International companies are drawn to patents in IT and electronics that have been generated in Finland. Today, almost half of VTT’s assignments in this sector come from foreign countries. Important market areas include Germany, the United States and Japan.
– Our IPR assets are often the factor that attracts foreign customers to us, and distinguishes us from our competitors. We currently hold around 1,300 patents, says Juha Palve, Vice President, Customer Solutions.
Sale or licensing of IPR, or intellectual property rights, often involves more extensive cooperation.
– Typically, we will collaborate with the customer to build something new around VTT-owned IPR. In this way, we combine licensing of technology with innovation of new solutions or applications, says Palve.
The electronics segment at VTT has been distinctively international for a long time. While R&D investment in Finland has dwindled recently, we at VTT have been more active in seeking growth from beyond our borders. Palve considers this approach has worked.
– One example of a recent successful initiative is our partnership with American InterDigital, a major corporation specialising in communications development and patenting. The cooperation concerns user-centric context research and future mobile phone technologies, says Palve.
VTT also recently established a strategic partnership with Germany’s European Center for Information and Communication Technologies (EICT). EICT is an organisation that supports research and development within ICT, bringing together private and public actors.
VTT is seeking a firmer foothold in the German market through EICT within competence areas such as intelligent energy systems and the Internet of Things.
The involvement of both Finnish and German companies in joint projects will also act as a spur to Finnish trade and industry.
– Heading for international markets comes naturally to us, as many of our customers act globally. There are very few today that can operate solely on the domestic market. Science and research is in any case fundamentally international, Palve points out.
– International cooperation also gives us an opportunity to assess how our own operations and technological level measure up.
Solutions to European problems
ICT and electronics are key segments when seeking solutions to the big challenges facing industrialised Europe: ageing population, increasing health care challenges, and an industry compelled towards ever greater efficiency.
Boosting the efficiency of industrial production and focusing on self-care as part of health care are global trends for which VTT can offer its own competencies and solutions.
Apart from the Industrial Internet, other issues currently attracting great attention in the international market include wearable technology and health care solutions.
- VTT holds 355 patent families, with around half in ICT and electronics. The patent family consists of patents and patent applications that concern the same invention.
- Patents and patent applications held at VTT total approximately 1,300.
- In 2013, VTT filed 291 notifications of invention and 20 notifications of software.
Would you wear technology?
The markets for wearable technology are growing rapidly. You might already be carrying a small laboratory in your pocket even as you read!
Wearable technology, self-diagnostics, and health care solutions have all caught the eye of the international markets. Wearable technology grew out of compact-sized data technology or electronics and sensors that can be embedded as part of clothing, jewellery, or other portable accessories.
– Miniature-sized solutions that support health care are a combination of several technologies and competencies. We at VTT are in a good position to develop these kinds of applications as we possess several of the necessary competencies, says Juha Palve.
One example of wearable technology is a mobile phone application developed by VTT that allows monitoring of personal ECG readings, even at home.
An accessory carried in the pocket communicates with the mobile phone, registering arrhythmia and other conditions to help prevent cardiovascular illnesses and the onset of stress that might lead to exhaustion. The records can also be transmitted directly to a physician via the Internet.
– Though wearable technology is just starting out, there is a rapid rate of development and growth expectations are high. By 2020, the turnover of wearable technology is forecast at around EUR 30 billion, says Palve.