The University of Turku’s research contribution to the Virpa D project focuses on digital transformation and disruption in business. The Flavoria food experience centre in the Medisiina D building on the campus is the development and research environment. The project is connected to the University of Turku’s Digital Futures activities.
The University of Turku’s Virpa D project participants are the School of Economics and the Functional Foods Forum. The School of Economics, which runs the University’s subproject, studies the transformation of business models as part of digital transformation. The project focus is on the provision of new services to the international markets.
“In addition to equipment, the physical work environment is also quickly becoming more digitalised. In the Virpa D project, we explore how digital layers on the built environment allow for new business activities and support the well-being of those using the space. Integrating services across corporate and industry boundaries, starting with end user requirements, is the way to turn expertise in the area into international business,” says Assistant Professor Matti Mäntymäki, leader of the subproject at the University of Turku.
“The merging of the physical space and digital services into one will change the structures and value chains in the real-estate and commercial property business. When assessing the success of the service concepts, the most important thing is the verifiable, tangible added value for the end user of a property or an office. If new services can be shown to have a positive impact on employees’ comfort or well-being, they are likely to find funding at some stage,” Mäntymäki continues. The other members of the School of Economics research team are Professor Jukka Heikkilä, Head of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, Postdoctoral Researcher Marja Turunen, and Researcher Arnold Ambarus.
The University of Turku is also involved in the project through the Flavoria food experience centre, which was opened in May in the Medisiina D building and is run by Sodexo. Flavoria is a restaurant and café complex with around 1,500 customers every day. Flavoria is a platform for studying consumer experience and decision-making using the latest technological methods of influencing and observation. The Functional Foods Forum studies how people move in the spaces, what food they choose for lunch and in the café, food waste and how to reduce it, people’s experience of the food and the impact of the multisensory environment on the lunch experience.
“The Virpa D collaboration brings technological expertise into the project. Working with the technology companies, we have a flexible and agile means to test – in a genuine restaurant environment – whether new technologies can bring added value to restaurant customers and research,” says Mari Norrdal, Development Manager at the University of Turku’s Functional Foods Forum.
These technologies may relate to issues such as monitoring food waste, sharing nutrition information and building and measuring a multisensory customer experience. Various innovative technologies are used to monitor food choices and nutrition at the individual level, as well as the impact of the multisensory restaurant environment on the customer experience.
The University of Turku is a world-class multidisciplinary research university. The campus has an active academic community of 25,000 students and employees. More information: http://www.utu.fi
Turku School of Economics has an internationally established reputation as a highly respected business school, operating on a basis of high quality and relevant research. We educate entrepreneurial, innovative, and responsible leaders and experts for the future, who are highly capable of working in international settings. More information: http://www.utu.fi/fi/yksikot/tse