Towards the end of last year, we held a programming competition called the Digital Twins Hackathon, in which 17 teams tackled challenges related to winter maintenance and urban logistics, among other things. How are the winning teams doing now, and did the Hackathon boost their business activities?
Forum Virium and Helsinki City Construction Services Stara, in cooperation with Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, held the Digital Twins Hackathon – Building sustainable futures within the most functional City programming competition in Helsinki on 25–27 November 2022 as part of Forum Virium and Stara’s joint project, the mobility digital twin as an enabler of services (LiiDi2). The challenges presented by LiiDi2 were related to winter maintenance and logistics in Helsinki. The sources used included Stara’s production data, among other things.
The winning teams Winterpac and Perfektio made insightful use of the data provided by Stara in optimising urban logistics and urban maintenance measures. Perfektio built an operating concept that allows more transport services to be provided to Stara’s customers with the current vehicle fleet and driving routes, with the aim of reducing climate emissions and creating new business. Winterpac’s solution optimises Stara’s winter maintenance routes in a resource-wise manner.
We talked to the winners of the challenges about the significance of the hackathon to the companies’ business. We heard about Winterpac’s future prospects from Ivo Cornelis de Geus, product developer and one of Winterpac’s two founding members, while Business Developer Mirka Hautala and CEO Janne Ruokonen from Perfektio told us about Perfektio’s current situation.
1. How would you describe your service?
Winterpac: “Our solution, Winterpac, creates new route plans for snow removal based on the route maintenance classes and telemetry data on cleaning work that has already been carried out. The aim of the route plans is to minimise vehicles driving the same streets multiple times. The persons supervising snow removal are shown a view of the routes created, and this allows them to finetune the routes as needed and forward them to the employees carrying out the work.”
Perfektio: “Perfektio is a software development company. We carry out customised coding based on the customer’s individual wishes. We are particularly good at processing large amounts of data and making use of machine intelligence. Our areas of expertise also include carrying out projects related to responsibility. We have carried out dozens of implementations related to social responsibility and environmental responsibility.”
Creating and commercialising new innovations is at the heart of Perfektio’s business. We want to be an idea laboratory for new business solutions. That’s why participating in hackathons fits well in our corporate culture.Mirka Hautala and Janne Ruokonen, Perfektio
2. How did participating in the Digital Twins Hackathon and cooperating with Forum Virium benefit you?
Winterpac: “In the Digital Twins Hackathon, our team worked with Forum Virium and Stara on a solution, making use of data provided by Forum Virium and Stara to validate our solution. We’re very interested in launching a pilot project, which is why we’re inviting cities to join us for the project. Stara is currently undergoing major organisational changes, which also makes this the perfect time to examine maintenance processes from this perspective.”
We’re very interested in launching a pilot project, which is why we’re also inviting cities [besides Helsinki] to join us for the project.
Ivo Cornelis de Geus, Winterpac
Perfektio: “We’ve carried out optimisation of transport logistics in our previous customer projects, but the Digital Twins Hackathon gave us the opportunity to apply this expertise to a whole new environment: urban logistics. It was a delightful challenge that sparked a discussion about applying the solution to Stara’s needs – a dialogue that we are now continuing.”
“We also learned that we still have a long way to go before we can move on to the practical implementation, and it requires multidisciplinary cooperation between Stara, Stara’s customers, individual transport entrepreneurs and information system suppliers. We hope to pilot the solution, which is currently in the conceptualisation phase, on a small scale after further development.”
3. How are you doing now, and what are your plans for the future?
Perfektio: “We assembled our team for the hackathon from employees of Perfektio Oy, so we are continuing our normal everyday work with Perfektio’s customers. The focus of this hackathon was not to produce a new innovation for commercialisation but to create a solution to Stara’s needs.”
“Perfektio has previously successfully created new business with the spinoff model, establishing a couple of startup companies. The first of these startups we were able to grow so that it was ready for sale and was transferred to the ownership of an international party last year. Our second spinoff company, The Extravagant Company Oy Ltd, recently successfully completed a round of funding and is rapidly growing its business. Through these projects, we are actively involved in commercialising new innovations.”
Winterpac: “We’re also open to cooperation with other cities that would be interested in conducting a pilot project this coming winter (2023–2024) or with Stara the winter after that (2024–2025). We would be happy to provide more information about our solution and idea for a pilot project. You can contact us directly via our LinkedIn account.”
Watch the companies introductions here:
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