By trying to keep pace with the latest technologies. This is how digital banks have moved forward in recent years and how they have continued to grow even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. And it’s obvious that they will continue to grow, as each of us now understands what it means to get productive services quickly and remotely. But looking to the future, the winner in the digital banking competition will be the ones that can do more than just make good use of the latest technologies.
So, what will digital banks focus on in 2022?
The same things, only faster
Process automation and putting artificial intelligence to use were the two key focus points for many digital banks. I expect this focus to remain intact, as both customers and employees benefit from its applications greatly.
Almost all digital banks are already utilizing artificial intelligence, some are much further ahead than others. And the reason for this is very simple – some have been working at their own speed when implementing new technologies. In contrast, others have realised that it’s not just the implementation that matters but also the time it takes to deliver results.
Automation of processes will continue to be crucial in 2022, making everyday tasks easier and allowing us to do more. However, the digital bank that tries to do things faster than others will undoubtedly have a much greater market advantage.
Embedded finance services – a path to even deeper waters
Embedded finance is slowly gaining popularity among digital banks and should continue to do so. In short, embedded finance is the integration of financial services into a non-financial system, app or platform.
Embedded finance is the integration of financial services into the system of almost any online platform using an Application Programming Interface (API). It provides a seamless payment experience at a single touchpoint. The dependency on third-parties is made redundant by the end-to-end solution with a wide variety of innovative offers that is highly beneficial for the consumers and the merchants. So, for example, a digital bank offering such services can help a retailer offer its branded credit cards, or integrate financial products such as consumer loans or insurance into its service offer directly on its website, app, or stores.
The adoption of embedded finance is expected to grow in popularity because it can provide a smoother user experience for the consumers while the whole financial process stays in-house, building loyalty and convenience for the company.
More focus on what’s going on inside
It is clear that customers will only ever expect the fastest, most accessible and most productive services from digital banks. But will they really be as such if the bank does not get to grips with its internal processes and adaptation to innovation first?
Soon, digital banks will focus much more on making processes easier and on their employees themselves. Of course, this will be helped by the rapid pace of new technologies and process automation, but just as important will be employees’ even more rapid upskilling. After all, if they are to have a good understanding of the new technologies, they need to be given more opportunities to improve their knowledge.
The remote work model is not a question, but an everyday reality
Assuming that we have already started talking about the internal processes of banks, it is worth emphasising that the fact that things can be handled remotely will sound like a common feature, not only for bank customers but also for employees.
Soon enough, remote working will not even be a discussion point to any degree for digital banks.
A modern digital bank is a global bank, where employees can work not only from the country where it is located. And the good old rule of thumb is that motivation and performance are key. So modern digital banks will increasingly pay less attention to where an employee is based. After all, it’s nothing new here – in a couple of years of the pandemic, we have all learned how to communicate virtually.
A guarantee of security
If you had to choose between two digital banks, and one of them, as opposed to the other, would emphasise the security of all transactions and, above all, the security of your funds, which one would you choose? Probably without a second thought, the one that talks about security.
So, security is something that digital banks will have to talk about more and more in the future.
For a digital bank that wants to be a leader, it will be important to ensure that all services are secure and strengthen its position on anti-money laundering. In addition, educating the public on security issues will be essential to earn more trust than others. This will continue to be as important a focus in the future as it is today.
Sarp Demiray, CEO at European Merchant Bank.
Neste is the first in Finland to introduce renewable fuel oil to the market ‒ in support of reducing the carbon footprint of heavy equipment and heating
Neste Corporation, Press Release, 8 December 2020 at 8 a.m. (EET)
Neste is the first in Finland to introduce fuel oil produced from 100% renewable raw materials. From the beginning of January 2021, Neste MY Non Road Diesel™, suitable for construction, forest machine contracting, agriculture and heating, will enable companies to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%* over the product life cycle compared to fossil fuel oil. Renewable fuel oil is a significant new addition to the renewable diesel known in road transport. It contributes to Finland’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2035 and helps to achieve emission reductions in the machinery and heating sector.
“We are committed to reducing our customers’ greenhouse gas emissions by 20 million tons annually by 2030. Our renewable diesel has received a positive reaction in road transport, and several hundred companies in the transport and logistics sectors have chosen to use it. We also want to support companies in other sectors to reduce their own emissions by offering them a solution that can be adopted immediately. Therefore it is great that we can respond to our customer’s needs by introducing a sustainable fuel oil alternative to the Finnish market,” says Joni Pihlström, Vice President for B2B Sales in Finland, Marketing & Services, Neste.
