for July, 2014
The International Research Forum on Intelligent Sensing and Services in Urban Environment for Traffic and Mobility (ISSUE-TM) is the first Research Forum established by ICT Alliance and the experiences and lessons learned will be used when launched other such Forums, in areas where active cooperation already exists, such as in education and learning solutions and in smart living and smart homes for the seniors.
Sensing, social media and data analysis are among the topics studied for innovative solutions and new business opportunities in intelligent traffic and urban mobility. There are already a number of teams and projects active in China-Finland cooperation – or planning to establish such cooperation. They come from different cities and universities providing resources and expertise for complementary collaboration. There is clearly a call for a forum that would enable making use of the synergies, combining adequate resources for international collaboration and for big research initiatives aiming at helping to solve some of the major challenges in society.
ICT Alliance and its coordinators, DIGILE and WiCO, are well positioned to act as facilitators of such Research Forums where activities involve research combined with pilots for large-scale real-life experimentation that provide experiences and data to understand better the underlying phenomena and the proposed solutions. Pilots also provide context for studying viable business models and opportunities to explore commercial cooperation, thus bringing universities and companies together in business oriented R&D&I. The ISSUE-TM Forum has concrete and practical aims, including:
- Devising jointly agreed common “core” principles, data items and formats for data collection and data sharing, and agreeing on sharing of experiences from different experimentation approaches for making best use of the complementary data available in Finland /Europe and in China respectively.
- Sharing access to data sets and/or analysis results of pilots in Finland and in China, such as City of Oulu and City of Tampere, and the data sets being collected by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and in Fuzhou and Beijing.
- Preparing for applying for a cooperative national projects in Finland and in China, bi-lateral Sino-Finnish projects, and EU projects creating first proposals in 2014 (e.g. Horizon 2020)
- Arranging co-located ISSUE-TM Forum events in Finland and in China and setting up online collaboration. The events will be organized both in the context ICT Alliance events and in the relevant conferences and exhibitions in ITS and Smart City area.
- Arranging visiting expert talks as well as involving PhD level exchange researchers in the Forum activities and in related Doctoral Summer Schools.
ISSUE-TM is planning a joint application to develop a sensor network for the some of the most central urban areas in Finland (Prof. Jukka Riekki, University of Oulu, will coordinate this application). Discussions with Chinese partners regarding parallel projects are conducted. Linking already ongoing platforms and is planned to be followed by new joint projects. These may be initially funded by separate calls and later provide basis for joint calls e.g. by NSFC and Academy of Finland (for university driven research) and MOST and provincial / municipal S&T Committees and Tekes (for industry driven research). ISSUE-TM also forms a good basis for developing joint proposals for international calls, such as EU H2020.
Open Data – an opportunity for linking research teams and cities
In Finland the six biggest cities (Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa, Turku and Oulu) have a common program for work on open data and related issues and to open up more municipal data. There are expected to be pilot applications on open data and traffic, in particular, is one of the key areas. City of Tampere is coordinating the projects for that part, involving actors from at least two of the participating cities. Since ISSUE-TM includes active and experienced teams from the major Finnish universities it is in a good position for a strong application. For example, focusing on Traffic Situation Displays (snapshots of the actual or partly predicted situation of the traffic) the aim is to create methods for data analysis to improve traffic and environment situation displays, working on open data and/or producing open data. The sources include data from traffic, such as public transportation and traffic lights, and from sensors, including static city sensors, sensors in cars, and wearable user sensors, including mobile phones. The user or vehicle specific raw data cannot be opened, but the analysis results, if properly produced, can be. Also non-open data such as taxi traffic data can similarly be used. Infrastructure data on road conditions, and environmental data containing e.g. information on weather, should also be included, as well as social data. Prof. Jyrki Nummenmaa, University of Tampere, will lead the preparatory work for joint proposal in this area aiming at submission by the participating Finnish partners by September 2014.
Data and computation platform
The universities themselves have their own facilities, which differ, however it is not easy to open up the universities’ own platforms for external use. One preferred option is to use FORGE Service Laboratory launched by DIGILE. Other options are contacting CSC directly and using commercial cloud services. Prof. Jyrki Nummenmaa will continue the discussion with DIGILE on the platform. Such a platform could be set-up by partners in China to be gradually linked with the Finnish platform for joint research and development.
