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Energy revolution and digitalisation discussed at Knowledge Sharing Breakfast

What kind of business models will be the winners in the ongoing energy revolution?
The Smart Energy Transition research project outlines how and in what industries Finland can be successful in the global energy revolution. Professor Raimo Lovio (left) with Karoliina Auvinen, the head of stakeholder relations in the project, next to him.

What about consumer needs? How will they change as new technologies break the traditional boundaries between different industries? Answers to these questions were sought in the Knowledge Sharing Breakfast event held at the Aalto University School of Business on 9 March. This time, the event was led by the Department of Management Studies.

The Department of Management Studies of the School of Business currently coordinates the Smart Energy Transition project of the Strategic Research Council. As a result of new technologies, we are undergoing a global energy revolution, to which energy companies should be able to respond. The project seeks solutions to this challenge.

‘What kind of role do energy companies want to take in this revolution, when resisting it is not very fruitful?’ asked Professor Raimo Lovio in his speech.

Karoliina Auvinen, head of stakeholder relations of the Smart Energy Transition project, asked the 60 guests attending the event to consider how new technologies and services would revolutionise the old energy system and how we could benefit from this in Finland. It became clear that this is a very broad cultural change from the traditional thinking based on competitive positions towards public-private partnerships and the creation of entirely new ecosystems.

The presentation given by Professor Armi Temmes on mobility as a service also inspired the guests to consider how digitalisation would change the rules of an entire industry. In transport as well as in the energy sector more generally, this revolution is only just beginning and the operators are frenetically looking for new business models.

The panellists CEO Jukka Kajan from Joukon Voima, CEO Pekka Möttö from Tuup Ltd, Development Manager Minna Näsman from Helen Ltd, Director (Telecom & Energy) Markku Luoto from CGI and Ministerial Adviser Leena Pentikäinen from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment discussed what will happen, for example, to customer relationships in the throes of this revolution. The following thoughts were among those brought up:

‘Electricity is no longer a bulk product, but a customer experience. And the customer experience is vital.’
‘Digitalisation enables anyone to reach the customer since all sales channels are open.’

‘The customer comes first, not technology.’
‘Disruption comes from digitalisation and the solution is not just the IoT. The greatest challenge is how all this is served to the customer.’

The societal impact is one of the three basic tasks of universities in addition to research and teaching. One way to realise the societal impact is to highlight research information and analyse the results together with businesses.

‘We organise Knowledge Sharing Breakfast guest seminars so that we can make the research carried out at the departments known to people and bring it up for discussion. The voice of businesses is always strongly represented in these events", says Anne Salonvaara from Corporate Relations of the School of Business.

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