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Mr Matti Ristimäki, Head of Intelligence as a Service, Tieto
Mr Matti Ristimäki, Head of Intelligence as a Service, Tieto

Information Storm Has Risen, and Tieto’s New INaaS Squad Is Going to Guide us Through

Industrial PRIME | April 20, 2016

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Information Storm Has Risen, and Tieto’s New INaaS Squad Is Going to Guide us Through

Industrial PRIME | April 20, 2016

Today, the potential of everything lies in data, and those who can get the most out of it are in high demand. These people are the modern heroes of our time, and they are urgently needed as both the public and the private sectors aim to navigate in this twisting gale.

 

Tieto has officially launched its brand-new Intelligence as a Service (INaaS) concept. The team behind it is devoted to solving some of the most crucial problems of Tieto’s customers in this era characterized by overwhelming flows of data.

Industrial PRIME arranged an interview with Mr Matti Ristimäki, the quartermaster in charge of the INaaS toolbox at Tieto. We wanted to find out more about the information disorders Ristimäki and his team are faced with. What is INaaS all about?

“INaaS aims to take intelligence on a whole new level, but do it in a very down-to-earth manner, solving real challenges,” Ristimäki states. “This can be achieved by combining data gathered from various sources and then using machine intelligence to harness the potential that lies in the combination of all this data to the benefit of the customer and the case in question. What we are up to here can benefit entire societies.”

It seems Tieto is up to something big.

 

Better Schools, Better Society

In developing its new INaaS concept, Tieto has chosen Smart Cities as one of its main focus areas. To begin with, Smart Cities contains ideas and projects related to the smooth flow of traffic, the well-being of citizens, as well as schools and kindergartens that are healthy.

In terms of the latter, the wheels are already spinning: Tieto has just started a collaboration with a handful of high schools in and around Helsinki, the Finnish capital.

“We are developing a service that measures different barometers in school environments, including air quality, noise levels, lighting, moisture, temperature, and so on,” Ristimäki explains. “By integrating this real-time data with information about pupils’ grades and the health of both pupils and teachers, we can learn a great deal.”

Ideally, the knowledge gained will help schools create better learning and working environments for both students and teachers. Building such optimized, healthy environments, in turn, would serve as a predictive action that could turn bad test results into better ones as well as reduce sickness rates, perhaps even prevent more serious hazards.

“Many unfortunate cases have been reported where pupils or school staff have gotten ill and only then mould has been discovered in the structures of their school,” Ristimäki points out. “With our service, such issues could be detected long before they start to affect anyone’s health.”

When Tieto pitched the idea to high schools in the Helsinki region, the reception was more than positive. This is hardly surprising – after all, improving our schools would create wide-ranging benefits to the entire society.

 

 

 

“What makes INaaS so unique is the way it can combine all these individual systems and solutions and the data they provide, then learn and finally begin to figure out what to do in order to optimize things.”

 

 

 

Students studying

Tieto is currently implementing an experiment to map and verify the connections between school conditions, learning results, and health impacts through machine learning. (Image: iStock)

 

 

 

It Is the Combination That Counts

The demand for intelligence services is clearly on the increase. Just consider the challenging economic landscape now occupied by both public and private sectors across the globe. Resources are scarce, yet ever-increasing efficiency is required. This is where Tieto’s INaaS concept can also come into the picture.

Ristimäki describes INaaS as an ecosystem of intelligence services that aims to solve customers’ business-critical problems by obtaining data from different sources and then mixing it logically but creatively to generate new kind of information that would otherwise not be accessible.

And therein lies the magic of it all.

There is a wide range of smart systems and solutions available already that offer us different kinds of information. However, information regarding an individual factor often serves a limited purpose at best. The true value lies in the combination of data, not so much the individual input.

“What makes INaaS so unique is the way it can combine all these individual systems and solutions and the data they provide, then learn and finally begin to figure out what to do in order to optimize things,” explains Ristimäki.

We have to admit that all this sounds a bit tricky to us. However, we are glad to hear that with Tieto’s INaaS service, the customer will pay for intelligence only.

“There is no need for the customer to make large investments in sensors and equipment, let alone train their staff to understand machine learning and artificial intelligence,” Ristimäki reassures us. “What the customer pays for is the real-time or other output agreed upon, delivered by us. We will take care of all the steps in between.”

 

 

 

“We can input fifteen million pages of cancer research into a computer in a matter of seconds, then start asking the computer questions and receive answers.”

 

 

 

Path to Fiscal Sustainability

In addition to growing demand, another factor pushing this development is technology, which is constantly taking giant leaps forward. Computers, as Ristimäki notes, are today capable of doing amazing things.

“The ability of computers to calculate and store data has grown and is growing tremendously,” he points out. “Meanwhile, the cost of this increasing capacity is going down. This means we have access to more capacity than ever before, while the price tag and the space required are actually getting smaller.”

Furthermore, the development of machine intelligence is leaping forward thanks to the work of a number of innovative companies around the world. That said, it is not just the capacity that is growing, but also the ability of computers to learn.

A good example of just that is computers’ improving ability to interpret natural language. To illustrate the point, Ristimäki brings up cancer research.

“We can input fifteen million pages of cancer research into a computer in a matter of seconds,” he points out. “Users, in this case doctors, can then ask the computer questions and receive answers instead of spending a lifetime trying to learn everything themselves.”

Ristimäki believes that INaaS will have plenty of demand, especially from the public sector that in various countries is struggling with fiscal sustainability and striving for a leap towards increased efficiency.

“I think finding solutions to these issues calls for an entirely new mindset,” he states. “As a technology company, Tieto wants to transform into a producer of data-centric services and act as a service integrator. Technology would then serve as an enabler, while the main focus would lie elsewhere.”

It is now the aim of Ristimäki and his team to engage in active dialogue with customers in order to start developing selected service concepts. Small-scale pilots are already on the pipeline, as exemplified by the healthy schools example above.

“Based on the experience gained,” Ristimäki explains, “we are going to define a minimum viable product that we are going to develop into a pilot service by autumn. The pilot phase will continue for up to a year, by which time we should be able to start the productizing of some of these services.”

Primarily operating in Finland, Sweden and Norway, Tieto is the leading provider of IT services and software in the Nordic region. Based on what we have learned, the company has new service concepts under development that will have great potential to bring about revolutionary changes.

Clearly, things are about to get a lot smarter. It looks like INaaS is ready to ensure that it is all going to make more sense, too!

 

Text and image by Industrial PRIME

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