Liveblogging the 2019 Nordic Innovation Conference (12): “AI for Good–Can we make it happen”

Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Co Founder, the AI Sustainability Center in Stockholm, also worked at Ericsson, as Chief Sustainability Officer; Alf Karlsson, former Deputy Minister, Housing and Digital in Sweden; Vahé Torossian, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Western Europe, Microsoft (INSEAD, MBA University of Chicago Booth School of Business)

  1. Grunewald, risk of AI? She worked 20 years at Ericsson, “technology for good” platform; not a tagline. What about bias of technology, or bias of technology creator; machine or data bias; misuse or overuse of data; wrong use, as in face recognition. Risks: privacy issues and others, all compromise trust
  2. Karlsson: you must prioritize what you are going to deal with, of all the issues
  3. Policy makers’ role? Karlsson, need for regulation, yet politicians may not be the ones to make technology decisions (policy ones, maybe); AI is HERE, however; it’s up to you to chose as a leader. Need to get more education; says Finland wants 1% people to be educated about AI. In Sweden, still have people never been online. More education is key, especially for politicians. Raise awareness, for leaders and people.
  4. Grunewald: example, AI-algorithms influencing hiring decisions; red-lining mortgage loans, all AI-driven; risk of companies creating “integrity paradox” when you sign long-winded “agreements” just to get into an application, when you don’t know the ramifications; “Data is the new gold”
  5. Question: Business case for trust? Torossian: “Trust is everything.” Facial recognition, we may want to push for more regulation. Just like taking an airplane, you wouldn’t ride a plane half as safe for half the price.



Liveblogging the 2019 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (2)–“Leading the Mobility Revolution into 5G and IoT; Ulf Ewaldsson”

Ulf Waldsson, SVP Technology Transformation, T-Mobile

  1. Device Evolution; standards development, the success story of telecommunciations, from 19th century to today
  2. Nordic success story; government specifications, Nordic requirement–low frequency 450 MHz, big coverage, Ericsson and Nokia designed to it (1G); 2G end of 1980s, digital;
  3. Netscape browser 1994, Internet coming to phones, 3G
  4. Wide Area Networks, globally competitive Qualcomm; Personal Area Network, example Bluetooth, from Ericsson (named after Viking Eric the Bluetooth)
  5. 2007 Smart phones, iPhone, brought whole ecosystem onto device
  6. growth of smart phones, 8 B subscribers, for 5B world population; many have more than one subscription
  7. Sixty percent of phone communication is video; going to 75% in next 3 years; 5G needed, “rich in use cases”; a platform for other innovation; “one of the most transformative events in telecommunications industry, ever”
  8. Three million jobs in USA will be created by 5G; 500B USD worth of economic growth
  9. China investing 400B USD in 5G innovation
  10. transforming example: 4G led to Uber and other “mobile-first” industries
  11. T-Mobile had big foucs in LTE networks; 326M population coverage in T-Mobile network; 99% of USA population, low-spectrum networks
  12. If it can be 5G network, next year, 2020, will launch network
  13. On proposed merger, 3 rationales; “Leading the 5G revolution,” “Supercharging the Un-carrier,” “Creating new jobs”
  14. Want “5G for all,” “the true mobile, broad experience”

Liveblogging the 2018 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (8)–“Nordic Ways: Values for Innovation & Global Economic Success”

Final Panel of the Conference: “Nordic Ways–Values that Underpin Innovation and Global Economic Success” Moderator: Jay L. Bruns III (University of Washington); Dagfinn Høybråten, Nordic Council of Ministers; Jorodd Asphjell, Norwegian Parliament; Karin Olofsdotter, Sweden US Ambassador; Kåre Aas, Norway US Ambassador; Kirsti Kauppi, Finland US Ambassador, Þorbjörg Vigfúsdóttir, Kara Connect (Iceland).

Also pitch for book by author András Simonyi on Nordic Ways [András Simonyi (Editor), Debra Cagan (Editor)]. Professor Simonyi also says he is moving from Johns Hopkins to George Washington University.

1. Dagfinn Høybråten, Nordic Council of Ministers: Nordic countries combined population: 27 million people. Sixty years ago, common passport; common labor & education markets too. Proximity is important, but common values matter. Three core Nordic values guide the way we work together–Trust, Gender Equality, Sustainability.

