Made in Tampere: innovations for Microsoft Surface products19.4.2022
Imaging expertise is the world-famous strength of the Tampere Region. Microsoft opened a development center in Tampere, Finland, to create tomorrow’s innovations that are based on the regions’s best expertise.
In the Tampere Region, many tech stories begin with Nokia, and this is not an exception. Jarkko Viinikanoja joined the Nokia mobile camera development in the very beginning, flourished there for ten years, then went out into the world – to develop more cameras.
Viinikanoja decided to return to Tampere when Microsoft located an imaging team here. Viinikanoja considered it an excellent chance for himself, and a natural choice for Microsoft. The news was out in September 2020.
– Tampere is a Silicon Valley of Imaging, capable of making things happen. Think of all the global companies that have landed here in the recent years, says Viinikanoja, Director, Camera HW at Microsoft
The Microsoft team works for tomorrow’s imaging
The Microsoft R&D center in Tampere is focusing on the development of the Surface brand devices – well-known tablets, laptops and 2-in-1s. According to Viinikanoja, the Tampere, Finland team has integrated smoothly in the Microsoft’s global product development process.
– The Tampere R&D team creates new innovations and features for the Surface devices. We are making the future of imaging, says Viinikanoja.
The Tampere team is on a growth path, recruiting globally – and attracting fresh local talent from the Tampere University. In the summer 2022, three trainees nearing graduation will join the team. For Microsoft, academic collaboration is of utmost importance.
– Our growth is also fuelled by the network of local partners. The companies in the Imaging Tampere business ecosystem are diverse, and some of them invest in the services we need.
Talent attracts companies to Tampere
Talent is the major attractor when global companies choose the Tampere Region. For Microsoft it was specifically the region’s impressive legacy of camera development and the end-to-end expertise that remains strong to this day.
Photonics and optics are also doing well in Finland, and they are just the sciences that the Tampere team must delve deeper in order to build the future of imaging. Imaging technologies evolve at a breathtaking pace – so fast that one can learn something new every single day, says Viinikanoja.
During Covid-19, remote and hybrid work models have been increasingly in use, and flexible working will certainly prevail post-pandemic. Traditionally, working remotely is not as suitable for the innovative work as it is for many other lines of work. As Viinikanoja puts it: when developing new things, you often feel a natural wish to attend meetings in person – to share ideas, draw pictures, build models.
– Such hybrid work related challenges are just the thing that motivate our team! Working as a part of the Microsoft Surface team makes it possible to find practical solutions to these challenges, says Viinikanoja.
Tampere – metropolitan buzz, village vibes
Top talents are rare and the competition for highly skilled workforce is intense. Those are the facts that may hinder the region’s growth in the future. On the other hand, Tampere has an extremely good reputation in the imaging circles, and that helps attract international talent to the region. According to Viinikanoja, many newcomers have been thrilled with Tampere – a city developing rapidly, with good buzz and village vibes.
– It has been pointed out that landing in the Tampere Imaging Ecosystem is a very good move professionally, and it is easy to adapt to the local pace of life. Personally, I haven’t found it hard to attract top talent to Tampere, Viinikanoja says.
Tampere is a growing city, investing in ambitious construction projects, public transport, etc. Therefore the main venue for the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will be the new multipurpose arena in Tampere, and the construction of a modern tramway makes everyday life and transportation easier while also renewing urban landscapes.
– I visited Tampere for the first time in years while the construction work in the city center was in the final stages. I was positively surprised how metropolitan Tampere had become, says Viinikanoja.