The events during summer 2014 involving ICT Alliance / ISSUE-TM include:
- The 10th ITS European Congress, Jun 16-19, Helsinki, where meetings of the Finnish teams was held.
- August 6th – August 13th University of Tampere will host a Finnish – Chinese event on analysis of Social Media. The Programme will involve a specific session in ISSUE-TM including both Chinese and Finnish experts.
- 2014 International Conference on Management Science and Engineering (21th) (ICMSE2014),
Organised by Harbin Institute of Technology and Aalto University, in cooperation with the eBEREA network and China-Finland ICT Alliance. Theme: Management of Innovation in Big Data Era, August 17-18, 2014 Helsinki, Finland. There will be a specific invitational workshop involving Chinese and Finnish partners.
One of the grand themes in China-Finland collaboration is urbanisation. In digital solutions, the concept of Smart City combines a variety of technology and application areas that have been selected for joint R&D&I and piloting activities that involve multiple stakeholders in active cooperation. Smart cities are not primarily about technology but about solutions for supporting planning, decision making and operative activities for the city for better serving citizens while ensuring economic and environmental sustainability and best use of resources. Many of the enabling technologies and services for smart city being studied and developed in ICT Alliance activities, also involve pre-commercial pilots in Finland and China. The topics include such as sensing, connectivity, cloud computing, geospatial services as well as social media and mobile messaging platforms, linking people and the intelligent environment. Data fusion and analysis of data originating from the variety of sources, i.e. big data, is also involved. These ongoing projects include the Finnish-led Tekes funded projects, Everyday Sensing (Cloud, IoT, data analysis, and social media), Sensing City Traffic, Finland’s Enhanced Navigation using COMPASS/Beidou Signals, and the Finnish-Chinese Green ICT R&D&I Living Lab for Energy Efficient, Clean and Safe Environments, and well as the Chinese-led MOST funded projects, IoT applied to traffic information and Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication.
For establishing active links with relevant forums and facilitators in this area the ICT Alliance coordination team (DIGILE) has recently been in discussions with such Chinese industry alliances that play key role in the area. In particular, the National Industry Alliance of Smart City Technology Innovation (NIASCTI) that is supervised by the MOHURD and being supported and cooperated with MOST and NDRC, will provide a relevant network to work with ICT Alliance for moving forward in the China-Finland cooperation.
The new services enabled by the technology and rapid penetration of mobile Internet include a variety of demand responsive services in traffic and other areas. Thus, in the Internet Economy era, innovation is very much about business models and service experiences instead of being just technology-driven. Many such services are already provided both by public actors (e.g. Kutsuplus.fi by Ajelo offered by HSL, Helsinki Region Transport) and by rapidly growing private companies. The Uber taxi service that originated from the US and since grown to a globally operating Internet company and similar services supported by the Internet giants, Alibaba and Tencent, in China, are among the prominent examples already in wide use. When combined with better understanding of users everyday activities, contexts, behaviours and needs we can expect the future demand driven and “resource optimal” services to emerge.
Smart cities – and innovative cities – are also about enabling the communities and citizens to become actively involved in services creation and in contributing to the development of the urban environment and the quality of life. Thus solutions that support participative development as well as open innovation are relevant in the future. In particular, the Open Data movement that makes public data sources, such as the data from various city services, available via open APIs for third parties to innovate new services are under active development and may form one element for joint projects. Social media analysis and creating of new solutions that leverage social media and chat services for communication with the “smart devices” are among recent trends and already included in some of the ICT Alliance projects.
Smart cities – being smart in developing neighbourhoods, building and homes
The work on smart cities in ICT Alliance can be described in a multi-layered view: smart cities consist of smart neighbourhoods with smart building and smart homes in a setting where users and communities are key actors. The related service architectures and platforms are being studied involving approaches that may provide guiding principles for the work. A good example, being jointly developed in international cooperation, is the “city-on-demand” concept that has been developed in the cooperative of led by Prof. Jarmo Suominen, Aalto University and MIT, and Dr. Su Yunsheng, Tongji University.
