Taxi to Israel


I’ve often referred to Israel as the Mediterranean’s hidden gem, and a chance to visit the local Ericsson team recently backed up that claim.

It’s a country that supports an innovative, strong, and growing economy with advanced ICT infrastructure, attracting the likes of Cisco, Microsoft, and Facebook as home to their R&D centers and it’s not difficult to discover why everyone refers to Israel as the ‘Startup Nation’.

Connectivity is a part of everyday life in Israel – talk to many Israeli’s and you’ll hear pride of the country’s ability to develop some of the best technology and innovation in the world.

For me it’s the taxi driver who sets the scene for any country you visit and during two days of traveling between airport, office, and hotel by taxi, that scene is one of not only embracing technology, but embracing their own technology.

IMG_7140.jpgWaze, a social traffic and navigation app, was created by an Israeli start-up, sold to Google for more than $1 Billion and is used by almost all drivers here. One taxi driver spoke with an immense level of pride about this app, the team that built it, as well as a short history of innovation that Israel has given the world. Regarding mobile taxicab services, I’ve also looked at how Israeli company Gett is battling it out against the world champ Uber for the title of Israel’s transportation king.

So it’s not surprising that three years ago Ericsson acquired video storage and computing platform Fabrix Systems for $95M, securing its first Israeli-based start-up acquisition. The move bolstered our TV Anywhere project, which connects users to relevant content and brings high-quality video streaming on multiple devices.

Ericsson has been present in Israel for almost 20 years, and this was its first acquisition of an Israeli company. Today our business has been good for the colleagues based here, led by Alon Berman, with every one of the six main operators looking to increase market share and we are well placed to continue to be their partner of choice for that journey. One of those is Partner Communications who have already seen success from launching our Wi-Fi Callingsolution last year.

5G of course will enable even more applications and use cases, and therefore all operators are now entering the space of Internet of Things (IoT). Later this year we will host our own ‘Innovation Day’ in the country, leveraging on similar success we’ve seen with Telekom Romania. This event will gather much of the ICT innovation ecosystem together to bring to life the world of opportunities that 5G, IoT and Cloud presents. For a country that is constructing two new sea ports, a new airport as well as an underground metro system, the time is right to position ourselves to succeed in this industry transformation.

Over time, 5G will enable a wide range of use cases for IoT. In our latest Ericsson Mobility Report, around 29 billion connected devices are forecast by 2022, of which around 18 billion will be related to IoT – devices such as connected cars, machines, meters, sensors, point-of-sales terminals, consumer electronics and wearables.

For the taxi drivers of Tel Aviv and the surrounding cities, I hope that in the future they will be just as proud to share with their passengers how Ericsson’s 5G solutions are making their lives and work better and smarter.

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