The Ericsson name is synonymous with telecoms but is fast making a name for itself in the utilities space as one of three new industries – the others being transportation and public safety – the company is currently ramping up, which they believe “need a similar transformation to telcos,” as Marie Fossum Strannegard, head of Energy & Utilities, puts it.
Towards a networked society
In an interview at African Utility Week 2015, Strannegard said the company's focus is mainly on smart meters and increasing smartness in monitoring and operating the grid. “The outlook varies by region and no one size fits all,” she says. “The common factor is a need for energy efficiency and improving customer service. But in Africa and Asia the focus is more on technology and dealing with losses. In Europe and the US it is more about new products and services. In Latin America it is more about meters and controlling the grid.”
Strannegard continues that the ultimate ambition is a networked society with talk of 50 billion connected devices within 15 years or as she believes, probably faster. “The technology is here and the vision is it will happen everywhere, but at a different pace.”
African can leapfrog to a smart society
Within Africa, Strannegard says that there is a lot of interest in smart metering and this is a priority technology, along with supporting loss reduction
She also recommends that the concept of a smart society be looked at from a macro-perspective “to see how things can be connected between the different sectors. This hasn’t been done much in Europe – there have been more individual initiatives and now we are trying to connect them. Africa could investigate the different initiatives and pick those that best fit with the local needs.”