A digital leap in parcel traffic

Competition in parcel traffic is intensifying – digital services provide a competitive advantage for growth and development. Pioneering travel and parcel services provider Matkahuolto implemented a digital leap from on-premise solutions to the cloud in a controlled manner and in a rapid schedule. The successful transition aims at growth, cost savings and a new boost for service development.

The year 2020 will go down in history not just as the year of the coronavirus but as a year of record growth in e-commerce. At best, e-commerce indexes revealed growth peaks of several tens of percent, and the pace is not expected to slow down. This trend has been reflected positively in the demand for parcel services provided by Matkahuolto.

“Consumers and merchants are now accustomed to online shopping, so its popularity is likely to continue once the exceptional circumstances end. In the volume-driven logistics industry, this means more competition,” says Mika Rajanen, CIO & CDO of Matkahuolto.

Matkahuolto, which started operations in 1933, has a strong position in Finland not just as a provider of passenger services but also in internal logistics, which has enabled co-operation agreements with major international players. The positive boost in e-commerce and parcel traffic will also accelerate Matkahuolto’s product and service development, where new technology plays a significant role.

Competitive advantage from digital user experience

With the digitalisation of parcel traffic, customers can now follow and manage their orders on their mobile devices. Matkahuolto’s goal is to further develop this user experience to be even better and smoother.

“Throughout the industry, goods have long moved solely based on logistics considerations. Consequently, although there has been automation, it has not reflected consumer needs. This is the area we want to pay more attention to,” says Rajanen.

The digitalisation of Matkahuolto’s business, which began in 2019, has advanced at a tremendous pace. A rapid leap has been taken from traditional on-premise solutions and the construction of IT services within the subsidiary Trimico to the cloud world and cloud native development. Global IT service provider CGI was selected as Matkahuolto’s strategic outsourcing partner in Finland.

“CGI has a great deal of cloud expertise and experience in application development. Both of these capabilities were required in our major transformation project,” says Rajanen.

From the data centre to the cloud in about six months

Planning for the transfer of IT services began in May 2020, when 17 employees of Trimico, Matkahuolto’s subsidiary, were also transferred to CGI as existing employees. Between August and October, system services were migrated from the traditional server environment to the AWS cloud. This phase utilised the CGI migration model, based on AWS best practices, which enabled a rapid and uninterrupted transition.

“Matkahuolto’s entire production environment was migrated into the cloud by the end of October, and new services were immediately launched in November. All transfers were completed successfully and within the agreed schedule,” says a pleased Rajanen.

In addition to personnel and system transfers, Matkahuolto has addressed information and cyber security issues, which are covered in the agreement with CGI by the services of CGI’s Cybersecurity Operations Centre (SOC). In addition to traditional infrastructure, end-user and application services, the agreement covers the development of new services.

In the implemented cloud migration, CGI operates Matkahuolto’s cloud environment cost-effectively alongside application development and in accordance with the CloudOps model. The next step is to start reforming the application architecture to be cloud-native.

“Matkahuolto’s digital acceleration brings savings in the form of both investment and the dynamic scalability of cloud services. The comprehensive reform will also create better conditions for the development of new digital services and solutions, improving the customer experience and growing the business,” Rajanen concludes.

HSL combined all web services under one roof – CGI involved in renewing the user interface

HSL has implemented an extensive reform of its online services, including the incorporation of the popular Reittiopas journey planner in hsl.fi. The project was carried out in a multi-vendor environment, with CGI Finland responsible for the renewal of the Reittiopas user interface.

In the spring of 2020, Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) launched a major online service reform with the goal of improving the usability of the new website. The aim was also to ensure that all the necessary information related to public transport could be found on the website faster. For this reason, the previously separate Reittiopas service was combined under the same roof with other HSL online services.

“We’ve made the look and feel of our website and the journey planner even clearer. Special attention has also been paid to accessibility. The starting point for the reform was the needs and wishes of our customers,” says Milla Laita, product owner of Digitransit at HSL.

In the multi-vendor environment, HSL’s long-term partner CGI was also responsible for the technical implementation.

“CGI has been involved in the development of the HSL Reittiopas since 2001. This has provided us with a solid understanding of the industry and customer needs. We have strong expertise in geographic information and public transport information systems,” says Elina Ruokari, Customer Relationship Manager at CGI.

Smooth cooperation across boundaries

The new user interface was built in a multi-vendor environment, where different aspects of the project, such as coding and visual design, were the responsibility of different parties.

“One success factor in the project was seamless collaboration across organisational boundaries. Since most of the results needed to be sharable from the start, particular attention has been paid to quality. In this project, all parties have certainly been motivated by the relevance of the work: the results affect the mobility of more than a million people,” says Vesa Meskanen, Systems Specialist at CGI.

The user interface renewal was implemented based on the DevOps model using agile development methods and the JavaScript React platform. The solutions will be implemented for HSL as docker micro services in the Microsoft Azure cloud.

“The Reittiopas journey planner is a popular service, which promotes the transition to lower-carbon modes of transport and provides significant time savings for end users looking for information,” explains Milla Laita from HSL.

