for April, 2014
On 24 April 2014 the Board of Directors of DIGILE approved EduTech as a new Business Ecosystem Programme and the first company groups for the business pilots have been formed. In the meeting education solutions were also highlighted as a focus area of ICT Alliance for year 2014. So far the EduTech Ecosystem has attracted around 20 companies at the Finnish side and there is growing interest in China and in joining EduTech, so we expect the number to reach 30 by end of 2014. The business pilots help to form relevant “clusters” around particular customer cases e.g. kindergartens, primary schools, high schools, universities, and vocational and professional education, where specific areas include transportation, senior care, and environmental issues.
The partners who have indicated interest in being involved in EduTech business pilots either as facilitators, customer or development partners in China include Beijing Normal University, East China Normal University, Wuhan AllKids Co., Ltd, CNIT – China Information Technology, Inc., BesTV and Shanghai Guofuguangqi Cloud Computing in China.
The first wave business pilot involves two pilot projects. DibiSchool is a pilot leader in the first EduTech Ecosystem launched in April 2014 and coordinated by DIGILE. DibiSchool partners with eOasis and Solution Space to serve the first pilot customer of TBD in China. As described by the company: “DibiSchool develops educational games for children for learning English with the lovable characters of the Dibidogs. The Dibidogs is an animation series with over 50 million viewers all around the world. In China, there are 14 channels showing the animation. Together with the pilot partners’ eOasis and Solutions Space, DibiSchool is creating new innovative services for Chinese kindergartens.”
The other pilot is in professional education in the transport area, more specifically for training airport personnel. This is a prime example of the training needs in a rapidly growing industry in China, where Finland has a good reputation. “Airport College International is dedicated to achieving optimum results for their clients operating in airline, airport handling and freight forwarding business. It provides a complete on-line training service for aviation and logistics industries. It takes part in pilot with partner of Context Learning and Neoxen.” The full range of web-based training programmes in safety, security and service topics comply with the regulations of international and national legislations and those established by governing bodies, such as the ICAO and IATA.
To complement the EduTech ecosystem that involves companies as partners, ICT Alliance has been preparing to launch an international EduTech Research Forum for involving universities and other relevant research actors, who are in charge of curriculum development, and guidelines. There are also discussions for setting up (joint) Cloud service in China ongoing to support joint R&D&I and pilots. In Finland the FORGE Service Lab is also now open as a relevant option for helping the development of “Education-as-a-Service” offerings.
On 8-9 April and 14-17 April meetings were held in Shanghai, including meetings with BesTV/SMG, Tekes, Tongji University and Aalto University and VTT experts and the Sino-Finnish Center team. The meetings with BesTV involved Mr. Liu Yong, Deputy General Manager of International BD Department, and Mr. Zheng Jie, VP Exec Vice Dean of BesTV Research Institute, and other colleagues. Joint interests were identified in the area of smart home services and specifically such that will be relevant to the elderly at home. It was suggested that during 2014 a joint roadmap for Sino-Finnish cooperation in this area would be outlined. For providing appropriate working platforms and for involving experts the local institutions and development environments are planned to be involved, in particular the new ISEEL Joint Lab to be set up at the Sino-Finnish Centre of Tongji University (see below).
On 16 April it was announced that Mr. Matti Hämäläinen, DIGILE / ICT Alliance and Aalto, has been appointed as a National High-end Foreign Expert (under the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs Program) at Tongji University to act as the Director of a new Joint Lab on Intelligent Services Embedded in Everyday Life for the Wellbeing of Elderly (ISEEL). The aim, in accordance to the co-creative approach of the ICT Alliance, is to create an open platform based at Tongji University, at the Sino-Finnish Centre (SFC), for research, education and innovation. It would bring together academic experts, students, companies, public entities, NGOs and other relevant actors from China, Finland and internationally for the co-creation and study of solutions for “smart home” and “smart life” with a special focus on the wellbeing of elderly.
