1/2014

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Visions of better business with Haltian: Haltian’s development talent go life science

For a company like Haltian, there are many industries where they can show their talent. “With life science, we’ve definitely kept our eyes open – it’s a high priority for us to do business in. We’re currently in discussions with several research teams to further develop our business in that segment”, says Jyrki Okkonen, Haltian’s CTO. With their partner network, several global research projects have gladly welcomed Haltian into their teams, utilizing the core competence of wireless connectivity the company has to offer.

“It doesn’t mean that we’re only talking with the big players. We’re always interested in being the developer for a start-up who needs partners in order to accomplish a final product. Since we’re not currently interested in launching products under the Haltian brand, partnerships in product development and design are feasible for us. We’re talking about a year or so in development, depending on the product.”

Haltian is a prime example of a company having an open mind when it comes to choosing the field they work in. Utilizing the connectivity to a new environment is the core idea behind the organization. “If you think about the other strengths we have in radio technology – wirelessness, sustainability, miniaturization, compression, environment durability – all that can be applied regardless of the industry. It’s a paradigm shift for mobility altogether.”

Total concept, total service

What Haltian is focusing on is looking at the whole picture, not just engineering technological gadgets. The total concept includes hardware, software and making those two work in a way that the user can appreciate. “It has to be feasible in every way. I just read about a new artificial heart that requires a battery set that weighs three kilograms. It keeps you alive, but it’s not really helping you get around. Things like this are something that we go through case by case – sometimes a larger battery case is necessary, sometimes it’s not.”

In life science and medical networks in particular, monitoring health is one thing, but analyzing the data and presenting it to the person being monitored in an understandable and concise way is essential. “There’s no point in presenting all the data all the time. It’s an important question, particularly on the consumer market, with big players presenting wearable technologies: what’s the outcome of all the data the device is gathering? How does it empower the end user, or improve the life of that person?”

With the consumer market growing larger in terms of devices but staying surprisingly stagnant in terms of applications, Okkonen thinks the interesting trends are yet to emerge. For application developers, opening the device APIs to make sensible software is yet to come. “That’s for the consumer market, of course. But the pressure for a more open API culture for devices for the professional and industrial side is also there. The companies who can innovate in-house for their own devices’ software are few and far between, if there are any at all.”

Cities get smarter

Okkonen has high expectations for the effect of connectivity in life science, especially in the way people can interact with others when devices save time by communicating with other devices. “A personal trainer can do his job better when he’s not spending time checking boxes in a spreadsheet, or a doctor can chat with her patient while data flows between devices.” Maybe that’s why they’re so keen on the Smart City concept, which they’re part of in Oulu. “Smart City is something that’s made for the human being, not for technology’s sake. With the data we can collect, we can make things more comfortable and efficient – keeping lights on where there are people, keeping places warm when necessary.”

The current change in business culture towards smaller and more flexible companies working in collaboration suits Haltian just fine. “In the past, larger companies would do R&D in-house, because they had the resources to spare. Now, with the start-up culture booming, it’s completely different. For a company of our size, it would be foolish to allocate resources like that when you can co-operate with other companies in the region. That’s where innovations come from, mixing different kinds of people from different kinds of companies.”