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Tampere - the Silicon Valley of Imaging Technologies

Tampere region has a solid history of conceiving and developing some of the best imaging technology. With world-renowned brands like Nokia, Intel, and Huawei basing their research and development offices in Tampere, Finland, this trend is set to continue. The same way Silicon Valley has become a noteworthy centre of excellence, Tampere is working its way becoming the ‘Imaging Valley’ of the future.

Rising like a Phoenix

The story of the imaging ecosystem in Tampere is an interesting lesson in triumph over adversity. Following the sale of Nokia to Microsoft in 2014, and the subsequent winding down of the mobile phones division in Hervanta, many knowledgeable engineering professionals suddenly found themselves without jobs. However, soon some of these highly skilled individuals started their own companies or where headhunted to form new R&D departments in other companies.

The latest success story takes us to February 2018, when Axon, the global leader in connected law enforcement technologies, hired the industry expert Juha Alakarhu to head their new research and development office in Tampere. Juha, a former Nokian himself, will lead a department equipped with former Nokia/Microsoft professionals, who are known to have wide expertise in digital imaging and signal processing. The new R&D department will specifically concentrate on enhancing the capabilities of Axon's future wearable and in-car cameras. Business Tampere, the regional economic development agency, helped Axon to establish their R&D site in Tampere, their first in Europe, introducing the appropriate partners, services, talents and more.

Axon's new Tampere-base R&D department
Axon's new R&D department in Tampere, lead by Juha Alakarhu, will specifically concentrate on enhancing the capabilities of future wearable and in-car cameras.

Imagination beyond imaging

Tampere Imaging ecosystem − spearheaded by Business Tampere − is a thriving business ecosystem that stimulates research and development activities of products and services related to digital imaging.

Formerly dominated by just a few, but nowadays it is an ecosystem of many players. This diversity builds resilience. The imaging ecosystem currently includes a variety of actors from large multinational companies to smaller specialists, namely Huawei, Nokia, Intel, Optofidelity, PoLight, PowerVision, Grundium, Noiseless Imaging, Visy, RD Velho, Intopalo, Provizanto, Helmee Imaging, Axon, AAC Technologies and Nomicam.

The members are leading innovators in developing technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) in imaging, deep learning, machine vision, and more. These technologies are used in a wide array of applications such as advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), cyber security, mobile communications, digital health solutions, and industrial automation. The companies are partnering with the Tampere University of Technology to develop an ecosystem that fosters cooperation and collaboration. 

Associate Professor Joni Kämäräinen, Tampere University of Technology
Joni Kämäräinen, Associate Professor of Signal Processing in Tampere University of Technology, was one of the keynote speakers at TechBites Future Imaging event.

– Business Tampere organizes various events and workshops for the imaging ecosystem to stimulate conversations amongst the researchers and practitioners in order to make fresh ideas come to fruition, says Oliver Hussey, Senior Business Advisor at Business Tampere.

One such event was held in late March at Kampus Areena at Tampere University of Technology, in association with Techbites. The event included keynote speeches, research and investment pitches, and networking, all of which presented an opportunity for researchers and practitioners from across the ecosystem to connect and share ideas. The event was the first in a series of three events. The theme of the next event will be Robotics and AI Industry, and will take place on May 30, 2018. Find more information and sign up at techbites.com.

Contacts:

Oliver Hussey
Senior Business Advisor, Business Tampere
Tel. +358 40 679 4142
oliver.hussey@businesstampere.com

Article by Ashley D Penn, Jolma Architects Ltd.

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