VIDEO INTERVIEW: A combination of high-performance mobile networks and IT prowess is giving North America a head start in developing new digital services, such as smart cities and connected cars, according to Ulf Ewaldsson, Ericsson’s CTO.

“Innovation power is really coming from North America,” he told Mobile World Live in a recent interview.

While acknowledging the strength of the region’s IT sector, Ewaldsson also emphasised the importance of high-capacity LTE networks, boosted by small cells, to support new services.

“We’re building an infrastructure for the networked society that can serve M2M en masse,” declared the Ericsson CTO. “We’re starting on the journey that’s going to lead to 5G.”

Ewaldsson highlighted the connected car as one of the most promising digital growth areas and said momentum was already picking up (Ericsson is one of the ecosystem partners working at the AT&T Drive Studio in Atlanta to develop services for the connected car.) “There’s a big interest among major car manufacturers to make cars a digital unit, which is software-based and dependent on connectivity,” said Ewaldsson.

Although supporting booming volumes of mobile video traffic might worry operators, the Ericsson CTO argued it was also an opportunity.

“I think video is going to be one of the most significant services on wireless networks going forward, and we’re going to enhance them to be able to cater for much more capacity and deliver, eventually, 4K video,” he said.

Watch the full video interview here.