MEET THE COMPANIES: FULL ARTICLE

November 3, 2016

eliko

Happy to introduce some of our most exciting companies. Get insights from Swedish, Finnish, and Estonian companies, speculating about the 2030 Smart City, the most interesting and emerging export markets, and the opportunities of accessing the unique SME2GO network.

INTRODUCING ELIKO 

Eliko is an electronics and software development company offering industrial R&D services in the Internet of Things related fields, based in Tehnopol Science Park in Tallinn, Estonia.

The company has developed novel technologies in indoor positioning and street lighting control – including Tallinn’s first smart street.

– Street lighting solutions and IoT applications based on smart infrastructure are one of our key business areas. We are currently actively looking to cooperate with new regions that are investing to reduce their costs and carbon footprint through more effective street lighting. Therefore, being part of SME2GO is an important opportunity for us to gain insights and develop partnerships with other cities and regions, says Liisa Parv, Marketing Manager at Eliko.

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Which export markets are you especially interested in and why?

– We have identified India as a key market due to the Indian government’s focus on smart cities. However, we generally see that investing in smart city solutions depends more on the city leadership than the overall country and therefore we are interested in identifying innovative cities across the world.

What’s your definition of a smart city? What will a smart city look like in 2030?

– For me the concept of smart cities is closely related to the Internet of Things. The cities that use ICT technology as an enabler to achieve better quality services for their citizens and internal efficiencies in managing their city are, in my opinion, smart, says Liisa Parv and continues:

– By 2030, cities will certainly have tens or hundreds of thousands of connected devices from not only connected cars but also smart infrastructure like street lighting, smart water and waste management etc. The CIO of cities will become the key player to manage this wealth of information that is generated. In general, more and more city services will rely on inputs from sensors, risk management and predictive maintenance will depend on the analytics capabilities of the city. Successful smart cities will be able to prevent negative events instead of just reacting to them. Overall, the city will manage its resources better, and thus creates a safer and more comfortable environment for its citizens.

Back to the year of 2016, we’re really looking forward to meet Indrek Ruiso, Eliko’s CEO at the SME2GO Smart City meetup, taking place in a couple of weeks from now.

– We’re open to discussing ways to cooperate will all stakeholders. However, being an SME ourselves, we would appreciate finding company partners in other countries interested in our technology, Liisa concludes.

INTRODUCING COMODULE 

Comodule helps to kickstart sharing and delivery projects to accelerate the move to a clean future, by creating connectivity technology for the most important vehicle segment of the 21st century – the bicycle and the scooter market. Comodule support vehicle manufacturers to be part of the IoT revolution, empowering them to discover new markets and business opportunities mostly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Holland.

– In the DACH countries we already have quite a reasonable present so we would need help with Holland + Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Sweden), says Kristjan Maruste, the CEO of Comodule.

Needless to say, November 22 will be a great opportunity for Comodule to network with their Swedish industry partners.

Comodule is based in ”the world’s most digital country, with the cleanest air (Tallinn, Estonia)”, as well as in ”the sharing, electric mobility and startup capital (Berlin, Germany)”, Kristjan tells us.

From that, what’s your take on the future of cities? 

– A smart city is one that uses data for decision making. Smartness is not that much connected with the deployed technology but about using the technology for creating a better living and working environment. The city becomes connected, decisions are made based on facts and actual data rather than political will. Influence of decision making can be judged almost on real time. This means that cities can A/B test new transportation solutions. This includes everything from light, water and waste but most importantly movement of people. It will be an interconnected urban nervous system.

Who’s your dream export partner?

– Large scale bicycle and scooter sharing operators, delivery companies (using electric vehicles such as governmental postal companies), bicycle and scooter manufacturers, says Kristjan wrapping up:

– SME2GO is an excellent opportunity for networking, international marketing and increasing cooperation between SMEs and multinational enterprises.

INTRODUCING SYNOCUS 

Synocus Group provides business orchestration and strategy development services emphasizing ecosystem development. The company is headquartered Helsinki, Finland, but they also have an office in China.

Synocus co-ordinates the World Alliance for Low Carbon Cities (www.walcc.org ), with activities in Europe and Asia in collaboration with Tsinghua University. Through this global network Synocus supports the sustainable development of more than 30 large European and Asian organizations.

– Also through our consultancy projects we have multiple high-level contacts in the relevant fields of opportunity – in China in Smart Urban Energy, in Japan in Knowledge Alliances for Smart Cities and in United Arab Emirates in Renewable Fuels, says Patrik Laxell, one of the Synocus partners.

