David J. Cord
The City of Helsinki is home to a unique organisation seeking to promote the development of high technology. Forum Virium conducts research and development projects and promotes networking among participants in the digital services industry. Only a couple of years old, Forum Virium has already helped cement Helsinki’s position as an internationally recognized showcase for digital services.
Forum Virium is a partnership between private companies, public entities and the city of Helsinki. Companies such as Nokia and TietoEnator team up with the Finnish Innovation Fund, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation and the city of Helsinki to bring high-tech services to consumers.
The organisation has a number of project areas, including traffic services, health care, learning, retail trade, multi-channel distribution and the digital home. Each of these areas has a number of development programmes designed to test technology in real-life situations. Forum Virium also provides networking opportunities in order for developers to approach larger companies or investors to take their ideas into commercial applications.
”We are not making new technology,” said Mia Uronen, Forum Virium’s Communication Manager. ”We are finding a better use for existing technology. A great example of this is ConnectedDay. ConnectedDay is a video and photo sharing service between day cares and parents. It started as a small project, was extremely popular, and now has become a commercial success in a number of countries.”
One major focus this year is on health care. ”We are looking at preventive care,” said Mia Uronen. ”The city of Helsinki is strongly cooperating with this.” Herttoniemi has been chosen as the target area for a project using applied technologies to encourage people to take the responsibility for their own health. The project seeks to both increase the quality of service and reduce the demand for health care, both main concerns for the city of Helsinki.