Oulu has been, many times, dubbed as the Arctic Silicon Valley, and it is quite fitting as a title. There is a detailed network of design services, manufacturing, and testing companies, connected to each other through workers who had once worked closely together within Nokia. For this reason, companies in the Oulu radio hub can rely upon and trust each other when working on new projects. This proximity is one of the key factors that had driven the success of Silicon Valley in the United States, and Oulu has clearly evolved naturally along the same lines, establishing its own “radio valley.”
Read more about TESTiLABS and the Oulu Radio eco-system in the new EE Times article: Life After Nokia: How Finland’s ‘Radio Valley’ Emerged from the Ashes.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
For example, Risto Timisjärvi, director of sales & marketing at Testilabs, which tests and certifies anything to do with radio, told us that those connections were the foundation for his company’s global network of labs. The company bought the equipment and lab space from Nokia. Testilabs was able to reach out to former colleagues and to partners they had previously worked alongside with within Nokia – and have a reach as far and wide as Mumbai and São Paulo.
Timisjärvi referred to the company as the Uber of radio test services, with a network of 10 companies in the Oulu area alone providing radio performance, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), and environmental testing. He said they service two of the world’s five leading smartphone vendors, two of the five leading cellular module vendors, and three of the five biggest sports watch vendors.
He added that while a lot of volume testing is done in China by some of these vendors, the reason they come to Oulu is because of the specialist test and certification services for features such as cameras and GPS that emerged from Nokia and Microsoft (which bought Nokia’s phone operations in 2013). He said all the major chip vendors located in Oulu are developing their long-term evolution (LTE) and IoT solutions in the city. He said there is now a strong IoT cluster in Oulu working on both chipset development as well as manufacturing. ARM, for example, has expanded its IoT team with around 100 people in Oulu, through its acquisition of Sensinode.