What’s Synocus role within the SME2GO project?

– We would prefer to have partners, who both work on very long term (as building the relationships and the offering to a specific opportunity takes time) but also has a keen drive to seize what is possible today (as there needs to be concrete results and showcases to build from).

– We want to be best in providing insight and support to firms and cities in building and participating (or orchestrating, as we call it) in innovation ecosystems relating to smart sustainable cities.

What’s your definition of a smart and sustainable city?

You can see that a city is smart as it is resolving continuously sustainability and innovation challenges in a public-private-people mode, it is understanding what are the most valuable things that can be developed in the city, and in which fields to use best practices from elsewhere.

What will a smart city look like in 2030?

It will still fulfill the basic functions and services as of today, but it has redefined the offerings, utilizing in-depth understanding how the citizens behave and the available new capabilities and technologies of its partners. It is more embracing social innovations and interacting with smartest cities globally.

INTRODUCING JÄRNVÄGSKLUSTRET 

Järnvägsklustret, or the Railway Cluster, is a Swedish cooperation between railway technology companies located in Västerås and Västmanland County, providing a platform for regional companies, manufacturers, infrastructure contractors, engineering and training consultants, getting strengthened by other service providers as well as by R&D competence. Since mid-August Järnvagsklustret moved in to the inspiring premises of Expectrum in the very centre of Västerås.

Peter Östman, General Manager at Järnvägsklustret! What’s a smart city to you?

– In a smart city energy savings is key! That means, among other things, sustainable and smart public transports. Electrically propulsion trains (including trams and metros) and other vehicles, as buses, trucks and cars, is a must in a smart city!

To be able to develop smart and energy efficient transports it’s a need for regional Test & Innovations centres, where new technology and methods can be tested and verified. Järnvägsklustret work hard on establish such a Test & Innovation centre in the Västeras region. With such “test bench” available the industry will be even more prepared to put proven new technology and services on the export market. In 2030, a smart city will have very few or no private cars at all. Public transportation will be taking care of all needs.

Why SME2GO?

– Our member customers have their businesses widely spread over the world, but most focus is Europe and China. With a special focus in smart infrastructure, energy and mobility, we see a great potential participating in the SME2GO project, creating new business together with both big and small companies in the Central Baltic region, accelerating each other’s export opportunities, and scaling on new markets.

– Järnvägsklustret is strongly connected with several multinational companies and small enterprises. We have already today much focus in involving the SME member companies together with the big ones, like ABB, Alstom and Bombardier, and the municipality to realize our target with a “Railway Test and Innovation Centre” – RTIC, Peter Östman concludes.

INTRODUCING GAIA 

Gaia is a consultancy for Sustainable Business, helping clients become more competitive with responsible business that respects the environment. Sustainable business means efficiency, reduced risks and new opportunities – it’s all about producing more from less, Anna Hillgrén, Senior Consultant at Gaia, tells us. Gaia operates worldwide having offices in Finland, Switzerland, Ethiopia, China, Argentina and the United States. In Finland, they have offices in Helsinki and Turku.

Gaia’s engagements within smart city themes continue to grow, and Gaia is now looking into opportunities within the countries surrounding the Persian Gulf. Within the last ten years Gaia’s team has carried out tens of projects related to water, latest on the US West Coast market. Gaia’s experience on the US west coast water sector underlines that the market is innovation driven and offers several opportunities for smart water solutions.

What are you bringing to the SME2GO table?

– Related to smart cities Gaia has solid experience in developing and supporting enterprises and companies looking for new business with smart technologies, within both developed and developing markets. Gaia has also very strong and diverse experience in developing water related business, and associated concepts, partner and business models, both in Finland and internationally. We help Finnish companies to export their world class know-how on smart city related business – the companies that make the world cleaner and safer!

– A dream partner for smart city exports is an organization (or group of organizations) that understand both the overall tapestry of city needs, as well as individual threads of needs on, let us say, building and infrastructure scales. Such a partner will need to possess a cross-sectoral approach in its affairs, and be able to engage and communicate across cultural barriers.

What’s a smart city to you?

– A smart city is about people and how people interact, relate and engage with their world around them for the purposes of living better, healthier and more productive lives. A smart city uses modern technologies to save resources and energy, help its residents interact with the city, and make transport of people and goods seamless and efficient.

– A smart city will start to use more renewable energy, circulate water efficiently, and deal with waste flows in a modern way. People in such a smart city will benefit from both the new opportunities technology gives them to interact, make better decisions, inspire participation, spread knowledge, communicate and promote new and better ways of doing things, as well as from lower pollution, more reliable energy supply, and access to clean water.

