reports an overhaul and optimism for the future of the telecommunications and mobile industry in Sweden’s south. Autumn 2012 was a tough time in Skåne’s mobile industry, but after a few hectic weeks this Spring, several positive changes promise to secure a good outlook for the region, as the mobile cluster takes a new form.

Mobile Heights has moved into the former Sony Mobile office in northeast Lund, bringing the group and cluster manager and CEO, Mats Ekstrand into Lund. The new research centre Mobile and Pervasive Computing Institute MACPI (which we’ve mentioned earlier here and here) bringing a focus on cloud technology, Tech Mahindra and Sigma Connectivity have also all moved into the ‘Greenland-house’.

‘It is brighter than ever. We play the cards right, the future may be really good, says Mats Ekstrand, Head of Mobile Heights cluster organization.

Sigma Connectivity is the collaboration which has come about between former Sony Mobile head Bert Nordberg, and Dan Olofsson’s Sigma taking over of the Sony Mobile hardware development unit (details here), with more than 200 hardware consultants from within Sony, to advance the ‘internet of things’.

Former Minister Sven Otto Littorin has been working as consultant and special adviser in the growth area Mobile Solutions since last September. The mission involves coordinating national and regional efforts in research, education and innovation with the aim of strengthening Skåne and Sweden’s position in these areas (see Region Skåne news desk for details).

Sony’s facility in Lund are now-a-days completely software-oriented. The business is also no longer just about mobile phones, but the development done for them is just as important.

‘The next few years will see machines starting talk directly to each other over the internet. It opens up business opportunities. Mobile communications will be important and Swedish industry needs to embrace the technology and develop new business concepts,’ says Dan Olofsson.

The primary customer group is no longer just mobile manufacturers, but rather companies that want to build online services for other equipment.

‘The Group’s overall strategy is all about convergence, to use the same services on different devices. Sony Mobile in Lund is part of a much larger unit,’ says Site Manager for Sony Mobile, Bengt-Arne Molin.

‘Mobile technology is now used in more and more industries, such as automotive and medical technology. The trend is driven by 4G network, which is a pure data network,’ adds Bert Nordberg.

The journey started in Lund, 30 years ago, with mobile phones, but those have become a relatively small part of the pie. Mats Ekstrand remarked that the recent changes moving Skåne’s telecomms industry further towards the user side, compared to places like Stockholm’s Science city, Kista, where the focus is still on networks and larger systems. The Skåne cluster is getting positioned as a supplier of everything from hardware expertise to applications and services.

Key companies in the Skåne cluster today:

  • Sony Mobile, with approximately 2,200 employees
  • ST-Ericsson, with approximately 1,300 employees
  • Ericsson, with approximately 75 employees (to take over 800 from ST-Ericsson when the company phased out)
  • RIM, with approximately 200 employees
  • Nokia, with approximately 60 employees
  • Doro, with about 35 employees
  • Huawei, with about 25 employees
  • Technology companies like Polar Rose, the TAT and Scalado have in recent years been bought up in profile. Among the new starters are Crunchfish and zimpl.

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