Coders met at Ultrahack
Ultrahack, held under Slush, attracted a group of coders from all parts of the world to develop solutions for corporate challenges. DNA also threw in a challenge. Tiina Rytkönen from DNA talks about Ultrahack and DNA's role in it. Ultrahack 2016, a hackathon leading to Slush, was held at Vallila Konepaja in Helsinki. It was the final of the largest hackathon tournament in Europe. During the weekend, more than 560 software developers from 29 countries attempted to solve challenges presented to them by different companies. The objective of Ultrahack was to come up with new financial and social innovations, and to offer a stepping stone for new talent. The event had attracted a diverse group of skilled coders: student teams, startups and also larger companies. Innovative ideas for DNA's challenge Tiina Rytkönen, head of online development at DNA, describes the Ultrahack atmosphere as innovative and inspired. “We wanted in because this event is a perfect match with DNA's values and its new way of carrying out agile business. The event was fun and relaxed, while the teams also worked long hours to solve the challenges,” Rytkönen says. DNA challenged the teams to create ideas to develop the coverage maps located on DNA's web pages. “Coverage maps allow us to open interfaces to external software developers. We wanted to hear new ideas in order to make our services more transparent towards our customers.” At Ultrahack, teams innovated the use of positioning data in coverage maps. They also thought of ways to develop the services as a bi-directional channel, where customers could provide DNA with information about Internet connection speeds in specific locations. “Our primary objective is to provide our customers with better information about the coverage of DNA's mobile network, whether they are driving across the country, at their summer cottage or skiing in Lapland,” Rytkönen says. The map developer wants to join the race DNA's partner at Ultrahack was Karttakeskus, which provided the teams with the coverage maps and other material via its map service. “It was fun to be part of this event, where the innovating teams were fully focused on these challenges,” says Tero Dubrovin, service manager at Karttakeskus. Dubrovin also received many new ideas from the event. “For example, we could develop map customisation, so as to produce a different map design, according to the user and purpose of use,” Dubrovin says. Dubrovin got so enthusiastic over Ultrahack that he may take part in a future tournament as a competitor. “During the weekend, I started to think that I could take up one of these challenges as a coder and put up a skilled team.” In addition to the finals held in Helsinki, different Ultrahack tournaments were organised in seven countries in Northern and Central Europe during the year. The chain of events will continue when Ultrahack 2017 will be launched at the beginning of the year. ;
Ultrahack hackathon put coders to the test. But, what is a hackathon?
Finnish startups to hit
Finland is a country of innovation, also raising global interest. Photo: Ville Lehvonen
Digitalisation is proceeding at full speed in every field – also in sports. Finnish SportIQ develops motion sensors to help track the movement of players and sports equipment, for example, on a basketball court. The sensors are attached to the ball and players' gear. They wirelessly transfer data to a system, in which this data can be utilised in real time, for example, in TV broadcasts. This analysed data helps players to review their performance and coaches to improve the tactics of the team. The SportIQ application has already been successfully tested in the Finnish basketball and ice hockey leagues, but the company is looking for bigger arenas. “Our main markets are in the US, because that is where the big bucks are,” says Harri Hohteri, CEO of SportIQ. A smart ball keeps the score SportIQ applications are also making their way to consumer markets. The company, together with sports equipment manufacturer Wilson, has developed a smart basketball equipped with a small motion sensor which is able to keep the score and identify shooting distances. Data is transferred via Bluetooth from the ball to a mobile phone, where an app analyses the performance of individual players. “For example, players can instantly see at what distances they can score and what they need to do better. The app's features have been designed especially for younger players. Our aim is to lure them from computer games towards sports.” A major partner required for success The sports equipment business is dominated by major global corporations. According to Harri Hohteri, it is difficult for small startups to break through on their own. “For example, it wouldn't have been profitable for us to make a smart basketball on our own, but we needed to find a partner which already has a strong brand and a good relationship with consumers.” Wilson, owned by Amer, is the first major international partner of SportIQ. Hohteri believes in the strength of partnerships as the Finnish company is looking for opportunities for growth from other sports in addition to basketball. Business ideas, based on data connections In addition to SportIQ, business ideas of many other promising startups are based on data connections. A good example of this is Naturvention Oyj, a Jyväskylä-based company which manufactures indoor green