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Blog 01.09.2021

Interested in urban innovations of the future?

More than half of the world’s population live in cities, and that share is growing rapidly – roughly 200.000 people move to cities every day. In the KONE leading company project we are tackling the challenges brought by urbanization and climate change.
Rolf Kottelin

Project Manager

Cities make up only two percent of the Earth's surface area but consume nearly two thirds of the world's energy production and generate about 70 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions. New technologies and innovations play a central role as we build more sustainable urban environments.

I have been involved in KONE's The Flow of Urban Life leading company project since the beginning of this year. Our ambitious mission is to develop smooth and sustainable services and solutions for the next 1 billion people moving into cities by 2030. This is an important mission for me, as it also affects the daily lives of countless people around the world.

We are approaching the mission through five main themes:

  1. Sustainable innovations
  2. Smart construction
  3. Smart buildings and cities
  4. Future living
  5. Smart maintenance

Smarter construction, smarter buildings and ultimately cities will make future living more sustainable. Under the theme of smart maintenance we are also exploring new ways of using technology to further increase the safety and smooth use of our elevators and escalators.

Join the ecosystem – apply by the end of September

The ecosystem offers the opportunity to solve key problems related to urbanization and to create new business around them. The leading company ecosystem allows you to network with various organizations working on the same themes. It can also be your path to partnering with KONE in an international setting. In the longer term, our goal is to find – and realize – the next billion-euro business potential together with the ecosystem.

There is still time to apply for Business Finland's next leading company partnership model funding call. Applications must be submitted by September 30, 2021. We are preparing several partnership projects in line with our roadmap, and we are looking for companies to join us. Small, medium-sized and large companies alike are welcome.

What is already under way?

Although KONE's elevators and escalators already move a billion people a day, it is clear that we can find a solution to only a small part of the challenges related to climate change and urbanization by ourselves. That is why we engage a vast array of companies and research institutes that can each offer solutions from their own vantage point.

In the early stages of the project, we have focused particularly on research-based collaborative projects. One such example is the Multi-purpose Service Robotics as Operator Business (MURO) project, in which KONE and VTT and a broad consortium of companies are exploring new concepts for making use of multipurpose robots.

We have already combined our customers' service robots with our equipment through their APIs (Application Programming Interface). In many hotels, for example, robots already call elevators to floors and move independently from floor to floor as they clean the hallways and deliver room service. In the MURO project, our focus is on how a single robot can handle a wider set of tasks and work more efficiently than single-purpose robots.

One multi-purpose robot can be used by several different customer companies, and conversely, one company may use several different robots. In the MURO project, for instance, it is not necessary for each company to acquire its own costly robot, as resources are efficiently shared.

Contact us

If you are interested, our contact details can be found below. Please don't hesitate to get in touch. There will also be new application rounds in the future, so there is time to apply later, too.

  • Ecosystem partners, research institutes: Jaana Hyvärinen, jaana.hyvarinen (at)
  • Ecosystem partners, companies: Mikko Mattila, mikko.mattila (at)

Read more about the funding for leading companies and ecosystems