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CES Fresh Take #4: Innovation 

CES stand with sign Creating a Smart Society

One goal for these takes is to generate bird-eye-views on how things are done based on world class professionals’ views and to be able to focus on certain keypoints we think are of value to our local ecosystem. Innovation is the fourth and last take and will thus conclude our series from CES2023. It draws from couple of panel sessions, startup competition that took place during the convention and overall learnings from multitude of discussions and observations during the event. 

Innovation doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch. As a panel of industry experts explained at this year’s CES conference, cross-industry collaboration and innovation can be a powerful way to identify new opportunities and push technological boundaries. 

“Reinventing the wheel wastes time and R&D resources that can be used elsewhere,” said Kim Van Vliet of ConvergX/WaVv. Instead, Van Vliet explained, it’s important to look for new opportunities based on partnering and innovation across sectors. 

But cross-industry innovation isn’t always easy. Communication barriers and language differences can make it difficult for people from different industries to have informal discussions about the challenges they face. That’s where “cross pioneers” come in. These individuals are key to driving innovation by truly understanding the context of different industries, said John Sheehan of Amazon. 

A true example of this kind of activity was gained during the session as the online video connection was established between the session room and the International Space station. The panelists actually had a conversation with two astronauts on super 4k video quality. The astronauts explained how zero-gravity context enables new advances in medical research and e.g. materials development.  

Despite the challenges, cross-industry innovation can bring great rewards. As Van Vliet pointed out, “innovation is something where you take ideas from various sectors to others and create something meaningful.” And as Hubert Lau of TrustBIC Inc. emphasized, failure is a natural part of the innovation process. “Your technology might get slightly modified when it gets into other industry, but it is still your technology,” he said. 

So how can you get involved in cross-industry innovation? Mark Blue of Terravent Environmental Inc. recommended making connections with the right people. “When you have a connection in other industry, there may be funding also available,” he said. Funding can come from a variety of sources, including government grants and industry-specific funding programs. 

In short, cross-industry innovation is a powerful way to drive technological advancement and create new opportunities. By understanding one’s own technology and industry, and having an open mind to new ideas, individuals and companies can play a crucial role in driving innovation across sectors. 

We think this is an important notion and something that we will try to boost in our various forthcoming activities. Actually, BusinessOulu offers a potential structure for that as it incorporates services and networks for all industries taking place in Oulu area and furthermore operates wide network of international connections focusing on business development. Separate narrow technologies are growing mature and integrating to enable wider solutions across the industries. The markets award the best developers with excellent outcomes and thus pushing the innovation over the conventional boundaries is worth it!