Neste MY Non Road Diesel is comparable to Neste MY Renewable Diesel™ used in road transport, in terms of the raw material base and emissions reduction. In addition to a smaller carbon footprint, the use of renewable fuel oil reduces local emissions produced by older machines. As such, Neste MY Non Road Diesel is suitable for existing machine fleet, and can also be used in heating.
Climate work also requires heavy equipment
Finland has also set emission reduction targets for heavy equipment. Of the current 2.5 million tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions, 20% should be cut by 2030. A little less than half of the emission reductions will be achieved through a bio mandate.
At the beginning of 2021, the bio mandate for renewable fuels will be extended to fuel oil. The aim is to promote the use of biofuel oil to replace light fuel oil in heavy equipment, stationary motors and heating. This will contribute to achieving the climate objectives set by Finland and the EU.
“It is important that legislation in Finland supports not only low-emission mobility but also lower-emissions at construction sites and heating. As a result of the bio mandate, an even larger share of the production of fuel sold in Finland, and in the future also fuel oil, will be made more from sustainable raw materials instead of fossil feedstocks. All solutions are needed to achieve climate goals, but electrification of heavy equipment, for example, is in its early phase. Therefore, renewable fuel oil offers an immediate solution. In addition, we help our customers to monitor the emission reductions achieved with Neste MY Non Road Diesel and develop reporting”, says Pihlström.
In 2021, Neste MY Non Road Diesel will be available only with limited amounts and in some locations. Distribution is made through direct delivery from Neste’s Porvoo terminal.
*) The methodology for calculating life cycle emissions and emissions reduction is in line with the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC).
Vice President, Communications
More information: Joni Pihlström, Vice President, B2B Sales, Marketing & Services, Neste. Please contact Neste’s media service, tel. +358 50 458 5076 / email@example.com (weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EET)).
Neste in brief
Neste (NESTE, Nasdaq Helsinki) creates solutions for combating climate change and accelerating a shift to a circular economy. We refine waste, residues and innovative raw materials into renewable fuels and sustainable feedstock for plastics and other materials. We are the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, developing chemical recycling to combat the plastic waste challenge. We aim at helping customers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with our renewable and circular solutions by at least 20 million tons annually by 2030. As a technologically advanced refiner of high-quality oil products with a commitment to reach carbon-neutral production by 2035, we are also introducing renewable and recycled raw materials such as waste plastic as refinery raw materials. We have consistently been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices and the Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable companies. In 2019, Neste’s revenue stood at EUR 15.8 billion, with 82% of the company’s comparable operating profit coming from renewable products. Read more: neste.com
A collaboration between the City of Vaasa, Vaasan Sähkö, Wärtsilä and TietoEVRY is aiming to build one of the world’s first solutions to help a city go carbon neutral.
Lighting is a major consumer of energy, and fluorescent tubes, in particular, have to be continuously replaced. Replacing them with a LED light significantly reduces life cycle costs and creates direct energy savings.
“In addition to poor energy efficiency, the problem with the old fluorescent tubes is the tendency of the frames to deteriorate due to heat, UV radiation, and the frequent need to change the tubes,” says CEO Markku Laatikainen.
Valtavalo manufactures replaceable LED light sources such as LED tubes in Kajaani, about 500 kilometres (310 miles) north of Helsinki. The company moved its production from China to Finland in 2012.
As a substitute for fluorescent tubes, LED tubes are a standardised, long-lasting and energy-efficient light source. The LED tubes of different manufacturers also tend to be compatible irrespective of the lamp, which means that the lamp itself does not need to be changed for decades. In the early 2010s, this also gave Valtavalo the idea of providing light as a service.
“Our products were originally designed to be very long-lived, but we found ourselves designing a product that was even a little too durable,” says Laatikainen. “We were unable to convince our customers that our LED tubes could genuinely last for over 15 years.
Lighting costs cut by up to half
“We decided to create a business model based on lighting as a service, in which we bear the risk of the product’s durability,” Laatikainen says . “Kone, the [Finnish] lift manufacturer, was a positive example in this respect.”
The Valtavalo light service model lowers the customer’s threshold for purchasing high-quality, energy-saving lighting. The goal is for the customer to pay for the service from the accumulated savings, since the service can easily cut their lighting costs by up to half.