What’s the future of smart cities?

– In 2030, a smart city will probably not radically differ from today’s cities around the globe. But it will look clean and safe. After all, city building tends to be fairly a slow process. However, technology will surely make inroads into usage and management of buildings and infrastructure, movement of people, purchase patterns, and access to human necessities, such as clean water. And the smartness will appeal to the human senses, too. A smart city will smell less, its sound environment will be more controlled, and it will feel more efficient.

INTRODUCING CITYNTEL 

Cityntel is developing next generation Internet of Things from the country famous for its digital innovation, Estonia. The company’s first product, now introduced to the market, is an intelligent Street Light Control Solution saving up to 85% by adjusting brightness based on surrounding conditions like human presence, traffic intensity and weather through wireless controllers.

Why are you engaged in the SME2GO project, CEO Alar Võrk?

– As a startup company we obviously have much less resources for marketing and market entry than already established companies, so we see that being part of SME2GO will help us to disseminate the information about who we are and what we do, resulting in lower barriers to a new market entry.

– Considering the nature of our product, our dream partner is definitely a stakeholder in an export market, who has already established contacts and business with the city.

Which export markets are you especially interested in?

– Our main focus is in Asian markets, China and India as with primary attention. As we provide a product which is a part of city infrastructure we see that markets where new cities are built are most promising for us. With new developments customers are looking for the latest technologies available and this lowers market barriers for us.

What’s your definition of a Smart City?

– There are of course many different definitions of Smart City but I would say that real Smart City today is not the one which has installed most technical gadget and It solutions but one with good vision how new technologies integrate with each other and how they will help to make city more sustainable and better liveable place. If I knew today what a smart city would be in 2030, I would have a killer product on the market.

INTRODUCING SOLIDIOR 

Solidior Ltd. is a management services company, working as the spearhead in the forefront of the markets and leading change processes. Solidior guides, leads and manages the processes of its clients during their mission to become internationally recognized companies and assists the entrepreneurs, the Boards of directors, the CEO and the management teams in their decision making, risk assessment and in planning and conduction their international transactions.

The CEO of Solidior is based in Tampere, Finland. His name is Ari Virtanen, and this is why he’s engaged with the SME2GO project:

­– The world population is moving into cities with an accelerating pace and not always with positive consequences. The overcrowded cities with slums and “favelas” do not represent what can be considered as human life in this millennium. The situation can be improved with relatively simple technological changes and innovations, yet with major political hindrances around the world. SME2GO represents a simple but efficient platform to influence partially in both factors, hence I reckon the program is rewarding and worth participating.

Who’s your dream partner for smart city exports in the nearest future?

– Any company who is seriously committed to the development of long lasting applications but if a sort of preference is needed, I would incline to health care applications related to pediatrics and first aid medical treatment in Smart Cities and secondly applications of location recognition related to safe moving in traffic or elsewhere in the urban surroundings. I know this is a wide definition of segments but they also evolve with time and whatever we start with, may be a different application once we get to the market.

Which export markets are you especially interested in?

– Latin America is in the spot lights of urbanization and development of the Smart City initiatives alleviates the consequences caused by urban migration. On the other hand, having lived in Latin America for almost seven years I feel the pace of living there, like the continent and the people there.

What’s a smart city to you?

– The definitions found in Google for a Smart City outnumbers many other definitions made of other actual phenomena but I would put it simply: factors and development directions, either human or technological, and including factors like sustainability, economic development and a high quality of life and enabling us to live longer and healthier on this planet, not to forget flora or fauna as well. Cities will dominate the planet in the future and therefore the issue is relevant.

What will a smart city look like in 2030?

– With the current pace of development in communication, technology, even that of political decision making, the city in 2030 will be totally different to what we predict today. I do not even dare predict.

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SME2GO is a EU funded growth project running between 2016-2018 with the aim to increase exports of smart city solutions from the Central Baltic region to new and expanding markets. SME2GO focus on increasing the cooperation between growth-oriented SMEs with solutions for smart cities and multinational enterprises to create synergies, new cross-border business opportunities, and export.

Project participants are offered networking opportunities, international marketing and sales training, matchmaking, market intelligence, and customized support. The project is a unique opportunity for innovative and growth-oriented companies to create business in new and expanding markets.

To learn more, visit www.sme2go.eu or write to us at sme2go@sisp.se @SME2GO #SME2GO

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