Finland is slowly opening up society as the coronavirus crisis eases. There is a lot of uncertainty in these times, but a lot of good is arising as well.
Basic services such as public health care and education have withstood the pressure of the coronavirus well. It was great to see how basic education was adapted to work digitally as distance learning and a large part of teaching went online.
The online generation have taken the tools of future work in their stride, not to mention the remote work leap of the working-age population. Demand for Posti’s services has also increased, and the domestic food supply is valued in a completely different way to before the crisis. The decrease in car, ship and air traffic is reflected in the air quality sensor data collected by Forum Virium in Helsinki. Of course, all the immobility and a closed society pose a threat of economic collapse.
But what should be learned from this time and what would be the golden mean of a post-coronavirus society?
Economic commentators predict that companies investing in digital solutions will reap the highest profit from this time. Companies that invest in digital solutions have suffered the least from the coronavirus collapse. I predict that the same will happen with cities. Cities like Helsinki are investing heavily in digital solutions. Digitalisation and innovation, as well as their open-minded adoption, will facilitate a soft landing into the future.
Forum Virium Helsinki has successfully transferred its operations to remote work. We have taken advantage of our own lessons on digital solutions and the opportunities they bring. European cooperation projects, piloting and related events have been successfully moved online. Organising and facilitating events is easy these days with the help of cloud services and advanced applications. It has been great to see from our communication indicators that activity around Forum Virium’s online events has increased as a result of this change.
Forum Virium’s projects rely heavily on digital solutions and data. Among other things, we offer a platform for local logistics that enables Helsinki-based restaurants to receive online orders in the middle of the coronavirus crisis. The first companies have already put the platform to use. We are piloting autonomous vehicles in many sectors. Medicines and test results are already carried by drones. The autonomous bus line 29R, which is the result of the EU-funded Fabulos project, is doing pilot runs in Pasila.
After the coronavirus crisis, we will see a true change in working life. Digital opportunities will change everything. Shopping will now truly go online; shopping centres and open-plan offices may soon be history. Instead of flying, in the future we will travel by train or replace the trip with a video conference. All of this creates opportunities for new types of work. It is now even more important to find new innovations in digital solutions that can be put into practice and transformed into new work in this new age.
Forum Virium Helsinki also wants to support young people on their journey to working life during the coronavirus period. We gave summer jobs to 20 ninth graders for June–July. The young people will map Helsinki’s entrances and gates with a mobile application. The data will be used in an urban logistics project to develop digital last metre delivery guides.
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