walls. The roots of plants based on a culture medium contain microbes that disintegrate any adverse compounds in air. Green walls are monitored and adjusted remotely via the mobile network. The Naava technology is the only air purification method in the world which adapts to the indoor climate. The smart green wall generates exactly the correct types of microbes to use the chemicals contained by air as nutrition. According to the company, the innovation purifies indoor air more than a hundred times more effectively than regular plants. Furthermore, Roadscanners from Rovaniemi uses data connections in its tools. They are used to control the condition of roads, railways, streets and airports. For example, the company has developed sensor technology which helps to predict any need for road maintenance. What is unique about this invention is that it helps to build an accurate digital image of road structures. Preventive maintenance based on sensor data produces significant annual savings in paving costs. It also improves road safety and comfort. ;
How to get the most out of the Internet of Things
Companies can only get the most out of digital services once they have changed their everyday activities to support new operations. The Industrial Internet is currently talked about through technology, even though technology alone cannot bring the desired benefits to companies. Significant benefits can only be achieved once companies have transformed their everyday activities ready for the world of digital services. Five key rules of thumb are listed below. 1. Guided by strategy, supported by technology During changes, technology may take the lead from strategy so that development does not move forward on the strategic path. No matter how busy they are, companies should stop and think about how technology best serves the strategy and business. At the same time, they should think whether technology can sometimes by such a strong factor that strategy needs revising, as well. “This may be the case if the strategy does not enable the utilisation of the opportunities presented by the digital age. Mainly, companies can get far by harnessing technology to serve their existing strategy,” says Marko Yli-Pietilä, business development director at consulting company Midagon. After all, the strategy rather than technology sets limits for development. 2. Set clear goals for development The IoT goals of companies can be roughly divided into three levels: At the first level, services are boosted, for example, so that customers can get quicker, or even preventive, maintenance. The next step is to change the business idea so that a company starts to sell a machine it has manufactured as a service. The most ambitious goal is to carry out a change to revolutionise the way everything is done in the industry. “It is important to see what the goal is, even though it often changes along the way. If the goal is not ambitious enough, there may not be enough motivation to reach it,” says Tapio Haantie, development manager in charge of DNA's IoT range. 3. Be prepared for a long journey The bigger the change is, the more companies need to change their operating methods, and the more they require new expertise. For example, Siemens sells trains to railway companies as a service, for which it is paid according to the quality of its operations. Technology is making this more and more possible because, using remote connections and sensor technology, device suppliers are able to anticipate problems and fix them as quickly as possible. “Such a development may require years to take place. Companies cannot change their operations on such a total scale in a blink of an eye. Instead, the change should be started by a suitably sized pilot,” Yli-Pietilä says. 4. Change your processes and evaluate your expertise When a manufacturing company starts to change its operating model, it also needs to reshape its processes. Services are sold and bought differently from devices. For example, the company needs new agreement templates, incentives and even new talent. It needs to understand its customers' business operations more comprehensively or its services will not satisfy their needs. The company should also assess whether there is enough expertise in its current partnership network. What is particularly important is to develop expertise in analytics because inventions are developed by analysing data. “Understanding of analytics should also be developed within companies; after all, analytics forms the core of business,” Haantie says. 5. Develop together Customers should be engaged in the development of digital services at as early a stage as possible. The development path has its twists and turns, and it rarely starts in the right direction. Customer feedback is the best tool to point the way. What is more, employees should be engaged early. Digitisation changes job descriptions, which may result in clashes. That is why, shop stewards should take part in development work. “Employees also offer important practical insight which, if ignored, may result in a situation where new solutions are used incorrectly,” Yli-Pietilä says. Tapio Haantie also places emphasis on this. “The personnel form the first target group to whom developers need to be able to sell the change.” ;
The benefits of digitalisation cannot be converted into cash flow, unless service development takes the ideas of customers and employees into account.
