A younger woman uses a pad with an elderly woman
 The innovation hub is focusing on health-related innovations as startups in this sector move from application to implementation much faster than in other sectors here in Finland. Image: Maija Astikainen

AI-based innovations from Finland in good health

The Finnish AI Region (FAIR) innovation hub in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area is one of seven digital innovation hubs helping SMEs to exploit digital technologies.

James O’Sullivan

09.08.2022

FAIR seeks to mitigate obstacles currently hampering the widespread adoption of AI by regional companies. The innovation hub leverages its expertise to help them to develop AI-based innovations into marketable products and streamline their in-house processes.

“We help companies identify the business opportunities created by AI and support their use,” said Erja Turunen, business area EVP at VTT, the national technical research centre participating in the hub. “At the same time, we further strengthen the extensive international network of experts.”

The focus of its activities will be on digital services, smart cities and health, the latter being of particular importance as half of healthcare sector startups already use AI. Analyses show that health-related startups move from application to implementation much faster than startups in other sectors here in Finland.

People sit at a desk and try VR equipment

FAIR is aiming to assist more than 100 SMEs during its first three years of operations. Image: N2 Albino

FAIR also looks to strengthen co-operation between universities and companies, supporting the flow of ideas and results related to AI from basic research through applications to our everyday lives.

The innovation hub’s services are primarily free of charge and fall into four categories: test platforms, financial support, competence development, and the building of an innovation ecosystem and support for networking. The operations are slated to commence on 1 October this year.

Besides VTT and the cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the FAIR members consist of the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, Haaga-Helia UAC, Metropolia UAC, CSC, KIRAHub and EIT Digital. In addition, FAIR ensures its has the latest scientific knowledge in the field through its collaboration with the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI).

In total, seven digital innovation hubs in Finland form part of the EU’s new Digital Europe programme to help companies to develop products, processes or services using digital technologies. These include SIX Manufacturing EDIH (Tamlink Ltd), Location Innovation Hub (LIH), the geospatial research unit of National Land Survey of Finland (NLS FGI), 5STAR eCorridors (DIMECC Ltd), WellLake EDIH (Business Jyväskylä), HealthHub Finland (Turku Science Park Ltd) and Robocoast EDIH Consortium (Prizztech Ltd).

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