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Ericsson has big plans to connect the world (live blog)

At his CES keynote, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg announces deals with a shipping company, a refugee nonprofit, and an MIT lab. Infrastructure is hard.

One example of Ericsson's vision--an MIT project that tracks products from production to disposal Sarah Tew/CNET

LAS VEGAS--Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg has a grand vision to get a connected device--or two or three--into the hands of every person on this planet. And he laid it out here at the Consumer Electronics Show, in a keynote address that barely managed to touch on consumer technology at all.

Hey, no one said infrastructure--particularly communications infrastructure--is easy.

Ericsson doesn't have the sexiest business in the world--it supplies telecommunications equipment and manages wireless networks--but its business is crucial to the consumer's increasingly mobile lifestyle. As a result, the company's perspective on mobile's future was intriguing, if occasionally abstract.

Vestberg's most concrete initiative involved a deal with the shipping company Maersk Line, which will outfit 400 vessels with Ericsson mobile and satellite communication equipment. Ericsson is also expanding a partnership with Refugees United, with whom it runs a global database for displaced people looking for their loved ones.

The company's one foot in the consumer world, its Sony Ericsson handset joint venture, is about to disappear with Sony having paid Ericsson $1.47 billion to take full control. Sony introduced its first non-Ericsson-branded phone at the show.

You can read our live-blog of Vestberg's presentation below, or check out this summary post of the Ericsson keynote.