The HSL journey planner is based on the open source Digitransit service platform, which is partially developed and maintained by CGI. The Digitransit service platform has been built with funding from the twenty owner municipalities of HSL, Traficom and the TVV ticket and payment systems for the routing of public transport in Finnish urban areas.

The HSL Reittiopas service is the most popular online transport service Finland. HSL and CGI have been developing public transport services together for 30 years.

Raed more about the cooperation between CGI Finland and HSL in another case story Helsinki Region Journey Planner and automated accessibility testing.

Advanced analytics is reforming public transport

Smooth information flow results in smooth public transport flow. The new reporting platform of LMJ, an IT procurement and service company operating in 21 urban areas, gives public transport planners more efficiency and access to previously inaccessible data.

Developing public transport is a complex process that requires the consideration of many variables. In order to make the right decisions, up-to-date and reliable information is needed on issues such as the utilisation rates, load and profitability of different lines. The challenge is often not the lack of data but its coordination and utilisation. Traditionally, a great deal of manual work was required for the calculation, decreasing not just the efficiency but also the meaningfulness of the work. Monitoring and anticipating trends is particularly challenging. In order to change this, LMJ decided to harness the potential of modern cloud technology and reporting together with CGI.

Managing data masses

In public transport, events such as purchases and the validation of tickets can amount to tens of thousands per hour, and volumes can vary considerably. In practice, the data collected from public transport consists of three basic components: ticket sales, the validation of tickets, and usage events, such as variation in passenger numbers per stop and over time. Thus, both scalability and computing power are required of the reporting platform. LMJ uses Azure as the data warehouse, and the reporting solution is Power BI, which allows data to be visualised and combined from almost any source.

The role of CGI is to optimise the use of data masses so as to support LMJ’s reporting models as well as possible. The best user and passenger experience is created when the data is presented in a form that is useful to traffic planners – that is why development work is done using agile methods and stage by stage.

“CGI took control of the project confidently. They provide us with expert insights and clearly justified development proposals on how to make the data visible for a sufficient period of time, how different data sources can be combined, and how details can be more easily accessed, for example. The cost structure of using the system has also been considered to ensure that it does not get out of hand,” comments Jari Paasikivi, CEO of LMJ.

New insights from data

LMJ’s new reporting platform allows traffic planners to look at variables deeper than at surface level and from several different perspectives. The solution also helps in financial planning, such as calculating key figures and profitability. It also allows us to influence passengers’ customer experience and create more sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions.

“We will continue to test use and systematically develop the reporting platform together with CGI. I hope that as many city representatives as possible will hear about the new opportunities and participate in the development of this important service,” says Jari.

Customer benefits

  • Utilisation of data generated by public transport and efficient use of data warehouses: the best starting points for optimising public transport.
  • Cost-effective and scalable cloud service: capacity as needed, no need for in-house maintenance.
  • Time savings and efficiency for traffic planning: manual work is reduced, resources are freed up, and costs are reduced.
  • Customer-oriented development of public transport: better passenger experiences and increased customer satisfaction.

Helsinki Region Journey Planner and Automated Accessibility Testing

HSL Journey PlannerHSL Journey Planner is a service provided by Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) that in essence provides users the quickest route from point A to point B using multimodal routing. On top of getting the user to their destination in time, HSL Journey Planner also provides information about closest stops, routes, possible disruptions and vehicles in real-time.

HSL Journey Planner serves 1.7 million customers in the Greater Helsinki area providing over 2.6 million itinerary searches a month. The same UI is also used across Finland with different configurations tailored to meet the needs of each city or area. In total, there are 17 journey planners in Finland based on the same UI, geographically spanning entire Finland.

 

HSL Journey Planner UILast winter HSL.fi and its Journey Planner part was overhauled and a new version was released. The new version of the UI focuses on giving users the most essential information by reducing noise, and providing more contextual information such as the closest stops near the user.

The new HSL.fi won the Grand One 2021 award for the best web service in Finland. HSL.fi was commended for its scalability and ability to serve the diverse user base, offering the essentials for both power and casual users. HSL Journey Planner and HSL.fi create a cohesive unit which would have not been possible without seamless co-operation between CGI, Solita and Futurice.

Accessibility

 “Accessibility is the practice of making your websites usable by as many people as possible”

WHO estimates that about 15% of the world’s population, over a billion people, has some form of a disability. Without accessible websites a huge number of users are left out – A loss for both the users and the service providers.

But accessibility also benefits people without any disabilities. For example elderly people, users of lower spec devices and power users. Contrast requirements may help people with poor vision but also someone who is browsing the site on a phone in bright daylight. Keyboard navigation may be vital to those who navigate the site with screen readers or cannot use the mouse but may also benefit a power user who prefers to use keyboard shortcuts for quick navigation.

EU directive

A new EU directive in 2015 lead to a surge of interest and challenges with accessibility. Many development teams started to implement accessibility as an add-on to already existing services in the wake of the new laws. These teams often face challenges when trying to make an already finished website accessible as an afterthought.