A sustainable city is developed by optimising the use of existing and emerging resources, supporting resource sharing, and by involving the citizens and communities in active role. For example, energy efficiency results from efficient on-demand usage of resources in mobility and housing. Work environments will be increasingly rented as a services that adapt according to the intended use by employing configurable spaces and related services, transportation will be based on combination of on-demand solutions and user optimised travel chains where environmentally sound solutions can be prioritized by users, and services for living at home support our changing habits and over time changing needs of living by providing situationally relevant configurations of spaces and services – in the best case automatically created based on observed rhythms and needs.
Such solutions range from home level, to buildings, neighbourhoods, city districts and eventually to city levels. For future cities it will be important to make the top-down City-driven initiatives and the bottom-up user and community-driven initiatives “meet-in-the-middle” and to leverage the synergies. In particular, the development of solutions for the public sector, private sector and consumer markets should be supported the variety of services in a city ranging from transport, to environmental solutions, and to health, wellbeing and senior care.
In smart city the “Service Architecture (in the city context) refers to the linking of the physical and digital environments, circumstances and people’s action. It aims at supporting people’s and organisations goals with regards to actions, habits and daily routines based on analysing the environments, circumstances, and service capability, and by linking the technical, economical and operational value to the emotional value and the customer experience. A socially dense city can also be a truly human city based on local neighbourhoods connected together in most efficient ways and energising and inspiring its users. Neighbourhoods that support flexible and multifaceted services are desirable areas – and create editable cities – where the services support their users’ everyday life and bring added value to it.
ICT enablers, in addition to the above mentioned sensing, connectivity, cloud and other technologies, include e-identity, authentication and easy to use payment solutions that make the efficient service use as easy and attractive as possible. Specific technologies currently studied in China-Finland cooperation as enablers for enabling easy access flow with automatically configurable spaces and payments is NFC. However, more advanced biometric solutions that would enable “Me as my signature” approach will also be studied. With personal data being collected from almost every aspect of people’s online activities and their physical life it will become a major asset and basis for future services.
Consequently the research and development of solutions for Personal Data Ecosystem is actively ongoing. Importantly, trust is required among the personal data ecosystem parties to allow data to flow and to be leveraged and enriched. For example, in the above outlined sharing economy services establishing trust among the parties is a necessity for their growth (examples such as Airbnb apartment rental service and Uber and other transportation network companies are well known examples). Finland as a globally recognised gateway for trusted digital services, and China as a prime mover in new digital and Internet services innovation and adoption, are well positioned to leverage their complementary capabilities and expertise in this area for the global markets.
Smart City – basis for international multi-sectoral R&D&I collaboration
The solutions for smart cities are of systemic nature and need to involve a variety of stakeholders, disciplines and technologies as well as several administrative and industry sectors. Thus, they form a natural context for cross-sectoral cooperation. For facilitation of international R&D&I and piloting activities in this area it is important to establish cooperative links among entities that represent the relevant government sectors both at national and at city level as well as close cooperation among the industry specific research entities. In Finland, the Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation, SHOKs, being prime actors in their respective industry sectors and there are several who are already involved, or becoming active in China cooperation such as CLEEN – Cluster for Energy and Environment, RYM – Built Environment Innovations, and SalWe – Health and Well-being.
Contributing to Beautiful Beijing
In ICT Alliance the current activities can be categorised by a few thematic areas including intelligent traffic and urban mobility services, environmental monitoring services, and smart home and smart building solutions. These all contribute to sustainability, in particular in resource use, and to the improved quality of living environments and services in the city and at home. And, all these areas are such that they contribute to Beautiful Beijing cooperation.
In traffic and urban mobility services ICT Alliance has launched the International Research Forum on Intelligent Sensing and Services in Urban Environment for Traffic and Mobility (ISSUE-TM) to bring the active research teams and other involved actors together in China – Finland cooperation and in wider international cooperation involving e.g. team from the US. This is the first thematic Research Forum launched under the ICT Alliance.
