Freedom encourages creativity and responsibility. Few people in the world spend less time in the actual office than Norwegians, without them being less efficient. The desire for more efficient, entertaining and mobile ways of communication has placed Norwegians at the forefront of adapting and developing new technology, products and services.
The Oslo region is an excellent test market for new and innovative products. One major development scheme is transferring mobile technology to other, related business areas. Computers, mobile phones and the internet have become very important, if not essential, features in our daily lives, both at work and at home. Scandinavians are known to be early adapters of new technology. Norwegians have the technology available to work from wherever they are. People in the Oslo region prefer to be able to log on even in their spare time, despite spending the weekend away with family and friends. For most employers this turns out to be highly valuable in the return they get from their workforce.
The ICT sector includes the production of both goods and services. This has created unique opportunities for innovations in applying ICT to strong Norwegian sectors such as oil and gas, transport, maritime, marine and life science. The Oslo region is a key driver and centre for research, development and business. A combination of expertise, strong R&D environments and advanced users with high spending power has made the Oslo region an excellent test market for new and innovative ICT products.
Recent years have witnessed a large number of business start-ups in the region, and several internationally renowned companies have chosen to locate here. Some of these are global leaders within their field and software companies like Opera, FAST and Trolltech have between 20 and 30 nationalities in their workforce, having attracted people with exceptional skills from all over the world.
|New technology makes it easy to adapt a more flexible work practice, allowing employees to work from other locations than the office when needed.
© Oslo Teknopol/Ida Næss Wangen
Oslo ICT Network
The aim of the Oslo ICT Network is to promote and further develop the already strong ICT knowledge environment in the region through partnerships within the sector. The Oslo ICT Network will act as a facilitator, set up to promote and materialize a mobile way of life and work. Together with some of the most advanced IT companies in the region, it will encourage new ways of collaboration and use.
The possibilities and challenges the ICT sector is facing are manifold, and to create arenas in which the businesses can work together are important. Projects that can be of common interest must be identified and developed further. Bjarte Frøyland, heading up the Oslo ICT Network emphasizes, “These are really exciting times for Oslo. We are in a region with big spenders on IT, with demanding user communities that know precisely what they need and want. What a place to be if you are at the forefront of technology!”
One of the key drivers in setting up the Oslo ICT Network is Paul Chaffey, the general manager at Abelia, a trade and employers association dedicated to improve the business environment for ICT member companies and to promote the industry’s contribution to economic growth and social progress. Mr Chaffey has years of experience in speaking on behalf of ICT businesses, and also has a background in politics. Abelia has helped change the attitudes towards use of technology in Norway, and has managed to generate a common accept for more efficient and flexible work practices.
The Oslo ICT Network covers a number of related projects, networks and organizations. Some of these are already up and running:
The Mobile Cluster
Norway is among the world’s leading information societies and widely regarded as having a highly developed mobile market. The mobile adventure is partly due to the spirit of creativity and innovation in the new generation of content in mobile applications.
The idea behind creating a Mobile cluster in the Oslo region is to focus on transferring mobile technology to other, related business areas. For 2010, the established mobile strategies group under Norsk Dataforening and Wireless Future are identified as two main projects in the mobile cluster.
The health sector is facing big changes and challenges connected to new technology. Norwegian Health IT and Innovation Network (NHIIN) was formally established in February 2009, and is working for better partnerships within the industry.
The network coordinates information and activities, it links different environments and initiate projects for increased knowledge, development and innovation. The long-term goal for NHIIN is better quality on health care services and to develop some concrete products and services for commercial use, both nationally and internationally.
New technology within the health care sector demands a change in organizations, treatment forms and models for services. The health care industry is not pioneers in using digital technology and content solutions. Despite the large information demands within the sector, there are large potentials for exploiting the possibilities of ICT.
NHIIN is currently involved in the process of creating an eHealth network covering the whole of Norway. At World of Health IT in Barcelona in March 2010 there will be a Norwegian stand, with suppliers from all over Norway joining forces. And through 2010 there will be closer collaboration with Swedish eHealth environments, through the EU co-funded Interreg project COINCO North and other initiatives.
The Oslo ICT Network is working with NAF Data on a scheme in which clients can get information about medicine on their mobile phones, including prescriptions and dosage. In a pilot project it is being tested how patients with special conditions like for example KOLS, can get information about the weather and climate when they are going away to places where it may affect their health.
Many companies are contributing to the growing mobile and wireless cluster in Oslo. Wireless Future is established as a cluster building initiative, involving most of the key players from business and R&D in Norway. The aim is to create new technology, new businesses and export opportunities.
In 2009 Den Norske Bank (DnB Nor) emerged as the leading global mobile bank, with more than 1 million customers using their mobile banking facility on a monthly basis. There are also major developments in mobile end-user communication at the Norwegian Post Office, the State Taxation and at Municipal Home Care Services. More public services are going mobile in 2010, and a number of private sector companies are using mobile CRM as a competitive advantage. Airlines and lifestyle providers are at the forefront of such
IBM Smarter Cities
At the moment, there are discussions going on with IBM to organize a Smarter Cities conference in Oslo in 2010. These successful events have previously taken place in New York and Berlin in 2009. For Oslo, hosting this convention would mean an excellent opportunity to showcase all the initiatives that are already in place to make Oslo a smart city, but also to set a goal and vision for what will make Oslo an even smarter city, a showcase of the Nordics, with high focus on leadership, collaboration, standards, vision and innovation.