At the Ericsson Media Summit in Sweden, informitv spoke with Hans Vestberg, the chief executive of the company. Ericsson has a clear vision of what it calls a ‘networked society’. So how much of our viewing in 2020 will be on handheld devices and how much will be on much larger screens? The response might surprise some but is consistent with long-term predictions that informitv made at the beginning of the decade.
The Ericsson chief executive warned that we may underestimate how much video will be viewed on small screens. “You and I come from markets where of course it will be a large screen because that’s what we’ve had all our lives,” he said. “The majority of the Earth’s population will consume video on the small screen and for them it’s very natural.”
By 2020 Ericsson expects that there will be approaching 8 billion mobile broadband subscriptions. 3.7 billion of these will be on fast fourth generation networks, up from around half a billion in 2014. The majority of the earth’s population in the next five years is going to get a screen that can send and receive video. The majority of network traffic volume will be video and media.
“So I think the majority of video consumption by 2020 will be on smaller screens and on demand,” he said. “I think that coming from the western world we have a hard time believing that but given the nature of the technology and people getting smartphones that’s what’s going to happen.”
Ericsson sees a world in which virtually everyone on the planet will have access to mobile broadband internet access. Apparently 97% of the world population will have mobile coverage. Presumably even those parts of rural Britain where you still cannot get a signal.
Earlier the Ericsson chief executive called it “the most transformative technology that mankind has ever seen,” saying “90% of the earths population over six years old will have a mobile phone by 2020.”
For most of its nearly 140 year history Ericsson has focused on voice calls, which now make up only a small proportion of the network traffic it carries, although most of its revenue is still from telecommunications companies.
The company is now extending into broadcast services and now runs over 500 channels for broadcasters. In the United Kingdom that includes the BBC, ITV and Channel Four.
Ericsson evidently sees media as a growth opportunity, together with many other sectors of the connected society, from healthcare to transport. The company is aiming for a quarter of its revenue by 2020 to come from beyond its established worldwide base of network carriers.
The Ericsson Executive Media Summit took place in the small seaside town of Båstad in Sweden during the Swedish Open tennis tournament.