• News
  • People
  • Long Read
  • Opinion
  • Weekend Wrap


Intopalo wants to make digitalisation and VR everyone’s business

One of Intopalo’s recent projects is to recreate real work sequences and phases for training purposes using virtual reality equipment.Adobe

Digitalisation is shaking up industries from media and entertainment to banking and manufacturing. This is where Finnish software house Intopalo has found its niche helping industrial companies embrace an increasingly digital future.

While the speed of technology evolution makes most of our heads spin for Juha Latvala, CEO of Intopalo*, it is a cause for excitement:

“We live in the most magical time since the Renaissance,” he enthuses. “Software development and technology have reached a maturity where, in knowledgeable hands, practically any challenge can be solved. We increasingly see solutions for many industries that felt impossible 10 or 20 years ago.”

Founded in 2012, Intopalo is doing its part to drive this development forward. Latvala and his co-founders, Henry Haverinen and Sami Merilä, started the company after working together at Finnish telecom giant Nokia and realising they had the knowledge to help businesses advance by making new technology accessible to them in practical ways.

And this approach seems to be working. In just four years Intopalo has grown into an industrial software specialist with over 40 employees. It provides tailored software, security, artificial intelligence [AI] and augmented reality solutions for various industries and counts some of Finland’s biggest companies among its customers. These include sports watch manufacturer Suunto, industrial machinery giant Metso and automation specialist Valmet.

Furthermore over a third of Intopalo’s turnover today comes from abroad, including France, Germany, Austria, the UK and US.

Tech-savvy Finns

Intopalo’s mantra is that it can translate practically any new technology into business benefit for its customers. A recent example includes using virtual reality (VR) to create an immersive, realistic training experience that allows companies to teach new skills without risking costly mistakes or delays in production.

In practice this meant filming every step of a customer’s production process and transforming it into a virtual training platform where employees can safely practice new skills using VR equipment.

It is projects like this that Intopalo says go a long way to proving the benefit of digital technologies to companies.

“It is great that Finnish industry has shown hunger and intelligence in adopting for example artificial intelligence and VR,” Latvala says. “This is exactly how added value is produced today in Finland. It does not come from aiming to increase the tonnage of steel and machinery exports.”

Latvala believes part of this open-mindedness comes from Finland’s strong engineering history and expertise in mobile and telecommunications technology. This has also been a driver behind Intopalo’s growth.

“If you look at the areas where we are the most competitive at the moment, they are VR, AI and secure connectivity solutions and all of these have roots in the gaming industry, mobile technologies and great software expertise in Finland,” Latvala notes. “We Finns are often too modest here about [our skills].”

First steps of digitalisation

Intopalo has been internationally oriented from the start and even has English as its working language. Still the company does not believe in specific internationalisation strategies, but instead going where demand arises and most of Intopalo’s foreign customers have found the company through word-of-mouth.

“We never made a decision to go abroad, but started on day one with the assumption that there is need for our expertise outside Finland,” Latvala says. “We want to be where there the need is, whether that is Finland or abroad.”

And there is no sight of demand slowing down as Intopalo believes digitalisation is only taking its first steps.

“It is the latter phases that are the interesting ones,” Latvala concludes. “That is where we start to get systems that automatically, based on data, adjust how machines work or offer completely new services. That is where we really can start to talk about the digitalisation of everyday life… and that is why we are only getting started.”

Intopalo’s virtual reality training service allows employees to practice new skills without the risk of costly mistakes or delays to production. Image: Intopalo

*Part of Insta Group since 2018

By: Eeva Haaramo