Ülemiste City recently launched Test City, a unique testing environment for new technologies in the Baltic and Nordic regions. It’s open for Estonian and international companies to test their new solutions or validate their services in a natural city environment.
“Ülemiste City has designed the testing service for several years in cooperation with the companies to the point where several innovative ideas and pilot projects have been implemented, and the impact of local companies on the Estonian economy has grown significantly. This allows us to take on new goals – being a compact business city, we can offer testers access to the infrastructure and a community of 16,000 members, various support services and help to think along regarding development,” said the Chief Innovation Officer of Ülemiste City, Ursel Velve.
According to Ursel Velve, cooperation between science and business and the smart application of new green technology will help Ülemiste create a unique environment in the Baltic and Nordic region for various tests focusing on green transition, health and smart city innovation. “We are looking forward to Test City for start-ups who want to validate their products and services, as well as large companies, and why not state institutions for developing and testing new services,” she added.
Test City provides infrastructure for the testing companies, whether office space or the streets and roads on campus, a curious and tech-savvy talent community, and data for value creation. In addition, mentoring, cooperation with universities, data analytics, technical support, marketing assistance and consulting to find funding for projects are also offered. The value of Test City is bringing together companies of different sizes and fields of activity, from which new services and business models can emerge.
Several services have already undergone testing as part of the Test City concept. The logistics company DPD recently tested parcel delivery in Ülemiste City with Clevon’s robot courier CLEVON 1. Auvetech has also tested the self-driving demand-based transport service on campus, as well as Fyma‘s artificial intelligence-based mobility data solution, R8 Technologies‘ artificial intelligence-based building energy management, Kone Insight‘s building usage statistics service, Ringo’s reusable food packaging system, and Active Health health management platform.
Skeleton Technologies is already expanding its test lab in Ülemiste. Ants Vill, CCO of Skeleton Technologies, said they would like to test Skeleton’s technologies more widely in Estonia. “We highly value the level of local engineering, which is extremely competitive in the global context today, and we wish that there would be more engineering professionals in Estonia to enable us to create more value through the development and implementation of deep technology to combat global climate change,” he added.
Test in Estonia!
At the Test City launch event, Karen Burns (Fyma), Remo Kirss (DPD), Siim Saare (Activate) and Deivis Sepp (Auvetech) and Ants Vill (Skeleton) presented their testing experience.
From the discussion of the entrepreneurs, it was concluded that testing and validating products and services is an essential daily activity typical of technology companies, which cannot be overcome or avoided. In addition to providing a testing environment, various types of data, and support, the speakers considered necessary the accurate feedback received from the Ülemiste City team for the projects being tested. It was also said that Estonia has a very high level of engineers, but the problem is their scarcity. At the same time, it is often challenging to bring in top specialists from foreign countries due to various restrictions.
While discussing the future vision of both Test City and the city of Tallinn and Estonia, Kadi Pärnits, the Chairman of the Board of Mainor AS, developing Ülemiste City, saw the international marketing of the testing environment here as an excellent opportunity to raise Estonia’s reputation and support the economy. She believes the slogan “Test in Estonia” could be used for this purpose.
Joonas Vänto from EAS/Kredex stated that all kinds of test environments, labs or incubators that gather innovation also attract talent. “In terms of location, Ülemiste City is truly great. It is a business district within the city where new technologies could be tested. If we can attract forward-looking foreign companies to Estonia, it will create a domino effect. “Estonia, in cooperation with the city of Tallinn and Ülemiste City, has the potential to become a talent magnet where people want to work,” he noted.
Keit Kasemets, chancellor of the Ministry of Climate, confirmed that the Test City service contributes to the more successful implementation of climate neutrality: “Life has shown, contrary to all fears, that innovation and the green revolution go hand in hand.” Kasemets pointed out the importance of Ülemiste as a mobile hub and emphasised the importance of Rail Baltica as part of green transport.
According to Deputy Mayor of Tallinn, Joosep Vimm, creating such test services is crucial for developing regional entrepreneurship. The city of Tallinn has also launched the Test in Tallinn service and selected the first testers.
Ülemiste City, located in an international traffic hub in Tallinn, is the largest business campus in the Baltics, which Mainor Ülemiste and Technopolis Ülemiste are developing. 167,000 square meters of rentable office space have been built on 36 hectares of the campus. It is home to nearly 500 companies and a work, study and living environment for nearly 16,000 people.