The directive requires certain web services to meet certain standard requirements, provide an accessibility statement and a feedback mechanism. The standard that the web services must meet is the Web Content Accessibility Guideline 2.1 (WCAG2.1), by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

EU Directive timeline

 

wcga2.1 principlesWCAG2.1 standard provides four basic principles, which are base for set of requirements that aim to ensure that as many people can access the information as possible. Fulfilling the WCAG2.1 standard does not automatically mean that the site is accessible by everyone but it is the best unified standard we have available.

From the basic principles we can deduce that some of the requirements are perhaps subjective and difficult to evaluate. But actually a newly developed AXE accessibility testing engine promises to find up to 50% of the WCAG2.1 related accessibility problems automatically.

Technical tools

Axe is an open-source accessibility testing engine for websites and other HTML-based user interfaces. It was built to integrate with existing environments to easily automate web accessibility testing along with regular testing.  Axe is actively supported by Deque systems, a major accessibility vendor. The Axe engine is currently used by the biggest players in the industry, including Google.

Axe differs from the other automated accessibility testing tools such as react-a11y by testing the accessibility of the actual rendered website as opposed to just validating the syntax of the code. Axe can test a web page or a component against WCAG standards and help towards the best practices such as HTML semantics with header tags and aria labels.

There are many different ways to integrate AXE into your workflow but one of the most productive uses is to create automated accessibility tests with it. Axe can be used together with Selenium webdriver to open up the website, simulate normal use and test the accessibility holistically. Using the Selenium webdriver means that the tests can also be easily integrated into existing end-to-end tests that are industry standard.

Benefits

What kind of benefits would these accessibility tests provide? The obvious benefits for developers are less manual testing and more confidence that the changes are not breaking accessibility. The less obvious benefits are that it spreads knowledge about accessibility to developers and provides a metric for accessibility. It is easier to improve things you can measure and the metric can also be used to support business decisions. This constantly updated metric can also easily be translated into an accessibility statement, which shows the current accessibility problems of the page. A metric that shows the trend of improving accessibility is also for covering the project legally. It can be used to document that a reasonable effort has been made towards accessibility.

Summary

Start early with accessibility in the development process, don’t try to implement it as an afterthought. Integrate automated accessibility tests into your pipeline and start measuring accessibility now. Provide equal access to everyone and don’t miss out on a huge number of possible users.

Over a billion people is not marginal.

Aleksi Siitari

Text by Aleksi Siitari, Consultant, CGI

Varjo: virtual and mixed reality accelerates the global digital transformation

Finnish company Varjo, founded by four former Nokia and Microsoft employees, is a pioneer of the ongoing transformation enabled by virtual and mixed reality.

Varjo’s human-eye resolution VR and XR headsets are designed for demanding professional use and are the leading products in their field. Varjo’s headsets are already used for training astronauts and pilots, in the design of many of the world’s top car brands as well as in medical imaging and university research projects around the world.

– For example, a car designer can make changes in CAD software and immediately see what the car’s stitching looks like on the seats or what font size fits the instrument panel best. The iteration cycle can be reduced to just minutes, says Urho Konttori (photo), Varjo’s Chief Innovation Officer and one of the company’s founders.

In the next few years, immersive virtual reality will be increasingly used for training car and professional vehicle drivers, defence sector training, and for teleworking in companies. At the same time, as the high-resolution headsets become available to consumers, people’s perceptions regarding the possibilities for entertainment and different kinds of experiences will be revolutionized.

PROTOTYPE SPARKED AN AMBITIOUS STARTUP

– In the summer of 2016, we were getting to know Finnish startups and the world outside the giant companies. With the CEO of Umbra 3D, we thought that video-based mixed reality could be an interesting opportunity for the future. I made a quick prototype in a couple of days. He thought that this prototype would be the future of mixed reality, and asked if I could show it to the investors, says Konttori.

Finnish early-stage private equity investor Lifeline Ventures immediately recognized the potential of the product.

– We presented the prototype, and 20 minutes later, walked out with a million euros, feeling a little confused, with a request that we should have a founding team ready in one week.

Varjo’s cooperation with Business Finland started from the get-go when the small startup was developing the core technology for its product.

– From the beginning, our attitude was to operate as if we were a world-class company. The quality level had to be of the same standard, both in terms of external visibility and internal operations. As soon as an innovation was born, it was protected. The first patents were filed with the US Patent Office when the company was a couple of months old, recalls Konttori. Business Finland’s first-year support package was vital for us. The company would have gone bust without it.

MEDIA VISIBILITY BOOSTED THE FUNDING ROUND

Another Nokia colleague, Jussi Mäkinen, was recruited to lead Varjo’s marketing before the A-series financing round. The strategy was to make a big media splash when the funders were ready to push the button.

– We hired a top PR agency that got us interviews with CNN, the New York Times and MIT Technology Review, as well as visibility throughout the technology press. We had great articles saying, ‘A Finnish startup shows us the future of virtual reality’. It was fairly easy to complete the financing round after that, says Konttori.

Varjo selected Nordic EQT Ventures as the lead investor from about 20 investor candidates. Varjo received EUR 8 million in cash and, almost at the same time, a EUR 6.7 million loan from Business Finland.

