Anything that can benefit from a connection will have one in the Networked Society.
About seven years ago, our former CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg stated that there would be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. That was mind-blowing at that time. What would all these devices do?
Since then, a lot has happened, and we have seen many other companies start to talk about the same thing. We have also seen tremendous smartphone growth from about 500 million smartphone subscriptions in 2010 to about 3.5 billion subscriptions today. Now we have started to see many different things getting connected. The Internet of Things (IoT), as it’s often called, even has its own day now, and every business looking for opportunity based on mobility and connectivity should be connecting both their products and processes.
We already have many examples of things getting connected and intelligent.
Maersk’s entire shipping fleet has been connected for several years, both the ship and the containers. This has allowed Maersk to improve areas such as crew welfare services – by enabling internet access on board – and cargo data management, with real-time data from the containers on the exact temperature inside. All refrigerated containers (there can be several thousand on a vessel) were previously checked manually by crewmembers. By connecting vessels Maersk also saves 50 million USD every year by using less fuel through better route planning and fuel efficiency.
Another primary area to connect things is the car. There is probably not a single car manufacturer that is not thinking about connecting their cars, if they haven’t already done so. By connecting the car to the network, car manufactures can improve vehicle performance by, for example, getting data input and feedback from the engine and being able to update systems in the car remotely.
Connectivity also enables car manufactures to offer new services in safety, entertainment and navigation, as well as automatic service and support based on automotive data package. It allows them to add new functionality throughout the life cycle of a car, which changes the relationship with the user/owner of the car, as they continue to have an intimate relationship with them after the car deal is done.
In other words, a product is no longer limited to performing its original function. With connectivity, the function of the product can be improved over time, and it can be based on the data and feedback generated by the product. The world will soon have billions of physical objects that embedded with online intelligence. This will enable more dynamic and better performing products whether they are personal wearables or industrial sensors.
This is the third post in a six-part series based on the Ericsson white paper titled Understanding the Networked Society – new logics for an age of empowerment. You can read the first two posts here and here.
Published with permission from Ericsson.
Mikael is an Ericsson Networked Society Evangelist and Strategic Marketing Manager. His specialty is in understanding how new consumer behavior, emerging technologies and industry logics are shaping the future society, and he believes that we have great opportunities right now to shape a better world. Mikael joined Ericsson in 1998 and is based in Stockholm.