Ten promising Irish software companies have set off for Finland, home of Nokia, to boost Irish technology exports to the country.
Current technology exports by Enterprise Ireland-backed technology companies to the Scandinavian country run at about €3m per year. The State agency plans to boost this amount by €2.5m over the next 18 months.
The ten companies participating in the trade mission include: Tango Telecom (converged charging and advanced messaging), Daon (biometric identity management), Orbo Technologies (mobile device security), WS2 (vehicle monitoring software), Iona Technologies (enterprise middleware), 3Q Solutions (wealth management technology), Ossidian (e-learning over communications technologies), SoftCo (document and process management), Soft-Ex (communications management solutions) and Espatial (spatial database technology).
Finland is globally renowned as the home of mobile technology in the world, boasting records such as the first-generation mobile phone network in 1982, the first GSM call in the world in 1991 and the first text message in 1993. The country is home to Nokia and is number three globally in terms of R&D per capita investment. It has some of the highest rates of mobile phone access and internet usage in the world. According to the World Economic Forum, Finland is Europe’s most competitive economy and boasts a 100pc national digital fibre-optic network.
A number of Irish technology companies already have established strong trade ties with Finland. For example, the Finnish State Treasury is using SoftCo technology for digital archiving and purchase invoice management. Securitas in Finland is pioneering the use of the WS2 telematics middleware platform to monitor remote assets using GPS technology. The Finnish Defence Forces are using Soft-Ex technology to control and analyse their telecommunications costs. The mobile portal Sonera Zed is using Am-Beo technology for rating and settlement. The Finnish Population Register Centre is using the former Baltimore UniCERT technology for its National Electronic Identification Card.
The IT business development adviser for Nordic markets at Enterprise Ireland, Robert Bushnell, said: “Finland is not a big market but it is a market with a big reputation. A reference site in Finland carries weight in the rest of Europe in a way that a sale in Ireland or the UK does not. A referenceable implementation in a technology-credible country like Finland is one of the most powerful sales tool for an unknown Irish software company looking to internationalise.”
The trade mission to Finland is being led by the Minister of State for Trade and Commerce, Michael Ahern TD. He said: “Finland is one of the most advanced IT nations in the world and is widely regarded as an early adopter of new technology. It is particularly important therefore that Irish companies develop high quality contacts with potential customers in this market. This trade mission offers valuable opportunities to the 10 participating companies to meet some customers for the first time and will help others to build on existing relationships.”
By John Kennedy