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Ericsson Labs 2011 Highlights
It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by; 2011 was a great year for Labs. Looking back over the past 12 months, we have noticed some definite themes in our work.
- Progress: The addition of 6 new APIs as well as a number of upgrades to both our APIs and back-end systems.
- Interest: Due to increased interest in our APIs and in Ericsson Labs in general, we have been invited to speak and participate at various events in Europe, Asia and North America.
- Commercialization: Our Pay-As-You-Grow program began small, providing purchasing power first to our European customers, then to our global customers and finally it gave our customers the ability to make high volume purchases.
Based on feedback from the survey we conducted in the first quarter, we were able to make advances in a few different areas. New APIs were created while others were put to rest. It’s this on-going dialogue that allows us to provide the services you really want. We hope that you have found something useful on our site and we look forward to even more improvements in the next year.
These are the APIs we currently have available at Ericsson Labs.
Here’s a month-by-month recap of some of the key highlights from 2011.
We began the year with a continuation of our "Beyond HTML5" blog series. In this series, we have been writing about our HTML5 prototype for sending and receiving video streams in a browser without the need for plug-ins. In our January installment, we wrote about peer-to-peer streaming and showed a video about the connection establishment procedure.
We also started the improvement process early in the year with the release of a new version of the Mobile Maps API. Parts of the API’s structure were reworked and some of the functionalities such as the rendering engine was optimized for faster rendering and better looking maps.
From the 14th to 18th of February, the Labs team was at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. At our booth, located in the GSMA Embedded Mobile House, we were able to show visitors how we work at Labs. By exposing technology and services in the early stages, developers can get access while still in research mode. With the help of their feedback, we can then improve, revamp of completely abandon an API. In this way, developers become part of the process.
In March, Ericsson Labs introduced its very first commercial track. Our Pay-As-You-Grow program allowed our European customers to begin purchasing extra API key transactions in pre-packaged sets for our Mobile Location API.
Two new APIs were made available on the site: Distributed Shared Memory and Mobile Sensor Actuator Link.
See slide presentation.
The Mobile Sensor Actuator Link captures the power of smartphone sensors on a PC by sending and receiving data via Bluetooth. It can be used as a gaming controller, a wireless microphone or a remote control. See slide presentation.
In our continuing effort to involve external and third party developers, we sent out a survey in March to gain some insight about who is using our site as well as feedback about how we work. Quite a number of respondents indicated that they wanted improvements to our documentation, including sample coding and tutorial videos. This has been our main focus going forward.
We introduced another API in April. The Identity Management Framework can provide easy sign-in and sign-up functionalities on websites for mobile phone users; increase registration and conversion rates; and access rich user profile data, while reducing customer care costs.
After a short trial phase on the European market, we were able to expand our Pay-As-You-Grow program to our international customers. APIs with this symbol support commercial use.
May brought about the publication of our first-ever newsletter. Intended to be a quarterly update on what is happening behind the scenes in Labs, the newsletter is emailed to those who have opted in. Click here if you want to subscribe. All archived newsletters are available here on the site.
Our next major undertaking was to make upgrades to our very popular Mobile Location API. With the new extended version of Mobile Location, you get increased accuracy using the surrounding networks and you now have the ability to use Wi-Fi for positioning, making it possible to position indoors as well as outdoors.
Next, I headed off to London for their M2M Mobile Monday Event. My main message was that Ericsson envisions 50 billion connected devices by 2020. We believe the business potential is high and there will be space for many developers of applications, devices and solutions. I presented the Social Web of Things (SWoT) concept, showing how we could see 'things' as part of our social network.
Read more >>
In addition, we released our Web Real-Time Communication API (WebRTC) on Ericsson Labs, making it possible to conduct early experiments with native support for real-time communication in a browser.
Also in May, the finalists in the Ericsson Application Awards were announced. In the Company Category, the finalists were HipSnip from the United Kingdom and EmergencyDroid from Sweden. In the Student Category, the finalists were JustBit from Italy and HelloWorld from China. These four teams were invited to Stockholm, Sweden where their application went through a final round of judging before a winner was selected.
While summer is normally quiet in Sweden, we posted a blog about the differences and commonalities between Google’s and the Ericsson Labs real-time communication initiatives available for web browsers.
We also launched a new security API, the Key Management Service which provides strong, mutual authentication and enables two parties to establish a shared secret key to secure for example, voice calls, video, chats, instant messaging, file transfers and much more. See slide presentation.
The 2011 Ericsson Application Awards prize ceremony was held on June 22nd at Ericsson Studio in Stockholm. Keynote speeches came from Håkan Eriksson, Joakim Nelson and Alexander Ahlbom and then the teams had a chance to pitch their apps to the jury. After careful deliberation, Team HipSnip from the UK was named the winner in the Company Category and Team JustBit from Italy received top prize in the Student Category.
In August, Evan Liu from Ericsson Labs China was asked to speak at the 4th annual Analysys International Mobile Internet Symposium. He promoted Ericsson's commitment to drive a networked society. In his speech, he mentioned application development related projects and included Ericsson Labs, the Ericsson Application Awards, the 50 billion China Project as well as the project between Beihang and Uniquedu for Android application development.
