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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » March 31, 2015
Finland in Poland
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The Future is Here
March 31, 2015   
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Programmers from the Polish division of Finland-based international IT company Tieto often work on secret projects involving the Internet of Things that sound as if they’ve jumped out of the pages of a science fiction novel.

The largest IT solutions provider in Scandinavia, Tieto is also Europe’s largest provider of research and development services, working with both the private and public sectors. Tieto was one of the first companies to create online banking systems and half of the mobile calls and connections around the world are enabled by systems developed by Tieto.

Working independently and with its customers, Tieto has recently been carrying out projects related to the Internet of Things. When such new projects are in development, Tieto programmers are not allowed to share the details with anyone, not even their families. But if they wanted to discuss their line of work, they might have a hard time trying to explain what the Internet of Things is actually about.

In a nutshell, the Internet of Things refers to different kinds of devices connected into networks that allow them to communicate and exchange data with one another. Networks such as these can be practically limitless, comprising anything from the simplest commercially available smartphones to internet-enabled household appliances, shop windows, vehicles and intelligent buildings.

Andrzej Wieczorek, a business developer at Tieto, says the Internet of Things concept emerged in 1999 as a follow-up to a project called Auto-ID carried out at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “I am a fan of [popular Polish science fiction writer] Stanisław Lem,” says Wieczorek. “Lem came up with this idea back in 1982 in his book Observation on the Spot.”

The main character in the book arrives on the planet Entia, which is in part inhabited by a highly advanced civilization. The well-being of the local population is ensured by ubiquitous, microscopic devices. Working together, they gather and analyze information and then take action so that nobody ever gets hurt. In other words, this is a kind of a surveillance system run for the public good.

In the world of today, the Internet of Things can consist of electricity meters, watches, household appliances and many other devices. Through a variety of sensors and transmitters, all of these devices could collect, process and exchange data to improve people’s lives.

“In the future, your refrigerator will be able to tell that your milk is past its expiration date and order fresh milk online,” says Wieczorek. “Other devices will look after our health. Recently, we worked on a prototype blood pressure meter, aiming to enable medical devices to communicate with smartphones and, eventually, larger healthcare systems. Since nobody else had produced meters like this before, we built one ourselves and designed the communications system for it, which was the aim of our project. This is just one example.”

The Internet of Things is about technology that will make our lives easier in the future through more accurate weather forecasts, traffic updates, air pollution information and a lot more. According to Tieto’s Country Manager for Poland, Ireneusz Miski, this is enormously valuable data and there’s a huge amount of it. “Companies are competing to get hold of this data, trying to make the most effective use of it,” says Miski. “The value of the data lies not in its quantity, but in its quality combined with appropriate analysis.”
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