Espoo and Tieto testing artificial intelligence to identify service pathways


The City of Espoo has initiated a unique artificial intelligence experiment in collaboration with Tieto, a Finnish software and service company. The experiment involves combining a huge amount of social and health data concerning every Espoo resident, and customer data relating to early childhood education from 2002 to 2016. The aim of analysing this mass of data is to identify new pro-active means of targeting services to citizens, for example to prevent social exclusion.

All data processing includes extreme measures regarding information security. Personal data, such as names, identity numbers and addresses are concealed already during data collection. Encryption is used for all data transmission.

Public data has never previously been combined in the same way as in the experiment by Espoo and Tieto. The experiment is only possible thanks to the extremely precise public-sector information systems and high-quality data that exist in Finland.

Aiming to proactively identify people who need services

"The aim of the experiment is to combine information assets that had previously been separate so that they form customer and service pathways. We hope to find out whether artificial intelligence will enable us to identify residents who will need services at an earlier stage than we can now, while protecting the identities of individuals. In the future, it may be possible to allocate the city's resources more efficiently while improving the quality of life of individual residents, as they are offered preventive support," says Tomas Lehtinen, Project Manager, analyst at the Mayor's Office of the City of Espoo.

Espoo's data will be analysed and grouped by artificial intelligence for reasons of efficiency and information security. Artificial intelligence is able to process large amounts of data considerably more quickly than people. Artificial intelligence can be trained for this task in approximately one month, after which the computer can calculate results in a matter of hours or even minutes.

"We are trying to improve the understanding of people's service needs. This will help the city to provide more individualized services, thereby preventing problems such as social exclusion more cost-effectively. The artificial intelligence experiment, which will be carried out in the form of a one-off batch run, is one part in a series of experiments and development by Espoo, where we are providing tools for service development that covers the entire city and transcends departmental boundaries," says Päivi Sutinen, Services Development Director at the City of Espoo.

A world-class advancement in artificial intelligence utilization

"Espoo's experiment is a world-class advancement in the utilization of artificial intelligence and data. The data stored in Finland's various health care systems is unique. These extensive data resources should be exploited more extensively and used to provide higher-quality services for everyone in Finland," says Matti Ristimäki, Director responsible for the Health and Wellbeing area in Tieto Corporation's Data-Driven Business unit.

The experiment will begin in the end of summer and it will be completed by the end of 2017. The experiment is one of Espoo's investments in the Six City project, under which Finland's six largest cities are jointly developing smarter, more open services based on the Six City Strategy. A further aim of the Six City Strategy is to create new expertise, businesses and jobs in Finland.

Tieto has a long history as a developer and provider of public-sector services in the Nordic countries.  The City of Espoo has been a customer of Tieto's for several years as the company provides information system services for Espoo's health care, social and early childhood education services. Tieto has also joined Microsoft's Health Partner Alliance, which develops artificial intelligence solutions for the health care sector.

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