  • Trust: in Nordic countries, they basically trust people that they don’t know; among the world’s highest level of social trust (in people, institutions, business relations). If you have it, you don’t need as much regulation. (Trust is helping to found Nordic Innovation Houses, in Silicon Valley, now New York City, Singapore, Hong Kong)
  • Gender Equality: we are not perfect, but better than in many other areas; gender equality in labor markets. Drives transparency, fairness. Increases in women’s employment have added 10-20% GDP last 40 years.
  • Sustainability: Good for people, society, world, and good for business.

2. Þorbjörg Vigfúsdóttir: Education and health are keys to Nordic culture.

3. Kirsti Kauppi, Finland US Ambassador. “The most important value is equality.” And the best way to implement equality is through education. Especially primary education system. Yet “a good education system today is not [necessarily] a good education for tomorrow.”

4. Karin Olofsdotter, Sweden US Ambassador. Equality: Sweden has declared itself the first feminist government. It means all government policies have to note what they have to do with female equality. Sweden has 80% employment rate for women; USA about 67%. Strengthens economy, she says.

5.  Jorodd Asphjell, Norwegian Parliament. View on Nordic ways. First visit to Seattle; been politician 17 years; 27 million people in Nordic economies.

6. Kåre Aas, Norway US Ambassador. Praises András Simonyi  work on Nordic Ways. Had meeting in Washington State today with Governor Jay Inslee and other Washington officials, labor and business leaders about electric ferries, and beyond, to the Paris Agreement issues also.

Question & Answer Session:

Nobel Peace Prize 1901, selected by Norwegian committee, Alfred Nobel (who was Swedish, and made the other Nobel prizes Swedish-based) specifically made it happen; recognition in the era about Nordic regionalism.

Question on gender equality and quotas. Different countries are taking different approaches.

Comment on national health care approaches. Høybråten (formerly Norway’s Health Minister) responded that the universal care is based on trust value he enumerated above. Safety net will support you if you fall into hard times or health crisis.

Nordic immigration issues: Swedish ambassador says Sweden has most asylum-seekers; do want skilled labor; Swedes historically generous. Sweden “one of the richest countries in the world” so if we can’t help, who will? Issue is that the process takes too long, especially to get new residents and citizens into labor market.

Finnish ambassador says content of the discussion changed after 2015, from a wave of asylum-seekers; 10 times as many came as in previously years. “The situation got out of hand, out-of-control.” People got impression it wouldn’t end. We anticipate more population pressure from Middle East and Africa social histories now. Yet we think the situation will improve.

Another view: we think now to help refugees closer to their home countries; Norway now fifth biggest contributor to Syrian relief. European agreement on immigration is now working. Yet important to solve Middle East crisis, the real source of the refugee crisis. In 2015 there were 52 nationalities coming to Norway claiming to be from Syria; even Cubans!

Høybråten as last commenter, says 2015 a stress-test of Nordic cooperation. He feels they passed the test, and the cooperation is better now.



Liveblogging the 2018 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (7)–Norwegian Olympic Movement Strategies for Success

Niels Røine EVP Communications, Norwegian Olympic/Paralympic Committee

AFTERNOON KEYNOTE: “Play, Teamwork, and Performance—or How to Rule the Olympics”

  1. Winter Olympics 2018, Norway won 39 medals, 14 gold, most of any country for winter Olympics; “skiing has always been at the heart of our culture” back to 12th century. Slogan: “We are still pioneering.” Start with childhood; want the kids to be outside, summer and winter. Skiing culture is the foundation for all the winter sports.
  2. One purpose to Norwegian sport: to have joy. Different from emphasis of other countries, including USA. Question: what’s in it for the kids? They have to have joy, and feel that they can manage. Slogan for kids: “I manage.” Last year, 93% of all Norwegian children were in a sports club. 12,000 winter sports clubs.
  3. In Norway, the usual four major sports organizations (national Olympic Committee for example) are in one organization. “A free, open, and democratic popular movement.” Not organized through schools, aim for volunteer engagement.
  4. Values: Honesty; Health; Community; Love of Sport.
  5. Emphasis on leadership; democratic but when decisions are made, everyone has the expectation to follow. Later, evaluation can be made to make changes.
  6. Basic philosophy: Learning from the best athletes; cross-sports experiences; 24-hour-a-day athletes
  7. Always asking questions; “the best athletes always ask the best questions”
  8. Digital world; now “e-sport” will be very important in Norway


Liveblogging the 2018 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (6)–Nordic Smart Cities Movement

AFTERNOON FIRST PANEL: “Changing the World from its Northeast Corner I–The Nordic Smart Cities Movement”