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New doors opening up for cybercrime
New channels quickly open up for cybercrime, but the means of protection are also becoming more varied. This is what Petri Ramu, product manager in charge of DNA's information security services, stated at the cybersecurity seminar of Finnish hospital districts on Wednesday. The new possibilities opening up for cybercrime are side-effects of the Internet of Things. According to Gartner's assessment, for example, the number of connected devices will triple by 2020. On many devices, information security is weak or even non-existent. Unprotected devices are excellent tools for denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. In September, a DoS attack considered to be the largest in the world was discovered where, according to unconfirmed sources, nearly 150,000 Internet cameras and digital recorders were utilised. Attackers may use such ordinary devices, such as baby monitors or industrial control units. Targeted attacks are thoroughly planned operations, the objective of which is to quietly transfer information from internal networks of organisations. In this case, attackers aim to remain hidden in these networks. Because the malware used by attackers is customised, regular antivirus software offers no protection. Commercial attacking services are also available for more incompetent criminals, also offering support services to their customers. Remember to pay attention to Dave! More and more services are also available for defenders. For example, telecom operators are offering a service which automatically detects and weakens DoS attacks and filters malware. DNA detects such attacks every day. When it comes to defence, investments in technology alone are not enough; defenders must also know how to use this technology. While technology may fill its role in defence, people draw a larger picture of the attack, and people cannot be replaced by mere technology. Not everything can be protected with full certainty. That is why it is important to assess what data and what functions are critical. The ground rule is that it is vital to protect boundary areas of the network using information security solutions between the public Internet and the internal network. Similarly, basic solutions include the identification of applications, the prevention of attacks and the filtering of malware. If software is properly updated, the area susceptible to attacks will be significantly smaller. Not even the best firewalls, encryption methods or antivirus programs offer help if people do not follow their instructions. Most vulnerabilities are caused by negligence or carelessness. For example, this is possible when “Dave” finds a golden USB stick marked “management salaries” from his company's parking lot and inserts it into his computer. Other common causes are email attachments, interesting websites and social media. Personnel training is an important part of information security. When employees understand the generality and consequences of possible attacks and their consequences, they will no longer undermine strict routines. Other significant steps in terms of information security include: Information security planning at the beginning of digital projects Plans required for the management of information security risks from the operator you are working with Repair of basic technical issues Verified information security on all employee terminals Classification of data on the basis of its criticality and definition of the correct storage location for each criticality class Secured identity and management of user rights These steps help organisations towards a higher level of information security to reduce risks, secure uninterrupted operations, increase reliability in the eyes of customers, and reach business goals. ;
The range of tools for cybercrime increases but, if you play it smart, you can avoid any pitfalls.
Olli Rehn: Competence is the most important raw material for the new type of work
"In the digital world, inequality can increase if the winners get a huge income and the losers are left with nothing but crumbs." Olli Rehn
The challenges of digitalisation can be turned to opportunities with competence, says Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn. Finnish working life will change in unexpected ways during the next 10–20 years. Automation, robots and digitalisation create many new opportunities and challenges. “We must turn that threat into an opportunity. It creates a lot of pressure for renewing life-long learning as well, to allow people to update their skills continuously,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn. According to Rehn, competence is the most important raw material for the new type of work. The pressure to carry out reforms includes the entire education system, from the first year of school to adult education. The task of primary school is to provide tools for learning, to allow people to renew themselves throughout their career. One of the government's spearhead projects aims to make this possible. “We are promoting building a digital learning environment in schools in a way that gives our future employees and entrepreneurs the tools to survive in a digital environment.” It is true there are differences in the speed at which municipalities – which are responsible for organising basic education – are building digital learning environments. The reason for this is that the resources available to each municipality are different. Kauniainen, for example, has been a pioneer, but also Vantaa, which operates on a larger scale, has