Tekes Invests €10 million into Indian company’s Finnish R&D center

It’s not every day we see Tekes being approached with a €10 million investment request, not to mention seeing that requests being approved. However, big money is needed to run complex systems, and since it’s airport management software in question, the large investment makes more sense.

GrayMatter Software Services Oy, which is the subsidiary company of Indian business intelligence and analytics corporation GrayMatter, has been given green light for their product’s Research and Development (R&D) by Tekes. The 2013-established start up will receive close to €3 million during the first year of the investment plan that is to last a total of three years.

The research has already commenced in GrayMatter’s R&D unit in Vantaa, and it will focus on the development of GrayMatter’s airport analytic product AA+, a complex software solution that has already been successfully implemented in three international airports.

Computing, software and calculations being pretty much the core fields Indian GrayMatter has been working with since 2006, the name suits the company rather well: In medicine and neurology, grey matter covers the parts of the brain you could think of as the computers that calculate sensory perception and muscle control. This is pretty much what GrayMatter provides large systems with: perception and control over their inner functions through software.

Most notably, GrayMatter has made itself a reputation as a provider of high grade airport analytics.

Airports are a bit like large anthills, though the comparison is simplified to say the least.
A deeper glimpse into an airport’s infrastructure and hierarchy reveals a complex maze of stakeholders, as well as security and maintenance measures that need to be taken into account. Shops, aircrafts and passengers are just the tip of the iceberg of things that an airport needs to be able to manage efficiently. Add to that the possibility of increasing that efficiency and complete preventive actions through the analysis of performance data, and you’re getting closer to the real management challenges a modern airport is faced with.

Furthermore, the future of airports gives no signs that their traffic would stabilize. Quite on contrary: According to recent forecasts by ACI, over the next 15 years, global air passenger traffic will grow by over 4% per annum with freight traffic growing at an even greater rate of around 5.1% per annum. According to the prediction, this means that by 2020 around 7 billion people will be using the world’s airports with freight traffic reaching some 170 million tons.

Not exactly an operation scalable to your typical brick and mortar BI company.

GrayMatter’s Finnish research facility will host extensive professional in house experience in airport management; the unit aims to take its AA+product far ahead of anything ever seen in airport BI & analytics. AA+ will transfer the traditional financial business performance of airports into real-time operational performance, and graduate to predicting airport performance to enhance passenger experience drastically. Predictive modelling optimizing non-aero/retail revenue, minimizing security risks and improving on-time performance, in addition to managing environmental and safety norms, are the key objectives of the Tekes funding.

“The success of our application with Tekes for AA+ vindicates our confidence in AA+product and the Finnish innovation eco-system. We are excited about being associated with ‘Brand Finland” known globally for innovation and niche technology products. With the kind of local Finnish talent available in the ICT sector, we are positive the product will now reach its pinnacle earlier than expected”, said Mr. Vikas Gupta, CEO for GrayMatter worldwide.

In practice, AA+ would provide Airport Operators insights into topics like runway productivity, baggage handling and tracking of growth and trends over previous periods, but as previously stated, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The general conclusion is clear though: plenty of research needs to be done.

Gupta has not been hiding his affection towards Finland as a perfect place to conduct this research:

“Finland is a great place to establish R&D operations due to its vibrant aviation community that knows the value of nurturing ICT innovation. The Greater Helsinki region has availability of proficient ICT talent and is well-known for fostering innovation, making it an optimal environment for developing world-class analytics solutions across industries”, he said last October.

As for how GrayMatter found home in Finland, Helsinki Business Hub is at least partially behind this. They helped GrayMatter from registering the company in Finland to introducing GrayMatter to key stakeholders in Finnish ecosystem, including Tekes.

“We are happy to welcome companies like GrayMatter to the Finnish innovation eco-system. The new jobs created by their new R&D facility are important to the region and it is good to see GrayMatter creating synergies within the different players in the field in order to ensure their business thrives in Finland”, said Micah Gland, the CEO of Helsinki Business Hub

Speaking of job opportunities, software professional should keep their eyes open, as available positions are bound to be found in the now funded research facility. Here’s one for example.