– EQT funded the product development, validation and testing, and the loan took us straight to the next level in operations. Otherwise, we would have needed a new financing round in six months or had to give a lot more shares to the investors. The loan gave us the courage to move forward faster and stronger.

INTERNATIONAL BREAKTHROUGH

During a development phase that lasted about a year, Varjo’s personnel grew from 15 to more than 50. The startup’s Series B financing raised about EUR 27 million and brought Niklas Zennström, the founder of Skype and venture capital firm Atomico, to Varjo’s board. Siemens’ venture capital firm Next47 also participated in the round which Varjo used to finance the factory production of its first devices. The VR-1 headset, launched by Varjo in early 2019, received an enthusiastic reception, and the breakthrough was reinforced by the success of the VR-2 and VR-2 Pro headsets. And now with VR-3 and XR-3 headsets published in December 2020.

– At the end of the year, we launched the XR-1 Developer Edition headset, which in a way was the culmination of what we set out to do at that first investor meeting, says Konttori. The seamless combination of the real and virtual worlds delivered by the 10.000 dollar XR-1 headset even made an experienced CNET journalist cry: for him, testing Varjo’s headset was the first time that VR looked good enough to replace television and everyday screens.

BUSINESS FINLAND STRONGLY INVOLVED

In summer 2020, Varjo used Business Finland’s corona funding to produce a series of webinars to support its customer relations work. Business Finland also helped Varjo find a partner to prepare its EU Horizon 2020 funding application, which resulted in more than two million euros in direct support.

– Business Finland has been involved since the beginning and helped us to grow from a small unknown startup to the world’s leading VR and XR equipment manufacturer. It’s quite an incredible achievement, says Konttori, who thinks that Business Finland’s operating model is unique in the world.

– When I talk to startups at our level – whether Swedish, American or British – they are always stunned that such a support network exists and that Business Finland’s loan financing can be almost as much as the capital investment raised by the startup. For example, a loan of EUR 5-7 million is of huge importance to startups. It is a unique factor that helps to scale Finnish companies to the global market.

NEW DIMENSIONS AND IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES

According to Konttori, the fourth information technology revolution is now underway, where VR and XR headsets are entering the world of work and everyday life alongside mobile computers, offering new dimensions and methods of use.

– In the future, you can transport yourself to any museum in the world or enjoy any ballet performance from the best seat in the theatre. In about five years, the technology will be ripe enough for the transformation to really take off, Konttori predicts.

The uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic has not weakened investors’ confidence in Varjo, whose turnover has by now increased substantially. The company’s Series C financing round, completed in August 2020, raised EUR 45.7 million. At the same time, Varjo has been strengthening its reseller network in Europe, Asia and North America. The startup’s rapid growth so far is just the beginning.

– We first set out to solve the most difficult challenges for large corporate clients. Next, the intention is to do the same for smaller companies and to expand the customer base considerably. Also, we would not have set out to build an accessible brand if the goal was not to scale the company significantly along the way.

Read the original case story on Business Finland’s website.

Basemark enables autonomous driving in the fast growing global market

Futuremark, Rightware and now Basemark – Tero Sarkkinen has been the dynamo behind the success stories of three Finnish software companies, managing computer graphics companies in Finland, the United States and China since 1999. Sarkkinen founded Basemark a few years before Chinese company Thundersoft acquired Rightware from him in 2017, which developed software for car user interfaces, graphical instrument clusters and entertainment systems.

– Rightware’s other owners asked if I would be interested in buying the same business out of Rightware, which I had originally bought out of Futuremark. It had done its job: the child had grown up and could run faster than the parent, says Sarkkinen, who is now chairman of the board at Basemark and the company’s largest shareholder.

Basemark’s Rocksolid Engine, a real-time graphics and compute software solution launched in 2017, is targeted for the automotive industry giants. The software processes all the smart car’s calculations from its different sensors, orchestrates and schedules the data, thereby optimizing the car performance.

– We make tools for customers who develop artificial intelligence – the algorithms that analyze the data – based on which the self-driving car makes the right decisions in traffic.

Rocksolid Engine is also suitable for machine vision processing in industrial robots and edge devices as well as AR and VR systems.

FOCUS ON THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

In the company’s early years, the 2015 founded Basemark invested the cashflow from consulting and different projects into developing its own product.

– We were looking for direction in the first three years e.g. with mobile device performance testing software. Then we decided to focus on the automotive industry because self-driving cars are a huge trend and I have an extensive personal network of companies and people in the industry, Sarkkinen recalls.

The clear focus and recruitment of top talent from Finland and around the world has quickly produced profitable growth. Basemark currently has about 40 employees in Helsinki and subsidiaries in Munich and Detroit. The company’s customer base includes the world’s leading automotive OEMs, semiconductor suppliers like AMD, Intel, Mediatek, NVIDIA and Qualcomm, as well as major companies in consumer electronics and other industries.

