Ericsson has unveiled a new Industry and Society (I&S) business unit as it continues to focus on non-telco customers.
The Sweden-based vendor has been talking about the need to generate revenues from new verticals for a while, and the company hopes the new arm will help to convince five specific sectors that it can deliver on a vision where anything that can be connected will be connected.
These sectors are energy/utilities, safety/security, automotive, shipping and what it calls “intelligent transport systems”.
CEO Hans Vestberg has targeted 25 percent of company revenues to come from outside of the telecoms world by 2020.
These will come from I&S and the company’s existing push into the TV and media space.
In Europe I&S is being headed up by Nadine Allen (pictured), who has been with Ericsson since 2006 and worked on accounts including EE in the UK and its network joint venture with Three.
She has been working in stealth mode since July 2014, building up a team of 50-60 people and developing new commercial models for the business.
A first contract win, in the area of transport transactions, is set to be announced shortly.
Allen told European Communications that this area, which could encompass solutions around electronic ticketing systems for public transport and toll roads, along with smart metering and public safety networks using LTE, was where she sees the biggest opportunities initially.
To a large degree, I&S is a case of repackaging Ericsson’s existing technology under a new moniker.
It will bring the current, somewhat disparate connected car, utility and public safety solutions under one umbrella in an attempt to offer an end-to-end service to customers.
Allen said roughly 80 percent of what I&S will offer exists in the business already, with the remaining 20 percent to be added in order to tailor it to specific markets.
The move will bring Ericsson into competition with systems integrators (SIs) and operator enterprise units.
Allen said she thought I&S’s USP was a deeper understanding of technology versus the former and a global footprint versus the latter.
Jeremy Green, an analyst at Machina Research, told European Communications that Ericsson does have “less of a track record” versus the big SIs and said the vendor’s biggest challenge would be to form relationships with enterprise IT departments where it is “behind the curve”.
He added: “A lot of the SIs’ business is based on confidence. Nobody gets sacked for buying IBM.”