Image provided by Espoo
Image provided by Espoo

Espoo is the second largest city and the fastest-growing city in Finland, located next to the capital city of Helsinki. A diverse city of more than 289,000 people, Espoo is a home to 150 nationalities and 680 international companies. While most European cities reminiscent of the Middle Ages have one city centre, Espoo is truly a network city comprising five city centres.

Active involvement of residents in the development of services and comprehensive co-operation with partners ensure that the development in Espoo is economically, ecologically, socially and culturally sustainable.

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Espoo is especially well known for technological innovation and is a home for education and research institutes like Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, but also global corporations such as Nokia, Kone and Fortum. Espoo is also a significant growth company incubator: all Finnish unicorns, i.e. technology startups valued at over a billion dollars, have emerged in Espoo. These include MySQL and the game companies Supercell and Rovio.

Interest and Future Goals

Finland has been innovative in many different fields. It was the first country to make broadband a legal right, and with the latest innovations in technology Espoo has been striving to become a more connected city.

Boosting the local innovation ecosystem in Espoo is based on an experimental culture and co-creation. This means that the city opens doors and invites all stakeholders from companies to associations, research institutions and residents to refine old services and innovate new ones together. The goal of the city is to be an active partner and search for sustainable solutions together with the whole community. The inclusive slogan of Espoo co-creation is “Make with Espoo”. A new digital Make with Espoo platform invites everyone to co-create. The platform has started from schools cocreating new edtech solutions with companies and is now scaling to other cultural services.

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Co-creation is the key to Espoo’s strategic goal to become City as a Service. This new way to organize services will utilize existing facilities and other resources in a networked manner, enabled by digitalization. City as a service model is based on networks and service dominant logic. Sharing capabilities gives possibilities to whole new business models and service paths. Data is one of the key capabilities that need to be shared and utilized so that these new models can work.

There is a wide range of on-going Smart city projects in Espoo landscape. An example of what the Espoo Innovation Garden has achieved is the LuxTurrim5G platform project.

LuxTurrim5G is a unique digital backbone as a testbed for future city needs. The project is a joint effort of 26 partners, led by Nokia. The pilot 5G network built in the Kera area in Espoo includes wide range of devices, e.g. three 26 GHz base stations, 50 WiFi (60 GHz) devices and 49 different sensors. All the devices are connected to a single data platform, where new data can be incorporated from different sources. The project and network will make real-time data marketplace possible enabling also autonomous logistics and traffic as well as piloting numerous other 5G and data-based applications and services.