Finnish Lapland - More than Meets the Eye

Article of the month

Helsinki, 20 March, 2003 — Lapland is the northernmost county of Finland, as well as of the European Union, and areawise significantly larger than the Benelux nations combined.

The population of the county covering nearly 100 000 square kilometers is around 188 000. The Eastern border of the county is also the border between the EU and Russia. The county is bordered by Norway in the North and by Sweden in the West. The well maintained infrastructure includes comprehensive road network, rail connections, and daily flights to and from the county as well as, naturally, ICT connections.

Usually Lapland is associated with great outdoors, reindeer, nearly untouched wilderness - even as the true home of Santa Claus and, indeed, Lapland is all that. However, it is also much more.

Lapland can be proud of the most northern university in Finland and in the entire European Union. The University of Lapland is situated in the county's capital, the city of Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle. The university's staff and students engage in numerous activities in international research and exchange programs globally.

Barents Specialists Network on a regional scale is an umbrella that joins together educational institutions, teachers, researchers, students, and other interested people from four countries: Finland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden. Meetings, seminars, and joint educational activities of the network lead to new cooperational initiatives, projects, and business opportunities that benefit the whole region. The Network is partly funded by European Regional Development Fund.

A World First!

Lapland – the Initiation of an Experience and Tourist Service Facility with Genuine Users

Aurora Borealis Technology Centre is a centre based in the Rovaniemi district that combines high technology, international business activities, and the experience industry. The vision for the future is for the Centre to become one of the world’s leading experience industry centres by the year 2010.

The principle mission of the Aurora Borealis Technology Centre is the integration of new technologies as part of Lappish tourism expertise. The utilisation of ICT technology in tourism is implemented in Rovaniemi as part of Aurora Borealis Testing Lab Programme. The focus of testing is the applications’ functionality, usability, and revenue-generation model. The initiated mobile testing programme is the first testing that operates in genuine conditions using real users with a concentration on tourism and experience services. The laboratory is Lapland itself.

Testing Lab Programme References:

Hiker’s Helper

The Hiker’s Helper works with the Benefon Esc device application. The service helps tourists to traverse the countryside along the chosen route. This improves, for instance, the safety of less experienced hikers during the autumn “ruska” period. The service offers tourists interesting local information on the surrounding environment and sights. The Hiker’s Helper has been developed to meet the requirements of tourists and is simple to use.

Safe Safari

The package comprises of a real-time monitoring system of vehicles base on positioning technology and its application for snowmobiles increasing safety and customer satisfaction. The guide’s mobile telephone is installed with geographical data that covers the routes used during the safaris in the Rovaniemi district. Using the telephone and implemented service, the snowmobiles may be monitored in real-time using a computer monitor in the same way as, for example, air traffic control procedures. Safety will be significantly improved as during any case of an accident, breakdown, or accidental wandering off course, the location of the snowmobile may be established both faster and easier. The service improves customer satisfaction by making activities more efficient and providing the possibilities for after sales services. Automatic emergency calls will be included to the service at a later date.

Pocket Resort

The ”Pocket Resort” offers ski resort visitors a mobile service using current information on the resort’s services, events and weather, as well as providing guidance services using location technology maps. Future development stages will take an emphasis on mobile marketing and reservation systems.

The Pocket Resort integrates mobile solutions with existing www solutions. By maintaining a single database, contemporary information may be offered using the appropriate distribution channels: pre-vacation (www pages), during stay (mobile), and possibly also post-vacation (www pages).

ICT Solutions from the Arctic Circle

Among companies operating by the Arctic Circle is GeraCap, a producer of wireless and embedded software solutions for the mobile and automation industry. As distances in the Information Society have lost their meaning, the majority of GeraCap's customers are international companies.

To further advance its operations and international alliances, GeraCap has joined the Symbian Platinum Partner Program. As a Symbian Platinum Partner, GeraCap can provide its customers with software services benefiting from Symbian OS technology value chain from Symbian interfaces for cellular software to applications for multimedia mobile phones. GeraCap’s services include Symbian OS based-project and software implementation support services for design, integration, and testing. GeraCap has also its own R&D activities producing wireless products, such as a bar code reader program which extends the use of the Nokia 7650 multimedia phone without the need for additional peripherals.

Symbian's mission is to create a global mass market for Symbian OS mobile phones by enabling its licencees to build winning products. Publicly announced Symbian OS phones include the FOMA F2051, Sony Ericsson P800 Smartphone, Nokia 9210 series, 7650, 3650, and N-Gage.

For the company from the Arctic Circle this partnership is a very important step in implementing Symbian OS focused strategy. GeraCap’s cooperation with Symbian began in the spring of 1999 and has now been granted formal recognition of the close relationship.

GeraCap has provided services and products in telecommunications and the automation industrial markets since 1999. The company has grown strongly during the last few years and the main focus has been and will be in the Symbian platform.

Finnish Lapland - truly more than meets the eye!

Aurora Borealis Technology Centre Ltd
Jukka Halonen
Tel. +358 40 723 0855

GeraCap
Petri Jaatinen
+358 16 366 9093

More information
Jukka.halonen@rovaniemi.fi
petri.jaatinen@geracap.fi
The University of Lapland
Barents Specialists Network