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CES 2012: Ericsson shows ‘we are the network’

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The CES keynote by Ericsson’s CEO illustrated not only how consumer technology has become indivisible from enterprise needs, but also provided a show-stopping moment when a human body was used to transmit a digital image.

Ericsson chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg provided one of the show-stopping moments of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, demonstrating how an image can be transferred between devices via the human body.

It was his first CES keynote, illustrating the extent to which consumer technology has become indivisible from enterprise needs. Ericsson traditionally operates only in the enterprise environment.

Vestberg used his CES appearance to demonstrate so-called “capacitive coupling””. A photograph was transferred from a telephone, then hand-to-hand, through the human body, to the large screen behind him, without using radio signals.

“”Ultimately, we are the network,”” he said in describing the research project. Vestberg added that it’s hard to predict exactly how the Networked Society will shape up, but that we can be prepared by embracing the new mindset and enabling new solutions.

“”Doing business in the Networked Society requires opportunity and creativity,”” he said, offering new deals and proof points.

Vestberg described the potential inherent in intelligent, real-time communication when devices learn to manage simple tasks to help us through our daily lives.

“”When you start to use the combination of software, sensors, and hardware, then you can improve processes and enable new ideas to turn into business. The result will be greater than anyone can imagine,”” Vestberg told the audience of thousands in the room. The keynote was also webcast live on www.cesweb.org.

Vestberg listed the advantages that the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) industry can bring to other industries. In particular, Ericsson can ensure that any device can be identified, can communicate with payment systems, preference systems, and send and receive relevant information in real-time. The benefits can be realized in business as well as personal contexts.

“”Our role is to make connectivity everywhere and in real-time possible. Your role is to innovate on top of that, and perhaps come up with consumer devices that will be launched here at CES in one, two or five years,”” he told the show attendees in Las Vegas.

Then, Vestberg described cases in which Ericsson is changing communication, in the realms of gaming, personal transportation, and shipping. An agreement with Maersk Line, the world’s largest shipping company, was introduced onstage.

Maersk Line and Ericsson have developed a unique GSM and satellite solution that will offer connectivity in the last unexplored territory in modern communications: the sea. The possibilities are endless for the shipping industry, and Maersk Line will lead the way in exploring the possible improvements that will result from this collaboration.

“”The implementation of this network will represent a noticeable improvement in connectivity at sea, and we look forward to exploring the benefits this will bring to Maersk Line and our customers in the future”” said Mike White, President of Maersk Line Inc, who was onstage with Vestberg to present the deal.

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