BUSINESS FINLAND ENABLED INDEPENDENT GROWTH

Basemark has used Business Finland’s product development loan funding to develop the Rocksolid Engine software as well as other projects.

– Business Finland’s support has been paramount, especially in the early stages of the company. Without the loans, moving forward so quickly would not have been possible, and we would have had to go to a private equity investor. We grew to a turnover of EUR 8 million without a venture capital investment, says Sarkkinen.

In July 2020, Environmental Technologies Fund (ETF) announced a EUR 7 million capital investment in Basemark. According to ETF, the introduction of autonomous vehicles can reduce transport emissions by as much as 80% through the introduction of Transport as a Service and improved asset utilisation.

– When cars can be shared, there is less need for private car ownership, and the amount of traffic is reduced. Someone can order a half-hour ride in the car while I go to the store, says Sarkkinen.

SAFETY REQUIRES MORE POWER FOR AI

Safety – and the real-time processing of the vast amount of data needed to deliver it – remain the most significant challenge that is holding back the long-predicted breakthrough of self-driving cars. When it comes to safety, 99% accuracy in the algorithms’ decision-making is not enough.

– The challenge increases exponentially when the accuracy has to be 99.999%. If you drive at 120 kilometres per hour, the car is moving more than three metres in a tenth of a second. At the same time, there can be a million data points generated by various sensors, LiDAR, radars and cameras. All that data must be processed in well under ten milliseconds, so the car also has time to think what it needs to do in that situation, Sarkkinen explains.

Even today’s top processors may not be powerful enough.

– Currently, even the high-end models consume so much power and produce so much heat that an electric car’s operating range can drop by two-thirds. When you brake, a wave of hot air comes from the trunk, as if you are in a sauna.

AIMING FOR POLE POSITION

According to Sarkkinen, the current premium car models are starting to reach Level 3 Conditional Automation, but even the step up to Level 4 High Automation is very demanding. There is plenty of work for Basemark as the automotive industry leaders compete towards Level 5 Full Automation.

– Nevertheless, these cars are now getting pretty close. Automatic parking, lane assist and highway pilot automation take care of most situations quite well. But urban driving, with its many intersections and unpredictable road users, is still especially challenging.

Basemark is using ETFs capital injection to accelerate product development as well as boosting its sales and marketing firepower.

– Our vision is to be the world’s most used brain in smart cars, says Sarkkinen.

Read the original case story on Business Finland’s webpage.

Awake.AI Enabling Smart Ships to Make Port Calls in Port of Rotterdam

Port of Rotterdam chose Awake.AI as a smart port development partner to enable smart ships to make port calls in the future.

Awake.AI is a frontrunner in the field of digitizing maritime logistics for more efficient port calls and smarter operational planning. Port of Rotterdam is fully committed to innovation, maximizing the benefits of the new potential that digitization offers. Together they worked toward a smarter future.

Shifting Toward Autonomous Future in Maritime

Maritime logistics and port operations are experiencing ever more extensive digitalization in the coming years. Environmental sustainability is the key driving force in this transformation. More automation of processes will be introduced, more mandatory environmental reporting will be enabled. As maritime businesses will have to adapt to more stringent environmental regulations, for example complying with the “Paris Agreement” and the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, it will have an improving effect on air quality in port cities as well as providing much greater efficiency and profits for all collaborating actors.

Automation will eventually lead to smarter and even autonomous ships plus more extensive autonomous maritime logistics operations. For the whole maritime shipping industry to stay relevant in the future, it needs to start offering constantly better customer service in all dimensions. This means introducing more digital services throughout the value chain. Those companies and ports who do not fully engage into digitalization now, will be left behind. Trying to play catch up later, gets harder and harder for them.

The Need – Digital Twin for The Port of Rotterdam

The largest seaport in Europe, The Port of Rotterdam, seeks to host smart ships in the future. Port of Rotterdam wanted to make their port operations more efficient, reliable, and predictable with a commitment to provide outstanding digital facilities and data services. Also, the port wants to offer their users a seamless and trusted experience when doing business with them.

To achieve this objective, they wanted to create a digital twin of the actual port to test and learn about the transformational process for this smarter future, without risking their ongoing port operation.

The physical properties and characteristics of the Port of Rotterdam were required to be transferred into a simulation where their multiple variables could be changed and tested fast and effectively, and without risking the physical operation of the port. Also, with digital twins, addressing the potential risks in safety is a tremendous help, when compared with real-world trial and error. The Port of Rotterdam aspires to be the safest and the most efficient port in the world as well, and is constantly working on this ambition.

The massive scale of the operation of the Port of Rotterdam with its 8,8 million containers and almost 15 million total TEU (fourty-foot equivalent unit) also translates to a tremendous environmental impact when port calls, material flows and smart ships are optimized. Using digital twins is a pioneering way to build an understanding of the key metrics of large industrial companies and organizations, as well as to learn.

The Solution – The Smartest Port of the Future Meets Awake.AI

Awake.AI’s solution was to enable smart shipping by creating a digital port and ship platform with digital handshakes between ships and ports through Awake’s own smart platform. This gives an excellent view on determining possible information gaps, standard development requirements and offers better overall optimization of port calls.

