May 8, 2020

FIVE FROM FINLAND: Different realities

Finnish innovation lets you choose your own reality.
Finnish innovation lets you choose your own reality.
Julia Bushueva

Whether it’s virtual, augmented or cross, these Finnish firms are all offering a fresh perspective on reality.

Once indulged merely in sci-fi films, VR and AR continue to grow in importance and popularity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic as we are forced to rethink the ways we interact with the world around us.

This year’s May Day eve in Helsinki was a great example of the possibilities of virtual events. With the local population refraining from the usual public gatherings that are peppered around town, they came together as one to attend a live VR gig by local outfit JVG. The show was followed live by 700 000 viewers and subsequent streaming saw that figure reach 1.4 million, some 24 per cent of the Finnish population.

Organised by VR studio Zoan (read more below), the City of Helsinki and Fullsteam Agency Helsinki, the event was an important stepping stone towards Helsinki’s ambitious plan to become the virtual capital of the world.

But that’s far from it from Finland and fresh realities. Discover these five Finnish companies that are developing and utilising immersive technologies while creating substantial business benefits.

Varjo

With its VR/XR headsets capable of visualising images at a human-eye resolution, the Helsinki-based company is continuously pushing VR boundaries and helping professionals in the most demanding industries that require extremely high resolutions.

Having raised significant funding, Varjo strongly believes that its innovation can change the game for enterprise customers across various fields, including automotive, construction, engineering, healthcare and design industries.

“We bring human-eye resolution to VR, which no one has done before,” said co-founder Urho Konttori. “We believe this can revolutionise how companies use VR.”

Arilyn

Arilyn is all about using AR as a powerful brand communication and customer engagement tool. The Helsinki-headquartered company assists businesses in every step of their journey to AR marketing excellence.

With its AR solutions, Arilyn has already helped such Finnish and global heavyweights as Arla, Panda, Nokia, Huawei and L’Oréal to engage with their customers in a more creative and impactful way. Moreover, the company is working closely with museums and other cultural institutions and even has been involved in various Broadway shows.

“The point is not to get people put on virtual glasses and go to another dimension,” CEO Emmi Jouslehto told us a few years ago. “Rather, we want to add things into the reality they already are in, not as passive bystanders but active contributors.”

Dispelix

With the help of its patented proprietary technology, the Espoo-based startup has figured out a way to create eyewear that looks like regular glasses and still offers an unbeaten AR experience.

Dispelix’ see-through display technology brings high-resolution visual information directly into the user’s field of vision. These full-colour displays can be easily integrated into any lens design and turn even ordinary eyewear into immersive AR glasses.

“Our displays bring another world, a virtual image layer, on top of the real world,” noted CEO and co-founder Antti Sunnari. “This can be used for instructions, information and entertainment.”

Immersal

This Helsinki-based company develops AR technology that empowers retail, industrial and entertainment sectors to merge digital and physical realities. The Immersal software development kit lets developers map large, real-world spaces and then augment them with digital content.

The solution, for example, can be used by shopping centres for indoor navigation and product finding, resulting in improved shopping experiences and, hence, opportunities for boosting revenue and saving money.

“A customer looking for tinfoil can find it in two seconds instead of having to get lost and frustrated in a hypermarket,” the company’s co-founder Jufo Peltomaa illustrated in 2018.

Zoan

As outlined in the above paragraphs, the Helsinki-headquartered VR studio’s ambitious and intriguing VR projects strive to provide new opportunities for companies across a range of sectors.

The recent May Day eve concert was created with the Virtual Helsinki platform, a digital twin of Helsinki that formed the foundation for the successful event. Elsewhere, the company has made it possible to travel back in time with a virtual experience produced for the National Museum of Finland and get to know the beloved Moomins better with some specially designed VR and AR content. The company’s solutions have also proved beneficial for the real estate and development sectors.

“We don’t want to do every single virtual reality project in the world, but we want to do the ones that are a bit more difficult and challenging, that really force our team to break boundaries,” proclaimed founder Miikka Rosendahl.

Originally published in October 2018, updated in May 2020

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