Finnish AI Region
Finnish AI Region (FAIR), part of the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) network, provides free or subsidized services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to advance their digital and green transformation on an open, transparent and non-discriminatory basis. FAIR helps SMEs transform their AI empowered innovations into actual products and make their processes more efficient with the help of AI based solutions. Although the technological focus of FAIR is on AI, FAIR also offers expertise in cybersecurity, high-performance computing (HPC) and Extended Reality (XR), and helps less advanced companies through training and skills development. Geographically, FAIR services cover the whole Finland with emphasis on Southern Finland. FAIR supports mainly local companies in the region and utilizes existing competencies and infrastructures.
At the core of FAIR are 1) the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI), which is an ecosystem founded and run by Aalto University, University of Helsinki and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and 2) the three major capital region cities (Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa) 3) computational service provider CSC - IT Center for Science Ltd (CSC) 4) the Universities of Applied Sciences Haaga-Helia and Metropolia, 5) ecosystem actors KIRA-InnoHub for the built environment and EIT Digital. The associated partners ABB, Microsoft, Silo.ai, Varian/Siemens Healthineers, Helsinki-Uusimaa Region, Arcada University of Applied Sciences and Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) fit well with the focus and offer important support for the consortium and its customers. The FAIR operational work is coordinated by the City of Helsinki, and each partner delivers services in their area of expertise directly to customers and contributes to innovating new service offerings.
The target customers of FAIR are SMEs operating in the areas of digital services, smart cities and health. A typical example of a customer is a company that is already an established player in its own application area and now aims to launch a new product or service harnessing AI, but lacks the expertise and means to correctly validate, implement, maintain and further develop the new AI based solution in practice. It can also be a company that aims to improve its operations with a third-party AI solution, but does not have the needed expertise to compare available services nor to implement them efficiently.
FAIR offers the following services and facilities to solve customers’ key challenges:
- Needs analysis: An analysis of the needs and skills of the company and a formulation of requirements for AI technologies to be tested as well as an ethical assessment, if needed, of the planned development effort
- Training and skills development: Training activities ranging from free online courses for beginners to physical or hybrid tailored courses and workshops for professionals
- "Test before invest": Wide range of services related to knowledge and technology transfer such as co-creation workshops and hackathons, fast prototyping, AI acceleration, experiments in AI applications, provision of data, lab-scale user tests and simulations, fast prototyping, and piloting in actual operational testbed environments
- Support to find investments: Advice on business development, investor events, and tailored support and matchmaking with investors for the most advanced SMEs
- Innovation ecosystem and networking: Bringing together the networks, events and other activities of all partners through a single easily accessible contact point, which is the FAIR Office, for supporting SMEs in finding potential partners and customers in the FAIR ecosystem
As a FAIR partner, CSC contributes to developing and executing an efficient process for assessing customer needs and to the development and implementation of the "Test before invest" offering, provides skills development services, and contributes to the further development of services based on evaluation and customer feedback.
Especially, CSC will support the SMEs in HPC resource application processes and offer extensive user support for SMEs that have been granted access to CSC's infrastructure. CSC will also organize tailored trainings to SMEs on using CSC's computing environment, artificial intelligence and data analytics. One of the three EuroHPC pan-European pre-exascale supercomputers, LUMI, is located in CSC's data centre. CSC aims to increase companies understanding of possibilities of LUMI and connect them with the EuroHPC Competence Center for dedicated support on LUMI usage.