According to Managing Director Mika Malin’s annual review, the year 2021 was successful in terms of Forum Virium Helsinki’s project preparation, projects, communications and events.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the Forum Virium Helsinki operating environment in 2021. Thanks to vaccinations, our operations normalised for a short period after the summer, but as the COVID situation deteriorated, we resumed remote working practices at the end of the year.
The tightened climate of the global economy, sanctions and the effects of climate policy began to already have an impact in 2021. The tensing up of the situation in Ukraine at the end of the year and its impact on energy policy will lead to a reassessment of the entire European energy system. Employing measures to develop carbon neutrality, food production and transport electrification will be wise in the rapidly changing global economy. Globalisation has quickly turned into a local survival story.
Despite all the global turmoil, we had successes in Forum Virium Helsinki’s project preparation, projects, communications and events in 2021. This is all thanks to the skilled staff and the company’s digital platform, which allowed for successful remote work and events.
The most significant impact on the company’s operations in 2021 came in the form of the publication of the new ‘A Place for Growth’ City Strategy for 2021–2025. This will guide Forum Virium Helsinki’s activities now and in the future.
The key objectives of the strategy include making Helsinki an international city of equality, responsible finances as well as ambitious climate objectives and nature conservation. Helsinki wants to be the world’s best place to learn. According to Mayor Juhana Vartiainen, the new City Strategy will lead us towards a city with the aim of enabling a good, fun and sustainable life for every resident of Helsinki. It is inspiring to agree with these objectives.
In addition to the City Strategy, Forum Virium’s activities are strongly steered by the reform of the Helsinki Digitalisation Programme for 2022–2025. Digitalisation is one of the most important facilitators of the City Strategy. Forum Virium Helsinki, as the City’s innovation company, is developing its project portfolio to support the future digital capabilities of Helsinki, together with the City’s divisions and subsidiaries.
Forum Virium Helsinki is a strong applicant for external financing. The European Union’s Horizon Europe programme, which will finance European research and innovation by EUR 95 billion between 2021 and 2027, was published in 2021. Forum Virium Helsinki’s strategic goals align well with EU funding programmes emphasising the green transition, digitalisation and product development in companies.
Forum Virium Helsinki’s activities are based on innovation projects, the lessons and results of which are scaled for the use of the entire urban community. The number of projects in 2021 was 43 and we employed 60 staff.
In 2021, our project portfolio totalled EUR 8.7 million. Of this, EUR 5.7 million was innovation funding from the European Union. Job satisfaction at Forum Virium was at a good level with a rating of 4.2/5. We joined WWF Green Office, opted for vegetarian food at events and avoided unnecessary flying.
The highlights of our activities in 2021 included versatile pilots in robot buses, drones and local logistics. The four-year FABULOS project ended and the final report of the consortium described the project as excellent. It should be noted that the FABULOS project alone provided companies in the field of autonomous transport with EUR 5.5 million of development funding.
Other robot vehicle experiments included a street sweeper developed by Trombia Technologies and local logistics pilots with GIM Robotics. In the future, autonomous delivery robots may operate on city streets and in urban indoor spaces.
Maritime Helsinki is one of the City’s priorities for developing tourism. We supported the development of maritime Helsinki e.g. in the Carbon Neutral Tourism project and the MaaS in Water Transport project. For several years now, we have also measured the temperature of swimming waters with IoT sensors and provided information to the residents of Helsinki on our top recommended Uiras website.
The customer satisfaction of our projects remained high in 2021. Our media coverage remained at a good level and our social media channels continued to steadily increase in popularity.