Tampere Smart City Week & Mindtrek

Smart cities has been a topic in the technology world for sometime. What are the examples of smart cities and how does a city become a smart one? One definition of a smart city is that it gathers useful data such as air quality, energy consumption, traffic and pollution, healthcare statistics. The data is then analysed and used to create solutions, which aim to improve well-being of citizens.

Fortunately, the city of Tampere organized an event week dedicated to the topic and one of the events was Mindtrek, an international technology conference, that gathers companies, speakers, investors and just about anyone, who are curious about technology. I do software development in Teamit and have been always enthusiastic about technologies. Initial spark of interest came when I discovered The Venus Project. In this blog post I’d like to highlight a few interesting showcases presented on Mindtrek to clarify how modern technologies are used on practice. Armed with a selfie stick and wide angle lense for my smartphone, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit such an event. Smart city world, here we go. 🙂

Main stage with SciFi-like design

The conference lasted for 2 days and was like a festival with different workshops, stages and presentation stands, which I could visit depending on my area of interest.

Augmented Reality (AR) 

The event was opened by Amanda Cosco, who is a fashion futurist and the founder of Electric Runway. Her inspiring presentation covered how Augmented Reality is disrupting the way we do shopping. Nowadays we do not necessary need to be physically present at the shop to try things, AR-powered software will not only show how specific clothing will look on you, but also give you suggestions based on your body features. AR can be even used to improve the workflow of storage employees – AR glasses would display relevant information and help inspect packages at a distance. This tech for sure is a life quality improvement for the world of E-commerce.

Amanda Cosco presenting a use case of AR for warehouse employees

Fourth industrial revolution

Next speaker was Bas Boorsma, the managing director of Rainmaking, an organization that bring tech-related communities and individuals together. He was talking about smart cities, ethics and skills required in modern world and regulations from governments. One important note was that we should not use tech for the sake of it, but instead focus on the real problems and find most suitable solutions to it.

Skills and mindsets needed in modern world
The Art of Connecting Everything

ML-powered patient system being built by Tieto

One workshop was about how Tieto has been developing an eHealth system, that utilizes machine learning and gathers many different variables: health indicators, history of health-related events, visits to doctors. It creates segments, labels them and a probability map, with the help of which it is possible to predict what might happen to a patient in the future.

Other interesting showcases

  • Direct democracy system Decide Madrid, that allows citizens to vote on city improvements and this way decide how money gets spent by the local government.
  • Building smart districts: Kalasatama in Helsinki and Hiedanranta in Tampere
  • AI-powered smart city solution developed by CHAOS Architects
  • Schneider Electric, helping Lidl logistics center in Järvenpää achieve 50% savings on energy costs, using 100% renewable energy and routing condensate heat to local dwellings. (Impressive, isn’t it?)
  • A micronation Liberland, that aims to build a decentralized government system using blockchain technology.

Here is the full agenda of the event.

It was a great experience to take part in the conference, and I’d definitely recommend visiting it next year 🙂