Six panelists: Bernt Reitan Jenssen, (CEO, Ruter AS Oslo); Johan Bjorklund, (Ericsson, VP GM Smart City and Market Development); Knut Eirik Gustavsen, eSmart Systems; Teemu Lehtinen (Chief Digital Officer, KIRA-digi project); Goran Sparrman (Seattle Department of Transport)

  1. Jenssen: Oslo Ruter video on public transit, real problem: we pick up people from where they don’t want to be and take them where they don’t want to go. Want to change the public transit industry; example no tickets, just get billed by the month. Focus on user experience.
  2. Bjorklund: Smart Cities like telecom used to be; exciting, but nobody knows quite where it’s going; in 10 years, much more useful technology will be available than the purpose-built today; business model on smart cities using citizen data won’t really work–people are starting to get creeped out about how their data is being used; thus challenge–how do we use this data for peoples’ well-being, rather than being used by those who would monetize it
  3. Goran Sparrman, Seattle Department of Transport: Seattle maybe most dynamic economy in USA today, yet also many social impact issues–transport; equity; housing; Seattle: we view ourselves as the high-tech capital of the United States (sorry, Silicon Valley!); yet developing technology and how it impacts us, so guiding principles: traffic systems; social equitable, affordability of transportation systems; engagement and empowerment on transportation, housing, growth. Q&A: important to deal with data gathering and privacy.
  4. Knut Eirik Gustavsen, eSmart Systems: “Cities have to grow from within”; each city has different needs. If you want a smart city, it has to come from within. His company, practical in approach; want to show things work. Smart small; be practical; help city administration build from within. Q&A: Norway has highest concentration of electric vehicles (EV), straining the grid, EV issues a surprise.
  5. Teemu Lehtinen, Finland: (see; Models as 3D “digital twin” in open data for companies and citizens) Work on quick, experimental projects with 40% government funding, 60% from companies that apply. Q&A: Openness, open standards are key. Ex: mobility/transportation–Finland company WHIM app makes for better user experience
  6. Kris Hanssen, Nordic Semiconductor: Oslo-based company with R&D in Norway, Finland, Poland, USA; “World leader fabless semiconductor”; launched ultra-lower power short-range wireless communication. Only about 10 years, smart phones have come out, and peoples’ lives have changed from these devices, like paying bills with them. So we may have similar and maybe even more positive experiences from smarter devices to come.

Liveblogging the 2018 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (5)–Ericsson Speakers on Ericsson 5G Broadband Innovation

Peter Linder (5G in North America), Ericsson, Lunch Keynote; along with Ulf Edwaldsson (5G History from Day1); Robert McCrorey, (5G Innovation in Seattle)

Peter Linder(5G in North America):

1. Today in North America 95% population covered by mobile broadband; 18 Billion connected devices in 2017; 8x worldwide data traffic jump from 2017 to 2023

2. USA per-capita smartphone penetration = 93%; actual people 77% (some have more than one mobile device)

3. Projections: Total mobile traffic grows 8x between 2017 and 2013; in 2023 global 5G traffic is 20%; Video grows 10 times, reaching 75% of total traffic (each of THESE video bits have less information value); today mostly text and pictures

4. Global market for operator service revenue $1.5 T; 2026 only 1.5% more, $1.736; opportunity, digitalization revenues will grow from $968B to $3.458B, 13.6% growth

5. Opportunities (scale driven versus performance-driven; Ericsson has chart with 400-use cases):

5.1  Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB); performance-driven

5.2 Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)–example, Verizon, with fixed 15M BB; 100M mobile; they see 30M more household–fiber close to user, then 5G;

5.3 Massive IoT (scale driven)

5.4 Critical IoT (example: self-driving cars)

6. Revenue potential 5G for operators; adding an addressable 36% revenue growth potential

7. Ten most important industries; Manufacturing the largest (18%); agriculture the smallest, about 1% (has pie chart of these segments)

8. “It is all about use-case evolution”

Ex: enhanced mobile broadband from current: screens everywhere, to 5G experience: immersive experience

9. Ericsson pushing to accelerate develop of global standard; expand 5G ecosystems beyond mobile; execute a variety of 5G proof of concept trials; develop insights on 5G industry potential

Ulf Edwaldsson, (5G History from Day1):