With installation and maintenance outsourced, no unexpected repair costs are incurred by the customer. An integral part of the solution is a financing partnership, whereby Valtavalo is paid upfront for the products sold as a service. Valtavalo also handles the recycling of the products.
By Samppa Haapio, ThisisFINLAND Magazine 2019
Finns innovate with H2O just like a duck takes to water.
Whether it’s bottling, purifying, filtering, monitoring or capturing energy, Finnish companies have a taste for water-related innovations.
Finland – the land of a thousand lakes. Well, actually, it’s something more like 188 000 lakes, if you are really counting. Add to this some 1 250 kms of coastline and perhaps it’s no surprise that Finns have come up with numerous solutions for a range of watery challenges.
Finland has been recognised for having the world’s best drinking water. This local company has bottled it and is taking it to the world. Just last week, it made headlines for being named the official water of the star-studded Super Saturday event on the night before the Super Bowl.
“Even though we already have experience from F1 VIP parties, the NFL final’s Super Saturday is our all-time dream event,” said Petteri Ahonen, CEO of Ice Age Water, the company behind the brand. “It’s also great to see that the more important the celebration, the more global attention is placed on the water offered there.”
Solar Water Solutions
This Finnish company teamed up with World Vision to launch a new solar-powered solution in Kenya that provides the local community with 8 000 litres of drinking water per day from a borehole. The solution is based on an innovative solar-powered reverse osmosis system that can produce pure water without any chemicals or emissions from fresh and saline water alike.
“Reverse osmosis typically requires much energy. Solar Water Solutions comes in to provide a technological solution to solve this energy challenge,” stated company CEO Antti Pohjola. “Our solution makes it possible to supply safe water to people living in remote areas without electricity coverage.”
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
The ever-active researchers at VTT want to save the nutrients and carbon in municipal sewage and some industrial waste waters.
VTT has designed a resource container concept based on physico-chemical methods that are used or under development in the industrial sector.
“The focus of substance extraction will be specifically on the products, such as nutrients, biocarbon and clean water, instead of on their disposal,” we wrote in 2017. “The operating model does not include biological treatment, so it can be flexibly implemented.”
When Finnish heating, cooling, plumbing and infrastructure solutions provider Uponor teamed up with American company Belkin International to establish Phyn, the result was intelligent. The Phyn Plus water monitoring system alerts homeowners of changes in normal water usage via a mobile app.
“Phyn’s intelligent water solution, Phyn Plus, is a great addition to Uponor’s product offering and fully in line with our strategic goals in terms of digitalisation and sustainability,” commented Jyri Luomakoski, president and CEO of Uponor. “Phyn Plus protects house owners from leaks, conserves water and enhances our way of using water.”
Apart from the abundance of lakes, the Finnish coastline is also 1 200 kilometres in length. This local company has thus turned its attention to waves in order to generate electricity. Largely unexplored until recently, the wave energy field is valued at over 74 billion euros. Wello’s Penguin Wave Energy Converter is at the forefront of the push to harness the power of the sea.
“Wello’s team and financers have spent a vast amount of effort during the previous 10 years to develop this extraordinary technology,” commented Wello’s CEO Heikki Paakkinen, after the company inked an agreement to introduce its wave energy converters to the Chinese market. “Now we are in a position to harvest the results: there are new inquiries and contracts coming in and we really are on the verge of conquering the world with Penguins.”
Produced entirely from waste and residues, Neste MY Renewable Diesel™ is part of Finavia’s climate program. At first, Neste MY Renewable Diesel will be used by 20 Helsinki Airport buses, and it is hoped that the product will be used more in the future.
„This August, we reduced our carbon dioxide emissions to zero, and we achieved the highest level of the international ACA certificate. We have managed to make our operations carbon-neutral by using renewable energy sources, by investing in new, energy-efficient, low-emission solutions as well as by compensating for residual emissions,“ says Mikko Viinikainen, Vice President, Sustainability & Environment at Finavia.
„Using Neste MY Renewable Diesel as our vehicle fuel is a fixed part of our emissions solutions. It is an excellent addition to our energy portfolio, as the product offers up to 90 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fossil diesel. In addition to reduced emissions, another reason to select Neste MY Renewable Diesel was its easy adoption. It is available to all companies operating at the airport, and we hope that its use will expand at Helsinki Airport. Another goal for Finavia is that all airports in Finland will be carbon-neutral by 2020,“ Viinikainen says.
