Back in September, we shared on Ericsson’s Networked Society blog a think-piece written by Geoff Hollingworth and Jason Hoffman. Now that we’re launching Ericsson’s new cloud blog, it’s appropriate to share this paper again because it sets the stage for much that will come after. Enjoy—and we look forward to sharing more of the story with you as it unfolds! 

 In 2012, Jason Hoffman, then CTO of Joyent, and I wrote two papers together. The first paper, Changing the Game, attempted to place the massive business changes we are currently experiencing in the telecoms, IT, and cloud industries into a simple and understandable context. The second paper, Winning the Game, explained what conclusions could be drawn and what actions taken if these conclusions are to be believed.

The Pace of Change Accelerates

‘Two years on, the pace of change has, if anything, accelerated. Jason is now Head of Cloud Technology at Ericsson, and we wanted to draw back the veil a little further with this post—and one to follow shortly—taken from our third paper: The Game Has Changed: Time to Press the GO Button. So fasten your seatbelts; we’re in for a ride!’
Geoff Hollingworth


Capture the Rise of the Internet of Things (IoT)

During 2008, the number of things connected to the internet exceeded the number of people on the planet. By 2020 it is predicted that 28 billion objects will be connected, seven times more than the number of people. This trend is only expected to accelerate in the future. 


Devices are being connected for the information they know, the change they can effect, and the experiences that can be provided from both.

Since the beginning of time, information has enabled progress. The collection of information was challenged by the physical properties of distance and time, which slowed the ability to decide and act. Telecommunications have always removed time delays and speeded up decision-making—hence their innate value to a developing world. Faster information has always enabled better decisions and better actions.

Step One: The Fixed-Line Telephony Network

The telegraph station was step one: it required specialist buildings. It was superseded by the fixed-line telephony network, which connected approximately one billion ‘general’ buildings worldwide. This, in turn, was superseded by the mobile telephony network, which has connected approximately six billion people to date. The next natural progression is to connect…everything else. Ericsson calls this the Networked Society. 

Step Now: The Networked Society

The previous generations of technological change were all about enabling humans to communicate with humans.

In the Networked Society, for the first time, machines will be speaking to machines, as well as to humans. They will be speaking by sharing data. And the machines will be able to analyze the data very quickly, make their own decisions and take action, all without the direct involvement of people.

People will begin to focus on programming the machines to make better, faster decisions, rather than people making the decisions themselves.

Distance and time will trend to zero: anything, anywhere will be shared, as if all interested parties are in the same location at exactly the same time.  

Real-time Data Transforms the Industry

This will transform how businesses make decisions: increasing efficiency, enabling new services to be offered, and creating new experiences.

 There are clear benefits:

  • Efficiency of resource use is maximized.
  • The opportunity to create more tailored and better experiences is increased.
  • And, businesses that are more efficient and innovative can be more successful.

For the first time in history, the three dimensions of profit, planet, and people can be addressed without compromise to one or another. Ericsson calls this the Triple Bottom Line. 

Analyzing Big Data

The future must work on data that can be trusted. For any data, we need to know: Where did it come from? Was it changed along the way? Is it still the same as it was one minute ago? One hour ago? One day ago? One year ago? One hundred years ago?

All businesses operate on data. Business decisions based on data are investments; whose worth has been decided based on projected risk and return. The more granular and recent the data used to make such decisions, the better risk can be managed, the better the investments made, and the better the return received.

This is true for operating decisions, and also for decisions about new markets and services. Historically, decision-making data has been collated from the past, generalized, and of low granularity. Today, the data available from all devices connected provides up-to-date, very precise information: situational awareness.

For example, Google has better real-time predictions on the global status of the flu virus than the World Heath Organization does.

Real-time Infrastructure

The quality of decisions and the ability to trust them will be based on the quality of the data used in making them, and the level of trust that can be placed in that data. 

Today, there is no chain of custody, integrity, or attribution of history to data. There is no awareness of tampering, and there is clearly no belief that data cannot be reached by malicious parties: every day we learn of a new data breach. 

The Networked Society requires an infrastructure with inherent real-time attribution, forensic, and auditing capabilities. Data needs an immutable shipping manifest that can be independently verified as true and can offer forensic information in real time if compromise is discovered.

It is impossible to prevent 100% of all data crime. It is possible, however, to detect 100% of crime—and act accordingly.

Download & read the paper now

Cloud Operations Digital Industrialization

Deirdre Straughan

Deirdré Straughan has been communicating online since 1982 and has worked in technology nearly as long, in technical writing and editing, training, UI design, marketing, open source community management, events, social media, video, and more. She operates at the interfaces between companies and customers, technologists and non-technologists, marketers and engineers, and anywhere else that people need help communicating with each other about technology. Recently had a run-in with breast cancer. More about her life and work can be found at

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