Telenor seeks to secure Norway's place in AI, big data, and IoT sectors

Sigve Brekke, Telenor Group president and CEO

Telenor entered into collaborations with Norwegian research institutions in a bid to boost the country’s competitiveness in sectors including artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The operator said it is teaming with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and research institute SINTEF to create a laboratory focused on AI and big data at the NTNU’s facility in Trondheim. Telenor also announced plans to develop and launch dedicated next-generation IoT networks in several Norwegian cities that students and domestic start-up companies can use to test new products and services.

Telenor plans to establish its first IoT pilot network in Oslo in collaboration with StartupLab, an organisation providing a shared workspace for Norwegian entrepreneurs.

The operator said the agreements are all initially for a five year period, and that it will invest at least NOK50 million (€5.3 million/$6 million) into the research programmes.

Telenor Group president and CEO Sigve Brekke said the company aims to deliver the necessary resources for Norwegian start-ups to succeed in the emerging technology sectors. “We need to build critical competencies within artificial intelligence,” he explained, adding that such a move is “imperative for our ability to seize digital opportunities and contribute to creating new jobs.”

Brekke added that Telenor aims to “stimulate productivity in Norway by developing new competencies and supporting the start-up community.”

The operator will use the NTNU facility to research how machines can contribute to the development of new services by identifying structures and hidden information in large data sets. Telenor said the facility will work closely with the AI industry, research institutions, academia, and the start-up community. SINTEF will participate in projects running at the NTNU site, while keeping an eye on how the facility’s work can integrate with the broader Norwegian industry.

Bjørn-Taale Sandberg, head of Telenor Research, said AI is set to become the “driving force behind all processes” over the next 20 years, but cautioned that the market could be dominated by a handful of big-name players including Google, Amazon, and Facebook without programmes like Telenor’s.

For more:
- see this Telenor announcement

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