At Tongji the meetings with experts were organized, including Prof. Lou Yongqi, Dean, College of Design & Innovation, Prof. Liu Fuqiang, School of Electronics and Information Engineering, Prof. Dong Hua, Dean of College of Arts and Media, and Dr. Su Yunsheng, Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning & Design Institute and co-founder of “Urban China” Magazine, and the Aalto SFC key people, Prof. Matti Nojonen and Mr. Matti M. Hämäläinen. The topics included the preparation of the ISEEL Lab activities as well as on-going ICT Alliance projects, the related Aalto – Tongji cooperation, and education related initiatives in the Sino-Finnish Learning Garden and the EduTech Ecosystem. One potential pilot in the professional education area is specifically senior care services training.
China-Finland ICT Alliance Finnish Partners Workshop
It includes University of Oulu, Aalto University, University of Helsinki, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Tsinghua University, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), and Huazhong University of Science and Technology as its academic partners. Sensing City Traffic was presented by Dr. Timo Nyberg, Aalto University. The academic partners include Aalto University and Chinese Academy of Sciences. These projects intensify research cooperation among each other and with related projects in Finland and China as described in the Research Forum Working group section below.
The project focusing on navigation systems cooperation, Finland’s Enhanced Navigation using COMPASS/Beidou Signals, was presented by Dr. Laura Ruotsalainen, Finnish Geodetic Institute (FGI). Finnish Geodetic Institute (FGI), GNSS Research Center (GRC) in Wuhan University, and Chinese Antarctic Center of Surveying and Mapping (CACSM) are the research partners. There is an interest both sides in China and Finland to extend this cooperation to include new research partners and companies (e.g. with Geostar who also joined the workshop).
Related to future activity planning, presentations were also given by invited experts: Dr. Sergey Andreev with Prof. Evgeny Kucheryavy, Tampere University of Technology, presented their research on Improved Connectivity and Service Experience in Heterogeneous 5G Deployments; and Future Networking cooperation (Beyond Internet) was represented by Dr. Arto Karila and Dr. Dmitrji Lagutin, who have been carrying on cooperation with Future Network Innovation Institute of China (FNII) based in Nanjing.
In the working session Prof. Jyrki Nummenmaa, University of Tampere, introduced their research activities in intelligent traffic (related to the City of Tampere’s Intelligent Traffic activities) and cooperation links in China.
An update on eServices and eBusiness research and the eBEREA network activities was presented by Prof. Jukka Heikkilä, University of Turku. Currently, active areas include research on developing and implementing digital services for “young elderly” in the BeWell research activity. It is now a part of DIGILE’s D2I research programme and has several company and research partners in Finland and is closely linked with international partners in China, Germany, Italy, Sweden and The Netherlands.
Dr. Risto Vilkko, Academy of Finland, presented the cooperation framework between the Academy of Finland and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the process for the ongoing preparation of a joint call on 5G networks. Dr. Mika Klemettinen, Tekes, described Tekes’ activities and future directions in the networking and Internet of Things areas that are thematically related to the ongoing and new initiatives in ICT Alliance. Companies in the field of future networks, everyday sensing and social media, and geoservices were presented by Dr. Philip Ginzboorg, Huawei, Mr. Kimmo Valtonen, M-Brain and Mr. Tony Liu, Geostar (WudaGeo).
China-Finland Workshop on 5G Networks in Shanghai
The objectives of the workshop were to discuss current developments in future network research, identify joint research interests in the field of 5G and finalise the collaborative Finland-China research project agenda. Considering the long term track record in Finland on cellular network development starting from General System for Mobile Communications (GSM), and the urgent demand for advanced mobile technologies in China, it is beneficial and strategic important to carry on joint 5G research in areas such as system design; air interface and multi-antenna; new spectrum, millimetre wave air interface and backhaul; efficient hardware and platforms, multi-cell, and signal processing; as well as management and modelling.
