Real Estate and Construction Ecosystem in the Making: From KIRA-digi to KIRAHub

The Finnish Ministry of the Environment’s recent key project KIRA-digi was set up to promote digitalization of the built environment and construction. Although the project came to an end in December 2018, the work carried out in KIRA-digi will continue under the brand of KIRAHub. In a recent seminar, the lessons learned and future outlooks were discussed in detail.

The KIRA-digi future seminar was held at the brand new Helsinki Central Library Oodi on February 6, 2019. The seminar showcased the results from the experiment and announced future plans to a live audience of around 250 persons.

Results of KIRA-digi

The Ministry of the Environment funded 139 KIRA-digi projects with a total of EUR 4.7 million during 2016–2018. The projects were divided into ten separate clusters and these clusters were evaluated and presented at the seminar in more detail. The biggest takeaway from all of the projects was the pressing need for cooperation within the real estate and construction sector as well as the importance of marketing communications for new innovations.

44% of the projects reported continuing their operations after the KIRA-digi experiment was over. The combined potential benefits would total EUR 5.5 billion should all the project results be realized across the Finnish real estate and construction industries. Post KIRA-digi, the projects have raised EUR 21.6 million in funding so far.

Some of the successful KIRA-digi projects are based on sharing and utilizing data, such as SkenarioLabs who combine AI with technical surveying and Platform of Trust who are creating a data marketplace.

KIRA-digi projects also included projects offering a new kind of service to professionals within real estate and construction. From April through December 2018, anyone was able to receive legal guidance, with a focus on digitalizing the real estate and construction sector, free of charge through Lakiklinikka (The Law Clinic). The idea here was to unite operators from both the public and private sectors and to seek ways to develop the sector’s legislation around digitalization.

KIRAHub launch
Vappu Id, the Community Manager of KIRAHub

Workshops as a tool for voicing views and opinions

In order for the attendees to voice their views and opinions, the seminar included two workshops: Harmonizing and Flexible Access.

The Harmonizing workshop centered around the topic of standardization. Many professionals expressed their views on this complicated matter; for instance, the relationship between innovation and standardization was discussed to some extent and different focal points for standardization coordination were also discussed at length.

Standardization might benefit from a more try-out culture; for example, having open-source code operating procedures—where different operators could suggest input for a standard and a coordinator would publish different releases of the standard—was among the suggested operating models.

The Flexible Access workshop centered around the KIRA-digi project Platform of Trust. One utilization area of the platform was an aim to improve space usage effectiveness, enabling logistics within spaces.

“The workshop resulted in a working group being set up comprising around twenty industry professionals. In the near future, the group will specify the functionalities needed for flexible space logistics and efficiency in space usage. This is a step in the right direction as Platform of Trust will be available publicly during summer 2019,” Vesa Ilmarinen, Program Director of Platform of Trust, confirmed.

From KIRA-digi to KIRAHub

The inspiring work carried out in KIRA-digi will continue under the brand KIRAHub. KIRAHub aims to make Finland the sandbox for a sustainable built environment. Currently, the hub is being operated by Teemu Lehtinen and Vappu Id.

“While recognizing that learning outcomes are often far more valuable than success per se, we are thrilled with the fantastic results the KIRA-digi experiment achieved. The best possible outcome is we continue to have the industry trust to continue our work,” Teemu Lehtinen, CEO of KIRAHub, explained.

Vappu Id, the most recent addition to the KIRAHub team, set out: “As a Community Manager, I am responsible for building as large a multifaceted and meaningful community for KIRAHub as feasible. A starting point is our new website, where anyone can join the ecosystem by uploading their picture and a vision statement. Our mission is to bring different stakeholders together in order to remove silos within the industry and to help find common visions that can be advanced in concrete ways. I am excited about the idea of us being able to help unite small parts of a community in order to make a large impact.”

To join the KIRAHub ecosystem as a collaborator, please click here. You can watch a recording of the KIRA-digi seminar (available only in Finnish) through this link.

Title Photo: Tuomas Uusheimo

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