10. was CTO; CIO; now advisor to CEO

11. Innovation: “Most things start on a napkin.” In 2012, in San Diego, CTO meeting spoke of next generation

12. “Telecom is a totally standardized industry;” everything has to talk to everything else; standards from 1876; licensing is key

13. Nordic broadband wireless innovation generations: NT (1G); 2002 then 2G (GSM); in 2012, mobile traffic 5 Exabytes (18 zeroes;1 EB = 10006bytes = 1018bytes = 1000000000000000000B = 1000 petabytes = 1millionterabytes = 1billiongigabytes.), as many as every word the human race has ever spoken; about 4.5B subscribers; then 4G

13.1 each generation about 10 years in this technology

14. Today 4G coverage about 55% in world; in next 4 years, 85% (real smartphone experience)

15. Latency; battery life (aim for 10 years’ battery life on any sensor); AI technology based on “sensors everywhere” looping back on itself

16. China wants 5G to modernize its entire industry; “China is a company; the entire nation is a company” so watch their approach; 5G will be a race to modernize industries worldwide (some countries will be left behind)

Robert McCrorey, (5G Innovation in Seattle); works in local Bellevue office; T-Mobile his main client

17. In technology industry, you work with people from all over the world; in Ericsson, 25% employees in R&D; half employees in service (“innovation happens in service as well”); industry founded by Bell in 1876; Ericsson founded in 1876 as well;

18. now ever-increasing impact on society; yet every new positive innovation also brings new problems; ex: social issues with smart phones; RF radiation; Ericsson is willing to discuss technological problems as well as advantages

19. Ericsson has about 10,000 USA employees; HQ in Plano, TX; Net sales $6.093 B (FY 2017); 500 employees in Bellevue; largest customers: att; rogers; sprint; century link etc.

20. Some people say 5G widespread deployment in 2020; yet that period really is about early use-cases; innovations will cycle rapidly the more deployment is done




Liveblogging the 2018 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (3)–“The Nordic Startup Explosion”

Panel Discussion: The Nordic Startup Explosion

Moderator: Todd Bishop, Geekwire; Panelists: Fredrik Cassel (Creandum); Gro Eirin Dyrnes (Nordic Innovation House); Hartti Suomela (Business Finland); Dr. John Markus Lervik (Cognite AS)

Issues about technical competence, yet the need for marketing skills is clear.

One panelist says USA visa issues are discouraging now for Nordic entrepreneurs to want to come to USA versus staying in the positive business-setting of the Nordic region.

Panelist Hartti Suomela, Business Finland, points to major startup event in Helsinki, Slush.

Here is text from the Slush website:


During what is – let’s be honest – the sh*ttiest weather season of the year, Slush brings together the leading actors of the global tech scene to Helsinki for something very special. Described by many as “Burning Man meets TED”, the event has grown in just a few short years to 20,000 attendees and 1 million live stream viewers.

In 2017, over 2,600 startups, 1,500 venture capitalists, and 600 journalists from over 130 countries gathered to Slush to drive business, and to experience the phenomenal atmosphere.

Questions about venture capital market and angel funding; positive in Nordics, yet USA funding environment has “deeper war-chest, which allows for more mistakes.”

Nordic governments have more engaged role for start-up companies; have matching grants, for example.

Categories for upcoming positive startups: AI; machine-learning (panel notes China much involved in this; Finland government has also focused on this); Norway, oil/gas, maritime areas; 5G connectivity space with Ericsson and Nokia is good (and USA restrictions in this space against Chinese companies, so creates opportunities).

Direct local connection between financial sources and startups; even direct air connection can make a difference. Finnair now has a direct air connection from Finland to Silicon Valley.

One panelist says it’s OK if it’s hard to break into USA market, because it forces the Nordic companies to become more competitive, to be better.

A panelist says focus on Nordic entrepreneur strengths, don’t compete with China on labor costs or USA on equity wealth; compete with work-ethic, loyalty (much less employee turnover).

Another says: keep your focus on a niche; pursue wholeheartedly. This may be different from Silicon Valley.

Key take-aways:

1. Dyrnes: from Silicon Valley perspective, many surprising companies bringing passion to market; I’m optimistic.

2. Lervik: Nordic startups may be much more lowkey than others; yet much depth in these companies often; (typical Nordic culture attribute).

3. Suomela: focus on niche, get out early with product.

4. Cassel: Nordic society and technology now more important than ever.

Liveblogging the 2018 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (2)–2nd Morning Keynote: “Business in the Nordics”

Second keynote: “Business in the Nordics Viewed from the US Perspective” by Vahe Torossian, Corporate Vice President, and President MSFT Western Europe

Work in 197 countries in the world. (He has traveled in 127 countries.) Working to infusing trust in the countries they are working in.