More information about the:
Learning from the experiences other such Research Forums are being planned in areas where active multiparty China-Finland cooperation is ongoing and there is call for such as facilitating forum that goes beyond individual projects and organisations. The ISSUE-TM involves pilots in Finland (e.g. City of Oulu, City of Tampere and Helsinki region), with University of Oulu, University of Tampere, and Aalto among key research partners. The work involves companies of current ICT Alliance projects and DIGILE’s Data-to-intelligence (D2I) programme and new are being invited. In China there are corresponding ICT Alliance projects e.g. in Shanghai and Hangzhou, and active teams in Fuzhou and in Beijing.
In environmental monitoring services the focus has been on air quality monitoring and analysis services where there has been already several years of activity towards China in the CLEEN MMEA China Testbed project. It has involved several companies such as Pegasor and Vaisala, research centers and sectoral research institutions such as VTT and FMI, and universities such as Aalto and Tampere University of Technology. This area has become particularly timely and urgent as the air quality situation has become very challenging in cities such as Beijing, and others. Among the other smart city topics related to traffic and to buildings, this is a priority in the Beautiful Beijing cooperation between China and Finland.
To facilitate joint research in digitally enabled new solutions in air quality monitoring ICT Alliance organised meetings in March 2014, leveraging also the synergies with CLEEN, for bringing together companies such as GeoStar and NavInfo in China and Pegasor, Vaisala, FMI, Active Life Village, in Finland. The concrete aim was to create cooperation in developing and testing new services to extend the already existing AirQuality Platform for Beijing provided by GeoStar and its partners. This resulted also to the submission of a joint proposal to the joint call of Tekes and MOST submitted by May 2014. In addition to fine particle monitoring and analysis, linking user generated observations as well as health advice and alerts are planned to be included. This will be important in particular for people at risk due to age or health conditions.
While the outdoor air quality will take time to improve even if strict measures would be immediately taken there are immediate opportunities to improve the quality of air – and the quality of life – indoors. This area is included in the work of some of the ICT Alliance projects, like the Finnish-Chinese Green ICT R&D&I Living Lab for Energy Efficient, Clean and Safe Environments, led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. It will also be one of the areas to be promoted in the smart home and smart appliances cooperation aiming at wellbeing for at home. For example, the ”Home-as-a-Service Platform” concept will be adopted and demonstrated in the new Joint Lab on Intelligent Services Embedded in Everyday Life (ISEEL) in Shanghai at Sino-Finnish Centre, Tongji University, to be set up in 2014. It will initially focus on the wellbeing of seniors and will provide a base for more generic smart home services and elements in creating more comprehensive smart neighbourhood and smart city solutions. This area is discussed in more detail in Focus Area: Elderly Services and Smart Home.
Activities Overview in Sino-Finnish Senior Services and Smart Home cooperation in the April-June 2014 PeriodJul 07 2014
During the April – June 2014 period several events and meetings related to Senior Services and Smart Home areas, involving technology development, piloting and education & training services, have been organised or joined by the ICT Alliance and DIGILE.
Elderly care is an important area for innovative solutions and business creation. ICT Alliance was invited to discuss cooperation in elderly care services and concrete pilot opportunities with the representatives of Beijing Fengtai Economic and Information Technology Commission and the district management. Fengtai district has invested in information technology and created a roadmap towards “a wisdom district” but its population is aging fast. By the end of 2013, the elderly population accounted for as much as 24 percent of the whole registered district population. The large population base, the continuous growth and the large amount of elderly population are three main features of this aging district. Possible solutions are studied in elderly care pilots combining big data and mobile health solutions. It was agreed to continue discussions on how to implement ICT cooperation between Finland and China by providing best solutions on integrating ICT facilities into smart and innovative senior housing and management, as well as integrating worldwide most advanced technologies and experiences into the on-going projects in senior care services. This will provide opportunities for new business development via ICT Alliance cooperation. Examples include the already launched Business Ecosystems, like Elderly Care and Active Life, ECAL, as well as new ones focusing e.g. on Smart Home or on home based diagnostics.
– 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.
– 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).
– On 4-7 May Minister of Social Affairs and Health Paula Risikko visited China with more than 40 Finnish health care companies
– On 15 May the kick-off meeting of the first “Home-as-a-Service Platfrom” project was held at Urban Mill, Aalto, in Espoo.
