Finns collide technology and urban reality at smart cities

Finns collide technology and urban reality at smart cities

Digitalization is finding its way to urban infrastructure as smart cities emerge globally. In this November, Barcelona-based congress Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) built up a prime platform to discuss and observe the link between urban reality and technological revolution.

The elements of urban reality and technology were present in the flesh at the Finland-stand, where 13 Finnish companies, 5 cities and 4 regional agencies provided their input to the hot topic. They were brought there by the Team Finland actors Finpro and Tekes.

The companies at the Finnish pavilion represented a comprehensive offering of energy, buildings & ICT and transport solutions. Throughout the expo, the Finnish participants were intensively taking part in various activities such as pitching sessions together with the colleagues from Denmark and Norway.

Evolution of urban landscape

In essence, smart cities are about ever ongoing urban development. At the risk of oversimplification, it could be said that a city is smart when its utilities are connected to Internet. In a smart city, buildings, streets, machines and other city utilities speak the same digital language.

For the cities, this means an opportunity to enhance their operations, for instance, in the fields of public services and maintenance, whilst supporting data-based decision-making. Eventually, the results will be felt at the level of citizens in increased well-being, security and quality of life. At the SCEWC, the sextet of Finnish cities of Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Lahti, Joensuu and Jyväskylä were actively networking and looking for right partners to fulfill their smart city visions.

During the expo, Tampere published its own smart city program named Smart Tampere. The program aims at enhancing the international recognition and attractiveness as well as the intelligence of the city through digitalization.

“Our goal is to open up large-scale challenges and complexities of the city and to develop innovative solutions for them in cooperation with companies. For instance, one of the challenges is to provide good care and services for the growing number of elderly people. New technologies can help us in this,” underlines Anna-Kaisa Ikonen, Mayor of Tampere.

Naturally, cities’ movement towards smart solutions creates a wide range of opportunities for companies as well. For instance, the demand for services such as data collection, management and analytics as well as cyber security will soar when the likes of intelligent transportation and connected services land in cities internationally.

“We gained a couple of promising business negotiations with the potential clients as well as three proposals for further collaboration, which might end up being significant,” says Markus Melander, CEO of Vionice, one of the Finnish participants at the expo.

The expo experience was fruitful also for another Finnish company PaylQ.

“It’s an excellent place for networking with the right partners. We received many useful contacts and opened discussions with several cities,” the company CEO Tuomo Parjanen comments.