Monday, November 07, 2005

A Finnish Week, part 1

This week will be an all Finnish week for me. Tomorrow I will travel to Tampere in Finland in the company of 39 Dutch entrepreneurs and educational people for a business trip.

What started as a trip with a small group of 15 people has grown into a business mission with 39 people. The idea started in August with a request of the Finnish company Culminatum. During the multimedia week in Tampere, called MindTrek, they would like to organise MindMatch, a meeting with people active in creative ICT and multimedia. While my colleague Hans Sleurink of the Dutch newsletter Media Update and I were working out the ideas, the North Netherlands division of the business innovation institute Syntens adopted the idea of the business trip and got involved themselves. While Hans and I organised the program, Syntens facilitated the organisation and promotion, including a TV crew of the regional broadcast station RTV Drente.

You want to know why we go to Finland? I guess everyone has his own motives. But analysing the motives it is the attraction of how a country with 5 million people can be so innovative. Besides, Culminatum and Media Update took care of a matching process; so the entrepreneurs did not have to search and select companies themselves; now talks have been arranged with Finnish companies in their line of business. Another attractive feature is the visit to the research lab of Nokia. You look up a flyer on the activities.

The education people will have their special program. They will visit the Tampere School of Art and Media, where my friend Cai is teaching, the Hypermedialab, where Jarmo is doing research, and Tampere University.

Talking about innovation. Last night I was preparing the 31st edition of my newsletter Content Market Monitor. It will be published today. I picked up the following newsitem:
Handset maker Nokia and music label EMI have started a project to let coffee shop customers listen to music sent to their phone via Bluetooth. As well as music, customers will be able to get hold of ringtones, wallpaper, video clips and vouchers. The first free tests of the service will be in three Robert's Coffee cafes in Helsinki and three FreeRecordShop music stores in the city. While in the shops, customers will be able to select and listen to tracks sent to them via the short-range radio system.
Trialists must download software to their handsets that will let them browse the tracks on offer. The service is designed to work with Series 60 Symbian phones (such as Nokia's N90 and the Siemens SX1) and Nokia Series 40 phones (such as the 6060 and the 8800).
The trial service, dubbed bFree, will be free for those taking part. But Nokia and EMI expect to charge for access to the playlists if a commercial system is rolled out. EMI has yet to say which artists will be available on the trial playlists. EMI represents such artists as Robbie Williams, Goldfrapp and Gorillaz.
This is an interesting trial (tap a beer and Robbie Williams). It is good to see that the Finnish subsidiary of a Dutch music retailer Free Record Shop is involved.

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