December 12, 2017

My highlights from Slush 2017

Jaakko Vilén

Sales Director, Fintech Customer Experience, Tieto

Slush 2017 was the first Slush I got to experience in person. Naturally, I had followed the hype and listened to top pitches online during previous years. Slush began as a networking event for startups and venture capitalists but has grown into a phenomenon where thousands of people come to see and explore new innovations. Corporations have also become part of the picture, as sponsors and exhibitors at the event. And of course, as possible buyers.

Partners rather than competitors

What I see as a common theme is the curiosity to find new ideas from others, which probably has been there since the event started to grow. But now Slush has brought a paradigm shift among the corporations: look for new partners with an open mindset, leaving behind the not-invented-here attitude and welcoming speed-of-innovation. They are also viewing startups as potential partners rather than competitors; a good attitude shift for Finland 100, by the way! Slush also introduced the slogan, or hashtag rather, #BragForFinland to raise self-confidence and promotion of Finnish capabilities. 

Banks being Fintech

Fintech is clearly making noise in the Finnish technology space. The country’s two largest retail banks were highly visible, as both OP and Nordea were showcasing their Open Banking initiatives, mobile payment solutions and much more. Tieto also presented the latest version of its lending platform, including a digital customer onboarding process. Solutions that are reliable and trustworthy, yet as easy to use as anything else in the online space, will soon be the norm in the financial industry too. In the future this could be well complemented by the newly launched blockchain solution for identity management. In layman’s terms, this would allow new customers to sign up securely over the internet, with a similar security level as showing a passport in your hand.

AI and VR high on (almost) everyones agenda

The most repeating theme this year in my opinion was Artificial Intelligence (AI): its countless uses across different business ideas but also the diversity of all different solutions that can be said to use AI. Can any software now be called AI? One of the latest high-value examples in the health-tech sector was the recently launched Intelligent Wellbeing. Data and AI, combined with human knowledge, are taking healthcare to the next level.

Virtual Reality (VR) remained a common topic, but interestingly there are still very few real business use cases. It might be that companies are still waiting for the greater adoption of this technology. Among multiple examples of gaming and tourism, Virtual Forest by Metsä Group and Tieto raised a lot of interest. The service that is currently in the stage of validation with users, is meant for forest owners to make the most out of their ownership and simulate land maintenance actions in order to make better decisions in real life. There are several more cross-industry cases developed by Tieto Enhanced Reality Lab that are meant to showcase the value of virtual and augmented reality for business and customers.

The highlights from Slush 2017 will evolve during 2018 and bring a lot of change on the market. I am already eager to see what the effects will be and what new things we will bring to Slush 2018. See you soon!

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