for July, 2016
The state level cooperation frameworks and meetings, such as the China-Finland S&T Joint Committee meetings, are important to be involved in for long term planning and for defining joint focus areas. For the medium to short term cooperation and actual implementations the role of province and city level cooperation is growing as the pilot projects often take place at the province and city or district level.
The Tekes-MOST joint call during spring 2016, involving Zhejiang and Jiangsu specific calls, is an example of active province level collaboration. The ICT Alliance together with active university partners, University of Oulu and Aalto, facilitated the creation of “Smart IoT Consortium” including collection of proposals for local demonstrators at the China side. This was followed by a workshop in Shanghai in April to develop and finalize proposals.
ICT Alliance participated city focused cooperation events such as visit of the delegation of Vice Mayor Biao Chen, Shenzhen Municipal Government Office, in June at TEM where
topics involved bioeconomy, cleantech and digitalization (BCD) as well as industrial design where the cooperation is already ongoing.
The city level cooperation of Espoo and Shanghai has continued and is again on the ICT Alliance activities agenda also for 2016 as several events are being planned in Shanghai (e.g. SLUSH China and Nordic Design and Innovation Week 2016).
Developing Industry – Academia consortia for pilots and testbeds in China and in Finland
Smart IoT, 5 G and testbeds consortium: To respond to the Tekes- MOST call and other forthcoming opportunities a Consortium on Global Business in Smart IoT was initiated during spring 2016 facilitated by the ICT Alliance cooperation, with University of Oulu leading with Hilla Program as the affiliated activity for accelerating industry cooperation. This consortia collected six potential proposals from China that were further developed for the Expression of Interest call at the end of 2017:
- Smart City
- Smart Home Air
- Smart Water
- Cloud-based Intelligent Water Treating and Dispatching System
- Smart City Design
- Smart Education
The discussion on developing Smart City (e.g. MaaS) and 5 G & IoT pilots in Finland for Chinese companies, leveraging the testbeds in Oulu and possibly Tampere, has become active during spring 2016. The 5th Gear program and Hilla will be a focal point in the China-Finland RDI collaboration leveraging testbeds and piloting in real-life environments.
The main topics in the April 2016 visit to China and the ICT Alliance workshop include Smart IoT / Smart City, learning solutions, including the initial planning of EduCloud and Smart Learning Services pilots, intelligent senior services, health and rehabilitation solutions, built around the DigiRehab consortium.
The April visit was extended to Hong Kong and Singapore to cover the market opportunities in these areas in addition to China as this broader scope was clearly indicated to be in the companies business interests.
Learning solutions EduCloud and School-as-a-Service:
One of the focus areas in ICT Alliance since 2013 has been new digital learning solutions. The work has been done in cooperation with the Sino-Finnish Learning Garden framework initiated by Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland, and Ministry of Education, China.
In 2015 Digile initiated the Learning Evolution Agenda (LEA) to help creation of comprehensive solutions from Finland for joint Sino-Finnish offerings to the global markets with major Chinese ICT companies.
In April 2016 it was suggested to focus ICT Alliance on currently active Tekes programs and have education transferred to a company driven mode. Consequently, in the April – June period we have worked actively towards this aim with EduCloud Alliance (ECA) and LifeLearn company established to internationally leverage ECA results by creating a scalable delivery channel and with the Finnish education accelerator and xEdu. Preparations for a Sino-Finnish EduCloud project for piloting, testing and adapting the Finnish solutions in China have been started involving the above partners and the key education universities in China and Finland. Cooperation is proceeding in developing and piloting School-as-a-Service (SaaS) that combines digital learning solutions with configurable physical environments in a new way with Aalto University and City of Espoo and Tongji University and City of Shanghai as the key partners involved. The SaaS approach would involve a variety of companies ranging from digital learning to access solutions being an example for new services and service operators in a smart city.
Digital rehabilitation and health games: International consortia of research institutes and companies are being developed in senior services and health and wellbeing. Currently active area in cooperation development is digitalization in rehabilitation, including health and rehabilitation games. The solutions are of high demand in China as rehabilitation has been largely underserved area in health. Same applies elsewhere in Asia and the active partners are coming from Singapore, Japan and Korea. This matches well the FinlandCare growth program of Finpro.
Design and digitalization: Both Finnish and Chinese companies are increasingly looking to cooperate in combining design and digitalization in Asia – but also in Finland with Chinese companies providing many of the technologies to be embedded. During spring 2016 discussions with companies have been initiated in ICT Alliance context with target areas including smart home, smart city (e.g. vehicles), digital health and wellbeing. In the ICT Alliance, the next step is to investigate the possibility to organize a consortium involving both Finnish and Chinese partners. To identify concrete business cases a group of design companies have confirmed their interest in joining the events in China during October – November 2016 and one-on-on meetings for them are also to be facilitated.
Service packages for companies: Supporting the development of “service packages” for Chinese companies interested in European markets ICT Alliance has also been involved in the discussion for developing Finland as “International IPR Hub” for which a proposal is being prepared by EK and IPR University Center. The opportunity is timely as the European common patent system is now renewed giving Finland a better position to act as a hub for Asian companies interested in entering European markets. In the preparation Chinese companies have been identified as the first prospective group of customers. For the Finnish companies in China one of the services of high demand continues to be Cloud services in China pilots. This is to be concretely piloted starting with education companies (planned for end of 2016-beginning of 2017) and based on the experiences extended to other areas.