Infrastructure vendor Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) has been strategically moving into new areas like video and M2M through acquisitions--such as its 2013 purchase of Microsoft's Mediaroom TV solution and its 2011 purchase of Telenor Connexion's M2M platform. This M&A activity is part of a carefully crafted plan to help the company transform itself from a hardware company into a software and services firm.
Ericsson's acquisitions are overseen by Rima Qureshi, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the Swedish networking company. In an interview with FierceWireless during Ericsson's Business and Innovation Forum in Stockholm earlier this month, Qureshi said that acquisitions, like Microsoft's Mediaroom, are particularly important to the company as it sees video and media being key in the future. "The media industry is being disrupted and it's transforming. At the same time, we are looking at more than 50 percent of the traffic on the network being video in the future," she said. "This is about enabling operators to provide these types of services and enabling a better way to deliver video."
Qureshi added that not only is Ericsson intent upon helping operators solve problems--like how to compress video and transport it efficiently over the network--but the firm also wants to be on the cutting edge of whatever new applications are coming down the road. For example, she believes that video is likely to be a big part of future M2M applications. But at the same time, she acknowledges that it's difficult to predict all the types of scenarios that will be possible when you blend video with a high-speed connection and such other technologies like facial recognition. "The possibilities are endless," she said.
Qureshi also said that she spends a lot of time with Ericsson CTO Ulf Ewaldsson as well as other company executives to help stay on top of fast-moving technological advances that are driving change in the telecom industry. In addition, she spends a lot of time meeting with investment bankers to hear their ideas for what direction the company should be moving.
Interestingly, earlier this month Ericsson said it was cutting costs by $1.21 billion by 2017 and that that will include jobs. This cost-cutting measure is also part of the firm's bigger transformation toward software, media and working with customers outside the core telecom carrier market.
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