Ten years ago, we had just started watching videos on the mobile and today we are able to watch HD videos and do a lot more. As we move into the 5G era, there will be an even bigger technology shift bringing to life several new use cases and applications. We will have 4K and 8K videos with zero waiting time, immersive VR experiences and a complete new range of IoT services. In fact, Ericsson's Mobility Report estimates about 20 billion IoT devices by 2023 with concepts such as self-driving cars and sophisticated e-health applications becoming a part of our normal reality.
However, we tend to overlook the technology working in the background to enable all of this - technology that extends far beyond the devices that consumers hold in their hands. Terms like "beamforming" and "carrier aggregation" that have resulted from the combined efforts of some of the most brilliant engineers on the planet, working together in the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) - an open innovation framework that enables technological advancement through the creation of cellular standards.
Now, Ericsson has been pioneering innovations in telecom industry. We have a portfolio of 45000 granted patents we firmly believe that licensing patents is crucial in driving open innovation. The important thing is that we need to keep investing in technology and visionaries for new innovations. Ericsson supports licensing under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms which remunerates companies with patent royalties. This enables them to re-invest in future developments, from cellular technology to incredible new advances in video encoding and location-based services. It means that the fruits of early and fundamental research are contributed back to the ecosystem, which leads to technology standards being established for generations to come.
With Internet of Things (IoT), 5G connectivity and automation, a future of possibilities is at our doorstep. As these technologies become more embedded into our everyday lives, businesses and consumers have immense opportunity to access a world of new breakthroughs. We're already connecting operating rooms across oceans, decreasing automobile accidents, making online retail truly immersive with virtual reality and AI-based assistants, and reducing waste utilising more efficient communication.
It's not a matter about whether these technologies will transform our society, but when. We'd rather it's sooner than later and that's why we're committed to ensuring access to our technologies. Strong patents, fair licensing and ROI in R&D fosters a global culture of innovation.
As per a recent Ericsson report, 5G will offer a $619 billion revenue opportunity by 2026 globally. The new possibilities and innovations that 5G will enable seem exciting but harnessing the potential business value and societal benefits from technological breakthroughs will require a commitment to making this technology accessible. That's why consensus-based standards and fair patent licensing must be prioritised.
The writer is Vice President, IPR Policy at Ericsson