been building new services at a good pace. “I wish that, in addition to the government’s spearhead projects, municipalities would also invest in creating digital learning environments.” Adopting the use of digital methods in schools is also being accelerated by the HundrED project, supported by DNA, which is providing support for one hundred schools in utilising new ways of learning. The national data exchange layer connects public services Learning is, therefore, a central tool for the new work, but structures are also important. According to international comparisons, Finland’s public sector has been proceeding on the path to digitalisation at a good pace. However, many things have also progressed slowly. Olli Rehn remembers how he travelled around Europe 15 years ago as a member of commissioner Erkki Liikanen's team and talked about the eEurope programme. At that time, the central theme was electronic public administration services. “It was an unpleasant surprise that the level of discussion was pretty much the same 15 years later when I returned to Finland more permanently.” The fragmentation of structures has been one hindrance to utilising digitalisation in public administration. However Rehn is an optimist who sees this challenge as an opportunity that can be utilised better in the future. One step in the right direction was establishing the National Data Exchange Layer, through which citizens can use the public and private services they require. This requires, however, that both public and private organisations connect their services to the data exchange layer. “In regards to that, municipalities and also the state have still a lot to improve and areas where they can do things faster. The social welfare and health care reform is creating many new opportunities for this.” Rehn reminds us that digitalisation is also creating new kinds of social discussions about equality. In a digital world, inequality can increase if the winners get a huge income and the losers are left with nothing but crumbs. “This is why the government has started a pilot project to test how systems such as basic income could ensure that work is motivating and, at the same time, income is distributed more equally.” Photo: Sakari Piippo ;
Come Together, Right Now
DNA Wholesale Team made the rounds at International Telecoms Week in Chicago For a few busy days in May, the attention of the world’s wholesale telecommunications community was firmly in Chicago – again. Now in its 9th year, International Telecoms Week (ITW) is the world’s largest meeting for the global wholesale telecommunications crowd. Providing a wealth of opportunities to position one’s business in front of a powerful international audience, ITW is sort of a “networking heaven” for the industry professionals. Sales Director Juho Hyvärinen was one of the members of the DNA Wholesale Team that made the trip to the Windy City this year. “We feel that International Telecoms Week is a great place for us to work on strengthening our existing partnerships and really talk about topics with our clients. The other thing is, of course, being on the look-out for new customers,” Hyvärinen describes the importance of ITW from the point of view of DNA Wholesale. This year, Hyvärinen was accompanied by three sales managers from DNA Wholesale representing both fixed operator services and voice and mobile services. Feel the Vibrations Looking back at the massive event, Hyvärinen analyses that it was good to “feel the vibe” of the industry and keep track of the emerging trends. He was also happy to take notice that a few things – such as the use of automation and digital interfaces in the telecoms context – is just now catching on in many parts of the world. “In Finland, we have been pushing the industry and technology in those regards for quite some time. It was good to see that we’re a frontrunner in some aspects,” says Hyvärinen. The big trend that he picked up on was the desire of the large operators to seek out smaller, local operators to collaborate with in the wholesale market. “This is a clear trend that we have witnessed over the past year or two.” Boost the Backbone The DNA Wholesale Team also had a mission of sorts in Chicago. As the company is expanding its backbone network to Amsterdam and Frankfurt in the summer of 2016, now is the time to get the word out on the new possibilities. The new investment makes it possible to establish a better presence in Central Europe, so that the company can construct network-to-network interfaces (NNI) for existing and potential customers in Amsterdam or Frankfurt (as well as in Stockholm). In addition, the new network provides flexible and convenient access points to global cloud services. “It’s fantastic that we’re able to expand our network and provide resilient NNIs – in both of these new locations – to our clients,” says Hyvärinen, pointing out that the expansion has required a big effort from DNA, in terms of both finances and manpower. “With the launch expected to take place this summer, we feel confident that the network is very attractive from the point of view of big customers and gives us plenty of business opportunities.” Getting Personal However, providing cutting-edge technology and solutions is just one part of the winning formula. Hyvärinen observes that once again in Chicago it became very apparent what it is that the customers appreciate and what they respond to the most: “The value of personal, long-term relationships with the customers can’t be overstated in this business. This industry is very much about collaboration, and you need those trust-based, durable relationships to make it work.” Meet the DNA Wholesale Team also in the upcoming events: Capacity Russia & CIS, Moscow 18.-19.10.2016 GSMA WAS (Wholesale Agreements and Solutions), Dublin 31.10.-3.11.2016 Capacity Europe, Paris 7.-9.11.2016 Please contact: email@example.com ;
