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.