accelerate strategic and sustainable growth for Ericsson. It is in the nature of this mission that the portfolio will change over time. With the successful spin-out of Cradlepoint and Dedicated Networks from within BTEB into a separate Business Area, we have both proven that we can grow businesses in BTEB while also creating a stronger focus on enterprise solutions in Ericsson.
A more recent spin-out is One Network Solutions (ONS) becoming a part of the new Business Area Global Communications Platform (BGCP). ONS is accelerating the development and commercialization of the first generation of Quality of Service (QoS) and silent token APIs that we intend to scale, leveraging the Vonage API and developer platform. Hence, this is a step in realizing the potential of the Vonage acquisition.
At BTEB, we are always focusing on what’s next! We continue to develop and invest in business ideas in line with Ericsson’s strategy and vision of a world where limitless connectivity redefines business, improves peoples’ lives and pioneers a sustainable future. Our ideas are generated from our own employees that go through our incubator Ericsson ONE, strategic M&As, or businesses moved from other parts of the organization.
Recently, we made the decision to add Ericsson Digital Human to our portfolio, which is the first idea to go all the way through our incubator Ericsson ONE to a stand-alone business. The current focus of Ericsson Digital Human is on photorealistic digital humans leveraged for interpretation and translation, giving us a view into the future of communication. We are also scaling up and igniting our Security Solutions business.
At BTEB we are taking a disciplined approach to our growth investments, and stop investing in or exit businesses where we do not see traction or a viable path to scaling. Edge Gravity in 2020 and exiting the Wireless Office business in 2022 are two such examples. As announced in December of last year, our IoT Accelerator and Connected Vehicle Cloud businesses will be divested to Aeris in 2023. Aeris has been successful in extending its IoT solution offering beyond connectivity while Ericsson has only been able to tap into a limited part of the value chain. This move will give our IoT solutions much better opportunities to succeed.
Can you give examples of how the ‘incubator’ approach of Business Area Technologies & New Businesses to innovative ideas has succeeded?
As mentioned, BTEB led Ericsson’s entry into the Enterprise market through the development of Dedicated Networks and the acquisition of Cradlepoint. Cradlepoint is the leader in WWAN and we have accelerated its growth further since the acquisition. Dedicated Networks is an organic development of private network solutions designed and built to meet the connectivity and security needs of the CIOs of industrial companies. We have provided the right climate and focus, and in mid-2022 we saw enough traction and maturity to take the step and spin it out as a stand-alone business area.
Furthermore, Ericsson recently created the above-mentioned Business Area Global Communications Platform. Last year, the One Network Solutions team launched Dynamic End-user Boost, the world’s first Quality of Service application that could be sold by communications service providers. The advanced Network APIs used for this offering is a ready-made and validated solution that will enable telecom operators and application developers to realize new API-based services for consumers and enterprise applications on both 4G and 5G. With this we have the first commercial offering for the Global Network Platform tested and now we are taking the next step with the One Network Solutions team joining BGCP to accelerate the execution of the strategy.
Another example is the improved velocity and quality of our idea funnel, which has improved the number and traction of our ideas tapping into 10,000+ innovators across the company. In this regard, Ericsson Digital Humans stands out, which was pitched to Ericsson ONE by a passionate Ericsson employee, Parth Radia, who then took the idea all the way through our incubator while fine-tuning the idea and building a team.
It is also clear that the people of Ericsson are passionate about sustainability and making a positive impact on the world. Ericsson Connected Recycling is a project looking to address the challenge of waste in the world and leverage the reach of operators and Ericsson’s Mobile Money platform to transact and track recycling end to end. This was another project building on the idea of an Ericsson employee, Sophia Fahlen, whom has now been recognized as a Top Innovator by the World Economic Forum’s Uplink Corporate Changemaker Challenge (link).
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing Business Area Technologies & New Businesses in the next year?
Staying focused on the business ideas in the funnel to secure they have the right talent, strategy and execution support to succeed. The sooner we can validate the market product fit and secure a sustainable and scalable route to market – the better. Through previous experience we have learnt that finding the right and scalable go-to-market, to the right buyer, for our new businesses is the trickiest nut to crack.
The opportunities are endless. We have amazing minds in Ericsson bringing great ideas and we have proven that we have a way of nurturing and growing those ideas. I cannot wait to follow the traction and growth of our current portfolio bets, each one of them is targeting high growing, strategic markets with the potential to generate meaningful growth for Ericsson long-term.
What is Business Area Technologies & New Businesses hoping to achieve at MWC 2023?
We want to showcase what’s next in telco, for both connectivity service providers and enterprises. This includes our Mobile Wallet Platform, the foundation of a quarter of the world’s mobile money payments, an exciting new revenue stream. Another great example is in network security, where we are showcasing the next generation Security operations center and how it helps secure the connectivity service providers by continuously detecting and addressing threats. We are also displaying our Digital Humans and Ericsson Connected Recycling demos targeting CSPs and enterprises alike.
We want to connect with companies that are hungry for being at the forefront of innovation, and for being part of the journey towards a positive change in the world.
Feel welcome to join the #ericssonmwc conversation at #mwc23
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