Professor Tuure Tuunanen’s research team investigates cyber-physical service innovations and their development processes, but also their effects on everyday life, such as when they manifest as technostress. The team is interested in service innovations that utilise various cyber-physical systems, the functions of which are based on the combination of sensor technologies, analytics and artificial intelligence.

It can be said, therefore, that the physical and the digital world meet in cyber-physical systems.

For example, in the Amazon Go shop concept introduced by Amazon, the customer is identified by their smart phone as soon as they step into the retail shop. Cameras and different sensors register the items the customer is collecting, and the customer’s debit card is charged automatically upon exit. The customer saves time and does not need to worry about, for example, keeping a safe distance when queuing or about forgotten PIN codes. Another example is a smart waste bin, which sends a message as it starts to become full, which enables timely and resource-effective emptying. This brings savings in logistic costs, and preservers the environment by eliminating unnecessary garbage truck traffic.

In February of last year, we were on a field research trip in Luleå, Sweden. The included image shows happy feelings from the last kilometres of our journey to the destination, which we made on foot with a good sporting spirit. There may have even been a bit more snow than what we usually have in midsummer.

On this trip, we were launching a joint project with the Luleå University of Technology of for the development of AI-based services for the villages in northern Sweden. Our aim is to enrich the daily life in the small villages of the province and make public and private services better available by means of cyber-physical service innovations.

We conducted interviews to determine how different digital and cyber-physical services could facilitate joint creation of value at the respective levels of the villagers, local communities, municipalities and enterprises as well as entire service ecosystems.

Through services making use of novel technologies, it is possible to achieve unprecedented advantages and synergy benefits in our area and elsewhere, in the countryside as well as in cities. On the other hand, the use of services always involves several parties so that the service experience is not always an ideal one. Problems with cybernation may occur in health care, for example, if patients seek to replace their traditional medical appointments with self-diagnosing by means of digital services. There are situations where even the most advanced cyber-physical services cannot necessarily replace traditional social interaction.

On the one hand, digital services can also create a sense of community and bring people into closer contact, but on the other hand, spending one’s time constantly on a mobile phone, for instance, may reduce social interaction and cause stress or even addiction.

Hence, an interesting aspect of our research is to examine the negative sides of digital service innovations and how the joint creation of value may unexpectedly turn into a loss of value. Our aim is to help service providers avoid these pitfalls both in the innovation efforts for cyber-physical services and in the continuous development of services.

The research team of Value Creation for Cyber-Physical Systems and Services includes twenty-five diligent researchers across Finland and also from Sweden. In addition, our large international research cooperation network gives our domestic partner companies possibilities to networking with regard to service innovations abroad. For example, in the multiyear research project Continuous Cyber-Physical Service Innovation, which is supported by the Foundation for Economic Education, we collaborate with the Service Leadership Research Center of Arizona State University (Twitter @WPCCSL). We aim at finding the best operating models for the development of cyber-physical service innovations in Finland as well as on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The Service Leadership Research Center represents the international top level. Member companies include American Express, Boeing, Cox, Honeywell, Lenovo, Mayo Clinic, Nikon, Oracle, Starbucks, StateFarm, and Uber. As a spin-off of this project, we are starting new research cooperation with the xLab of Case Western Reserve University, which examines industrial cyber-physical innovations.

With summer greetings,
Tuure Tuunanen and Juuli Lintula
Research team of Value Creation for Cyber-Physical Systems and Services
Faculty of Information Technology

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