A thesis student working with the Web Real-Time Communication team had a look at issues involving consent, privacy and security in Web RTC. The blog, entitled OMG!!! Is the camera still ON!?! looked at how poor user interfaces can lead to unsolicited access to tools such as cameras and microphones.
Later in the month, the Web RTC team released some updates to their experimental browser engine. The new release included bug fixes and the ability to align better with the latest specification. It also featured a 64-bit Ubuntu package in addition to the 32-bit.
Without skipping a beat, the 2012 Ericsson Application Awards was officially launched on August 26th. The theme this year centers on the "Networked Society," a message from Ericsson anticipating that everything that benefits from a connection will be connected.
In September, we traveled to the UK to participate in Over the Air. The event was held at Bletchley Park, the main site for code breaking during WWII, which made it the perfect location for us to present security. Kristoffer Gronowski and Oscar Ohlsson’s workshop on Ericsson Labs' Security APIs showed examples of how to establish a trusted identity, how to do mash-ups of multiple data feeds and how to secure peer-to-peer communication.
October was a busy month for the Labs Team. On Monday October 3rd, I was invited to Athens for the MobileMondayAthens launching event.
During my talk, I presented the audience with one of the greatest challenges of all for the ICT industry: How can we find solutions that help solve some of the problems in Megacities?
I believe that the Ericsson vision of 50 billion connected devices will be an opportunity to use in this problem-solving task. The data produced by all these devices will be a source for information aggregation and mining, the vertical industries like utilities, transport, government etc. are part of the solution but a horizontal approach is needed to re-use solutions.
Joining our key partner Sony Ericsson, we attended DroidCon UK's un-conference where we were delighted to speak with inspiring developers who provided a lot of feedback and gave us great new ideas for APIs.
The winners of Stage 1 of the Ericsson Application Awards were announced. Team Partech Solutions from Kenya and their Mare Mare service, a goods-for-goods service, received first prize and Team CareFactor from Sweden with their idea for reducing food waste were the runners up. Rachel Silver was the winner of the Bring Us Your Idea Campaign for non-developers to submit their ideas for apps for a good cause.
Also in October, we were pleased to provide some much-anticipated updates to WebKit. We were able to add WebCore platform interfaces needed by updated PeerConnection design, update PeerConnection to use WebCore platform interfaces as well as update MediaStream to use WebCore platform interfaces. Read more >>
Ericsson Labs’ take on indoor mapping was released in October. With the Indoor Maps and Positioning platform developers no longer have to rely on third party maps or positioning hardware. Instead, our platform gives developers the tools they need to create their own indoor maps and enable their own positioning.
See also Map Studio tutorial videos, part one and part two.
Our new Coverage Map for Mobile Location was launched in October. This dynamic map shows the present mobile network coverage area by displaying mobile network cell positions, or clusters of cells, across all countries. With the map, you can pan and zoom in on interesting areas or individual countries and see the coverage for the API based on two radio access technologies: WCDMA and GSM.
In November, we traveled to two events: AnDevCon II in San Fransisco and SAPO Codebits in Lisbon.
At AnDevCon II, we put special focus on our recently-released Indoor Maps and Positioning and we held a small competition to kick-start use of the API. Developer Matthias Huber, who worked into the wee hours of the morning to create an app for finding your room at the hotel, was the winner of the Sony Ericsson Xperia™ arc. He was kind enough to provide us with his code which you can find here. [See: HyattWay.zip]
I had the opportunity to talk about megacities and apps for a good cause at SAPO Codebits. You can watch my presentation below.
Next, we posted a tutorial blog about how to get a simple service up and running for WebRTC.
Two blogs were posted in our retail apps series. The first blog re-examines a pilot study we conducted last year in Sweden on our HotShopper app. The second blog describes how some of our APIs can be put together when creating apps for the retail environment.
We then posted a blog about how to create tag nodes and ways when creating maps with the Indoor Maps and Positioning API and another blog on how to locate yourself using barcodes or QR tags that contain coordinate information when Wi-Fi is unavailable.
We then posted the final installation for this year of our "Beyond HTML5" series which introduced the newest feature: Screen Sharing in WebKit GTK+.
Bulk purchasing became available in our Pay-As-You-Grow program. Instead of being limited to our package pricing, it is now possible to buy as many transactions as you like for our Mobile Location API.
Also in December, we announced the winners of Stage 2 of the Ericsson Application Awards. Team CareFactor from Sweden stepped up their game to become first place winners this time around. A new entrant, Team NabdaCare from Egypt with their mobile and distance health application came in second place.
Some new features were added to our Ericsson Developer Account (EDA) system. For those who have a registered company, it's now possible to invite other EDA users into your company, share API keys with other members of your company, and transfer ownership of the company. The goal is to help users to better manage their company accounts.
Finally, we would like to thank you for your support this year. We are looking forward to providing more great services along with increased developer involvement in the coming year.
All the best in 2012!