Not long ago I was still in the lecture hall and now I entered an entirely different kind of space. One where brilliant people, different technologies, and exciting use cases come together in an inspiring environment on the High Tech Campus: the 5G Hub. One of my first impressions of the 5G Hub was that it is a dynamic and entrepreneurial place where no two days are the same. A space where different disciplines, such as innovation, entrepreneurship, technology, and marketing meet. This ties in seamlessly with my master’s degree in innovation management, so I suppose you can imagine that I was thrilled to be a part of it. And I have to say: the time has flown!
In recent months, I’ve been given the opportunity to work together with various enterprises and organizations to explore the possibilities of 5G. I’ve worked on 5G use cases and demos, organized inspiration events, and I have recruited and worked with interns. All in all, I have experienced a very diverse set of activities that allowed me to continually work on my personal development early on in my professional career.
From the beginning, it felt like the people on the 5G Hub Team – I like to call them partners in crime – wanted to empower me to take initiative and start things autonomously. This approach appealed to me, as it gave me a sense of confidence to explore different aspects, allowing me to challenge myself early in my career to find out what really energizes me. This, I think, is at the heart of the 5G Hub culture: autonomy, plenty of space to explore, and learning by doing. But more about culture later in this article. Another really cool thing in my daily work was watching visitors enter the 5G Hub thinking 5G is just a faster version of 4G, and leaving the place knowing it’s so much more. It’s intriguing to observe how their minds start spinning about the thought: “Perhaps 5G could offer opportunities for my business.” That, I would say, is a great added value that this consortium offers. We’re at the dawn of the widespread adoption of a series of breakthrough technologies, such as Machine Learning and Virtual Reality. 5G serves as a catalyst for this transition, and it’s exciting to be able to contribute to that development.
It’s not all fun and games, of course. Although the team is eager to deliver concrete results, it is challenging to boost momentum in such a way that enterprises are encouraged to take the plunge. It’s also a journey full of learnings – one that involved figuring out how to prioritize the most promising 5G use cases and partners to collaborate with. On top of that, the latest governmental measure to return to working from home puts the resilience to the test, as it requires a shift in the focus of activities. Nonetheless, these challenges are dealt with – not least because of a distinctive culture.
As you may know, the 5G Hub is a consortium founded by four organizations: VodafoneZiggo, Ericsson, High Tech Campus and Brainport Development. Getting four sides to work together in such a new initiative requires new ways of working, communicating, and – if you will – a whole new culture. While setting this up poses its challenges, I think the collaborative attitude and broad-mindedness emerged very naturally. It has been my experience from the start that the culture is very open, accessible, and comes with a can-do attitude. That is also the message that is conveyed to the partners in the ecosystem.
Personally, I find it exciting that the team is building the reputation of an accessible co-creation platform that enables organizations to discover what 5G has to offer. Offering flexibility is essential here. Depending on the need, the team works on use case development, technical testing using the indoor 5G network, inspiration sessions with various parties to create synergies and cross-learnings, you name it.
My traineeship is a rotation program, so I moved on in January to my next role in another Ericsson department. I look back on an enormously valuable and educational time. I joined this team and experienced first-hand how the people work hard to accomplish the set ambitions. It all starts with reaching out to them, and that’s something I would like to invite you to. Once governmental guidelines allow it again, I plan to keep visiting the 5G Hub every now and then, and I hope to see you there!