From the Chinese side, technical presentations were given by Prof. Xiaohu Ge, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Prof. Jianhua Zhang, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Prof. Honglin Hu, Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Prof. Qinyu Zhang, Harbin Institute of Technology, Dr. Fusheng Zhe, ZTE Corporation, Prof. Hua Zhang, Southeast University, Prof. Pinyi Ren, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Prof. Shengjie Zhao, Tongji University, Prof. Zhisheng Niu, Tsinghua University, Prof. Gang Wu, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Prof. Wuyang Zhou, University of Science and Technology of China, and Prof. Lingyang Song, Peking University.
From the Finnish side, presentations were given by Prof. Evgeny Kucheryavy, Tampere University of Technology, Prof. Mikko Valkama Tampere University of Technology, Dr. Sergey Andreev, Tampere University of Technology, Prof. Sasu Tarkoma, University of Helsinki, Dr. Tao Chen, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Prof. Antti-Heikki Tölli, University of Oulu, Prof. Riku Jäntti, Aalto University, and Dr. Kari Pehkonen, Broadcom Communications Finland Ltd. On behalf of China-Finland ICT Alliance, Dr. Jani Kaarlejärvi talked about the 5G elements of Horizon 2020, and financial opportunities in setting up joint, large-scale Finland-China-EU projects in the field of 5G. To begin a joint 5G EU proposal planning raised a lot of interest, and one or two joint teams could be set up to begin the planning for Call 14.
After three days of actively elaborating of the content of the joint call for Chinese-Finnish scientific cooperation, National Natural Science Foundation of China and Academy of Finland signed the Memorandum of Understanding concerning joint call on 5G networks. According to the preliminary schedule, the joint call will be published and opened in June 2014, decisions will be made in October 2014 and the funding period would begin in early 2015.
China-focused EduTech Business Ecosystem Workshop
Education is a focal area in China-Finland cooperation and to better synchronise activities and boost the impact of cooperation, the ”Sino–Finnish Learning Factory” (SFLF) initiative has been prepared under the direction of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture together with a team of experts from companies, research institutions and organisations. The initial areas suggested for the SFLF initiative include: learning research, teacher training and learning solutions, i.e. technology, services, and content ranging from kindergarten to primary, secondary and higher education and to vocational and professional education. When preparing the SFLF initiative, Digile as the Coordinator of China-Finland ICT Alliance has been invited to facilitate the cooperation of education technology and services companies, including related piloting and research. The preparation of EduTech business ecosystem started by Digile in 2013 together with those companies that were interested in education technologies and services area, under a theme “Education-as-a-Service”.
The second pilot was outlined by Mr. Ari Ketola, Context Learning Finland, Mr. Pentti Mero, Airport College, and Mr. Esa Tervo, Neoxen. It focuses on professional and corporate training, on transport and logistics in particular, targeting e.g. airport professional training. Mr. Mika Martikainen, Skilltize, described their offering in real-time online training and tutoring, with an initial focus on languages (English and other) and mathematics. Synergies were identified among these two pilots in planning and potential for a few additional pilots to be specified during the planning process. It has also become obvious that there is an interest among the partners to involve research centers in the EduTech cooperation model. A Research forum for education technologies and services focus area within ICT Alliance is now in active planning.
Focus area: Intelligent Sensing and Services for Traffic and Mobility in Urban Environment
Focus area: Elderly Services and Smart Home
In the ICT Alliance context, there has been an interest among a group of universities and companies to develop cooperation that would more actively link the areas of elderly services, personal health and wellbeing and smart home together. A “Home-as-a-Service Platform” concept has been introduced by Digile as a potential framework to bring together related activities in these complimentary areas. For example, a “Home based personal services for elderly” concept is being developed by Active Life Village and its partners in close cooperation with cities, such as the City of Espoo.
Elderly services and smart home solutions will be discussed in Beijing in early May 2014 in an international cooperation meeting hosted by the Beijing Academy of Science and Technology (BJAST), a key ICT Alliance partner in this area, involving also Fraunhofer IAO and representatives from Taiwan and Korea. Dr. Matti Hämäläinen, as the ICT Alliance representative, will also join the “3rd China International Senior Services Expo” (CISSE 2014) that is the main event in this field. This trip will also include visits to Zhongguancun Z-Park and Life Science Park for extending cooperation in these areas (these events coincide with the planned visit of Minister for Social Affairs and Health, Paula Risikko, in Beijing at the same time).
