All eyes are on Oulu in June

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Oulu in Northern Finland is at the European focal point in June. The Northern hub of ICT hosts a number of international top conferences and summits within just over a week. These events bring hundreds and hundreds of guests from all over the world to Oulu. Experts of business, science, technology and economics along with high-level European politicians get to experience the local hospitality and the nightless night of the north on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia.

A victim of the global recession that fell hard on the local ICT industry, Oulu is on the verge of becoming great again. A symptom of this is the exceptional cluster of high-level international events that takes place in the capital of Northern Scandinavia around mid-June.

The first one of these meets is the Oulu 5GFWD Hackathon on 9–11 June. The hackathon brings together the world’s snappiest coders and enterprises to hack real challenges of the future set by telecom company Telia, Nokia and the Oulu University Hospital. All the challenges are set in a genuine 5G environment as provided by the Oulu 5G test network.

The Hackathon winners are awarded after the final pitches on 12 June. The total amount of prize money is 25 000 euros.

June 12th is also the date when a true top summit of the ICT field starts in Oulu. This is the first time that Finland has the honour of organising the European Conference on Networks and Communication, and the only rightful place for such a meet is Oulu. This is the 26th conference in the series.

The EuCNC is co-organised by the University of Oulu Centre for Wireless Communications together with TEKES National Technology Agency of Finland and the European Commission. In the home town of 5G, the conference continues aptly with the theme under the title ”5G – European Roadmap, Global Impact”.

Despite the European emphasis, the EuCNC gathers together guests from all over the globe. Around 500 participants learn about the latest trends of the field as they listen to keynote speeches, take part in panel discussions and watch 5G demonstrations. The main conference venue is the Oulu City Theatre.

On June 13, the EuCNC guests and the public are treated to a 5G showcase around the Oulu City Theatre and the Market Square. Visitors are able to interact with virtual and augmented reality gadgets that will showcase the 5G speeds of the future and the possibilities that this technology enables.

European Commission takes the stage after ICT leads

Partly overlapping with the EuCNC (June 14–15) is the second Arctic Broadband Summit in Oulu, co-organised by the Arctic Economic Council and the City of Oulu. This Top of the World Arctic Broadband Summit will convene approximately 150 representatives of business, technology and science along with decision-makers to discuss the role of connectivity in developing a safe, competent and interconnected Arctic.

One of the topics in the discussion is the political and technological feasibility of a telecommunications cable between Europe and Asia via the North-East Passage. What would a telecommunications highway between Europe and Asia mean for the development of the Russian Arctic, the Nordics, or the European Union? There are also plans to connect the North American Arctic to Asia and Europe. Do these initiatives support each other?

Another high-level EU event begins a day later, as the European Commission, together with European External Action Service and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, will co-host the event “A sustainable Arctic – innovative approaches”, to take place in Oulu on 15-16 June. The conference is organised in collaboration with the City of Oulu.

The foreign ministers of all EU countries along with the Secretaries of State from Norway, Iceland, Russia, the United States and Canada have been invited to the two-day summit, where the European Commission will present an intermediate report about the focal points of developing the Arctic within the EU.

The central themes of the summit are the challenges of the Arctic climate and environment as well as international and local collaboration as enablers for sustainable and innovative development. A part of the seminar is the high-lever Arctic Stakeholder Forum and an annual forum of native Arctic peoples.

The meet is chaired by Timo Soini, the Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs, along with Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

The busy conference week in Oulu ends in the annual meeting of Finnish administration bureaus and the heads of European regional administrations, held on 15–17 June. The Oulu City Hall hosts the meeting under the theme of internal security. The previous time that a meeting in this series was arranged in Oulu was in 1997. This year’s event is part of the 100th anniversary programme of Finnish independence.

The City of Oulu

Oulu – Capital of Northern Scandinavia – growth and development hotspot of Northern Europe.

Best known globally for its expertise in information and communications technology, Oulu has been at the leading edge of R&D in the field for as long as half a century. More recently, with the emergence of the revolutionary next-generation 5G technology, the industry as well as research and development operators in the Oulu region have been spearheading its creation. Oulu can simply be called the home of 5G.

Oulu is also the fastest growing region of Arctic Europe. The population of Oulu is one of the youngest in Europe, with an average age of only 36.7 years. Of Oulu’s 250,000 residents, every third has a university degree and the inhabitants are the most satisfied with their quality of life in the whole Nordic region. Oulu has two established universities.

BusinessOulu is a public utility of the City of Oulu, in charge of implementing the City’s industry policies and providing growth companies with the services they require, in addition to promoting export, import, investments, and employment.