for October, 2013
China-Finland ICT Alliance Official Phase II Kick-off Forum, Shanghai
The China-Finland ICT Alliance Week gathered Finnish and Chinese partners representing recently completed, new projects and selected future initiatives. It also acted as a forum for several different business meetings and workshop sessions including cooperation in areas such as cloud services, big data applications, traffic services, geoservices and navigation, environmental monitoring technologies and solutions,elderly care and assisted living.
China-Finland ICT Alliance had its official Phase II kick-off forum in Shanghai on 24-26 September 2013. The main objective of the forum was to further develop new ways of international R&D&I cooperation, in particular between China and Finland. One of the key objectives was also to prepare new Finland-China initiatives in the jointly defined areas,such as digital services, aging care, urbanisation, smart traffic, environmental sensing and monitoring, and education, and other areas.
In the opening words the two official ICT Alliance coordinators, Prof. Honglin Hu of WICO and Prof. Matti Hämäläinen of DIGILE, highlighted the results of the completed work in future networking, future wireless, and future services that exceeded the initial expectations and built a good basis for moving forward in the launched Phase II projects. The work now continues in areas of joint interest, including energy efficient networking, development of future digital services based on cloud computing, big data, in particular when linked with sensing and novel IoT solutions, and applications in intelligent cities, environment, ageing society among other. The China-Finland ICT Alliance has now been developed to a potential model for creating an open international R&D&I cooperation platform for all.
Dr. Xing Jijun, Deputy Director General of China Science and Technology Exchange Center (CSTEC) from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the ICT Alliance set a new target to develop the Alliance actively towards international cooperation. R&D&I cooperation would benefit from even broader international partnerships. The Alliance platform has been played an important role in strengthening relationships between China and Finland, and this has become a very good showcase of a bilateral, win-win cooperation.
Ms. Marja Aspelund, Consul General of Finland in Shanghai, highlighted that China-Finland ICT Alliance has very well met its objectives in stimulating cooperation between China and Finland. This kind of cooperation is exactly what is needed. Through the launch of phase II projects the initial scope has extended and expectations are even higher. There is still a substantial unleashed potential in this cooperation, and students and university campuses represent a unique environment for creating and testing new solutions. This aspect is included the ICT Alliance’s next phase activities. Together China and Finland are well positioned for co-creating new innovative solutions and global breakthroughs, and Finland can also act as a “gateway” linking the EU and other international partners and markets together.
Mr. Jarmo E. Heinonen, Consul of Science and Technology & Head of TEKES Shanghai, reminded that TEKES has been active in funding China-focused R&D&I projects since the 1980s, and China will continue to be one of the key focus areas for TEKES. Through R&D&I cooperation it is possible to open up new business opportunities for both partners. TEKES played an important role in setting up the China-Finland ICT Alliance in 2009, and now in 2013 TEKES funded new joint ICT Alliance projects with more than M2€. Expectations on the industrial and academic impact of the Phase II projects are high.
Dr. Fusheng Zhu, Chief Engineer of ZTE Corporation, pointed out in his industrial keynote speech that 5G is one of the key topics when discussing R&D in future networks. China has taken a very active position towards developing and testing 5G. Development of 5G is such a potential area that it should be also put on the China-Finland-EU agenda.
Prof. Sasu Tarkoma, Academic Coordinator of DIGILE’s Internet of Things programme & University of Helsinki, presented DIGILE’s IoT programme and how it promotes the creation and growth of ecosystems that involve companies, universities, and individual contributors. It develops IoT platform technology, an IoT hub, for the concrete and rapid realisation of IoT deployments and ecosystems. An IoT hub is a backend system developed for certain type of IoT devices. The hub controls the devices and stores the data that they produce solving the problem of device and data ownership. Anyone can setup an IoT hub and thus their size can vary from small to very large deployments. The programme also develops an open API for IoT hubs so that data and access to sensors can be provided to third-party applications and other hub instances.
