Derek Urbaniak is the Head of Ericsson’s Austin Design Center. Courtesy photo.

By Derek Urbaniak
Head of Ericsson’s Austin Design Center
Special Contribution to Silicon Hills News

Decades ago, wireless deployment served only a narrow purpose for a narrow constituency. Today, it provides nearly limitless ways to make life easier for all people through the power of mobility. As we enter the next generation of wireless technology known as 5G, we know that mobility encompasses much more than telecommunications.

5G is expected to usher in advanced use cases that could significantly improve the lives of the residents of Austin. Applications of 5G are vast, and its applicability extends across countless industries including healthcare, energy and utilities, manufacturing, agriculture, automotive as well as enhancing traditional mobile broadband. Examples of 5G services include lifesaving technologies such connected health, safer transportation through autonomous vehicles, cloud robotics and real-time industrial control; the list goes on.

All these use cases will have one thing in common – the need for wireless connectivity with adequate capacity – something that Ericsson takes very seriously. With over 40 percent of the world’s mobile traffic solutions carried over our networks, we know how important innovation is, and we employ tens of thousands of team members and invest billions of dollars every year in research and development to continue providing ground-breaking solutions.

Now, more than ever, we must think beyond the coverage bars on our phones to bandwidth capable of streaming video, supporting wireless applications and connecting smart appliances. With every innovation comes the need for more wireless infrastructure in the form of small cells – low-powered radio access points that mobile operators use to extend service coverage and increase network capacity – on light and power poles, building facades, and even bus stops, all to provide the necessary connectivity on each city block. Today, small-cell technology will allow you to launch your favorite application or stream a video in busy downtown Austin, but in the future, it will be the key to 5G, which will enable an Austinite to hail an autonomous taxi, or a surgeon to diagnose a patient in an ambulance on the way to a hospital.

On Wednesday, June 6th, Ericsson will continue this commitment to leading the way in 5G by officially opening our 5G Design Center in Austin, representing a continued and significant investment in the state, where we already employ thousands of Texans. This new Center will focus on innovations that will accelerate the path to commercialization in the next generation of communications technologies.

Ericsson selected Austin for this 5G Design Center after a thorough, global analysis because of the unmatched telecommunications and semiconductor talent here as well as the city’s technology ecosystem. Austin’s strong technology sector has played a significant role in powering the local economy, with recent reports showing the monthly unemployment rate slipping to 2.8 percent in April as well as rapid job growth of 3.4 percent last year and a whopping 39 percent since 2006.

As Austin considers regulatory measures in this area, we encourage our City leaders to continue work with us to promote innovation by removing barriers to broadband deployment. This could come in many forms, include advancing a regulatory approach that standardizes application processes and allows for the quick deployment of small cells in metropolitan jurisdictions, implementing new strategies for complex environments like stadiums, and providing relief from onerous city requirements that lack technical descriptions.

The Austin Design Center is truly the brain for Ericsson’s mobile infrastructure and will be at the forefront of 5G technologies. We are very excited to be here and are committed to delivering solutions which in turn will help drive continued efficiency, job growth, and entrepreneurship in the city.

Looking ahead, the future in Austin is exciting, and our mission remains clear – to transform networks which will in turn transform businesses and communities, nations and governments, and most importantly, lives.