Finnish operator Elisa looks for rise from industrial AI, IoT and 5G
Finnish network operator Elisa is combining its efforts in artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) and 5G technologies to stimulate operational excellence in the enterprise market, and drive forward Finland’s industrial transformation.
Elisa has selected 13 startups from eight countries to compete for business support and opportunities to develop artificial intelligence (AI) solutions variously under the themes of industrial IoT, telecoms processes, digital health, and customer services.
Specifically, the group has been tasked with development of AI solutions for edge computing in industrial IoT settings, self organising networks (SON) in telecoms, automated prescriptions in healthcare, and natural language processing in customer services. Startups are also developing analytics based applications for the entertainment and sports sectors.
The single winner will get €50,000, business guidance, and a spot at Finnish startup conference Slush 2018 in December.
Elisa said the profile of the entrants is varied, between small student teams boasting a number of hackathon wins and startups already valued at $1 billion. Elisa is partnering on the enterprise with the Finnish Centre for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI), alongside Aalto University and the University of Helsinki.
Henri Korpi, executive vice president of new business development at Elisa, said: “We want to bring experiences and productivity into everyday life. We have a great opportunity to execute on this mission by co-creating with some of the best startups in the world of AI.”
Elisa posted a record Q2 for the period to the end of June, with revenue and earnings climbing higher on the back of the good performance of its mobile and digital services. It remarked in its financial statement on the role of AI to reduce its network disturbances, giving it a “clear lead” in the Finnish regulator FICORA’s ranking of operator based on network performance.
Elisa was the first operator in Finland to launch narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) capabilities. Having tested with waste management company Enevo last October, it said in April its NB-IoT network was available in every Finnish municipality. “NB-IoT applications will be able to take advantage of the 5G network’s growing capacity in the future,” it said.
Meanwhile, in June, Elisa claimed to be already selling 5G subscriptions, after Finland’s minister for communications made a video call to her counterpart in Estonia over a 5G radio connection, using Huawei network equipment and a commercial 5G terminal.
Mattila highlighted industrial use cases of 5G. He said: “5G makes it possible to use completely new applications in areas like transportation, healthcare, energy efficiency improvement and entertainment… Institutional customers will get lots of new value when modern applications can be used more efficiently and it becomes possible to develop new applications.
“Together with dozens of different customers from, among others, the retail sector, the forest and mechanical engineering industries, and public administration, Elisa is testing and developing applications and services that use new 5G features and produce new added value for customers.”
It has started work already to replace base station hardware currently used in its LTE mobile network with the latest technology. Construction of the network will be finished by the end of August, it said.
Juha Peltomäki, regional director at Elisa, commented: “We will build a 5G-enabled network in Jyväskylä. It means that in the future, it will be easy to add features required in 5G services to the network, for instance, considerably faster data transfer speeds, short delay and functionalities needed in for IoT.
The Finnish Ministry of Communications is ready to allocate the first 5G licences to the 3,400–3,800 megahertz frequency band in autumn, which will make Finland among the first countries to start building 5G networks.
Peltomäki said: “We are one of the global pioneers in the development of 5G technology. These kinds of networks and services that are based on them are being rapidly developed everywhere in the world. I’m certain that the first pre-commercial 5G services will be available already in 2018, continues.”