Smart Innovation Norway launches new AI cluster:

“We are going to help each other get ready for the era we are entering”

Together with key business partners, the research and innovation company Smart Innovation Norway is creating a brand new business cluster within applied AI to lift Norwegian companies into the future.

By Mari Kristine Buckholm, 4th of September 2019

“Much AI (artificial intelligence) is currently being researched, and large nations such as the United States are far ahead. Smart Innovation Norway has always acted as a bridge between research and business and our mantra is: No impact, no research,” says Thor Mosaker, CEO of Smart Innovation Norway.

“It is therefore natural for us to aim for a business cluster for those who want to use artificial intelligence in practice,” he adds.

AI has come to stay

Mosaker explains that the new cluster will not only focus on artificial intelligence in isolation, but will also include cyber security, business development, ethics and framework conditions, people and organization.

“We want to have a cluster that looks at AI as practically as possible, where members can help each other get ready for the new era we’re entering – where AI is going to be an important part of our lives,” he points out.

In order to achieve the cluster’s goal of making Norwegian companies sustainable  and ready for a new world, which will largely be guided by artificial intelligence, the Halden-based research and innovation company Smart Innovation Norway has brought together key organizations from both private business and the public sector. and academia. Already, more than 40 different players have agreed to join the industry cluster.

“All those who are in the cluster are companies that work with AI or have decided to work with AI,” Mosaker says.

1 + 1 = 3

Among the initiators are Smart Innovation Norway, the software comet eSmart Systems and the research organization IFE (Institute of Energy Technology).

“We have a strong competence environment within AI in Halden from before, with IFE, which has been providing AI solutions internationally since the 1980s, and Østfold University College, which has maintained its offer of pure machine learning studies while other colleges and universities may have skipped on other things,” Mosaker points out.

The cluster has also been joined by heavy players such as Østfold Energi, Zacco and Statsbygg, as well as several start-up companies.

The global technology provider, Cyviz, supported the early cluster initiative, and has in turn contributed to the digitization and efficiency of Norwegian and foreign organizations for over 20 years with their innovative solutions in visualization, collaboration and simulation.

“So we have a strong expertise at the bottom and when all these companies that want to work with applied AI come together, you get the opportunity to learn from the best. The idea with this cluster, as with other business clusters, is that when people come together, 1 plus 1 can quickly become 3,” says Mosaker.

AI in both research and commercialized products

Mosaker highlights the unique AI environment that already exists in Halden as a key and important factor in the development of the new cluster. In addition to the aforementioned IFE and HiØ, which on a Norwegian scale have a very special history and tradition when it comes to AI, the technology company eSmart Systems in many ways represents the latest screams in the same field:

“eSmart Systems has probably landed Norway’s largest AI investment from German and US investors of nearly half a billion. Thus, in Halden, we have both the expertise of heavy manufacturing in terms of production and we have a company that offers industrialized AI integrated into its software products through eSmart Systems. That combination makes the Halden environment in a very special position to further develop and share this knowledge nationally,” Mosaker states.

“Norway must recover the lost”

He believes the new business cluster will be important for Norwegian companies’ competence building and innovation in applied AI in the future.

“Norway is far behind when it comes to investing in AI and we note on the positive reception that cooperation is needed in this area. We believe that we can get Norway to recover some of the neglected by good forces gathering and learning from each other,” concludes Thor Mosaker (photo).

From then on, Smart Innovation Norway leads the industry cluster NCE Smart Energy Markets, with over 70 partners. Both clusters will live side by side in Smart Innovation Norway.