Partnering to add value
The R&D team in Vodafone develops disruptive value opportunities for Vodafone. We identify future enablers and technology platforms with high value potential and the scope to scale, and we advance those with the greatest potential. By working with key innovation leaders, we build demonstrations and early proof points to experiment, learn, iterate, inspire, and create a market advantage.
We work with a range of strategic partners, including:
- World-leading academic teams, with whom we may sponsor research in high potential areas
- The research and advanced-technology divisions of other major industry players
- Well-founded start-ups, where our strategy may involvement investment or acquisition.
We work with speed, agility, and a minimum of bureaucracy. Our in-house lab allows us to carry out experiments, trials, and proofs of concept and value at low cost and with extremely short lead-in times. This is important at multiple stages of the R&D process, from assessing technologies in isolation, through integrating, testing, and enhancing them in a telecomms context, to engaging with the rest of business and ensuring commercial engagement and alignment.
Join us and let’s disrupt together
As well as identifying and advancing technologies, we understand the importance of ecosystem building for those technologies to succeed and deliver value. As a member of our R&D team, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in or lead Vodafone’s engagement with relevant industry organisations, where as well as being active participants we often take leadership roles (or even founder roles in new organisations, where we see an important unmet need).
- 5GAA (5G Automobile Association) which is responsible for developing the technology, standards, and system architecture for advanced automotive requirements.
- NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks), an alliance of leading international network operators aiming to ensure that the functionality and performance of next generation mobile network infrastructure, service platforms and devices will meet the requirements of operators and end users.
- 5G ACIA (5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation) to accelerate and enhance support for industry automation globally.
Our current major research areas are organised into the following technology clusters:
We explore the state of the art of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to understand how latest advances in AI and ML can offer new opportunities for Vodafone networks, platforms and services, and to contribute to the evolution of this technology in the wider industry.
As Big Data, analytics and market-ready approaches to machine learning get already applied to a variety of use cases in Vodafone (from networks to customer-facing chatbots), we focus on the next big steps like leveraging “greener” and faster AI, progressing towards higher levels of AI-driven network operations and combining machine learning with machine reasoning to support real-time decision making.
We explore the opportunities that quantum computers will bring in a wide range of areas, e.g. optimisation, machine learning or risk analysis – as well as enabling sector-specific opportunities in areas of interest to our enterprise customers.
This R&D work also covers nearer-term “quantum inspired” technologies. We are developing the strategy and timeline for phasing in Quantum Safe Cryptography, to replace algorithms that we rely on today but that will be easily broken when large enough quantum computers become available.
Today, 4G and 5G support many services that are essential for our modern lifestyles, but now that 5G is a commercially deployed technology attention is turning towards answering the question – what comes next?
This question is already driving Universities and industry, backed by governments and international organisations, to begin the research into Beyond 5G systems, or 6G. We’re on it.
This programme pioneers digital platforms which build on the ever-increasing connectivity between vehicles, people and infrastructure to deliver “connected mobility services”. Our aim is to drive improvements in efficiency and safety.
Vodafone has shown leadership in driving Automotive technology and is the only Mobile Network Operator that is also a Tier-1 automotive technology and services provider, through Vodafone Automotive.
The R&D focus is on the new generation of low earth orbit satellites, aiming to provide connectivity to those people and/or IoT devices in locations with coverage gaps so they can stay seamlessly connected.
We’re working with a company called AST (Avellan Space Technology) to launch a service called “Space Mobile”. This will allow all LTE handsets and IoT devices direct access to the Space Mobile satellite service in a way which is transparent to the customer.
What’s in it for you?
- Work with some of the smartest minds in tech, in academia and industry.
- Immerse yourself in ground-breaking projects.
- Contribute to outcomes that make the world, safer, greener and more connected.
- Shape the future of 6G
- Influence the selection and outcomes of our R&D strategy
- Enjoy freedom and flexibility to do your best work
- See the impact of your work at scale
Projects and stories
We could highlight a few of our successes, we could celebrate some of our people – or we could let them tell you the story in their own words.