LIVE FROM CTIA WIRELESS 2011: The CEO of the world’s largest mobile network vendor this morning claimed it is time for the mobile industry to expand its benefits into the healthcare, education and environmental sectors.
Ericsson’s Hans Vestberg (pictured) reiterated his company’s oft-quoted belief that there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020, but stressed that this will enable the creation of a new ‘networked society.’
“We see the benefits that are possible when things, as well as people, are connected intelligently,” Vestberg told delegates. “When one person is connected, their life changes; when everything is connected, the world changes. That is the essence of the Networked Society…. Anything that benefits from being connected will be connected. In the next 10 years we won’t just transform consumers but business and institutions. “
“Our industry has the potential to bring solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, not only in healthcare, but also in education and CO2 emissions,” he said. “We can provide the tools to improve efficiency and spark innovation and creativity.”
Vestberg called for collaborative efforts among peers to help drive this change. On the subject of healthcare, he introduced Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Chairman and CEO of the Institute for Advanced Health, who commented via a live video link that “wireless will be key to all that we want to do in healthcare in the 21st century.” Soon-Shiong claimed that “better, faster personalised patient data and analytics, real time guidance to providers at primary points of care, monitoring of the chronically ill and rapid interventions to pre-empt medical episodes” are all becoming possible. “Wireless technology will soon be integral to the whole spectrum of healthcare,” added Soon-Shiong.
The average hospital today operates thousands of systems, computers and devices that often can’t communicate with one another to share information, Vestberg explained, noting that interoperability and standards would be one way to start solving this fragmented system.
Meanwhile Vestberg noted that the mobile industry creates just two percent of the world’s CO2 emissions but has the potential – via smart grids, for example – to lower the remaining 98 percent. Another area that can benefit from Vestberg’s idea of a ‘networked society’ is the automotive industry; “this can be part of the 50 billion connected devices,” he said. “The average American spends 45 hours in the car a month and there’s 250 million vehicles registered in the US. We can improve safety and reduce CO2 emissions.”