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Aug 23 2016

Radical new ideas welcome @ Nokia Center for Advanced Research

Twitter: @tommiuitto

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Nokia has long been recognized for innovation, having produced thousands of patented technologies that allow us to continually create relevant and valuable products and services for our customers. And here’s how we’re going to help keep that legacy thriving.

Under the combined operations of Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent, our innovation capability is now even stronger. The world-famous research pedigree of Bell Labs with numerous Nobel prizes and awards has been brought together with former Nokia’s strong networks research arm into Nokia Bell Labs, complemented by our advanced technology development and licensing engine of Nokia Technologies. As a Finn, from a country of only 5.5 million inhabitants at the northern end of Europe, where some people lived in smoke huts still 100 years ago, this is both a humbling thought and a source of pride.

The technologies we use in our everyday life continue to evolve amidst rising consumer demands and changing business models; for example, the design of the next generation of wireless technology, 5G, is well under way. These developments, along with the challenges they present, bring exciting opportunities for creating the new networks needed to reliably handle the massive demand for data and connectivity necessitated by the Internet of things and many other critical applications.

While the track record of our own innovation machine speaks for itself, we realize that partnerships are critical in helping us build the networks of tomorrow. In order to nurture innovation and exploit new opportunities, Nokia is deeply involved in co-operation with universities and other external research parties. Our latest demonstration of such cooperation came recently with the launch of the Nokia Center for Advanced Research (NCAR), an innovation facility focusing on data science and future networks research. NCAR, based in Helsinki, was established with the University of Helsinki and Aalto University to ultimately devise solutions to key challenges in our industry.

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NCAR’s mission is to identify crucial problems pertaining to the industry and then explore new solutions for these problems from basic research. It directs its research efforts in areas such as network infrastructure, edge computing, software and protocols, and analytics. The research is being conducted in close association with Nokia Bell Labs as well as other global academic partners.

Being part of scientific discovery is rewarding in its own right but there’s more to this for Nokia; seeking answers to network-focused questions in collaboration with NCAR will help Nokia develop stronger, higher-performing, and more agile converged networks. NCAR started its research work in April and has already made excellent progress in “Off-the-Shelf” wireless SDN research, which will enable fast prototyping and incremental deployment of software-defined wireless networks. Another highlight is a new system we are working on that secures IoT devices with the help of mobile edge computing. Both examples have resulted in concrete prototypes that serve as demonstrators and proof-of-concepts.

Building the networks of tomorrow is a global challenge. As a Country Senior Officer for Finland I’m naturally delighted that NCAR’s main office is based here, as it’s a natural fit. Through Nokia’s research and innovation success, Finland has been at the center of wireless and mobile technology development for a couple of decades. Finland also ranks at the top in its contribution to global innovation in general, according to a study published by World Economic Forum this year. But to stay at the forefront of digitalization, more investment and research success is critical. What got us here won’t get us there. To meet the new connectivity challenges, we need new approaches and methodologies that combine the expertise of various fields such as networking, software, databases, machine learning and data analytics. We want to encourage researchers around in the world to explore and develop radical new ideas and technologies with us.

In short, we expect NCAR to make important contributions to helping us build the networks of tomorrow as we move closer to the 5G world, where everyone and everything will be connected.

Visit our website for more on NCAR

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About Tommi Uitto

Tommi leads the global sales of Nokia’s mobile network products and is the Country Senior Officer of Nokia Finland. He joined the company in 1996, dividing his 20 years between sales, product management and R&D. He’s a passionate, charismatic leader, who loves winning deals and seeing customers thrive. Tommi has an M.Sc. from Helsinki University of Technology and Michigan Technological University and pretty impressive skills on the barbecue and in the wine cellar.