It’s not about what technology can do; it’s what technology should do.

Has quote from Satya Naddella, (“Hit Refresh” as source), focus on human gifts “to help move society forward.”

60% of children in schools today will have jobs in their future that don’t exist today.

Creativity has become one of the most important job skills (from 10th on list  in 2015 to 3rd on list today).

Microsoft has 120,000 employees now. They now have 2100 employees in 13 locations in Nordic areas. Have ten thousand partners in region, who employee themselves 180,000 in region. One Microsoft employee leads to creation of 19 partner employees, in the ecosystem. For every one dollar Microsoft earns, six dollars are earned by the ecosystem.

He shows pictures of his four General Manager colleagues in Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden. Says how you can talk about people without showing their faces?

Torossian focuses on education; says bilingualism helps people be more innovative and open to differences.

Mix of marketing/operation vs. R&D employees; now about 60-40%.

Network Readiness Index, correlation between societies and social well-being. Stockholm creating most unicorn companies, after Silicon Valley.

Equality, balance of resources, exemplary model for the rest of the world from Nordics. “Equality without inclusion” doesn’t matter.

Joint initiative between Microsoft and Baltic Development Forum, the Nordic think tank “Top of Digital Europe.” Published report: “2017 State of the Digital Region: Exloring Automation, Education and Learning in the Baltic Sea Region” (Wernberg and Andersson, authors)

Policy Priorities in Nordic area:

  • Promote cross-border
  • Educate and develop region’s best talents and expertise
  • Develop balanced business environment between regulation and innovation
  • Promote EU’s digital single market and advance transatlantic cooperation
  • Develop ICT-led cross-border public services
  • Attract global talent to the region

Innovation example, Maersk: leader in area, using cloud computing for operations and customer experience.

Example: power company, query: who is your competitor? Unusual answer: the consumer, who will be generating their own power.







Liveblogging the 15th ITERA Conference Nashville (5)- Case Study Competition, Ohio University team

Day 2 in Nashville, Tennessee, for the 15th Conference of ITERA–the Information & Telecommunications Education & Research Association.

This afternoon session is the annual Case Study Competition.

The case problem this year is medical records technology, policy, and business. Presenters have 20 minutes, then 5 minutes Q&A.

The second team is Ohio University. Athens, Ohio–not to be confused with Athens, Greece, they say.

They open with a problem statement, after giving a light-hearted introduction to their university (Hint: they are NOT Ohio State).

Health information technology they say was fronted by $35 Billion transition costs. This led to a standards and interoperability framework. The team suggests an encrypted email solution for records transfer.

The team proposes a National Health Information Service Provider (NHISP). They call for a state HISP in every state, interacting in a national schema.

For individuals, the team suggests a smart card health card solution. Security in PIN-based.

The team shows a project lifecycle slide. Costs are $142.4 Million per state.

They want a cloud-based solution for resilience and to mitigate maintenance costs.

Judges ask about training program; what about continuing education? Answer, a public-private consortium of providers will handle this at state level.

Judge asks about national organizational infrastructure? Team has not covered this, they say.

Judge asks technical question–how does the team’s system allow clients to connect? Answer, apparently existing Internet.

Judge: National standards connecting with international? Team says international server gate on each coast; nodes in USA embassies would manage overseas.





Liveblogging the 15th ITERA Conference Nashville (4)- Case Study Competition, Ball State University goes first

Day 2 in Nashville, Tennessee, for the 15th Conference of ITERA–the Information & Telecommunications Education & Research Association.

This afternoon session is the annual Case Study Competition.

The case problem this year is medical records technology, policy, and business. Presenters have 20 minutes, then 5 minutes Q&A.

The four teams are from Ball State University, James Madison University, Murray State University, Ohio University.

The team representatives draw for presentation order. Ball State University goes first. (Disclaimer: Ball State is also my home university.)

Their team does an overview, then presents a user’s perspective. Now they are into the systems perspective. They have a major focus on information security; they have a double-wall security architecture.

The team has an Implementation section to their presentation. Feasibility is first part. They have training involved, nationwide. Then they forecast an international phase. The will then do a live roll-out.

The team then presents its Cost section. Budget has networking, hardware, consulting fees, year support (optional).

The judges are pressing the presenters on details technically and economically.