Digitalisation of services is the major driving force of technological development.
The digitalisation of services is also the focus of Virpa, the virtual service environment project. Virpa – an umbrella project consisting of four projects that focus on the real estate and business premises sector – engages both companies and research institutes in promoting the development of the industry.
The Virpa project focuses on development projects under way in real estate business and cross-sectoral projects that are closely connected to the industry.
The goal is to develop new world-class scalable user services for the real estate sector that integrate, complement and network themselves. Amongst other things, they utilise the Internet of Things (IoT), the sharing economy ideology and artificial intelligence (AI).
New scalable user services are being developed in an ecosystem consisting of universities and businesses. More than 30 companies, along with their subcontractors, and five research institutes take part in the Virpa project.
In the ecosystem, the expertise and know-how of the different parties are brought together through co-development and learning through experimentation. Large companies are able to tap into the expertise of SMEs. Research organisations support shared innovation through their applied and experimental research.
Development through the ecosystem is a very important process, specifically for the real estate sector, which is the focus of the Virpa project, as innovations and new ideas often remain hidden in this sector.
The Virpa project is funded by Business Finland and the participating companies and research institutes.
The first Virpa project – Virpa A – was launched in 2015. Virpa D will run until the end of 2019.
The Virpa A project has focused on the development of building service technology and its integration into a single service environment that can be managed online through cloud computing.
Virpa B has studied how a building’s energy efficiency can be improved by anticipating fluctuations in consumption and by using self-produced energy.
Virpa C combines the expertise in construction, real estate management, energy, ICT and service business of a total of 15 companies and five research units.
Real estate business is going through a change: buildings and facilities are turning into service providers’ distribution platforms, from which users can select the services that are relevant to them.