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Can startup collaboration help transform data sharing and usage?

02/04/2019

Two weeks ago I tweeted: “after seeing thousands of pitches in tens and tens of events, these have been by far of the highest quality so far.” I think that pretty much sums up the potential and excitement witnessed during the Selection Sprint event, part of the Rainmaking Trade & Transport Impact acceleration programme. But what actually took place during the event, what are the concrete implications and what will happen next?

AUTHOR: TERO HOTTINEN

Selection Sprint gathered 14 promising startups and scale-ups to meet corporate partners Cargotec, Inmarsat and Wärtsilä in Hamburg. These shortlisted companies were chosen out of over 600 candidates, so the screening process had already been rigorous. The intent of this event was for the corporate partners - in our case Kalmar, MacGregor and Navis - to find the most relevant startups for their needs and start working on current concrete use cases. I was pleased to see that all of our business areas found extremely promising partners with a potential for disruptive impact!

A huge personal highlight was actually seeing different industry players really taking seriously some of the unsolved pain points we have. Startups, scaleups and large corporations alike gathering together with a genuine will of finding solutions. I have previously been calling for the need to “walk the talk” after a lot of public call-for-actions related to collaboration. Here I can definitely say with a good conscience that we kick-started taking this talk into actions.

So what are the actions then? For the coming weeks, we have a lot of work ahead of us in jointly planning how the solutions provided by our partners could be applied into concrete use cases. In May, we will be presenting how the ideas will progress into pilot testing based on this work - if we already haven’t by then. Another aspect I am excited about here is that from the beginning, our goal has been to move forward quickly and create value already in the short-term, and we definitely are on the right track.

It is no surprise that all of our matches are somehow involved with data - gathering it, making sense of it, picking out what is relevant, using machine learning and artificial intelligence on it and so forth. For example, Sandro Bovinno from Sentetic summarised the value of his company’s deep-learning algorithm as: “we are like MP3 compression but for IoT data.” The founders of Arundo Analytics, who matched with both Kalmar and MacGregor, described that they “can get performance data out of anywhere where there is equipment.”

Our industry lags behind many others in sharing and making use of data, which is one of the root causes of many efficiency-related challenges. With the amount of expertise we now have working together, there is a unique opportunity of accelerating the transformation of our industry into a new digital era. This is of course not only a technological transformation but also a mindset change. Paving the way with innovative, value-creating and problem-solving solutions is also a way to affect how we think about data and processes.

We have started walking the talk regarding open industry collaboration, but we still have a lot of steps to take. In fact, we are aiming to switch from walking to a running stride during the next weeks and months. I have full confidence that our direction is towards making global cargo flows smarter and better - together. Yes, smarter as in not creating tens of billions of euros worth of inefficiencies annually.

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