5G, smart manufacturing and high efficacy are the goals towards which Ericsson’s Innovation Hub is working every day.
Ericsson is currently making preparations for starting to manufacture radio communication systems in Estonia. A plant for radio communication devices where technical specifications for new products is being developed in cooperation with the Swedish or Canadian design units is located in Tallinn. Smart industry is one of the plant’s features – under the Industry 4.0 programme. This means focus on digitalisation and focusing on developing cooperation with robots. “We are testing a wide range of smart manufacturing options that can be easily expanded globally,” says Andreas Engberg, the Head of Ericsson’s Innovation Hub in Estonia. “The aim of Ericsson is to own a highly digitalised industry in Tallinn. We are working in this direction today and will continue to do so in the following years.”
Among other things, the plans include developing new technology with 5G capacities and speeds, plus devices to support them. “Estonia is an innovative country with a highly developed digital society and has adopted many digital technologies in their early phases,” Engberg says. “Additionally, Estonia has a very flexible business environment.” This is why the Swedish telecommunications company has chosen Estonia for digitalising their industry and making the processes smarter.
Smart investments in Estonia
Ericsson’s Innovation Hub stands out for its diverse research and development activities. “A big part of the HW development of Ericsson’s 5G technology takes place in Estonia,” says Estonian Investment Agency’s Director of Regional Business Development in Tallinn, Merit Simo, one of Invest Estonia’s employees advising the company. “Ericsson’s employees do around 250 new prototype builds per month in Estonia.” After the prototypes are finished, products are constructed based on them. Then Ericsson ensures their readiness for mass production and builds the needed supply chain.
Furthermore, Ericsson is constantly sharing the competence that they have developed here with local companies and universities. Simo highlights how Ericsson Estonia cooperates with various parts of the local innovation ecosystem, such as TalTech, Ülemiste City, ABB Eesti, Enefit, Tallink, etc – mainly focusing on research and development.
“Estonia has a lot of highly qualified and innovative companies with whom we want to work together,” Engberg says. He adds that Ericsson plans to continue directing their money into Estonian entities in the future to achieve their goals. “You can expect investments that support our goal of technology leadership and digital solutions in various fields,” Engberg comments.
Invest Estonia helps Ericsson’s Innovation Hub find their workforce. “We support them with attracting a competent workforce in the information and communication technology field and help foreign talents relocate to Estonia if needed,” Simo says.
“Invest Estonia always offers companies relevant services and programmes focused on digitalisation and sustainability to help them increase their competitiveness,” Engberg adds.
Ericsson has 2,200 people of 55 nationalities working for them in Estonia. The company emphasises their role in helping with educating young engineers – they thus encourage interns from a variety of locations join their team. Every year, 60 interns start working at Ericsson, of whom almost half are later on hired.
The local labour market also benefits from Ericsson’s investments. Engberg believes that one reason why Ericsson received the Foreign Investor of the Year 2020 award is that they actively invest in their employees. “We contribute to the development of our employees as well as the equipment and working conditions,” he says. Ericsson finds one of their strengths to be the organisation’s culture, making it possible for employees to shine and grow as well as relying on empathy, cooperation and the possibility to express one’s opinion. The culture encourages people to experiment, make mistakes and learn from them.
Engberg concludes that sustainability has a crucial position for Ericsson, both in Estonia and globally. “We invest smartly into this field. We wish to decrease our carbon footprint and the costs of our activities, while also increasing quality and efficiency,” says Engberg.