Spectacular Finnish

ERTICO’s Carla Coppola presents an ITS Helsinki preview from the exhibitors’ side.

The 10th ITS European Congress is on its way with most of the over 3,000 sq m area of the exhibition taken by European and International leaders in all the automotive industry sectors, from mobile network operators to service providers, from road operators to system integrators, from telecommunications to transport and regional authorities and national ITS organisations.

As organiser of the ITS Congresses in Europe, ERTICO has the remarkable opportunity to get a first hand insight into what some of the 10th ITS Congress participating companies are planning to do at the upcoming Congress. Mika Rytkönen, Director of Industry and Government Relations at HERE, Mirka Dworschak, Sales Account Executive at T-Systems, and Pierrick Le Puil, Marketing and Communications Manager at Sanef ITS, talk about their expectations and how they are looking forward to the European ITS event of the year.

HERE is among the sponsors of this year’s Congress, what convinced you to invest in this event?

Mika Rytkönen (MR) – 2014 will be a busy year for the ITS community with Helsinki hosting the European Congress in June and then Detroit hosting the World Congress in September. In both events, HERE will show its products and activities related to Intelligent Transport Systems; these include real-time traffic information services, eco-driving, connected and automated driving. HERE is a Nokia business with roots in Finland, it seems obvious but we are thrilled to welcome the ITS community to Finland!

HERE is also sponsoring the “ITS in your pocket” App contest. Could you give us some more details on the concept behind it, on your decision to run such a contest and what are the outcomes/results you are hoping for?

MR – “ITS in your pocket” is also the theme of the Congress; this is very relevant as it focuses on the users. ITS is now concretely in the hands of consumers via smartphones and tablets and this is why HERE is offering a complete set of location platform services and APIs for app developers via developer.here.com (https://developer.here.com/). Once an app developer innovates on the HERE platform, by default the app is ready for international markets. We are expecting that many new ITS innovations will be powered by HERE location platform.

T-Systems is one of the major exhibitors in Helsinki, as you were at the Dublin ITS Europe Congress in 2013. Why did you decide to exhibit again this year?

Mirka Dworschak (MD) – As a member of the European road charging and telematics community, we see the ITS European Congress as the industry’s central and most important event. Both the Congress and the related exhibition provide an excellent atmosphere for fruitful exchange with experts on what Intelligent Transport Systems needs in Europe in terms of deployment, technology and political support. Exhibiting at this event is a must for us.

What about Sanef ITS? You were also a sponsor in Dublin last year, are you considering sponsoring at the Helsinki Congress as well?

Pierrick Le Puil (PLP) – Last year Sanef ITS celebrated its years of involvement in the ITS market in Ireland. The Dublin ITS European Congress was the best occasion to show the industry our achievements in the country that is leading in Europe in term of free flow tolling and ITS implementation such as the IMSP hub project. Our presence in Helsinki as an exhibitor is kind of compulsory as it is in line with our efforts to support a fast-growing industry and promote our innovative solutions in this field.

Sponsoring packages offer a great visibility in different media and targeted events. It gives us the possibility to communicate more about our new brand Sanef ITS. It is always a challenge to position ourselves as a new brand capitalising around our long business history and experience, and sponsoring ITS European Congresses is a good way to do so.

Could you give us a taste of what we are going to see this year at your stand? Are you showcasing any particular new products or services?

MD – We will be demonstrating our Satellic Tolling Platform, which is a comprehensive, modular, next-generation platform for implementing modern road charging programmes. The platform includes all of the necessary customer service and billing modules together with an electronic booking system, as well as a high-quality GNSS-based front-end. The latter includes an easy-to-install on-board unit (OBU) and a self-service web portal for quick and simple customer access. We will be giving an overview of all of the key processes in the life cycle of a toll collection system – for both end users and the OBU.

The electronic booking module complements the platform to accommodate tolling schemes with low revenue per vehicle and high data privacy demands – typical in the private passenger car segment. In these scenarios, the electronic ticketing solution that we will be presenting has many advantages, such as much higher fraud resistance and higher flexibility at lower distribution costs compared with existing paper vignette-based systems.

