Warming up Smart Spaces in the home of Startup Sauna

Smart Spaces, Summer School 2014, Finland - Helsinki

From left to right: Pascal Stegmann, Sunil Kallur Ramegowda, Morteza Neishaboori, Yuri Barssi and Craig Kershaw

Start-up Sauna

<i>„We love you too Aalto”</i>

EIT ICT Labs Smart Spaces Summer School in Helsinki, Finland
10/08/2014 - 22/08/2014

The Summer School gathered 26 students from 15 different countries to Helsinki to learn about Smart Spaces applications, challenges and markets. Students were presented insights from entrepreneurs, from Smart Spaces related SMEs and industry. The lectures and workshops of the school were focused on 'Smart services for retail and urban space' and were dealing with business trends, consumer behaviour trends and recent new innovations in the area.

Representatives of companies like Nokia, U-Hopper, Bonwal, Avansera and P&G explained their own experiences and the problems, solutions and challenges they face. Students were especially inspired by novel solutions that were created for retail environment and about new solutions like interactive walls, presented by the company MultiTouch Ltd. Based on the information provided, the student teams were challenged with creating a new Business Model Canvas for a company.

And here are quotes from the student blog about what they have learned:

Service creation:

„We got some good advice about the DO’s and DON’Ts of running a start-up. The team and the idea have to be equally good and you have to be very stubborn in order to succeed. Just lots of hard work!” „We learnt some applications like visual search, predicting crowd behaviour and counting people, motion capture and animation.”

The future of marketing:

„Mass markets are turning into a mass of niches and B2C is going to become C2B. The challenge is to get the customer to approach the business.We discussed the factor of loyalty, which nowadays turns out to be the most important thing you want to achieve and how nobody wants price-driven costumers. For startups, it turns out that the most effective marketing is to use your own media - packages, social media, mailing lists - and definitely digital media.”

User Experience:

„The lecture of Mikko Nurmi was especially interesting for HCID students and it covered the lifecycle of Service Design that creates or improves existing services by making them more useful, usable and efficient for everyone - consumers, businesses, organizations. It turned out that the most important is the first group of your users. It was a good idea to use an user experience agency who actually go out and visit users in the field for their work.”

Pitching ideas

In the morning of the pitching day the groups visited Startup Sauna, located at the campus of Aalto University in Helsinki. Startup Sauna is a place for new entrepreneurs to begin their journey - here they are provided with an office space and coaching for their new business and can meet investors, but it is also an inspirative community programme venue. After warming up at the Start-up Sauna the five student groups presented the ideas that they’ve been working on for two weeks.

The winning team Uskomaton - It’s Finnish for Incredible!

USKOMATON Fitness, the winning idea, is a smart platform for gyms. Users can optimize their time and reserve the equipment in advance, so when they arrive at the gym the equipment is available and they can also keep track of their training data.

„The students developed new business ideas and models and really made a huge progress in two weeks. I hope to see these ideas in the market soon,” commented Petri Liuha, Smart Space Action Line leader.

"The smart spaces summer school in Helsinki turned out to be an unforgettable 2 weeks experience full of hard work, joy, new friends and places, smiles, selfies, new expertise gained and networking. The most valuable thing for me was that I realized that I would really like to found a company or at least work in a startup where I would obtain knowledge in a variety of areas, feel the dynamics and go through the whole process of service design, no matter the industry. Last but not least, we had the opportunity to socialize as never before, meet new people and create friendships and contacts not only with the other master students but also with people from the business and Aalto university," explained Boris Nikolov, student at the summer school.

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