Finland’s super-week in Singapore

In a post-event press release Finland and Helsinki sums up their ‘Meet Finland in Singapore’ week, which took place during 12 – 19 September, ending on a positive, upbeat note. “It has drummed up significant interest among the business and investing community,” states the organisers.

Dialogue session with panelists Mr Patrick Tan, Precision Medicine initiative, A*STAR / DukeNUS and Ms Meria Heikelä, National Personalized Health Program, Finland; moderated by Mr Riku Makela, Counsellor, Innovation and Trade Affairs, Embassy of Finland, Singapore

It has opened up new Singapore-Finland collaboration opportunities in healthtech, travel tech, edutech and Virtual Reality and Augmented innovations.

“The Finland super-week in Singapore was organized incredibly well so it was a pleasure to take part in those events! Our participation in the panel discussions, meetings and presentation of our healthcare gaming solution at the various receptions and Finland booths helped us receive a lot of attention from journalists, hospitals, investors, with whom we are following for potential deals, future research and collaboration,” commented for instance Ms Kadri Haljas, Chief Executive Officer of Triumf Health, a Finnish Healthtech startup.

Triumf Health was part of the single largest Finnish delegation of more than ten heatlhtech companies to visit Singapore to attend this Finnish business and tech event. The Embassy of Finland in Singapore, Business Finland and Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Turku brought in a total of 120 Finnish delegates comprising innovators and tech companies to promote awareness and business collaboration between Finland and Singapore.

The key themes on healthtech, traveltech, edutech as well as AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) innovations were on display which saw over 400 participants in attendance.

Finland’s ambassador to Singapore, Ms Paula Parviainen

The Finnish ambassador to Singapore, Ms Paula Parviainen comments: “Singapore is a smart nation, and a lucrative market for solutions in health tech/AR VR. Both countries recognise the need to create efficient ways of taking care of the aging population and developing new innovative solutions in entertainment and travel using AR/VR technologies to cater to the changing lifestyle and rising expectations of consumers.”

Networking events, dialogue and investor receptions as well as the “Coolest tech hub” booth at the Slush Singapore, and the Finnish Singapore showcase at Techinnovation 2018 has drawn significant interest among the investing and business communities in Singapore.

Several enabling and ready-to-market technologies in health and wellness found ready demand in Singapore as the country seeks to adopt Smart Health solutions to deliver enhanced healthcare services more effectively and efficiently to the public.

Markus Lind from Buddy Healthcare, Finland

During the opening of the Finnish healthtech dialogue session Meria Heikelä director of Finland’s National Personalized Health Program said: “Big data and analytics have presented Singapore and Finland with many opportunities to deliver solutions for personalised healthcare.”

“In healthcare, there is increasing pressure to produce services more cost-efficiently and offer more patient-centric and tailored towards personalized care. We are therefore very pleased to work with Singapore to create solutions for personalized patient-centric care pathways that consider the special needs of patients,” she continued.

The iCory project is funded by Business Finland and backed by a consortium comprising Finnish health and wellness companies, universities and hospitals. The iCory ecosystem, which included Finnish healthtech firms such as Triumf Health, seeks to create intelligent and coherent patient-centric solutions for surgery pathways by using latest technologies such as machine learning and robotics for personalization.

Finnish participants of the iCory project are exploring collaboration with two hospitals in Singapore: KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) and National University Hospital (NUH).

“Some markets are not ready for digital health solutions, but Singapore is definitely one of the leaders in the world. Also, the fact that the top management that we met specifically pointed out the importance of psychological support in disease management is unique in the global context. To summarize, I would say that the meeting with the leadership team of Singapore health organisations was highly beneficial for us as we saw that we would be a good fit in Singapore,” says Ms Kadri Halijas.

Finnish AR and VR innovators transform entertainment and travel

Virtual Finland, Virtual travel and 3-D education using AR and VR tools have impressed visitors. A total of six start-ups in the areas of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) and Traveltech showcased their tech breakthroughs.

Helsinki-headquartered VR company, Zoan, gave visitors a preview of Helsinki, its digital buildings – i.e. apartments and commercial spaces before they are built; and a virtual tour of Finland.

Mr Miikka Rossendahl, CEO and founder of ZOAN, an AR/VR technology company offering powerful VR and real time 3D experiences for marketing, travel and education, says: “We were impressed with the opportunities that we had in Singapore to showcase our unique solutions to potential investors and partners. We also got much media attention for our unique VR showcase.

“Our Virtual Finland solution can let visitors see and experience the wonders of our country without even physically being there. Immersive technologies like ours will transform not just design for architecture and real estate development but also travel – especially for those who have physical limitations!”

Other innovative start-ups in the traveltech sector include Virtual Traveller and Tripsteri. Virtual Traveller allows visitors to travel the world “at the blink of the eyes” and gain flight points via a VR travel experience while Tripsteri is a trend-setting travel app for avid frequent travellers to book, plan, network, share views and enjoy their trips.

Another company, Grip3D, uses AR/VR modelling to transform learning especially for young people. The concept of 3D-Education and new AR/VR tools were shared with visitors who were keen to explore how these can be applied to enhance learning as well as teaching.

Food packaging technology company, Koepala also showcased new eco-friendly packaging concepts for the fast-food industry. It’s Innovation Director, Mr Janne Asikainen, says: “We benefited from a great amount of exposure, from being interviewed live on radio to presenting our sustainable packaging solutions at specifically arranged platforms and meetings. The activities in Singapore have enabled us to gain key market knowledge and contacts that include potential partners and investors, setting up the stage for us to start working in the Singapore market very soon”.

On the slew of activities held during the week, Finland’s Ambassador says: “From the positive feedback received, our Meet Finland in Singapore platform certainly offers excellent opportunities for Finnish and Singapore companies to exchange innovative ideas, seal partnerships and explore new collaborations. We are optimistic that more business deals and even closer working relationships will flourish in the years to come.”

About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

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