Lately, the Finnish tech excellence has gravitated strongly towards Internet of Things (IoT), with many exciting things in the pipeline. Also big multinational companies are now setting up their IoT R&D centers in Finland, due to the country’s recent surge in all things digital.
One key trigger in all of this is the creative destruction in Finland's mobile handset ecosystem in early 2010s which created about 1,000 startups. When mobile phone giant Nokia hit hard times, many brilliant innovators founded their own deep-tech companies which are now maturing and getting attention in the markets.
Janne Kari, Head of Industry, ICT and Digitalization, Business Finland, remarks that "The Finnish solution" to the IoT challenge revolves around a highly collaborative ecosystem of innovative companies and research institutions. According to Kari, this IoT ecosystem ensures that the whole technology portfolio – from sensors and wireless communications to AI and resulting solutions, along with user experience and cybersecurity – is truly world-class.
"As evidence, multibillion-euro companies like Schaeffler, Maersk and Sulzer are currently innovating scalable, next-gen digital solutions together with Finnish companies."
According to Kari, covering "the full Industrial IoT stack" effort – with a dedicated customer-orientation – is where Finland simply excels.
"No technology company has all the building blocks it requires: you need an entire ecosystem of great partners to succeed," he says.
In fact, Kari says that instead of IoT, one should already be talking about "eIoT" – ecosystem approach to IoT. Mind you: it's a very open ecosystem, too.
"We are seeing even industrial companies learning integration capabilities now, and this is enabled by the smooth-flowing ecosystem that embraces all comers," Kari says.
Game-changing IoT finds many applications away from the factory floor, with advances in logistics, asset tracking and lighting control. For example, under Smart Washroom concept – by Finnish company Haltian – sensors are installed in washrooms to take care of such things as towel and soap refill optimization and managing washroom cleaning operations.
"Ease of use and deployment is the key to success here. Furthermore, it may be the venue cleaning staff who maintain the sensors," Kari adds.
The ability to move fast is another make-or-break factor. "Finnish companies have that ability to deliver in a crunch, partly because they know each other and are used to working in partnership mode."
Business Finland is a public Finnish organization which offers innovation funding and internationalization services, as well as promotes foreign investments in Finland. From the perspective of Business Finland, bringing major international players to contribute to Finland's IoT scene has been a win-win for all the parties involved.
"We're constantly helping foreign companies to find capable partners within the Finnish IoT ecosystem and use the excellent Finnish talent pool – and it is extremely rewarding to see the ecosystem evolving onwards," Kari sums up.
Janne Kari, Head of ICT & Digitalization
janne.kari (at) businessfinland.fi
+358 40 541 0580