Information and Communications Technologies – New Business Practices and Innovations

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Helsinki, 15 July, 2005 — Information and Communications Technologies – New Business Practices and Innovations

The technology programmes and projects funded by the National Technology Agency of Finland, Tekes, invent and develop products, services, and applications for the benefit of information society and the players within.

Information and communications technologies (ICT) are the central element and driving force behind the changes taking place in the society and economic life. The companies representing ICT technologies amount to approximately 10 per cent of total Finnish entrepreneurship and to more than half of the nation’s total R & D activities. Innovations and R & D activities have a major impact on companies within this field. In the companies dealing with software the investments in R & D may reach up to 30 – 45 per cent of the total turn over.

As a developer of information and communications technologies Finland has reached the position of a global forerunner being one of the most advanced countries in the world in adopting ICT. The challenge Finland faces is to secure that position in the future as well. In developing the basic technologies the aim must be to adapt and implement top level know-how and ICT on an ever widening scope of business activities. Finland’s strengths in global competition continue to be expertise and specialization.

The demand for Tekes’ funding for companies developing and implementing information and communications technologies grew steadily during 2004. The keen interest in the new type of funding devised by Tekes, namely a starting company’s capital loan, was a clear indication of the dire need for funding especially among newly established ICT companies. Just about one half of the loan applications for that particular loan came from those companies. There is a surge of newly established companies especially in software products and communications development as well as ICT implementation.

In 2004 Tekes funded the development of information and communications technologies with more than 120 million euros. Space technology in Tekes is considered part of information and communications technologies unit and funding for space technology in 2004 was 18.5 million euros.

Technology Programme Activities Advancing Briskly

The major ongoing technology programmes during 2005 are AVALI focusing on the creation of business opportunities based on space technology, ELMO focusing on miniaturizing electronics, FENIX focusing on interactive computing, and FinnWell focusing on wellbeing. NETS – Networks of the Future formally ended in the very beginning of this year.

Among the results of the NETS technology programme is the study charting the future technology trends. According to the findings, the major challenges during 2007-2012 will be the consolidation of data network types and services, intelligent living environment, transition from network oriented to equipment oriented environment, and the accumulation of content. The aim is to move from the present technology centered thinking toward increasingly user-friendly technology development.

Health care sector is an important user of information and communications technologies. The FinnWell technology programme’s underlying idea is to improve the profitability and quality of health care services.

There is plenty of future potential as well in the approximately 50 companies in Finland developing games technology. Several of these companies participate in FENIX technology programme within which Tekes has made break-throughs in, among others, content business activities.

Among the information and communications technologies programmes brought to a conclusion last year were the space technology programme Antares and intelligent automation solutions development programme ÄLY.

Additionally, in the planning stages there are technology programmes focusing on business specific software, broadband technology, and mobile business solutions.

Kaj Nordgren, Communications Manager
Tekes - National Technology Agency of Finland

Tekes is the main public funding organisation for research and development in Finland. Tekes funds industrial projects as well as projects in research organisations, and especially promotes innovative, risk-intensive projects. Tekes offers partners from abroad a gateway to the key technology players in Finland.

The article is published in ICT Cluster Finland Review 2005.

More information
ICT Cluster Finland Review 2005