Growing the Smart Spaces ecosystem with large companies and startups

Ari Virtanen, Vice Preseident, KONE, Keynote speaker at Helsinki Innovation Day 2015

At the Helsinki Results Day on December 1st, keynote speaker Ari Virtanen, Senior Vice President KONE, stated that “most of the innovations – 99% - happen outside the companies. At SLUSH the KONE Director for New Business Concepts, Jukka Salmikuukka, declared that working with startups speed up the innovation process and by working together KONE ensure that the startup innovations are compliant with their systems. In return the startups are linked to a global customer base.

“If Kone is a supertanker, startups are like high speed motor boats. In return we link them up with our global customer base. “

KONE, a leading global company in escalator and elevator industry, joined EIT Digital as a partner in the Finnish ecosystem and have been engaged in several activities, especially pooling talents and ideas relating to Smart Spaces.

In March 2015 they organized an open challenge which attracted a big interest from startups with 45 applications from all over Europe. At SLUSH 2015 KONE brought three of them to showcase their products and services; two from Finland – iBeaconFI and Bt.tn and one from Estonia, In Door Ninja.

- Big companies have many ways to be more open and collaborative, by opening up their API’s, organizing challenges, hackathons etc. The next step is tie startups closer to the company, creating an ecosystem or even setting up a corporate incubator. We see this trend is growing and EIT Digital has the perfect setup to match these needs as we can match our community of startups with large industrial partners, says Petri Liuha, Action Line Leader Smart Spaces.

“It’s not about individual companies anymore but more about competing ecosystems. In today’s environment it is difficult to succeed with a closed model of innovation. Open cooperation is the only way to go. “

Video with Jukka Salmikuukka, Kone Director New Business Concepts

Startups - sign up for BestPeopleFlow and join the ecosystem
In 2016 EIT Digital will continue to grow the ecosystem and call interested startups to sign up for the BestPeopleFLow Hackathon that KONE is organizing in March 2016. The event is targeted at software developers and a nice mix of talents from around the world. The idea is to create the best people flow experience within buildings and cities.

InDoor Ninja worked with KONE in a pilot project, designing an app for visitor management with integration support from KONE. The fit between small and big was perfect, according to CEO Peep Paum.
- A startup might have a good idea, but without financial traction, it can easily become worthless. Nowadays speed is of high importance to any business. We believe big corporations can gain in agility and efficiency in prototype development via set-ups like ours.

The Finnish startup iBeaconFI, a sub-grantee partner to EIT Digital, won the 2015 KONE challenge and received € 15 000 in prize money to be used for prototyping with KONE.
Read more and sign up here for the 2016 hackathon: www.kone.com/bestpeopleflow

Source: Quotes from articles in KONE Magazine, issue 15, Driving change with Digital

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