For testing smart ships and digital port operations, a smart ship port call management system and simulator was created, which is not only simulating real world scenarios, but also demonstrating the impact of any given changes, before any physical changes would be made to the infrastructure of the port. This truly provides a better operational planning capability and more efficient port calls. Awake.AI specializes in AI and machine learning (ML) in maritime logistics, and thus it was a natural choice for the Port of Rotterdam to work together with Awake.AI for exploring changes in Europe in the field of smart shipping and smart ports.

Benefits

Toward smarter maritime logistics

Awake.AI expects that the first physical smart vessels in commercial operation will already be operating by 2025. The first vessels can perform missions in or near the port area such as remote piloting.

Awake.AI is highly committed to helping its clients in becoming early adopters and industry leaders in digitizing and automating port operations, as well as optimizing complete value chains. This is done through supporting the clients all the way from conceptualization to design, implementation to optimization.

Leading role for Europe

As environmental concerns are at the very core of the Port of Rotterdam, they are also committed to combating climate change and aim to play a leading role in the global energy transition.

Digitalization and automation are introducing entirely new avenues for making maritime logistics and port calls more efficient, eventually leading to cleaner waters, significantly lower emissions, and lower operational costs, as well as wasting less time. A smarter future is also a greener future.

With Awake’s platform and its growing number of ecosystem partners, the ambition is to reduce cumulatively 10% of the global CO2 emissions from shipping by 2030. Awake.AI is ensuring the future of sustainable and intelligent maritime logistics.

Learn more

Read the whole case story on Awake.AI’s website.

Telia’s smart solutions boost sustainable transport

Public transport can transform cities – but only if we, the citizens, give it a chance. Public transport needs to be more than an economical option; it needs to be the most efficient and enjoyable ride. That’s why Telia started from the commuter experience and worked outwards to build an end-to-end connected public transport experience. We are redefining what public transport means for commuters, transport operators and cities.

Telia Connected Vehicle also helps transport and logistics companies to optimise their business by consolidating their onboard systems, reducing fuel consumption, and handling vehicle and fleet management more efficiently.

Let us inspire you with some customer cases.

 

Telia Connected Vehicle

Telia launches a new service that makes vehicle and fleet management more efficient, helps promote more environmentally friendly driving, and enables fuel consumption to be reduced by up to 12 percent.

Telia Connected Vehicle is built on the Fältcom platform that was originally developed and proven in the public transport industry. As well as providing “out of the box” features, it is also an open platform that enables transport and logistics operators to consolidate their own and third party applications.

”Several logistics and service companies, such as Neste, have been involved in the development of the new service,” says Kalle Mehtola, head of IoT sales at Telia Finland. “We aim to create completely new types of services for the industry, simultanerously enhancing operations and saving both operational costs and the environment”.

Read more on Telia’s website.

 

Data Insights help Helsinki Regional Transport Authority measure impact

The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority spent € 1.2 billion on a subway extension from Helsinki to the suburban city of Espoo in order to improve the commute for thousands of travelers while reducing CO2 emissions. To optimize connecting bus routes and also measure the sustainability efforts of the subway extension, they used Telia Crowd Insights.

Telia Crowd Insights are based on anonymized mobile network data providing information regarding where crowds are coming from and going to at a particular time. In this way, HSL was able to get clear and lucid views of exactly how the travelers used the existing bus services. This gave HSL a reliable basis for decision-making in order to re-plan the connections. And immediately after the new services began to operate, HSL was able to see how the travelers´ moving patterns changed.

“Benefiting from the new data source and continuous data requires changing the way we operate,” says Tapio Levä, Senior Business Development manager for data insights in Finland. “In the past, many organizations have based their operations on statistics that were updated once a year, for example, but now they have constantly updated data available on, in this case, the flow of people.”

Read more on Telia’s website.

 

Fuel savings and better driving habits for OnniBus.com

OnniBus.com is a leading long-distance bus service in Finland. The company that started its business with one bus between the cities of Tampere and Pori has rapidly grown into one of the best known brands in Finland, revolutionising the entire public transport business and making buses once again a considerable means of travel. With Telia’s Connected vehicle solution, the company is primarily seeking fuel savings.

“OnniBus.com was among the first ones in Finland to start using Telia’s Connected Vehicle offering, that has been designed to optimise the operations of heavy equipment using real-time operating data. The service will be installed in all 68 double-decker buses and possibly also in the 60 single-deckers,” says Telia logistics solution specialist Satu Orava.

“Connected vehicle provides many benefits compared to the present state. With the service, we can combine many services that were previously sourced from several vendors. The number of mobile subscriptions has decreased from seven to two, and we can access the vehicle’s CAN bus errors, allowing us to fix things,” says Lauri Helke, CEO at OnniBus.com.

Read more on Telia’s website and watch Telia’s video on the subject.

 

Telia connects 2,000 buses to smart heating

Telia Company has, together with public transport company Nobina, developed an IoT-service for smart heating of buses. 2,000 buses in Sweden have been equipped with the solution which will lower power consumption equivalent to the yearly output from two wind turbines. Nobina is the Nordic region’s largest public transport service provider.

