Maria Hakansson, Ericsson’s head of IoT, said a partnership with autonomous vehicle technology provider Zenuity is a key step in executing a new strategy set by CEO Borje Ekholm.

The Sweden-based vendor today announced it is providing its IoT Accelerator platform to Zenuity, as part of the development of a connected cloud system covering vehicle safety, advanced driver assistance support (ADAS) and autonomous driving software and functions.

Zenuity’s system will integrate information from in-vehicle software and onboard sensors and combine it with cloud support functions. The company – a joint venture between Volvo Cars and automotive safety system distributor Autoliv – ultimately aims to improve safety by delivering real-time information to vehicles on the move, based on a combination of external data from other vehicles and cloud infrastructure.

Hakansson (pictured, left) told Mobile World Live a key benefit of the collaboration for Ericsson is the opportunity to extend its reach into new market sectors by leveraging Autoliv’s distribution channels.

“We work with operators primarily,” the executive said, adding the ability to work with Autoliv offers “much bigger reach” at a time when Ericsson “will not build the enterprise channel to the same extent” as it previously did.

The reach and route into alternative sectors is in line with the revised strategy Ericsson CEO Ekholm presented earlier this year, whereby the vendor is complementing its traditional operator-centric approach with industry partnerships, Hakansson explained.

Ekholm highlighted the need to intensify Ericsson’s cost-reduction programme, and increase the rate of development of new product pipelines and business development initiatives, during a conference call to discuss its Q1 earnings, amid declines in profit and revenue.

Wider benefits
Partnerships such as that announced with Zenuity also provide direction for Ericsson’s broader IoT and 5G technology development – areas Hakansson noted require vendors to find different use cases for different industries.

The company incorporated “a lot of different functionality” into its IoT platform, including features enabling connectivity, device and data management. Hakansson noted the broad spectrum of functions means when the vendor talks “about adapting in any unique case it means that we are actually selecting the different combination of assets that we need to expose and use for that specific industry”.

Claes Herlitz, head of Ericsson’s Connected Vehicle unit (pictured, right), noted the IoT platform is also a critical element in delivering the “super-low latency” required by companies like Zenuity.

“I think that the autonomous use cases are in the forefront of how advanced it can become in the end”, Herlitz said, referring to “availability, bandwidth and also latency”.