Member Spotlight – Interview with Christer Boberg, Ericsson

By | 2020-06-15T14:46:07+00:00 May 27th, 2020|Blog|

Christer Boberg is on the AECC executive team and serves as a board member and secretary. At Ericsson, he is a Director in the CTO office where he drives technology strategies for internet of things (IoT) and the cloud.

Q: As a founding member of the AECC, how did the first members get together and conceive its concept?

A: Early 2017, representatives from Ericsson, Toyota and a few other founding companies informally met during the Barcelona Mobile World Congress. Toyota expressed a need for a global community to develop a technical framework on handling the high-volume data spawned by connected cars in the future. From Ericsson’s perspective, our entire business is about connectivity, so we were keenly interested. In our experience, it’s very important that the use cases for a new emerging business have adequate support by the networks. We see a unique opportunity for AECC members – such as Toyota being one of the largest vehicle manufacturers, and other industry stakeholders – be the ones forming the next-generation communication systems for connected vehicles. Ericsson’s collaboration with AECC will specifically support the mobile network operators and help them to understand how they should configure and deploy their networks to support use cases for connected cars and other vehicles.

Q: Describe the transformation of AECC, what you’re excited about and where you see the organization going.

A: Since its start two years ago, AECC now has articulated a very focused mission and plan for execution. We know what issues we need to solve for the studied use cases and related key issues. I am impressed by the progress of the AECC – especially our developmental technical work. AECC released our first technical report to the public in September 2019 and just finished release number 2 as a good proof of the evolution of its new role in networks and edge computing for connected cars. I really look forward to the next steps as we dig deeper into new key issues. The development of AECC over the next year will be very important for the global connected vehicle community.

Q: Tell us about the technical report and its importance, and why some of the solutions are important for the connected vehicle ecosystem.

A: The technical report explains to stakeholders what the requirements are for typical use cases in edge computing for connected vehicles and how they affect the network. It identifies key issues, such as edge data offloading, access network selection and vehicle reachability. These are foundational issues for the automotive industry that are critical to the successful adoption of connected vehicles and intelligent driving.

Evolution of the technology presents many opportunities and options available to regional and global network operators and industry stakeholders. Information in the technical report will help them to understand the requirements and recommendations to make the right choicesof new network infrastructure. It will help stakeholders such as OEM’s and vehicle technology providers to choose the right network functions and configuration for these use cases.

While there are several ways of implementing and supporting networks for connected cars, we should have a global outlook. Network infrastructure must work in a similar, consistent way on a global scale – this is a key message in the technical report. There are a number of options that you can choose, but the consensus of industry stakeholders is to follow the approach described in the technical report.

The AECC also seeks feedback on the technical report. We want to get it out into the right channels and hear feedback from the community to cross-check the collaborative research. Feedback will help our teams as they take further steps in new research to meet evolving requirements.

Q: What is the benefit of joining the AECC?

A: The main benefit of being a member of the AECC is that your organization can work directly with leading manufacturers of automotive vehicles, components, software developers and networking and cloud companies with a set of real use cases, and real problems to solve key issues for connected vehicles. If your business is networking, for example, membership lets you work directly with the key stakeholders in evolution of the network infrastructure for connected vehicles. Membership and participation provide you with direct insight at a very early stage of what need to be done. These activities are good for you and your company. Access to these stakeholders is necessary to drive the evolution of networking and edge computing for connected vehicles.

Q: Where do you see the connected vehicle market going? Why is this important for collaboration with the AECC?

A: When Ericsson looks at the IoT industry in general, we see a big evolution in connected things. We expect that the highest uptake in volume and requirements for quality will come from the automotive industry. The automotive industry will also be a driver for the other new functions within IoT.

Obviously, Ericsson and other providers cannot build different networks for different appliances. We are starting now with connected cars and we’re going forward with connected vehicles in general, but it’s actually something that we believe will be beneficial for the whole connected industry. Most vehicles already have rudimentary connectivity, such as with built-in vehicle navigation and streaming entertainment systems, weather reports and links to retail locations executed with a connected mobile device. By 2025, analysts predict that all cars will be connected. By being connected, it means that many new services will emerge – and all of these will require a huge leap in coverage, capacity and quality of the network infra-structure.

Q: What would you say is the mission statement or the goal of the AECC?

A: The initial goal of AECC is to make sure that, the primary use cases we study will be possible to at all deploy and use in a global perspective. Going forward, our vision is that the solutions we build will be applicable and useful for the connected industry in general. The mission for the AECC is to ensure that the technology we produce will be a solid, productive foundation for the connected vehicle industry, its global stakeholders, and ultimately consumers and society around the world.