ICT Alliance New Initiatives and Partner Meetings Day was arranged to provide an opportunity to openly discuss, present and plan new initiatives in areas of joint interests and to meet with interested researchers and teams as well as companies.The day also provided an opportunity to become familiar with the Sino-Finnish Centre (SFC) in Shanghai, established for joint research, design, innovation, education and industry – university collaboration. It can also act as one local “platform” and forum for ICT Alliance activities in China.Many new initiatives were identified to be taken forward under the China-Finland ICT Alliance:
- 5G and new opportunities in Future Networks
- IoT Hubs connecting IoT deployments across space and time for opportunities in experimental research, innovation and business
- New open mobile and embedded platforms – open sw, open hw and open design
- Intelligent spaces (e.g. smart home, smart living, assisted living and solutions for elderly)
- Intelligent traffic and mobility of people in urban environments
- Geoservices and navigation
- Big Data and Cloud Services in China-Finland/EU cooperation
- Green Campus – monitoring of energy use, environment (e.g. air quality) and user behaviour.
As a result of the New Initiatives meeting in Shanghai, followed by meetings in Beijing at the end of the ICT Alliance Workshop Week, active thematic groups of Chinese and Finnish partners were formed to work on the development of joint R&D&I activities in the above topics.
These range from linking the now funded Phase II projects to new pilots in China and Finland (e.g. in traffic and services for mobility in urban areas, monitoring on energy and environment), to extend current and new Business Ecosystem programmes to involve Chinese pilots and R&D partners, and to prepare for large scale Finland/Nordic/EU – China proposals in cooperation with MOST and in cooperation with NSFC as well as working with MIIT in large scale new digital services area.
The Business Ecosystem programmes being currently prepared in the China-Finland ICT Alliance context include Elderly Care and Active Life (ECAL) and Open Mobile and Embedded Ecosystem (OMECO) coordinated by DIGILE in Finland. The large scale initiatives are planned to involve key EU partners and Finland as “a hub” and some to be established with China-Nordic cooperation as a starting point.
In the discussion it was also noted that for example Sweden and Germany and others have China-focused funding instruments set up and they have been successful in boosting cooperation. It was proposed that also Finland should have a foundation, “Finland-China Foundation”, that would focus especially on supporting and further developing Finland-China R&D cooperation.New initiatives and ecosystem programs DIGILE as the China-Finland ICT Alliance coordinator from the Finnish side, together with industrial and academic partners in China and in Finland, has jointly identified a number of areas as a basis for development of new initiatives, new research projects as well as the launch of business oriented ecosystem programmes to drive the creation of new breakthrough areas together.As an example, services for ageing society, including elderly care wellbeing and health, has been set as one of the priority areas for coming years. Population aging hits many Western and international societies and new health and aging related initiatives are currently being planned. DIGILE’s “Elderly Care and Active Life Ecosystem” (ECAL) will be the first Finnish international cross-SHOK ecosystem. It focuses on boosting business development between Finnish and Chinese companies, and it involves about ten actors at the initial stage – more to follow later. The fundamental objective is to take social innovations to market through co-creation and co-development.In the field of elderly care and wellbeing, it was recognised that following topics would require more actions. These same elements will also be highly relevant in other key areas of cooperation, such as urbanisation and environmental solutions:
- understanding Chinese culture, traditions, and expectations;
- involving training, regulation development and new business approaches and models leveraging the vast business opportunities;
- linking public, private and consumer perspectives, linking bottom-up and top-down activities;
- cities as key actors and decision-makers;
- stronger business cooperation; and
- bilateral funding instruments, aiming at developing solutions to jointly addressing the global markets
Other new initiatives include preparation of Open Mobile and Embedded Ecosystem in Finland-China cooperation. A workshop was organised at BUPT in Beijing on Open SW, Open HW and Open Innovation Platforms. Closely related to this “open innovation platforms” work is the development of new educational approaches involving university-industry cooperation in innovation and entrepreneurship and the development of scalable “Challenge” based approaches for that. A Letter on Collaboration was signed between China-Finland ICT Alliance / DIGILE and BUPT to promote cooperation in open SW and open SW and open design and to initiate discussions for inviting university and industry partners to join the OMECO Ecosystem as a key research and piloting partners in China.
A number of other areas are also actively developed as new joint initiatives and business-oriented R&D&I and business pilots. The Company Meeting involved discussions on cloud and big data service cooperation development in China and in Finland with companies such as Cloud Valley, Shanghai Guofuguangqi Cloud Computing as well as on geoservices with Wuhan based Geostar (WudaGeo).
More Information on China-Finland ICT Alliance and DIGILE
For more information, please visit the China-Finland ICT Alliance official website www.ictalliance.org, DIGILE website www.digile.fi or contact Dr. Matti Hämäläinen and Dr. Jani Kaarlejärvi (firstname.lastname@example.org).