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Home BUSINESSOulu 5G innovation challenge launched
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Fri, 04 Mar, 2016 02:08:11 AM
FTimes Report, Mar 4
Photo Source: BusinessOulu webpage.
The 5G innovation challenge titled 5GFWD is now officially open.
 
The City of Oulu and Nokia in conjunction with their partners have initiated this unique 3-track international competition to spearhead 5G technology which is a hundred times faster than the current network technology.
 
The competition challenges the world’s sharpest innovators, designers, companies and teams to develop 5G innovations that could make our life better, easier and happier. The three tracks of the competition are: ‘Easy Living & Work­ing!’ ‘Shopping Frenzy!’ and ‘Health Goes 5G!’ The aim is to utilise the winning innovations in genuine environ­ments.
 
The challenge is a timely one, as Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri estimated in the recent World Mobile Congress in Barcelona that the development of 5G is probably a lot faster than has been predicted so far. He said the market has already created a need for 5G, which speeds up the development. Suri mentioned self-driving cars and remote medical care as practical examples.
 
The Oulu region is already a secure homestead for 5G. The Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Oulu opened a 5G test network in Oulu in spring 2015. A new testing environment for 5G will be opened at the Oulu University Hospital next autumn.
 
This competition strengthens the Oulu region’s role as one of the international hubs in 5G development. Oulu is already known as perhaps the most notable centre of radio technology development in the world, and more than 2.6 billion people use ICT technology developed in the region.
 
The Nokia unit in Oulu also has been regarded as the crown jewel of Nokia network technology development for quite some time. Nokia and the City of Oulu are the main sponsors for the competition.
 
The organisers are specifically looking for ideas instead of complete technical solutions – this means that anyone can participate. The total value of prizes in the three competition categories is an astonishing 40,000 euros. Furthermore, the finalists have the opportunity to meet financiers and product developers to discuss possible options of successfully entering the consumer market.
 
The 5GFWD competition takes place online, and the organisers expect participants from all over the world. The winners of the three categories will be flown to a Grand Prix gala in Oulu to compete for the 10,000-euro Grand Prize in June 2016. The competition headquarters is also online at www.5gfwd.org.
 
The ‘Easy Living & Working!’ track targets, for example, the wireless working day of the future and all the new services that could be available for people in the city when it comes to things like traffic data, various events, or simply finding your friends.
“It is said that digitalization is challenging to shops and stores globally. At our new shopping centre Valkea we feel just the opposite. We are specifically looking for ideas for a digital customer experience: what happens even before you actually visit the shopping centre or after you leave,” said Cooperative Arina Marketing Direc­tor Pasi Ruuskanen, the brains behind the ‘Shopping Frenzy!’ challenge.
 
The ‘Health Goes 5G!’ challenge emphasises vital ideas: Can a family prepare for a hospital visit in a way that would make it more comforting, efficient and pleasant? Could the hospital staff get more information about a coming patient already in advance? What will a 5G ambulance be like in the future?
 
The ‘Easy Living & Working!’ and ‘Shopping Frenzy!’ tracks are free and open to all participants. The ‘Health Goes 5G!’ is targeted to companies, and the winner will also be admitted to a pilot project by OuluHealth.
 
The track winners’ prizes are 4,000 euros each. From among the track winners the jury will reward the grand prix winner, the best of the best, with a prize of 10,000 euros. On the Digital Health track, the winners will get an exclusive prize of session time in OYS Test Lab’s 5G environment in Oulu University Hospital worth 10,000 euros plus team membership in an OuluHealth pilot project.
 
“We wish to stir up international and Finnish companies and make them focus on 5G in their strategies as a significant competitive advantage. The region’s ICT ecosystem provides companies with a unique environ­ment for development. It speeds up the road of products from innovations to testing phase and into the market. The University of Oulu and the Technical Research Centre of Finland already have a 5G test laborato­ry. The next 5G environment will be built in the OYS TestLab at Oulu University Hospital,” said BusinessOulu Executive Director Juha Ala-Mursula in a press release.
 
Among the competition organisers are the City of Oulu, Nokia, Technopolis, Oulu University Hospital, OuluHealth, 6Aika, Cooperative Arina, Ericsson, VTT, the municipality of Kempele, the municipality of Tyrnävä, CorGroup, Sanmina, 9Solutions, Finavia, and Bittium.
 
The final will take place on June 10 in Oulu. All finalists’ travel costs to Oulu will be paid by the 5GFWD up to a total of 2,000 euros for two persons.
 
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