Interview with TRINITY coordinator

We interviewed Minna Lanz and Jyrki Latokartano, representing TRINITY Network. The main objective of TRINITY was to create a network of multidisciplinary and synergistic local digital innovation hubs (DIHs) composed of research centers, companies, and university groups that covered a wide range of topics that could contribute to agile production. The focus was on advanced robotics as the driving force and digital tools, data privacy, and cybersecurity technologies to support the introduction of advanced robotic systems in production processes.

The Innovation Action project that you have been coordinating has come to an end. What has been your experience with the TRINITY project so far? What impact have you created for your DIHs and the industry?

The TRINITY project achieved remarkable success, garnering positive evaluations and noteworthy contributions from all project partners. From a management perspective, we are pleased to highlight the high-quality deliverables provided by each consortium member. The collaborative spirit within the consortium was evident from the project’s inception, creating a cohesive and supportive ‘family’ atmosphere. In terms of impact created, we generated 55 use case demonstrators, presenting a significant number of prototypes now widely distributed. These exemplify outstanding quality, serving as best practices and guidelines, establishing a clear baseline for future research and development endeavors. Notably, some experiments offer the opportunity to purchase licenses for their open code some are for free. The impact of TRINITY is substantiated by participants who have already realized a return on investment, totaling 7 million post-project. The project’s ability to generate such returns during its runtime is a testament to its value.

A key takeaway was also the insightful learning experience in engaging SMEs. We improved our communication skills, tailoring language and technical solutions to bridge the gap between academia and SMEs. This ensured a more accessible approach, avoiding potential complications that could arise from a mismatch in language and approach.

What was the most challenging while supporting the SME projects? How did you overcome it?

One significant challenge we faced was engaging with SMEs. Traditional methods like social media and networks didn’t always yield effective results when reaching out to them. Therefore, we implemented a strategy of personalized, in-person contact to achieve optimal outcomes. Actually, from the outset of the TRINITY project, we formulated our initiative in such a way to capture the interest of SMEs, a strategy that proved successful in the end. Utilizing internal case demonstrators, we not only attracted other companies to apply to our calls but achieved a level of success that exceeded our expectations, resulting in an overwhelming number of participants and rapid recognition. However, as our popularity grew, we encountered a subsequent decline in access rates.

A thing to add is that the FSTP funding is very important. When SMEs have access to financial support, their interest is significantly heightened. Providing them with the means to turn their ideas into reality, offering funding, and comprehensive support from a single source is paramount. The availability of financial resources becomes a key factor in capturing their interest and ensuring their active participation.

Is there a project or result that you are particularly proud of? Could you share a success story with us whereby one of your beneficiaries has made significant progress in their robotics innovation goals thanks to the work of your network?

That is difficult to answer, because we really have 55 of them. The sheer amount of use case demonstrators serves as a testament to TRINITY’s success, aligning seamlessly with our goal of establishing a critical mass of these demonstrators. To give an example, Spin Robotics, which is a company in Denmark, had a very nice growth and development during TRINITY. They had a good plan and good execution. Notably, during the first open call and matchmaking events, they connected with other TRINITY SMEs, leading to the initiation of a new collaborative project. They expressed that without TRINITY, these valuable partnerships would not have materialized. Similarly, Probot from Finland and Magos from Greece discovered each other through mutual presentations, sparking new collaborative ideas that extended beyond the TRINITY framework. These spontaneous matches and collaborations among our SMEs were organic outcomes that complemented our proactive efforts, and we take immense pride in this achievement. The open-call participants also witnessed the birth of new companies. Some of these SMEs utilized the budget from the first open call to develop their technology and subsequently co-founded entirely new companies. This outcome further underscores the positive impact of our work.

What are your plans, talking about the sustainability of your network? What services will you continue to offer to your members as a DIH network?

With the conclusion of external funding, TRINITY Networks has undergone a scaling-down process. In terms of activities, our commitment remains unwavering as we continue to curate events and bolster the existing network by disseminating information on new calls and cutting-edge technologies. Members of the TRINITY network will persist in delivering their services to clients, marketed through the TRINITY Network. We have an established digital access point where our services are available, and anyone can contact us there. While external funding may no longer be in play, TRINITY, as a network, is dedicated to maintaining the digital access point and a dynamic learning platform. Additionally, we will continue to organize impactful events, held once or twice a year, to foster engagement and collaboration within the network.

How can potential clients access your services?

While all our use case descriptions are accessible to the public, potential clients can delve deeper into detailed information about our services and TRINITY partners by signing in and registering as a member of the TRINITY Network. This registration process is facilitated through our digital access point, which also serves as the control center for network access. Through this digital access point, members gain exclusive privileges, allowing them to showcase their latest results, share new demonstrations originating from various funding sources, and promote their own services. It’s a dynamic platform that not only ensures access control but also fosters a collaborative environment for members to actively contribute and highlight their achievements.

If your network is open for new members, how can our target audience sign up to become a member of your network?

New members are welcome to join the TRINITY Network by registering as a member through the Digital Access Point – the TRINITY Catalogue.

How do you think that being a member of your network is going to impact the performance of your DIH members? What added value is it going to bring to their operations?

We find our greatest strength lies in building a robust community — bringing together individuals actively engaged in agile manufacturing. This collaborative space enables professionals to mutually support one another in addressing diverse needs. By maintaining our focus on the agile manufacturing domain, we provide clarity to SMEs about our development initiatives, fostering a sense of comfort and familiarity with both our solutions and the supportive community we’ve cultivated.

Finally, what message or advice would you like to share with our participants here to motivate them to continue growing and advancing this network collectively?

In every country, the Innovation potential is naturally constrained, making it challenging to discover new innovators within your immediate region. However, by actively participating in a network such as TRINITY, you open the door to an expansive community of, for example, developers, a wealth of new solutions, and a rich tapestry of innovative ideas. Being part a network not only broadens your horizons, but also facilitates cross-regional collaboration, allowing for the exchange of diverse perspectives and approaches. And that is the reason why everyone should belong to the networks.

Click the link below to visit the project, get access to their, events, project results, success stories, deliverables, partners and contact details