Transforming the Finnish software-intensive industry
“The Need for Speed programme is an excellent opportunity for TUT to transform the landscape of the Finnish software-intensive industry. And if high-quality theses and scientific papers are produced in the process, that’s even better,” says Professor Tommi Mikkonen who heads the Department of Pervasive Computing at TUT.
The recently launched Need for Speed (N4S) research programme aims high: to transform the Finnish software-intensive industry by enabling it to play by the rules of the web era. With its long track record of technological and software development expertise, TUT’s role is to quickly introduce new features to users.
New software features will no longer be stored to wait for later upcoming versions but published as soon as they are ready – even several times per day like Google, Amazon and Facebook are already doing.
N4S is one of the biggest Finnish ICT programmes ever. It aims at creating business models, tools and processes that help companies speed up their business to proactively take advantage of the Internet economy. The programme has an ambitious goal to make the Finnish software-intensive industry the recognized leader in business innovation and the fast implementation of products and services in this field by 2017.
Early adopters: game companies
“Internet is the first technology platform in the history of mankind that allows businesses to become completely digital and global. With digital goods available to everyone at all times, we're moving towards a real-time business environment,” says Professor Tommi Mikkonen from the Department of Pervasive Computing at TUT.
“Traditionally in Finland, software products have been developed for ever and ever until the companies have been absolutely sure that everything is right. New updated versions are perhaps launched every six months, and no testing with users is done to get feedback.”
As early adopters of new thinking, Mikkonen names the game companies Rovio and Supercell that have been testing new features with users and upgrading their services based on customer feedback almost online.
“Traditional companies will also have to respond to changes in the industrial landscape. They must react more quickly or even proactively to changes, such as emerging customer needs, and shorten the time-to-market of their products or services.”
TUT strong in technology and user experience
Mikkonen acts as the coordinator for all academic research in the N4S programme. At TUT’s Department of Pervasive Computing, the programme involves 15 participants in the research areas of software engineering, usability and information security.
“With a long track record of technological expertise, our role is to take new features quickly to users. On the other hand, our in-depth knowledge of user experience research will be beneficial in studying the value that users get from the improvements,” he points out.
One of TUT’s business cases will be with PacketVideo Finland, one of the industry’s most advanced and trusted digital media solution providers in the world. Based on previous experiences of successful research collaboration with TUT, the company found it natural to continue the cooperation in N4S.
“We appreciate TUT’s expertise in the fields of software engineering and development. In the new programme, our target is to improve the ways we manage complicated software systems and speed up R&D in parallel teams via flexible architectures,” comments Pekka Lyytinen, Vice President at PacketVideo Finland.
Need for Speed
Need for Speed (N4S) is coordinated by DIGILE, one of Finland’s Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation, and has a long list of participants, such as F-Secure, Tieto, Nokia Siemens Networks, Aalto University, TUT and VTT, to name just a few.
Text: Marjaana Lehtinen
Photo: Mika Kanerva