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February 19, 2009

Head of Nokia Research Center video interview

BARCELONA, Spain – The head of Nokia Research Center is a guy called Henry Tirri. He was in Barcelona this week spreading the message of what Nokia Research Center is doing and what the future will look like. We caught up with him and he kindly stepped in front of the lens for a video interview.

Click through to watch our video interview with Henry Tirri, and for all the highlights of our fascinating chat with one of the key people responsible driving innovation from the frontline within Nokia.

Here are some the highlights from the interview (scroll down to watch the video).

Open Innovation

Henry spoke about how Nokia Research Center is set up to closely collaborate with leading universities all over the world. Fellows, interns, and students work together with university professors and Nokia scientists.  In some cases, such as the Cambridge Nanotechnology Labs in the UK, Nokia researchers are located within the university labs. But for Henry, it’s more than bringing in new ideas through collaboration, it’s also a good way to keep renewing the skills of the Nokia researchers and to validate the quality and direction of Nokia’s research.

One example he cited of something very useful that has come out of the collaborations is a natural-language-based system for automatic error report analysis for Nokia device programs and Care, bringing tens of millions of euros savings to Nokia. This came as a side-product of a project on conversational user interfaces.

Research areas
Henry also touched on the four focus areas for Nokia Research Center, areas that are very important to the future of the company. Two areas, New User Interfaces and Rich Context Modeling, are the main content and media areas for Nokia.  Under these two areas are Augmented Reality and Traffic Works, which we wrote about last year.

He also mentioned the two areas focused on enablers, Cognitive Radio Systems and High-Performance Mobile Platforms. These areas are rethinking the architecture and usage of radio and data networks required to support the two content areas, above.

For Nokia to go beyond touch interfaces and provide large-scale social location services, the company will need a steady stream of new innovations within the areas Henry Tirri’s research centers are laser-focused on.

The eras of corporate research
At the end of our session, we asked about what he thought the environment for corporate research centers was like, especially as we go through a tightening market. He referred to a study Nokia did of corporate research centers and presented a model for the cycles of corporate research, positioning the current Nokia Research Center in the arc.

It was very interesting, so we’ve decided to offer you a clip (below) of Henry’s model of the cycle of corporate research and what it means to Nokia.