Raine Hermans: Making Smart Traffic a competitive advantage


The World Alliance for Low Carbon Cities held the Next Generation Smart Cities conference from September 26th to the 28th, in Malmö, Sweden.

Malmö's evolution from a shipbuilding and industrial city to an eco-city was very impressive. The old dockyard area has been entirely made over and given a pleasant new appearance. The Director of the Skåne Regional Council Lennart Svensson spoke about Malmö's efforts in recycling, the result of which is that today 98% of the city's waste is recycled and used in the production of new materials or as a source of energy. Furthermore, 75% of the energy used in heating the city is generated by incinerating waste and capturing wasted smokestack energy. The City of Malmö and Region Skåne, on a wider scale, are also planning to develop a sustainable transport demonstration area. This provides a direct connection to Tekes's Innovative Cities (INKA) program and the city of Tampere's Smart Traffic initiative.

Jukka Lintusaari of the University of Tampere foresees a grand change in the traffic industry. Once we are able to access the vast amounts of data which traffic generates through open interfaces, Nordic companies could develop complementary smart solutions and services for the needs of commuters, authorities, and companies. These services could be piloted in the trial markets created for the demonstration areas in Malmö and Tampere. Such international cooperation would provide Finnish companies with a natural entry into the growing international markets.

On the whole, electric vehicles and smart traffic bring about the potential for a massive shift in the automotive industry and in traffic. Industrial shifts are rarely instigated by the industry's largest players as they have a natural inclination to protect their own "cash cows". Such shifts seem to require a push from outside of the traditional industry; such as Google's development of a driverless car or the EVs Tesla has brought to market and its promise of free charging at the company's charging stations.

Finland has a technology and services related know-how as well as several major companies with the financial means to analyze their own potential for new strategic directions. Additionally, government authorities must work together in new ways to ensure the successful development of a Finnish demonstration platform. Tekes is doing its part to support the development of such demonstration platforms through programs such as Witty City, EVE – Electric Vehicle Systems, and Innovative Cities (INKA).

Raine Hermans

Head of Strategic Programs
Value creation from services and intellectual assets

Picture: Susanna Lehto


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