Ericsson has been a driving force in the development of mobile wireless technology, from 2G to LTE and now 5G. 5G is more than just a faster version of what came before, it’s a revolution that will spur innovation across multiple industries. We are creating game-changing technology that is easy to use, adapt and scale, enabling our customers to capture the full value of connectivity. To do so, however, it takes a massive amount of research, and a collaborative development process that is unlike what happens in many other industries.
Ericsson is committed to research and development – in fact, 25 percent of Ericsson total global workforce is in R&D, and around 15 percent of Ericsson’s annual global revenue is reinvested in this area. We also have the leading patent portfolio in our industry, with over 54,000 granted patents. And we have made big R&D investments in the U.S.:
- Earlier this year, Ericsson opened a smart factory in Lewisville, Texas, the fruits of a $100 million investment. In March, the facility produced its first 5G base station. The factory is not only making equipment to power the deployment of 5G in North America, it’s a living example of how 5G is powering transformational efficiencies in manufacturing. 5G technology is powering the machines inside the factory, and workers are training through virtual reality from our Tallinn facility nearly 5,000 miles away.
- Ericsson’s Silicon Valley experience center is called D-15, named after the address of the company’s original workshop in Stockholm. It’s both a nod to our heritage and a statement of the U.S.’s importance to developing the technologies that will be powered by 5G. Inside the facility, engineers are developing new 5G use cases as well as pushing the boundaries of the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI).
- Ericsson has also made other U.S.-based investments in R&D in recent years, including opening the Austin ASIC Design Center in Austin, Texas, building a new software development center that employs more than 200 software engineers, and hiring 100 AI specialists.
All this is built on the work of individual inventors, who deserve to see their efforts recognized and protected. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently granted Ericsson’s landmark 5G Foundation patent, which outlines a complete end-to-end 5G architecture – a massive achievement recognizing the work of 130 of the company’s inventors. It’s a demonstration of how much hard work and intellectual property goes into these technological advancements.
As 5G deployments roll out across the country, it will transform industries and unlock a 4th Industrial Revolution. To reach that full potential, we must do two things: 1. Invest in R&D here in the United States, and 2. Ensure that the patent system protects inventors and their ideas, allowing them to collaborate to drive innovation forward.