Singapore and Helsinki: Pioneering Smart city solutions
Collaboration between Singaporean and Finnish companies in the smart city realm is fostering sustainable urban development. Supported by Helsinki Partners and Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab, these collaborations are driving innovation and creating impactful solutions for the future of smart cities.
6 min read
Interested in the Founders to Finland programme?
Our business advisor Xin Wang can help.
Smart city innovations
Sustainable urban solutions in Singapore and Helsinki
As the world embraces the concept of smart cities, Singapore and Helsinki stand out as leaders in adopting digital technologies and driving sustainable urban development. With a focus on smart city solutions, sustainability, and citizen-centric approaches, these cities are transforming the way we live, work, and move.
We’re looking at the key areas where Singapore excels and exploring Helsinki’s remarkable journey towards becoming the most functional city in the world. The synergies between these two dynamic cities expose valuable lessons that can be applied across Asia and beyond, as we redefine the future of urban development.
Health-focused smart cities
Singapore: Healthier citizens equals healthier cities
In Singapore, healthcare leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of the city-state. A healthcare ecosystem that prioritizes continuous learning, innovation, and community building is crucial to ensure the well-being of both the city and its citizens. Initiatives like Healthcity Novena, a masterplan for community-focused health, demonstrates Singapore’s commitment to the health of its citizens
One way Healthcity Novena incorporates smart city solutions is through infrastructure designed to enhance the citizen-patient experience. Pedestrian walkways, underground car parks, and outdoor green spaces are carefully integrated to create a holistic healthcare environment. By proactively addressing these aspects of healthcare provision, Singapore’s leaders contribute to building a healthier city.
Helsinki: A haven for health tech startups
Helsinki is a hub of scientific and engineering talent, particularly in the field of health tech. Nearly one-tenth of the Finnish workforce possesses robust health tech skills, ranging from biochemistry and genetics to microbiology and immunology
Finland has established itself as a global leader in health data, driven by the trust Finnish people have in their healthcare system. The country’s comprehensive registry and fully digitized biobank data are available to all researchers, offering invaluable insights that most countries can only dream of.
Forum Virium Helsinki, an innovation company owned by the City of Helsinki, is the driving force behind the health component of Helsinki’s smart city status. They’re best known for opening up Helsinki’s data to the public, turning Kalasatama into a world-famous smart district, and helping over 200 companies pilot and create new innovative solutions in Helsinki.
Transformative smart mobility solutions
Singapore: Enhancing public transport and embracing innovation
Singapore, as a land-scarce city with a growing population, recognizes the importance of an efficient transportation infrastructure. To meet this challenge, the city-state has identified Smart Urban Mobility as a strategic national project. By leveraging digital technologies, Singapore aims to find smart solutions that enhance its public transport system, providing greater comfort, convenience, reliability, and support for its vision of a car-lite Singapore.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) in Singapore harnesses anonymized data from commuters’ fare cards to analyze and identify areas with high commuter demand. This data-driven approach enables better management of bus fleets, optimizing bus services and making the bus system more efficient. By understanding popular bus routes, LTA and bus operators can effectively meet the commuting needs of residents and enhance the overall commuting experience.
Singapore is actively conducting trials to understand how technology can improve mobility for different segments of the population, including the elderly and persons with disabilities. These trials explore the feasibility of autonomous or self-driving vehicles to enhance mobility during peak hours or late-night services. By embracing innovative solutions, Singapore aims to continuously enhance the commuter experience and ensure seamless and accessible transportation options for all residents.
Helsinki: A testbed for smart mobility solutions
Helsinki is at the forefront of sustainable smart mobility solutions, positioning itself as a global pioneer in this field. The government and cities in the region have made a firm commitment to enable intelligent mobility, aiming to become the first city in the world to offer a truly integrated personal mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) system. This ambitious vision invites both Finnish and international companies to participate in pilot schemes and contribute their innovative solutions to the Helsinki region’s market.
The Helsinki region provides several testbeds that allow the piloting of smart mobility solutions in real traffic with actual customers. An excellent example of this is the Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab, which offers an environment for testing solutions in real-world conditions. These testbeds facilitate the development and refinement of smart mobility technologies, ensuring their effectiveness and suitability for practical implementation.
Finland’s legislation creates a favourable environment for new mobility experiments and business opportunities. Notably, the country allows the use of automated vehicles on public roads, and uniquely, it is not mandatory to have a driver present in autonomous vehicles. This legal framework has enabled groundbreaking projects such as the world’s first all-weather robot bus called GACHA, developed by Sensible 4 and MUJI. Additionally, initiatives like FABULOS aim to introduce robot buses as complementary transportation options within the public transportation system, further revolutionizing mobility in Helsinki.
Curated business matchmaking: Connecting Singaporean and Finnish companies
In the pursuit of suitable business partnerships between these two smart cities, curated matchmaking events provide an invaluable platform for Singaporean and Finnish companies.
Former Senior Business Advisor at Helsinki Partners and current Counselor of Trade and Innovation at the Embassy of Finland in Singapore, Irma Ylikangas, emphasizes the importance of joining forces to create smart city solutions and capitalize on the dynamic business environments in both countries. Trusted partnerships with organizations like HDB, BCA, MOHH, and The Finnish Embassy in Singapore ensure reliable connections and fruitful collaborations.
Shared goals and technological advancements
Singapore and Finland share a common drive for technological advancements and a well-functioning urban environment. Both governments prioritize digitalization to enhance residents’ everyday lives. The Singaporean Smart Nation initiative and Helsinki’s dedication to carbon neutrality by 2030 align their interests in smart city topics. As a result, Finnish businesses have become global leaders in digitalizing the built environment, finding common ground with Singaporean counterparts.
Access to Asian and European Markets
Singapore and Finland serve as excellent entry points for companies aiming to expand their operations in Asia and Europe, respectively. With stable business environments and reputations for low corruption, both countries offer attractive opportunities. Finland’s reputation for innovation and reliable technologies in Asia, coupled with Singapore’s position as an innovation hub, create advantageous conditions for companies seeking to penetrate these markets. Organizations like Helsinki Partners and Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab provide support and facilitate business expansion in these regions.
Accelerating Collaboration through Matchmaking Events
Matchmaking events have proven to be effective tools for fostering business cooperation and yielding tangible results. Through these events, Singaporean and Finnish companies have engaged in pilot projects, signed business agreements, and exchanged skills and know-how. Areas of interest include Finnish expertise in data management, IoT, and digitalization solutions for the built environment, as well as Singapore’s keenness for urban sustainability, energy efficiency, and combating climate change. The collaboration extends beyond matchmaking events, as Singaporean companies are encouraged to explore Helsinki’s urban testbeds and experience firsthand the city’s thriving smart city ecosystem.
Collaborating for Sustainable Urban Development: Singapore-Finland Partnerships in Smart Cities
The collaboration between Singaporean and Finnish companies in the smart city realm holds immense potential for sustainable urban development. Through curated business matchmaking events and shared goals of digitalization and carbon neutrality, these companies are forging strong partnerships. By leveraging the support of organizations like Helsinki Partners and Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab, they can access Asian and European markets, drive innovation, and create impactful solutions for the future of smart cities.
Apply to become one of the Founders to Finland!
Establish your business in Helsinki to access the EU market, join an innovative tech ecosystem in a value-driven society, and enjoy a famously excellent work-life balance. Experience business and life in the capital of the world’s happiest country.
Contact Helsinki Partners
If you are interested in learning more about Helsinki and its possibilities – please contact us via the form here. We’ll make sure to get back to you within a few working days.