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Cellular Technology: Unlocking Digital Transformation Promise

Oct. 27, 2020
Cellular connectivity is the center of a connected world.

Over the past few years, companies of all sizes have hopped on the digitalization bandwagon. Moving from hype to reality, digital technologies have dramatically transformed industries, from automotive to manufacturing. Specifically, the capabilities promised by the internet of things (IoT), enabled by cellular technology like 5G, have fueled a wave of adoption as companies strive to innovate and create entirely new business models and revenue streams.

In fact, Gartner expects that by 2022, 75% of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will use their IoT products to sell new services or consumable offerings to their customers. Additionally, with over five billion cellular IoT devices expected by 2025, cellular technology isn't just about a minor leap in efficiency, it's the key for companies looking to reshape the future.

To unlock the full potential of digitalization for enterprises, Ericsson interviewed 25 global OEMs in five key industries about how IoT and 5G are transforming businesses. These industries include smart metering, automotive, industrial, heavy machinery, and consumer products.

While each industry has its own digital transformation dynamics, six key drivers that are transforming businesses for good were identified — three specific to business and three to technology.

Business drivers

When it comes to business drivers, it's essential for OEMs to understand that leveraging digital technologies can transform, optimize, and create more sustainable business practices in the long run.


In today’s world, companies that continue to innovate operations or product lines are the ones that endure and achieve business longevity. Those that don’t are prone to fail.

Transforming business models according to current trends and customer needs can make the biggest difference when capturing market share. Not only can a business reap the benefits associated with going to market first, but they can also set the bar for competitors to follow. Digitalized solutions can also generate the information and insights needed to improve offerings, foster customer relations, and problem solve — ultimately allowing a company to stay ahead of the game.

Companies that don’t want to reinvent themselves can then look to digital technologies as a way to comply with growing safety standards and demands.


Industries that leverage technologies like IoT to optimize can benefit from smart processes that streamline operations and deliver better quality offerings. This is because of the technology’s ability to capture real-time data on a product or service’s performance and use.

The insights recorded can be measured according to business goals to drive productivity and minimize inefficiencies, while providing companies with the solutions needed to personalize their products or services according to customer needs.

This is especially true given today’s climate. Increasing productivity will be crucial for enterprises looking to recover from the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic. Digitalization can also alleviate some of the cost pressures that come with maintenance repairs and expansions.


Given the climate crises we’re currently facing, coupled with increased government mandates, the pressure to develop more sustainable solutions has become paramount. Digital transformation is playing a main role in OEMs' ability to tackle global challenges and become more aware of their carbon footprint.

For instance, IoT-powered solutions in industries like supply and logistics can help reduce up to 30% of food waste as it moves from farm to fork. On the other hand, connected cameras in the automotive industry can reduce car collisions up to 20%.

Technology drivers

When it comes to technology drivers, it's essential for OEMs to understand that unlocking digital technologies' full potential means creating automated business models, secure operations, and scalable solutions for growth.


Digitalization is changing the future of work as we know it. Labor-intensive manual work is being phased out with automated systems that are more accurate, cost-effective, and safer in nature. From connected products to as-a-service offerings, business models that were previously unheard of are starting to take shape across global markets.

Perhaps the most popular example is Uber. By creating a consumption-based model, it was able to digitalize and transform the consumer automotive industry with autonomous cars that make it unnecessary to own a vehicle.


When it comes to digital transformation, a company’s connected offerings mean nothing if they’re not secure. As one of the primary concerns among enterprises, security solutions play an inherent role in preventing threats that could impact the business as a whole and customers’ privacy.

It’s also one of the areas where more regulations and government mandates are being enforced.


Growth is one of the key indicators of an enterprise’s success. So it’s no surprise why OEMs need to move fast when deploying connected offerings for the first time. Not only can it guarantee market share if successful, but it can also mean scalability across markets that lead to new opportunities.

Notably, cellular technologies like 5G offer enterprises the flexibility they need to use connectivity that is reliable across different sectors, geographies, and devices.

Connectivity is key

When thinking about digital transformation and what problems to solve, it’s natural to consider the benefits it could bring to a business, especially as we think about return on investment (ROI). However, as ideas move from research and manufacturing to distribution and deployment in the product lifecycle, it’s vital to — first and foremost — get the foundation right on all aspects of the process. This foundation is connectivity.

Cutting through the individual stages of the product lifecycle, cellular connectivity has the ability to provide a seamless, transparent view of the entire cycle. As the most versatile and robust connectivity, it offers unmatched coverage, security, and reliability for connecting assets anywhere, whether it be the loading dock in a factory or a product’s final destination.

Cellular connectivity is the center of a connected world. With it, OEMs can create a wide, open landscape for growth and opportunities.

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