The usual way of heating buses is to heat them at the garage before they are dispatched. The new IoT-service makes the heating more efficient. 2,000 buses have been equipped with connected temperature sensors and control systems that ensure that the proper amount of energy is supplied at the right time to keep an ultimate temperature profile. The connected temperature sensors are screened in real-time and the temperature profile is updated depending how the buses are utilized.

The IoT-service lowers Nobina’s power consumption with 22GWh yearly which is equivalent to the output from mid-sized two wind turbines.

Read more on Telia’s website and watch Telia’s video on the subject.

 

Improving traffic flow in New York

New York is where the term gridlock was invented: traffic jams that block all directions grinding the city to a halt. And with ever more vehicles competing for road space with cyclists and buses, it’s a problem that effects all New Yorkers. The New York City Department of Transportation is approaching the problem in two ways:

  1. Firstly, traffic management: using data to identify stoppages in the traffic system so they can fix them before they compound into larger problems.
  2. The second way is to make bus services a better experience so more New Yorkers will choose the bus instead of the car. Part of this is to make bus services more predictable by providing accurate real-time bus arrival times displayed at bus stops and pedestrian information signs.

They needed a robust, plug-and-play edge gateway that could be fully managed remotely, without needing to send technicians out to physically reconfigure. They also needed one with high enough security to work in the city’s closed communications network. By connecting traffic lights and bus stops, Telia is delivering real-time data to help the NYC DOT keep traffic flowing and make public transport a better experience.

By providing real time bus arrival times to passengers, the NYC DOT aims to deliver a better service. When people know exactly when the bus will arrive – in minutes away rather than stops away – it is more predictable and a better experience.

Buses send position data to the traffic control center which calculates how many minutes away the bus is. This data is then sent on to Telia IoT Edge Gateways installed at bus stops and pedestrian information signs to feed real-time data for digital displays. The information is also provided via text-to-speech for the visually impaired.

Read more on Telia’s website and watch Telia’s video on the subject.

Picture: Telia Company

SmartRail ecosystem accelerating sustainable mobility and growth

The diverse SmartRail ecosystem is accelerating sustainable mobility and the development of user-centric mobility services whilst creating new business opportunities.

Transport is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and is influenced by many megatrends such as climate change, urbanization, servicitation, networking and moving towards autonomous operations. The revolution in the transport sector provides excellent opportunities for diverse Finnish know-how and new operating models to create new innovative solutions and new business to meet market needs. The SmartRail ecosystem, which combines the diverse expertise of companies, public authorities and research organizations, will accelerate the implementation of sustainable, smart and user-centric urban transport while increasing the competitiveness of its members.

Data and services will be at the core

Urban environments aim for a sustainable and user-centered transport system that can serve its residents safely and smoothly. Digitalisation, advanced technologies, human-centric design and new operating models are key tools in responding to the challenges of climate change and transport demand increase. Emission-free intelligent solutions based on public transport and new mobility services will be pivotal to this. The transport system will become electrified, service-oriented autonomous. Transport is becoming the most important sector in developing the data economy, since transport is currently within a process of increasingly interconnecting with information and energy networks.

Electrified public transport with its user-centric services is the direction of future urban transport – and the SmartRail ecosystem is one of the driving forces in accelerating this transformation. The ecosystem aims to become the most attractive provider of tram-integrated functionalities and services within the market sector. The technological focus is to deliver the best tram in the world in terms or passenger and life cycle services, and to provide solutions that increase the safety and flexibility of trams and trains in the transition towards autonomous operations.

A diverse network of experts and co-development will increase the competitiveness of a growing ecosystem

The annual turnover of the SmartRail ecosystem with its associated mobility services is estimated to be several billion euros in 2030. The competitive edge of the SmartRail ecosystem is centered around the diverse expertise of companies, public authorities and research organizations, that is harnessed to serve a common goal. A systematically guided co-innovation process and the deployment of a world-class development environment for rail-related mobility services are key tools in achieving this goal. These will accelerate the development of the companies’ service and product development and hence the market uptake of solutions that add value and benefits for the end-users and cities.

SmartRail is a growing ecosystem that is being developed in stages and can be joined by new actors along the way, bringing their own contribution to the ecosystem. SmartRail’s first innovation phase with its RDI projects was launched in early 2019 with the support of Business Finland. The first stage main themes are tram and subsystem automation solutions, information systems and virtual technologies – and also, ramping up the business oriented innovation ecosystem. The second innovation phase was launched in February 2020 with the main themes of proactive situational awareness, user-driven solutions and impact assessment. Impacts will be evaluated from the perspective of enterprise-driven international business as well as from the perspectives of the environmental and socio-economic benefits for mobility within the urban transport system. The third innovation phase focusing on tram-related mobility services and other services is to be launched later in 2020.

