1/2013

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Opportunities in Oulu: you should know about them

We like to think of our city as the place where mobile phones originate from. It’s not exactly true, but it’s not too far away from it, either. Oulu developed into a major northern port city in the 1800’s and was a major tar manufacturer and exporter, and in the 1900s it got deeply involved in radio technologies and electronics. Then came the university, and it didn’t take long for Oulu to become a major developer and manufacturer of cellular networks, radio technology and – you guessed it – mobile phones. And then, when everything seemed to be working like a charm, the world changed, and we had to change with it. That change gave us the diversity and ability to overcome the challenges of a rapidly changing global economy.

The collaboration between education, the public sector and private corporations has never been better than it is now: the worldwide R&D partner network includes companies and research institutes, and the innovative and vibrant economy has created more than 250 startups over the last two years – mainly in the mobile & wireless, life sciences and cleantech sectors. The city’s business developer, BusinessOulu, is supporting the Oulu ICT community through numerous activities, including relocation services.

Expertise attracts companies

The Oulu ecosystem, having focused on wireless technologies and devices, is unique. The city region is home a little under 250,000 inhabitants. How many other cities of a similar size can boast the talent and expertise that covers the creation of wireless products and systems, from the design phase right up to production? With a state research center and a university, with whom companies are extensively researching machine-to-machine interaction and sensor networks, 3D internet, data security, cloud computing and wireless technologies beyond 4G or 5G, Oulu is at the forefront of future technology development.

It’s no wonder that all this increasingly attracts both national and global players from a variety of industries. The unique facilities available for end-to-end product creation and validation and the R&D possibilities combined with the local talent have already interested companies like Google, Microsoft, ARM and Broadcom – to name but a few – to set up offices, production lines and R&D in Oulu.

But wait, there’s more

We are expecting more collaboration, especially in the field of micro and nanotechnology and printed electronics, where especially the PrintoCent Pilot Factory at the VTT research center offers plenty of opportunities, from both passive and active printed components to microfluidic solutions, printed indicators and point-of-care diagnostics. Other centers with industry-specific services of a similar level are OuluHealth and Arctic Smart City.

The “wow” factor is what has already happening in Oulu. Somewhere in the world, an NSN cellular network base station is installed every 95 seconds. Polar’s heart rate monitors are in global distribution. iLOQ is about to change the way people think about locks, with wireless technologies and the traditional idea of secure locking. AavaMobile is Intel’s official OEM partner in Intel’s Rugged Microsoft Windows Tablet. From ideas and research to technologies and the development of finished products, there’s much more on the way.

This is a city where over a hundred Nokia phone models were designed, modeled and made. Where there are seven manufacturing lines for mobile devices, and three for cellular network base stations. This is a city that has been nominated as a Top 7 finalist in the competition for the title of the Most Intelligent City in the World – not once, but twice.

Now that you know all this, you’re warmly welcome to join forces with us. Come and take your place in the future – come to Oulu!