EIT ICT Labs & Idea Challenge Competition

On a rainy Tuesday afternoon I find myself in Otaniemi’s Open Innovation House. I have come here to listen to top 10 pitch of EIT ICT Labs Idea Challenge Competition on Smart Spaces. All right, now I only should know 1) What does the acronym of EIT ICT stand for? and 2) What the heck is a Smart Space?


Dominik Krabbe for one of the eight nodes of EIT ICT Labs gives me an explanation: first of all EIT stands for European Institute of Innovation and Technology and secondly ICT is a of course known acronym of information and communications technology. What they do is not that easy to explain. Dominik however gives a try.

Everything started with the notion that even though the scientific research that Europeans carry out is top notch that does not translate to success in the market place. And why is that? It is because the innovations do not find their way out to markets as products or services. To fight this problem EIT ICT labs was established. Their job is to bring together research, education and industry.

In one sentence according to Dominik EIT ICT Labs mission is:

[EIT ICT Labs mission] is to bring innovative products to the European market from research and industry.

Dominik sees EIT ICT Lab nodes that are scattered across Europe (Helsinki, Berlin, Paris, London, Stockholm, Trento and Eindhoven) as enablers.

Smart Spaces

The leaders of action line called Smart Spaces are situated in the Helsinki node. They sit in the Open Innovation House of Otaniemi, Espoo.

Smart spaces is according to Damiano Gui, a young Italian pitching for his startup Mapnaut :

[Smart spaces] is a space where information is flowing.

Petri Liuha action line leader for Smart Spaces explains more thoroughly in his opening remark. You can distinguish between 3 types on smart spaces: smart urban spaces, smart offices and smart retail. The mission of smart spaces action line is to enable the development of ICT solutions to problems that are tied to the different types of smart spaces.

Idea Challenge competition


Aalto University spinout  720˚  Tomas Novotny making his pitch about their solution to indoor environmental quality.

Homey, a dutch startup developing solutions for home automation, won the final. They were the happy winners of 40 000 Euro award. The first Runner-up QGo got an award of 25 000 Euro and third place that went to Avansera was worth of 15 000 Euro.

In the autumn your startup might be the lucky winner of 40 000 Euro. There are still 4 Action lines that have not had their competitions. The action lines are called”Cyber Security and Privacy”, “Internet of Things”, “Urban Life and Mobility” and “Smart Energy Systems”. You can start submitting your business ideas concerning these topics as of 1st of September.

For more information visit www.ideachallenge.eitictlabs.eu.

by: Hanna Wikström