In addition to the ecosystem anchor company Skoda-Transtech and the research coordinator VTT, the organisations implementing the SmartRail innovation phases include Mevea, Mipro, 3D House, Creanex, DA-Design, Lumikko, Tamware, EC Engineering, Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere Tramway, City of Tampere, Business Tampere, Helsinki City Transport and Traficom. The SmartRail ecosystem is supported by Business Finland and currently includes also Ambientia, Proxion, Teknoware, Cinia, Vinka and Isoft as members of the ecosystem. For more information visit the SmartRail ecosystem website https://smartrailecosystem.com/ .

 

Picture: Tampere Tramway Ltd.

The act on Transport Services – Mobility is a service

The Finnish Act on Transport Services has been described as globally groundbreaking and unique in the field of transport sector legislation. What led to the creation of this law?

Earlier, the transport market in Finland was strictly regulated and guided by public measures. At the same time, however, the digitalisation of transport was emerging, and the digital knowledge, communication and automation were becoming an essential part of all kinds of transportation. Finland wanted to be the forerunner in this section, which led to the development of the Act on Transport Services. One of the reasons behind creating the Act was also to promote fairness of competition in the passenger transport market and competitiveness of the service providers of both passengers and goods transport.

Solution: A unique transport sector legislation

The new Act on Transport Services, created in 2017, aims at proactively supporting new transport services and innovation through significant regulatory change. The Act granted access to data on timetables and pricing of different transport providers and deregulated taxi transport, also allowing third parties to sell transport tickets by opening ticket interfaces.

The Act was prepared in an open manner, in cooperation with different kinds of stakeholder groups and business representatives. As digitalisation was proceeding and intelligent transport systems were being developed further, the consensus was that the Act should enable future transport solutions and improved services to citizens and users.

The Act was expected to promote novel service concepts and innovation in businesses by encouraging old and new actors to rethink. The new legislation also paved the way for new mobility services and applications by removing barriers. These kinds of new services and apps are thought to encourage people to choose for example carpooling, taxi or public transport instead of a car.

Implementation: The Act was carried out in three stages

The Act on Transport Services was carried out in three stages due to its wide-ranging content.

In the first stage, provisions on road transport were brought together under the Act on Transport Services. A significant part of the regulations concerning the transport of people and goods was combined and renewed. The Act eased the regulations in the taxi industry especially.

A central aim of the Act on Transport Services is to promote digitalisation of transport services and more efficient use of data. The data regulation, which aims at creating prerequisites for open data and a better use of data resources, was a central element in the first stage. The Act sets out new obligations for transport service providers regarding the interoperability of information and ticketing systems, as well as the openness of interfaces.

Provisions on air, maritime and rail transport markets and on the qualifications of transport personnel were added in the second stage. The second stage of the Act also continued the opening of data regarding the use of mobility services.

Providing travel chains and combined services was made easier by enabling service provides to act on behalf of another person. This means that a provider of a combined mobility service can incorporate tickets for all modes of transport, car renting services, different kinds of seasonal and serial products and discounts by acting on the customer’s wishes and on their behalf.

Viewed from the international perspective, in Finland the authorities’ registers are very precise and exhaustive, and better utilisation of them could be a significant competitive factor. Reform of the regulation on transport registers strengthens the possibilities of those in the register to use their own data themselves and to benefit from better mobility services. The reform means considerable deregulation, as about ten current registers relating to transport and the separate laws concerning them were consolidated to form one integrated register of transport affairs that contain data on operator permits, transport vehicles and personal licenses such as professional qualifications.

The third stage of the project finalised the Act. Provisions were laid down on professional qualifications, preparedness, opening up of postal information for development purposes, and positioning in heavy road transport and railway and rail transport.

The Act entered into force, for the most part, on 1 July 2018.

Results: In legislation, mobility is now seen as a whole

The Act on Transport Services is an extremely extensive regulation reformation that brought together and streamlined regulation, enabled deregulation of transport markets and created globally groundbreaking regulation. In legislation, mobility is now seen the same way as in peoples´ everyday lives: not as single bus lines or railways but as a whole.

The user orientation and data regulation involved in the Act aligned Finland with the global forerunners in promoting a large-scale change in the transport market. By enabling new kinds of mobility services, we are striving for better fluency and safety of transports as well as significant emission reductions. New mobility services are also expected to reduce the use of private cars and enable the huge potential growth of service market.

Along with the data regulation in the Act on Transport Services, mobility service providers have opened a wealth of interfaces for essential data, and the opening of sales interfaces has also started. According to feedback from operators, new services and systems have actively been developed.

The number of companies and drivers in the taxi field has increased considerably, and the services and pricing models seem to have diversified.

The key aim of the Act on Transport Services was to support long-term processes of change. Therefore, final conclusions about its effects should only be drawn later.

Finland recognised for implementing forward-looking policy

Act on Transport Services has gained international recognition. Finland was awarded an important recognition for its merits in implementing a forward-looking communications policy and legislation. The GSMA Government Leadership Award was presented to Finland in Barcelona on 26 February 2019.

In the award justifications, Finland was praised for its forward-looking communications policy as part of the transformation of transport. The new Act on Transport Services in which data is seen as an integral part of the transport system, as the fifth mode of transport, was mentioned as one of Finland’s central achievements.