Hanasaari Forum on Nordic Education, Exporting Education Knowhow and China Cooperation
Focus area: Environmental Monitoring (Air Quality)
Pure Finland 2014 – High-level Events in Beijing in Autumn 2014
- “Coolest brands from Finland”, September;
- “Destination Finland”, 23-25 October;
- “Innovation Finland”, 25-27 November; and
- “Creative Finland”, December.
Jani Kaarlejärvi Appointed an Advisory Board Member in the European Commission funded CHOICE project on EU-China cooperation on ICT R&D&I
Through its objectives, the CHOICE project creates a bridge towards Horizon 2020 to shift away from technology-driven towards innovation-driven ICT R&D based on societal and consumer needs:
• Identify obstacles to reciprocity and encouraging a more balanced ICT R&D&I relationship with China based on reciprocity, supporting European nationals, companies and organisations willing to access Chinese research programmes;
• Highlight and showcase European and Chinese excellence in ICT R&D; and
• Strengthen EU-China industrial ICT R&D cooperation, also with the view of preparing the ground for new upcoming rules governing EU-China ICT R&D cooperation under Horizon 2020.
Next Activities and Actions
- China-Finland ICT Alliance new initiative meetings in Shanghai, Beijing and Wuhan, 7-17 April
- Cooperation meetings on Elderly Care Services and “Smart Home for elderly”, 3-9 May, Beijing
- China-Finland ICT Alliance new initiative meetings in Shanghai and Beijing, June
- ICT Alliance Research Forum on Intelligent Sensing and Services in Urban Environment for Traffic and Mobility (ISSUE-TM) during the 10th ITS European Congress, 16-19 June, Helsinki
- International Conference on Management Science and Engineering (21th) (ICMSE2014) in cooperation with eBEREA network, 17-18 August, Helsinki
- Finnish-Chinese Workshop on Analysis of Social Media, University of Tampere, 6-13 August, Tampere
- Pure Finland, “Coolest brands from Finland”, September, Beijing
- Shanghai Design Week, 13.-17.10.2014, Shanghai
- Radical Design Week, 16.-25.10.2014, Shanghai
- Pure Finland, “Destination Finland”, 23-25 October, Beijing
- Pure Finland, “Innovation Finland”, 25-27 November, Beijing
- Pure Finland, “Creative Finland”, December, Beijing
More Information on China-Finland ICT Alliance and Digile
For more information, please visit the China-Finland ICT Alliance website www.ictalliance.org, Digile website www.digile.fi and http://www.digile.fi/DIGILEintro or contact Dr. Matti Hämäläinen and Dr. Jani Kaarlejärvi (email@example.com).
Sino-Finnish Learning Garden Meeting in Beijing: New learning solutions and technologies are needed for Chinese basic and vocational educationApr 15 2014
On 10 April EduTech meetings were organised in Beijing for planning the SFLG development with MoEC, and with Beijing Normal University (BNU), the leading education university, and with BNU Publishing Group, a leading educational publisher in China.
In the meetings with Mr. Mika Tirronen, Counsellor (Science & Education), Embassy of Finland, the key cooperation areas were discussed, including both basic education and vocational education areas that are currently in focus in China and considered for renewal based on learning from best practices and solutions in other countries. Finland is a recognised partner in these areas.
The role of local authorities is of prime importance. Cooperation with Beijing Municipal Education Committee (BMEC) and Shanghai Municipal Education Committee (SMEC) has been initiated. There is interest in linking schools directly to the SFLG activities in these cities and with the corresponding cities in Finland. The sister city relationship of City of Espoo and City of Shanghai and the relationship of the City of Helsinki and City of Beijing will help to facilitate the linking of corresponding education authorities and schools. There is already ongoing cooperation among the schools, including headmasters and teachers, as well as visit programmes.