This industry is very much about collaboration, and you need those trust-based, durable relationships to make it work, believes DNA's Sales Director Juho Hyvärinen
Get rid of your digital addiction
Personal trainer Tomi Kokko, a pioneer of online coaching, has completely rethought his way of using digital devices. When business operations are based on interaction with customers on social media, it is easy to accumulate incredible amounts of screen time. A year ago, Tomi Kokko realised that he was continuously in a reactive mode, ready to respond to an endless stream of requests and demands via social media and email. “Because of frequent interruptions, I was not always able to achieve my daily goals at work. I needed to find a new way of working.” Kokko searched for information about how other busy business owners had solved the problem and established a new daily rhythm based on what he learned. His morning and evening routines changed the most. He no longer checks his social media notifications first thing upon waking up. Instead, he keeps his phone on flight mode for the first two hours of the day. “I devote that time to exercise, meditation and a nice cup of coffee. When my working day starts, I’m ready and able to deal with whatever lies ahead.” During the working day, Kokko no longer peeks at his email continuously. He now has two time slots for checking his inbox. This calls for self-discipline, and the email notification function must be turned off. In the evening, Kokko turns off his phone two hours before bedtime. He focuses on relationships, hobbies and other aspects of life that help him recharge. Allowing sufficient time for recouping in daily life enables him to fully focus on work and be efficient and creative during the working day. These changes in his digital habits have improved Kokko’s quality of life. “The most significant change is that I now feel in control of my time. I can focus on what is relevant and meaningful instead of simply reacting to various stimuli.” His new habits may sound challenging, but he says sticking to them is easy once you notice how much they improve your efficiency at work. If the challenge feels insurmountable, you can try changing your digital habits for two weeks at first. Make a commitment to controlling your digital habits instead of letting them control your daily life. ;
Are you in control of your time? Or do email and social media control your time management? Read how online coach Tomi Kokko changed his digital habits.
Finland – a test bed…or a deathbed?
"While China is the world's factory, Finland could well be its brain." - Miki Kuusi, the founder of Slush
The meagre success Finns have had in the race for digital services is increasingly hampering the vitality of the national economy. The increasing success of international online stores in Finland means that capital is lost abroad. “People in Finland have not even realised that added value is going somewhere else. People here have been in some way blind to the fact that the world around them is changing”, says Miki Kuusi, the founder of the annual Slush business startup event and the Wolt online store. It seems that Finland has become the prisoner of its past success, and new developments taking place elsewhere are ignored here. Even though technological change has shaken cornerstone enterprises like Nokia, the forest industry and Stockmann, Finland’s stance has remained largely unchanged. “But the Chinese will buy their food online, even if we Finns won’t”, Kuusi says. New technology is altering structures in all industries. The most striking examples are the sharing services Uber and Airbnb. For instance, Airbnb has shaken the dominant position of large hotel chains – a position they have built up through investments worth millions. Travellers have traditionally used familiar chains in exotic locations because they have wanted to spend their night in a familiar and trusted place. The familiar brand has guaranteed that expectations are met. The Internet is changing the playing field of the online service, as consumers can now follow different occupants’ reviews of an apartment, its owner and the prices. Now, consumers have enough information to no longer need to rely on the information provided by a brand. Finland needs to retake the pioneer position Finland’s speed is being slowed down by a detrimental dichotomy that has arisen. On one hand, Finland has a group of internationally oriented young people, many of whom work in the field of technology. On the other hand there is the Finland of traditions, where Finland is seen as the best country for Finns. The divided country should restore the belief in the ability of Finland to again be a pioneer country – as we have been several times in the past. Kuusi points out that we Finns surely must have some good qualities, as our country has so often been at the forefront of development. “China is the world’s factory. Could Finland be the world’s brain, doing things that others will only do later on?” Finland’s problem is that strong structures have been built in the country to support past success. Those structures support the established position, but not change. This concerns legislation and other regulations, among other things. If we wish to be a pioneer in digitalisation, our legislation needs to reflect that.” ;