ICTOulu participated in the MOVE America event that took place at the end of September in Austin, Texas, where the mobility sector conference and trade fair merged. The event was dedicated and focused specifically on the North American mobility industry and new innovations, serving as a platform for sharing insights, enabling networking, and showcasing the latest products of new innovative start-up companies. We participated in the event both as presenters and exhibitors as part of the collaboration with Business Finland, which included not only Oulu but also business development units from Vantaa and Tampere. Companies such as TactoTek and Unikie were present, along with several other companies operating in the field and aiming for the US market. For instance, Finnish company Kempower had its own booth at the event.
6G and connectivity
During the conference, there were several targeted mini-seminars that allowed participants to focus on themes that interested them. Important themes for us naturally include 6G and connectivity. In my presentation on behalf of Oulu’s stakeholders, the focus was on next-generation networks as enablers of connected machines. The presentation slides can be downloaded here in their entirety, as a pdf file, and we hope that if the content interests you, you’ll reach out to us directly so that we can explore collaboration opportunities. One of the focal points of our presentation was the call to action, which has three key aspects.
Oulu’s IT companies
The first is the offer from Oulu’s companies, focusing specifically on connectivity solutions at various technology levels in this context. Our companies have excellent solutions, and our goal is to increasingly connect our products to international value chains, with the US market being one of the key target markets. On the ICTOulu website, you can quickly get a comprehensive understanding of our companies’ offerings in this sector. Additionally, we encourage you to explore the presentation packaged through the Oulu Automotive Cluster, where you can gain an understanding of the offerings of Oulu-based companies targeting the automotive sector.
The second aspect is RadioPark. RadioPark is an initiative by significant connectivity sector companies and organizations based in Oulu. We are creating the world’s best testing and product development service in Oulu, which will soon be on its way to serve even the most challenging cases related to connectivity solutions. We are looking for both investors and cluster members to benefit from the services of this evolving unit and to guide the direction of investments. We are establishing the company during the coming winter, so now is the right time to join this internationally-serving entity. You can find more information on our RadioPark webpage.
University of Oulu’s 6G Flagship
The third aspect is the 6G Flagship unit at the University of Oulu and finding industrial partners for various roles in research projects that lay the foundation for the next generation of wireless networks. The University of Oulu’s 6G Flagship is the world’s best and most advanced research unit in its field, with research focal points including:
- Wireless Connectivity
- Devices and Circuit Technology
- Distributed Intelligence
- Human-centric Wireless Services
The unit has dozens of research projects, and it is constantly looking for new industrial partners for various applications. Do you want to be part of groundbreaking pioneering research and at the same time ensure that your solutions are truly at the forefront as we move towards 2030? You can conveniently find more information about 6G Flagship on their website, and in this aspect, like others, we are very motivated to support enabling collaboration in every possible way. The technological challenges are so significant that international collaboration is the only way to succeed.
Connecting mobile machines
So, what did we learn at the conference? A lot, but here are a couple of highlights for you: Regarding connectivity, it is important to understand that the development of connecting mobile machines to networks is still significantly underway. Connectivity solutions have partly become fragmented, and a comprehensive integrating solution is not yet a reality, but it is needed. The future safety assumption requires continuous sensing and integration of the capabilities of nearby cars or machines. For example, the echolocation feature being developed in various practical mobility solutions is a very exciting technical entity, where a machine can use shared network to leverage the location information of other nearby machines and infrastructure sensors, enabling comprehensive control and expanding the capabilities of the machine to a level that the machine’s own sensor set could never enable. However, regulation and standards are still very much in development in this work as well.
Additionally, the importance of infrastructure development was emphasized. In several presentations, reference was made to the USA highway construction process initiated by Eisenhower in the 1950s, which was a major national effort but definitely one that was worthwhile. Similarly, a large national program is now needed to enable tremendous investments in smart cities and the digitalization and enhancement of the road network’s capabilities. Additionally, concerns were raised about standards. Given the size of a country like the USA, it is important that the solutions are consistent to avoid regional differences that significantly slow down application development.
Delivery traffic development
Another highlight is optimization in delivery traffic fleets to reduce emissions, enhance safety, and improve efficiency. Delivery traffic is constantly increasing, and even though delivery vehicle fleets are electrifying at an accelerating pace, this traffic is increasingly becoming a significant source of emissions. Artificial intelligence enables a new kind of optimization autonomously, where process control genuinely takes into account various factors extensively, and the need for human intervention is minimized. This makes it possible to reach a new level in previously stated goals. It was also exciting to hear that companies like FedEx are pilot planning autonomous delivery vehicles to a limited extent, and after verifying safety requirements, the service can be expanded. Similarly, in certain states, there is increasing experimentation with roads that enable autonomous traffic. The upcoming Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028 are also the target year when certain neighborhoods should achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions in terms of distribution traffic.
Data and system-level development
The third and final highlight is data and system-level development. In autonomy, but also in processes such as payments, high-quality data is needed at the system level, which is generated simultaneously in various processes and then immediately utilized in different processes. For example, payment related to cars is an extremely complex matter, and the whole entity is complex also because car users constantly demand and also receive new functionalities in the context of the car. Through car interfaces, it is already possible to consume and purchase many entertainment services; additional features can be purchased for the car through software updates; the car is connected to various external services with direct API interfaces, which also involve payment transactions and possibly a connection to the bank. This whole entity is incredibly complex to manage from the perspective of data, process and whole system management and requires a new approach in terms of several technology levels.
There is much more to share, but to summarize, the themes were pleasingly close to the strengths and focus areas of developers in Oulu. Based on what we saw, the products and solutions of our companies are at least at a good level and highly competitive in the US market. Did you know that BusinessOulu currently has several services and initiatives that may enable your company’s access to these vast but highly competitive and regulated markets? Please contact us, and we’ll tell you more!
Jussi Leponiemi, ICTOulu
We will post updates throughout the month on ICTOulu, as well as on our LinkedIn channel. If you want to know more about our activities and we how can support your business, please feel free to contact us.