More than 10,000 at Ericsson are dedicated to the future

Ericsson is the largest in Sweden in terms of the number of employees engaged in research and development. “We have very good momentum,” says the head of research.

Ericsson tops Ny Teknik’s R & D league 2021, with 10 600 R&D employees in Sweden and 30,000 globally.

Last year, Ericsson increased its R&D costs by close to SEK 1 billion, to SEK 39.7 billion. This corresponded to 17 percent of total net sales, of SEK 232.4 billion.

In Ny Teknik’s survey of the R&D league, Ericsson is usually at the top with the most R&D employees. Compared with last year, the company has grown significantly. This year’s figure, which applies to the end of September 2021, lands on 10,600 Swedish R&D employees.

How come your R&D strength has grown?

– We have very good momentum in our portfolio with 5g, we have managed to take market share and then we have to work with more and more customers. It takes a little extra development to make special adjustments for customers, it is very positive, says Magnus Frodigh.

Ericsson has a clear dividing line between what is research and what is development. Magnus Frodigh is global head of research at the company, but not for development. Each business area has its own development manager.

– We at the research do the work that is long-term. We try to understand how we can build future functions and systems in a time perspective of a maximum of eight to ten years ahead. Then when we start product development, we hand over to the development departments, says Magnus Frodigh.

Magnus Frodigh is head of research at Ericsson. Photo: Ericsson

What is the most exciting thing going on on the research side of Ericsson right now?

– What I talk about most about now is 6g research that we have initiated and which has been going on for a couple of years now. It just gets bigger and bigger and will gradually dominate. We envisage that our network infrastructure will become more intelligent, have increased capacity, reduced delays and become more energy efficient, says Magnus Frodigh.

With the help of artificial intelligence, Ericsson envisages that the network infrastructure will be completely self-learning so that the equipment itself adapts to local conditions, customer behavior and traffic. It will also be the biggest challenge in the future, according to the head of research.

– Everything that concerns radio interfaces involves incredible challenges, but it is an area that we can. There will be greater challenges in building the entire infrastructure self-learning. This is the biggest revolution we have ahead of us, says Magnus Frodigh.

On the research side, efforts are also underway to make the infrastructure more robust and able to withstand attacks.

– For socially critical functions, the infrastructure must be guaranteed to be up at all times, says Magnus Frodigh.

But perhaps most exciting is what the network infrastructure of the future can be used for. In the tech industry, the term metaverse has become extremely hot to describe the internet of the future. Magnus Frodigh talks about a future where two-dimensional screens and mobile phones have been left behind, instead we use vr or ar glasses to see digital meeting participants or additional information directly in the field of view.

He also believes that physical contact will be able to be mediated via the internet. Via a vest, the wearer can get a virtual hug. Via an artificial skin that is put on the arm, it can feel as if someone is moving you on the arm when someone remotely touches their screen.

– You might think this is science fiction, but there are large investments behind it. The glasses we see today will give better and better experiences, says Magnus Frodigh.

Ericsson calls this internet of senses – read more about this “We believe a lot in 3d internet” and the giant guide on 6g: Forget 5g – 6g will be the start of a whole new world

Model of 5g city at Ericsson in Kista. Photo: Tobias Ohls

Ericsson is aiming for 6g

Many of the new features, Magnus Frodigh believes, will be developed and started to be used in the 5g network in the coming years.

– When 6g comes, maybe 2030, we believe that there has been a gap between what the user wants to do and what 5g can offer. There we want to fit in 6g so that we can meet future needs. First you will experience the virtual world as hackneyed, then it will gradually become more real and the demands will increase, he says.

Ericsson expects to continue to need to recruit for the R&D area. According to the head of research, competence is needed in both software and hardware.

– We have started our ai journey, where we will need more. I hope that many of the engineers who come out have both radio and ai knowledge. You need the combination of these two to be really effective. If you have one competence, we try to teach our employees the other.

It is in the research director’s job to be a visionary. But many of Ericsson’s future ideas also come from employees, researchers and other companies.

– A lot of what is really visionary has come to many other industries and we come with enabling technology. It was not like when we made 4g that we knew what it would be used for, we did not have Netflix or Facebook in mind. That is what is so fantastic, we enable everyone else’s visions, says Magnus Frodigh.

6g – the next generation mobile network

There is still no standard for 6g, the next generation of mobile communication networks.

The expectations are that the transfer speed will be significantly faster than in 5g.

In January 2021, the EU project Hexa-X started with the aim of laying the foundation for a global standard for 6g. Chalmers and Ericsson, among others, are participating.

6g requires the use of a new radio spectrum. To achieve transmission rates in the terabit scale per second and response times down to 0.1 milliseconds, the signals must be transmitted in frequency bands approaching the teraherz range. It provides very high bandwidth but also very short range for the radio signals. Thus, new types of antennas are needed, small and many that are only used when they are really needed.


Source: Nyteknik – Senaste nytt by www.nyteknik.se.

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