When considering the role EduTech Ecosystem and Research Forum, we see the technology based solutions helping to boost the collaboration and learning of new practices and solutions both ways, and bring the physical space and the ritual online space together. To support the cooperation, the concepts of “Joint Learning Labs” and “Finland Classrooms” have been discussed with the involved universities and companies in Finland and in China.
Meeting with CEREC representatives, Mr. Yuzhou Cai, and a delegation from the University of Tampere, was organised at BNU to jointly plan the cooperation with CEREC in the SFLG EduTech area and in the China-Finland ICT Alliance. CEREC and the corresponding center at BNU, the Finnish Education Research Centre (FERC), have already established cooperation and can support in several areas including learning administration, quality assurance, teacher training, and guidelines development.
At BNU, Ms. Jun Wang, Deputy Director, Office of International Exchange & Cooperation, hosted a meeting with Mika Tirronen, Matti Hämäläinen and Jani Kaarlejärvi from the Finnish side and Prof. Shengquan Yu, Director, the Joint Laboratory for Mobile Learning, Ministry of Education – China Mobile Communication Corporation, and Ms. Xi Xie, Beijing Normal University Publishing Group (BNUPG) to discuss the research and business pilots cooperation planned to be launched during 2014.
BNU is in a position to become a key hub for EduTech research and as well as facilitate EduTech Ecosystem business pilots in selected test schools to help understanding the requirements of the local schools as well as those set by the national and local curriculum. When relevant content and digital solutions have been identified, BNUPG will consider involvement in their focal areas respectively. BNUPG has been recognised as a higher education publisher and they also indicated interest in Kindergarten area solutions and content. It was agreed that follow-up meetings all be organised in June and joint workshops to be planned for the October-November time frame when high-level land expert delegations will visit China (possibly to be organised to coincide with the PURE Finland events).
In addition to introducing the solutions form Finland, a key area in the EduTech cooperation will be joint development and testing of new learning solutions and learning environments. This can involve mobile learning, ubiquitous access, wearable technologies, augmented reality and related technologies that help bridge the physical and virtual world. This may take place in the Joint Lab that BNU has set up with China Mobile (CMCC). The next step is to start planning of concrete the cooperation in development, testing and piloting of education technology solutions and services as well as joint research, including e.g. learning analytics, sensing technologies, and others.
For EduTech the next step will be identifying the potential pilots for BNU and BNUPG to discus with the selected Finnish companies. BNU has already a good experience in working with Finnish approach in the GraphoGame case, developed by the University of Jyväskylä (Prof. Heikki Lyytinen and his team). The potential solutions to be piloted include educational games for maths, languages, and other skills, including music. Also, new learning service platforms and technologies (e.g. ultra low energy e-paper, NFC and other physical world /digital world interaction) are potential candidates.
A new EU-China cooperation project has been launched last January 2014 aiming to provide continuity and progress in supporting and strengthening China Collaboration on ICT research with Europe.
The CHOICE project is funded by the European Commission DG CONNECT through its 7th Framework Programme and comprises Chinese and European partners, involved in previous and on-going EU-China collaboration projects, that will ensure all the valuable outputs of previous projects will be fully exploited and that synergies with relevant projects will be developed.
During its two-year duration, the CHOICE project emphasis will be put on:
· Identifying obstacles to reciprocity and encouraging a more balanced relationship with China based on reciprocity, especially supporting European nationals, companies and organisations willing to access Chinese research programmes;
· Highlighting and showcasing both EU and Chinese excellence in ICT R&D;
· Strengthening EU-China industrial ICT R&D cooperation, also with the view of preparing the ground for new upcoming rules governing EU-China ICT R&D cooperation under Horizon 2020 (H2020).
Thanks to this approach, the CHOICE project will create a bridge towards H2020 and capitalize on the timely conjunction of H2020 shift away from technology driven towards innovation driven ICT R&D based on societal needs and consumer aspirations, with the Chinese Government’s firm commitment to growing domestic demand, thus emphasizing opportunities in China for the exploitation of H2020 and in particular its potential for contributing to increasing Chinese domestic demand.