Ericsson vet targets new horizons at ENEA

Trending: cloud, NFV and edge. How Häglund sees life at a smaller E.

Veteran Ericsson executive Jan Häglund started work for a new company this week – virtualisation software and real time OS specialist ENEA.

Häglund has worked for Ericsson since 1993, with some high profile roles along the way. This decade he has headed up the IP & Broadband business in Silicon Valley and most recently led the R&D and product portfolio for Ericsson’s Digital Services business unit, which includes the vendor’s cloud, OSS/BSS and NFV business lines.

So why has he left? Well, first off, he’s keen not to dump on his former employer, for whom he stresses he has only respect. As some background, the Digital Services Business Unit had a notable challenge in recent months as the companypulled its Revenue Manager BSS product, taking a hit of $860M as it did so. That gathered plenty of publicity, as Ericsson said that carriers had not undertaken the major transformation projects it had anticipated. However, hidden by the noise of that climbdown was the fact that other product lines in the Business Unit did much better, however, with sales overall rising 10% for the final quarter of 2018.

If that is so much history, Häglund is focussing on the challenge ahead, seeing in ENEA a company with enough size to be relevant, but also enough independence and agility to be able to attack new opportunities.

So what are those opportunities for ENEA, a provider of “ virtualisation software building blocks” including edge-based NFV infrastructure, MANO solutions and VNF components?

Häglund said, “I see the opportunities primarily in addressing important growth areas including cloud and virtualisation, where ENEA has no hardware legacy.”

ENEA revenue for its 2018 financial year was SEK 830.3 million ($86 million). The company makes 35% of its money currently from its real time embedded OS software product – kind of its legacy business if you like. But 55% comes from its Network Solutions product group, and it’s here that Häglund sees several areas of opportunity.

Due to recent acquisitions, Häglund sees that ENEA has several key areas covered. It can help operators address and manage the growth of new forms of video traffic – high definition and into VR and AR – via its acquisition in early 2018 of Openwave Mobility. Its prior buy-in of DPI business Qosmos means it can provide traffic classification to aid Policy-driven control of 5G services, and it has its own Policy smarts after buying that part of the business from Atos.

“That has given us the opportunity to address opportunities in the 5G core with its Service Based Architecture, with functions such as AAA, Policy Function and Number Portability,” Häglund says.

Plus, he adds, it addresses the cloud applications space with its data management capability, offering cloud-native capability by operation of stateless applications from a common data layer, as well as back end subscriber and configuration data.

“In that regard we are also seeing Real Time operations become increasingly important,” Häglund says, “and our line of business from our OS software means we understand Real Time.”

Although ENEA does not provide NFVi solutions for general NFV datacentre workloads, it does do solutions for “few or one server deployments such as SD-WAN or V-RAN access”.

ENEA’s role as purely a software provider, with no hardware skin in the game, means it can provide software within the disaggregated hardware-software model at the edge.

The whitebox network model is “almost old news”, Häglund says.”What is news today is the move towards software and cloud native operations, and ENEA has the capability to do that without compromise.”