Exploring the world as a Graduate Trainee

In Silicon Valley, realizing ABB's potential as a digital leader

Technological breakthroughs and proficiency have often formed the foundation of the world’s leading societies over the ages. Many would claim that Silicon Valley is the current title holder due to the regions extreme success in both technical and business innovation. The next super civilization or unicorn company is expected to be the one to successfully master the art of creating and applying Artificial Intelligence (AI). The competition is in full swing all over the globe!

The boiling pot called Silicon Valley

Working for ABB‘s Robotics business unit in the Silicon Valley is a dream come true for any engineer or business graduate. Technical innovation, entrepreneurship and cultural diversity merge in a valley surrounded by astonishing mountains under an ever-beaming sun. It’s a cool blend of grand nature and city life; brand new electric cars and old rusty pickups, as well as workplaces filled with talented people from all over the world. The atmosphere is vibrant, and I would best describe Silicon Valley as a boiling pot of innovation, business and culture.

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence – natural partners

For practical tasks, “thinking” is paired with “doing”. So, robots and AI are natural partners in attempts to create machines that can function in the real world. AI provides the thinking and planning; the robots provides sensory data and action.

My six-month assignment is to work together with one of the teams on developing robot failure prediction methods leveraging machine learning on the ABB Ability™ platform. ABB Ability™ is a common brand and cloud platform for digital solutions and is governed by colleagues located in Silicon Valley. Working with digital solutions is a perfect match for me and my colleagues who all have strong competence profiles in the areas of machine learning, control, sensor fusion and AI. As part of my assignment, I’m also mapping the competitive landscape with special focus on what business models are being applied in the field of industrial Internet-of-Things. Today, business models and technical solution developments are naturally entwined.

From left: Shrinivas Margam, Liang Liu, Adam Honious, Anton Ronquist, Pavel Stoffel, Dn Prasad, Nevroz Sen, Matt Simkins, Behnam Kamrani, Neelima Pasupuleti, Sanaz B. Behbahani

The San Francisco Bay Area

Besides having fun at work, the San Francisco Bay Area has more to offer. Early on, I made friends with my neighbors who happen to be car enthusiasts working at Waymo and Tesla. So, we have been going on (electric and partly autonomous) road trips over the mountains, along the coast and up to San Francisco. The scenery is breathtaking everywhere!

In the evenings, I enjoy playing basketball and swimming outdoors at “the Y” before visiting any of the plentiful restaurants. Americans loves sports and watching the world’s premier athletes compete in NBA, NHL or the NFL is a thrill every time. You can easily tell that talent and discipline is important for their success, but great teamwork and trust is fundamental for realizing the team’s full potential. The same thing applies in ABB’s pursuit of realizing our potential as a digital leader!

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About the author

Anton Ronquist

Mechatronics Engineer (MSc) and Business Administration (BBA) graduate (2016). In his role as Product Owner (R&D) for ABB Ability™ Connected Services for Robotics, he represents the product's stakeholders, customers and is accountable for ensuring that agile R&D-teams delivers value to the business. Anton joined ABB 2017 through the ABB trainee program. Throughout the program, Anton worked with Software Development at ABBs‘ business unit Robotics, Project Management at FACTS and Sales Strategy for the Food & Beverage industry. During the first half of 2019, he is conducting a six-month assignment at ABB's office in Silicon Valley, California US.
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