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    Locational and environmental data applications scale from the local level to big cities – What works in Finland may also work abroad

    20240123 Paikkatieto Tampere talo 00032
    Kari Klossner, Head of Data Economy, from Business Finland hosted the event. Photo: Petri Kangas


    In the field of data economy, there is potential for growth, says Kari Klossner, Head of Data Economy Program at Business Finland. Companies and applications utilizing location and environmental data have the opportunity to scale radically. According to Klossner, the appetite for growth could be directed towards the European and North American markets. The importance of face-to-face encounters should not be underestimated: new collaboration initiatives were born at the networking event.

    Business Finland and Business Tampere jointly organized an event last Tuesday, January 23, 2024, at Tampere-talo, analyzing location and environmental data. Companies, public organizations, and academics gathered to find answers to how data economy evolves into international business. Kari Klossner, Head of Data Economy at Business Finland, and the event's facilitator, sees significant growth potential in the industry.

    – The Western European countries, supported by the EU, which have developed so-called data spaces, can create common guidelines for how data is shared between organizations. We also start from the fact that the world's largest platform economy players and game leaders, such as Meta, Yahoo, Amazon, and Apple, are found in North America, Klossner explains about the geographical focal points of the data economy.

    Location and environmental data refer to electronically available map and registry information that literally describes everything between land and sky: natural resources, topography, land ownership and use, population, industries, traffic conditions, and the number of pedestrians. This information can be used for statistics, research, and business. The range of applications is also broad. Practical applications can include a mobile app that engages and involves pedestrians or software that creates a three-dimensional model of a building, facilitating workflow for the client and contractor.

    – In the data economy, scalability can be radical, and growth can be international. What works in a Finnish city may work well in Barcelona as well, says Klossner.

    In the data economy, scalability can be radical, and growth can be international.

    Business Finland operates extensively within national networks, government entities, and ministries, as well as various business interest organizations, says Kari Klossner. The goal of the Data Economy program is to encourage Finnish companies to develop international business based on data utilization and sharing. The program will continue until the end of 2027, aiming to accelerate development projects related to the data economy with a budget of 135 million euros.

    – We act as a seed funder so that companies can get started and eventually develop their operations independently and with other partners. The year has started well, and our application, which started in March, has successfully funded companies beyond expectations, says Klossner.

    Klossner emphasizes that the work is long-lasting, and it is essential to remain realistic about timelines.

    – The results of the five-year program may only become visible a decade later. We are committed to investing in digitalization as a theme for ten years, clearly into the 2030s, Klossner says.

    20240123 Paikkatieto Tampere talo 00058
    Matti Turunen, the chief operating officer of the software company, told about the combination of infrastructure construction and the data economy at the networking event. Photographer: Petri Kangas

    Multiple disciplines

    In Tampere-talo, presentations were given by Pekka Pellinen and Andrew Rebeiro-Hargrave from the University of Helsinki, Jari Kuusisto from the software company Wapice, and Olli Rossi from Fintraffic, a company providing traffic control and management services. CEOs Teemu Joensuu from Zoneatlas and Toni Paju from Crowdsorsa also shared insights about their Tampere-based companies at the event. Serving as the contact person for the event from Business Tampere was Markku Niemi, Program Director of Smart City Development.

    Matti Turunen, the Operational Director of the software company, who also took the stage, is well acquainted with the local operating environment. The majority of the company's workforce operates in Tampere. They provide a collaboration platform for infrastructure construction that integrates location and environmental data.

    – We want to make data available to all stakeholders in infrastructure construction. Our specialty is data visualization, Turunen explains.

    According to both Klossner and Turunen, a distinctive feature of the data economy is that data needs to move seamlessly between different organizations. In infrastructure projects, there can be a multitude of different actors, Turunen explains, listing: client organizations such as the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency and municipalities, planning and consulting firms, contractors who actually build, and operation and maintenance, including traffic control.

    – Our application users can come from very diverse backgrounds, which means that the software has to be user-friendly, Turunen summarizes.

    Markku Niemi of Business Tampere was particularly pleased that new acquaintances were made, and the seeds of collaboration were planted at the event.

    – I was delighted to hear that potential new initiatives had already been agreed upon in the workshops. This is what we aim for, and especially in the post-pandemic era, the importance of face-to-face meetings is emphasized. Thanks to Business Finland, participants, and everyone else interested in the event, Niemi concludes.

    Click here to explore Business Finland's data economy program.

    More information about the opportunities in data economy is available from Business Tampere:

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