Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson has two boats in the current Volvo Ocean Race. It’s a large investment, and as with many sponsorships, not immediately obvious how sailing around the world relates to business goals.
For Ericsson, the choice of ocean racing was based on the level of technology and team work involved. The race is also a showcase for a robust multimedia platform and how it can help transform economies, particularly the emerging markets of Africa.
Henry Stenson, Vice President, Multimedia Solutions, said “we looked at activities we can get involved in to carry customers along, without them loosing focus on the services we provide.”
Ericsson has developed technologies that make it possible for fans and media to monitor the race even using their mobile phones by placing computers, cameras and internet facilities to transmit in real time. Stenson said: “With this technology you can see that it’s not just about sponsorship but about a comprehensive sales platform for our products”.
At the recent stopover in Capetown, Ericsson too the chance to use the Volvo Ocean race to target the emerging markets of Africa where technologies are making tremendous difference and transforming lives.
Initiatives include multimedia services and mobile innovation centres, energy saving solutions and the Millennium village initiatives. According to the company the initiatives are necessary because more than 90 percent of new mobile subscriber growth will be in emerging markets.
Ericsson is matching the sport and sales pitch with programs to help the market develop. Ericsson’s Head of Corporate Responsibility, Elaine Weidman said that the two millennium villages in Nigeria have shown that the rural dwellers are eager to join their counterparts in the developed worlds in the global village, adding that the political and economic environment of the country have also played major positive roles in keeping the dreams alive.