Finland was the official partner country for this year’s M2M Summit in Dusseldorf, Germany (5-6 October 2016) - for a very good reason. Although the country is rather sparsely populated, it believes it is far ahead of other parts of Europe and the world when it comes to the Internet of Things and similar networks.
“Finland has substantial expertise in the field of digitalisation,” said Ritva Koukku-Ronde, the Finnish ambassador to Germany, highlighting the competence of her home country. “Finland has the highest quota of IT specialists in the EU. We are in the top-3 of countries worldwide when it comes to the adoption of the Internet of Things. Our aim is to accelerate the progress of digitalisation, thereby creating a basis for growth.”
During both, personal discussions and the official lectures given by the Finnish delegation at Europe’s biggest event for M2M communication and IoT, it became clear that the approaches and strategies being pursued in Finland are the result of a completely different perspective.
Reijo Smolander, Programme Director at Finpro, expressed amazement at the hype surrounding the use of IoT technologies for industrial purposes in many countries such as the UK or Germany. This focus on industrial applications has been the cause of much consternation in Finland.
At the press conference of the M2M Alliance, the head of the delegation outlined the uniform networking of society that is the practice in Finland as a kind of counter-model. Networking in the northernmost parts of the continent ranges from classic industrial applications, to agriculture and production, to the retail sector; and even end users have long been using smart metres at home.
According to Reijo Smolander, Finish businesses as well as the vast majority of Finns are very open-minded when it comes to intelligent networks and tend to focus on the benefits. The topic has also been taken seriously by politicians in Finland who actively promote a wide range of developments around networks like the Internet of Things.
As a result, different ministries such as the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Environment are working closely together to find solutions - rather than trying to make life difficult for each other.
“Finland’s example clearly shows the many possibilities that intelligent networking solutions have to offer,” said Dr. Andreas Fink, Chairman of the M2M Alliance (pictured). “If the general conditions are right, many processes can be optimised efficiently and intelligently. State support and sensible regulations also help to win the trust of the users.
“Finland is evidently playing a pioneering role in this regard, and therefore, modern networking solutions are not simply used in broad sections of society, but actually appreciated,” emphasised Fink.
“By contrast, in most countries support from the political sector is often limited largely to the industrial sector, and even there, much more could be achieved than is currently the case,” argued Fink, who called for increased commitment. “We will therefore continue to work tirelessly to promote the expansion of network solutions in Europe in the interests of the industry and the economy.”