– On 10 June China-Finland ICT Alliance, BlueAngel HongYe Investment (Group), Tekes, Finpro and China’s National Industry Alliance of Smart City Technology Innovation organised a workshop on smart agriculture, smart city and smart living services in Beijing. A meeting with China Aging Development Foundation, CADF, Chairman Mr. Li Baoku, was organised for planning of cooperation activities in ageing society services
– On 12 and 14 June a meeting with ICT Alliance and Shenzen Medical Education Center (SMEC) had a meeting on establishing a long term collaboration between China and Finland in senior care and integrated care training and services, and in particular the administration of senior care services that is about to emerge as an industry in China.
Ageing of the population is a common trend in the developed countries and will start to face some of the developing societies as well. In China the challenges related to ageing society services – and the associated opportunities – are of exceptional scale. The statistics of Sixth National Population Census by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs indicated that the number of people older than 60 years was close to 200 million (over 13 percent of the total population) in 2012 and the senior population will continue to grow very fast in coming 30 years. The one child policy (4-2-1 family structure) and urbanisation will further amplify this challenge.
Consequently, there is a vast gap between the elderly care resources and the needs in this growing market. The government naturally cannot alone take the responsibility of providing the needed services for the rapidly aging population in China. This creates new business opportunities in public services, private services and in citizen and consumer driven solutions. For example, the rapid growth of the (mobile) Internet in China as well as the rapidly developing communications and cloud infrastructure and the investments in IoT and related technologies will help to provide the needed infrastructure and building blocks for new services.
The development of digital solutions for new innovative services for the aging society has been a jointly identified area for China-Finland cooperation already for some years. For example, the Sino-Finnish Active Ageing cooperation initiative was launched at Shanghai World Expo 2010 and since then developed to involve activities in other cities, like Beijing and Wuhan and being extended e.g. to Shenzhen. China-Finland ICT Alliance has also chosen Senior Services as one of the focus areas. The aim is to help senior citizens to live active and quality life at homes longer, reduce the time period spent at hospitals by supporting rehabilitation and home care, support their active participation in the society, and facilitate social interaction with relatives and friends. The focus is not just on creating solutions that would categorically set elderly apart by “old people” but taking an integrative and holistic view. One element is to use the widely deployed consumer platforms for ensuring wide availability and for having basis for rapidly scaling solutions. For example, the very recent announcements (in June) on smart home and smart health platforms and development tools by major companies like Apple and Google and similar developments in China can be leveraged. The ICT Alliance activities combine research and developments in related areas, such as smart home, personal health and wellbeing, and smart communities and cities where demand responsive and situationally relevant services for the citizens are being studied.
A prerequisite of successful and wide adoption of technology solutions in elderly services is properly organized education and training. It has been estimated that up to 30 million people need to be (re)trained in the coming years in China to provide the services and to boost the creation of this new “senior industry”. When linked with the introduction of appropriate processes and supporting technologies, the benefits from new solutions can be realised. Even training as such is a substantial joint opportunity for Finnish and Chinese partners and relates well to the also on-going cooperation in learning solutions. It is important to put these activities in the “big picture” for understanding the market and priorities. The role of real estate industry that may for example enjoy special preferential treatments and support when developing senior communities with relevant services, the on-going and planned reforms in health insurance and medical services, and the initiatives aiming at better integrating IT industry and health sector in China are examples of such major areas and initiatives to position with.
In the ICT Alliance 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. Recently, “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 a consortium led by Active Life Village in close cooperation with DIGILE, with cities, such as the City of Espoo and Municipality of Pyhtää, and with the Ministry of Transport and Communications. With such a comprehensive initiatives that bring together companies, universities and key public sector actors – working closely together with the Chinese development and channel partners and with the key stakeholders – we can together create more relevant propositions for the Chinese market. And in the next phase, with Chinese partners, to bring very competitive and advanced solutions to the growing international markets.
The new Research program on promoting health and wellness, planned jointly by SalWe and DIGILE, could play an important role in the senior services area and in China cooperation. It is tentatively titled as “Speedy Recovery” as it aims at drastically shortening the stay in hospitals and speeding up rehabilitation at home.