Our Satellic Tolling Platform is the basis for T-Systems’ tolling as a service offering: road-charging organisations can outsource their toll detection and calculation processes to one of the world’s most experienced GNSS system operators, allowing them to concentrate on customer relations and value-added services. Its open and modular design allows the easy integration of existing as well as current and future third-party system components, paving the way to EETS interoperability.

PLP – Sanef ITS will focus mainly on efficiency and customer satisfaction. Our industry evolves quickly and our concerns are more and more customer-centric. The efficiency is another important factor because current financial support to infrastructure is scarce. Sanef ITS wants to prove that cost efficiency and road user satisfaction are not at odds with each other.

Is there any particular session, demonstration or technical visit you are looking forward to or in which you are involved that you would like to highlight?

MR – My favourite ones would be the iMobility Challenge, the best ITS application award ceremony and the Executive Session “From Connected to Automated Vehicles” where Ogi Redzic, VP Connected Driving at HERE is speaking. I am also moderating a Special Interest Session titled “Towards Novel Transport Service Ecosystems”. During the whole week I will enjoy interesting presentations, the exhibition and will also meet many customers, colleagues and friends.

MD – T-Systems will show the Satellic Tolling Platform in action with two typical application scenarios. Firstly, a demonstration tour in the vicinity of the conference centre has been planned to illustrate both the technical principle and the ease of use of a GNSS-based system for fair, usage-based charging in the logistics and transportation vehicle segments. Insights will be provided into the quality of the GNSS toll detection and calculation algorithm, and into the direct feedback given to users. The demonstration takes the form of a test drive in a challenging urban environment.

Secondly, at the exhibition stand we will demonstrate a modern electronic ticketing system for tolling schemes that do not require vehicle equipment, most fitting for the passenger car segment. In this demonstration the booking and management of electronic tickets will be possible at a stationary point of the sale terminal as well as via mobile access.

In addition, we will present our vision of the road-charging future with the following presentations at the congress: “Co-existence of privacy keeping traffic flow information and road charging” and “Secure road charging in mobile application eco systems”.

And are you hosting any networking event or cocktail during the event?

MR – This year HERE is very proudly sponsoring the VIP Dinner on the opening day (Monday 16 June).

MD – During ITS Helsinki our clients and partners will be invited to join our evening get together, the “WIES’N PARTY,” with Bavarian music, beer and food. All details will be provided with the invitation sent out soon.

In your personal opinion, what is the biggest value of these events for large companies? Why should other companies join?

PLP – The exhibition represents an utmost value as it is an opportunity to explain what we offer to our clients and to show our services. But it is also a good moment to gather together with our partners and suppliers, and share our positions on many subjects.

MD – This international event gives participants the opportunity to exchange their views, experiences and challenges with professionals and experts in the ITS sector. At the same time it has a clear focus on the needs of European customers and countries.

For us, the Congress is an excellent forum for learning about and contributing to the current hot topics in the tolling and telematics industry. The exhibition opens doors for talks about cutting-edge products, future projects and new smart cooperation opportunities.

MR – The ITS conference brings all key stakeholders together and it is a great opportunity to exchange ideas, promote and demonstrate ITS in practice and learn from experts. Today, there are many things impacting the traffic and transport sector; these include the Internet, location technologies, connected cars and many others. These ITS congresses are great events to stay tuned on what is going on in ITS.

As HERE will be ‘playing at home’, is there anything special you would like to point out about the ITS European Congress in Helsinki?

MR – Let me highlight the connected driving concept, which is one of the key innovation area in the ITS. HERE is uniquely positioned to provide key technologies enabling connected driving, like the highly accurate and always fresh 3D maps and cloud services. This is one of our key messages in Helsinki and also in Detroit.

Finally, some words on Finnish hospitality; the 10th ITS European Congress will finish at the Midnight Summer weekend, which is an awesome opportunity to experiment the magic of White Nights, bonfires and of course, Saunas!

Carla Coppola is media communications officer for ERTICO-ITS Europe

The 10th ITS European Congress is organised by ERTICO – ITS Europe and the European Commission and is hosted by ITS Finland, the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the City of Helsinki.