„Helsinki Airport is a pioneer, and it has ambitious goals to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. We are happy to be able to help Finavia to reach its goals. Airport buses can start using Neste MY Renewable Diesel without any vehicle modifications and, therefore, they have immediate access to the benefits of the product,“ says Sam Holmberg, Vice President responsible for Neste’s Marketing and Services business area in Finland.
Suitable for all diesel engines
Neste MY Renewable Diesel is fully compatible with current diesel grades, and it can be added to the fuel tank even if there is conventional diesel already in the tank. In terms of all of its properties, Neste MY Renewable Diesel is better than or at least as good as the world’s leading fossil diesels, and places significantly less burden on the environment. Its leading properties ensure cleaner combustion and reduce engine noise and local emissions.
Neste’s proprietary NEXBTL technology can be used for producing premium-quality renewable diesel and other renewable products from almost any waste fat or vegetable oil. Currently, Neste manufactures renewable diesel from more than 10 raw materials. The company is engaged in continuous development to further expand the raw material base.
Director, Corporate Communication
An international jury consisting of food industry professionals has hand-picked three Valio innovations amongst the world’s best at food innovation exhibition SIAL. The chosen products are: Valio MiFU® meat-free milk protein strips, Valio Eila® lactose free unsalted butter 25 kg, and Valio Oddlygood® oat-based yogurt alternatives. The SIAL Innovation Selection boasts the most interesting food innovations of the previous year. Competing products are chosen amongst hundreds of applicants and represent all corners of the world.
Valio’s mission ”together we make life better” is portrayed well in the products shortlisted by the jury. In its products, Valio uses pure, high-quality Finnish milk that is free from antibiotics. Valio’s innovative products offer natural and healthy alternatives for both consumers, food industry and institutional kitchens alike. With its innovations, Valio aims to enhance the wellbeing of people and bring easy solutions to everyday life.
In recent years, Valio has introduced many food innovations to Finnish and Swedish grocery stores, including the Valio MiFU® products and the vegan Valio Oddlygood® oat-based yogurt alternatives shortlisted in the SIAL Innovation Selection. Now Valio wants to showcase these products to the international audience as well.
Valio MiFU® meat-free milk protein strips.
Valio MiFU® – a Finnish food innovation made from milk – can be used as an alternative in recipes that call for meat or chicken. Valio MiFU® is an innovative way to use milk as a substitute for meat, and since it has been manufactured from high quality milk protein, vegetarians and flexitarians can easily get their daily dose of protein and vitamins from it.
“Quite a lot is demanded from even a simple home-cooked dish: it should be healthy, quick to prepare, and tasty for the whole family. People get tired of making the same meals and are looking for variety. We had these issues in mind when we set out to develop Mifu. Valio MiFU® products inspire people to try something new,” says Business Manager Pia Järvinen.
Valio Eila® butter is an all-natural product with great taste and absolutely no additives, and it’s always produced from fresh Finnish high-quality cream. Bakery industry professionals appreciate its plasticity, consistency and superior taste. Valio Eila® butter is suitable even for those with the highest sensitivity to lactose intolerance.
“Valio’s customers and consumers around the world appreciate not only the outstanding taste of Valio butter, but also the fact that it is made from pure, high-quality Finnish milk. Our butter-making craftsmanship spans more than a century, and all Valio butter is made by the professionals at the Seinäjoki dairy from milk that comes from Valio dairy farms,” says Senior Vice President Annamari Lammi.
Valio Oddlygood® oat-based yogurt alternatives.
Valio Oddlygood™ gurts are a spoonable, yogurt-style snack made from Finnish oats and are available in a wide range of popular flavours and different sizes of packaging. The gurts combine a creamy consistency with soft, natural flavours.
“We wanted to complement our plant-based product range with a new product family that is both amazingly flavourful and extremely filling. Studies show that consumers want a wider range of good-tasting and local product options in the selection of plant-based products. The products are non-dairy, so they also make a good option for vegans and milk allergic persons,” says Valio’s Business Manager Anne Arponen.
Tuomo Suntola’s invention, known as atomic layer deposition, is used in everything from smartphones to solar panels. Tuomo Suntola, a physicist from Finland, wins the 2018 Millennium Technology Prize for ALD, an innovation that enables solar panels, LED lights, computer chips and numerous other technologies, and continues to change the world.
Fortum is the first in Finland to open its district heating network to all clean energy producers. By utilising waste heat we can together make the Finnish energy system more sustainable, more efficient and cleaner.