MWC22: Telia boss on how digitally driven Swedes are smashing sustainability goals
As the GSMA used its MWC22 keynote to urge more industries to take advantage of smart technologies to boost ESG goals, during the same session Allison Kirkby, president and CEO of Nordic telco Telia revealed how her territory is already smashing it.
Sweden is often referred to a ‘unicorn factory’ – being home to more start-up companies (per capita) with a value of over $1 billion than any other region in the world outside Silicon Valley.
Many of these businesses, Kirkby told Mobile World Congress, are either digitally driven or innovating in the sustainability space in green steel or in clean battery technology.
“Intelligent innovation and automation is happening everywhere in Sweden and heavy industry and infrastructure is now at the cutting edge of sustainable tech,” she said.
“Data is unleashing opportunities for Telia in industries not known for being digitally driven, like mining. We will be there to help every enterprise partner control and monetise the new and growing data they harvest,” Kirkby said.
Here are some of the innovations she shared with MWC Delegates:
1. Kemira’s Industry 4.0 “box of tricks”
Kirkby predicts that as connectivity and Internet of Things data permeates every aspect of an organisation, enterprise will transition from being a machine manufacturer to also becoming an industrial data platform.
“When every process in an ecosystem is automated and optimised every point of connectivity will become business critical and no cog in data generating machinery can afford to stand still” she said.
As a case in point, she used Telia customer Kemira, a Finnish firm that manufacturers industrial gear boxes and drives that are used in paper mills, foundries and cement factories.
Because downtime due to unplanned maintenance is expensive and environmentally reductive the firm is using IoT monitors to identify repairs before they are needed – sending data back to HQ via an embedded Telia SIM.
According to Kirkby this IoT plug-and-play solution takes care of everything including compliance with roaming regulations and local technical integration
2. Telia’s data mapping project
While the first sustainability gains are likely to come using smart technology to improve existing operations by optimising the capacity of electricity grids, monitoring conditions of machinery, and limiting wastage from pipes, the greatest gains will require a more integrated approach, Kirkby argued. She added that this could be achieved by creating a more circular economy which puts sustainable design and recycling at is centre.
Telia was already collaborating with local authorities in Sweden to chart the effectiveness of its messaging during the pandemic, by collating the anonymized data gathered as people moved between cell towers. The telco has now expanded this work to examine travel emissions and the routes and forms of transport that generate the most impact.
“This way you can how effective a new bike lane or a new transport route can be in terms of reducing emissions before it has even been commissioned,” Kirkby added.
3. Polarium’s smart storage pilot
Kirkby gives another example of a smart storage pilot by Swedish energy start up Polarium.
“Energy storage for telecom networks has traditionally been used exclusively for back up during power outages, but this pilot looks at that capacity when demand and prices for electricity are high and charge the battery and prices are low.”
“Our expectation is that this will help to optimise network energy usage, reduce electricity costs and contribute to a more resilience energy infrastructure,” she said.
Kirkby added that Telia is now also working with transmissions system operate to see how it can participate in the frequency market, feeding energy back into the grid during outages and frequency deviations.
“As our energy and digital infrastructure converge – which I believe they will – our ambition is to reinvent energy so the work we are doing with Polarium, and our own data centre are just the first initiatives.
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