Google to expand to telecom services in the US

Google is planning to launch its own telecom services in the US. The company announced the project at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. Google is working with network operators Vodafone, Telefonica and Telstra.

According to the company, the project include hot air balloons that provide high-speed 4 G connectivity in areas where it is difficult to build traditional infrastructure.

Google also announced its plans to build totally new headquarter with movable buildings and structures in Silicon Valley. The company is experimenting new canopies that would liberate the buildings from traditional architectural limitations like walls, windows and roofs. This new idea is also engaging more with local community and companies. The leading architects will be Bjarke Ingles from Denmark and Thomas Heatherwick from London.

Business Design

What are the main topics in CES 2015 in Las Vegas?

The growing demand of consumer electronics is a economic factor. If you think about the world largest consumer electronics exhibition (CES) in Las Vegas this year, the city is full of everything: press releases, events, 20 000 new prodcut launches, business peopleWhat´s new in the CES this year?, journalists and investors. Now also a dedicated stage for startups. So, it is hard to pick the best of the huge event, but here is a short list of what is going on in Vegas:

Cars: If you think about the car industry, there are two big trends that are driving the industry at the moment. First, electric cars and cars with renewable energy. For example Tesla Motor has a unique business strategy with their own software and batteries compared to other automakers.

The second trend is the self-driving cars: for example Volvo, Mercedes and Audi have followed the road of Google cars. Volvo is experimenting a new model of self-driving cars so that there are several cars in the chain and the leading car will take care of the speed of others. During the fairs BMW also launched their new model of a car, which can park itself. In-vehile technologies have grown so much that this industry sector is now one of the biggest in the fairs.

This rapid growth is also raising the question of car security and safety. Which operating system is taking care of the information & entertaining panels ?

Wearables: I have written about wearables and the need for more classy-style and finally we have seen – The Swarovski Shine. This crystal maker and wearable company Misfit have combined forces and the outcome is marvellous. This is a collaboration of a fitness and sleep tracker…this beautiful wearable will be in the shops in China, HongKong and the US by the end of March.

This is also a good example of product differentation. All the others from Apple, LG, Microsoft, Motorola to Sony, show pretty much the same design models in their wearables. Blackberry announced that they will support the Android operating system wearable in their own products.

Home: Home security continues to be one of the topics as well. Kitchen appliances and different new gadgets will be part of the internet of things (ioT) in all the home electronics. According to Google, it is estimated that in 2020 there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet.

For example Samsung estimated that 90 procent of its products will be ioT devices by 2017 and all the devices by 2020.

As Intel´s CEO Brian Krzanich said in his presentation:” We are going to experience Computing Unleashed, where computing gains a new dimension. From that two dimensional world, to a three dimensional world. Computers are gaining senses. They are going to be able to see, and hear. And that will result in their ability to understand. They are becoming wirefree, giving new meaning to portable and mobile,” he said.

Consumer electronics are expanding rapidly and the Las Vegas CES is now International. The first Asian fairs will be running this spring in Shanghai.


Photo: Ville Koski, 2014

Design Tech

London properties in focus

When I visited London a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised by the buzzing feeling and action there were. People were busy and the atmosphere was positive. Greetings also to the start-up and growth companies I met there!

This city is now a place where big real estate companies are heading. For example the India´s biggest real estate developer has announced that they are developing new buildings in London. And the real estate prices are showing upward trend. For example Financial Times reported that in Mayfair several luxury flats have been sold with new record prices. And new flats and blocks are on their way.

The reason why this is happening is partly because the pension funds are rising their asset allocation in real estates. Pension funds are seeking long-term investments and London properties are one of the metropolis in the world that are looking attractive for many investors. Also the oversees funds like Canadian pension fund Ontario Fund have landed to the European real estate market and they are expecting to invest several billion euros in the properties.

Investors are looking for good returns with third-party rating systems like LEED, which is widely used in office buildings globally. But there are also other systems and some banks have developed their own property rating methods. These systems analyse for example the technology level of the building, energy efficiency and environment issues as for example health and wellness issues.

The tightening energy efficiency legislation drives also investors to focus more on ESG issues. Green Buildings offer good rental yields, cost savings and higher premiums in sale. ESG-factors also help investors to mitigate regulatory, market and physical risks related to properties.

So, it is not surprise that investors also want to learn more about BIM (Building Information Modelling) in order to make better real estate investment decisions. This system helps all building stakeholders like architects, designers and project managers to work together. The costs savings in time and resources are remarkable.

And maybe we also see more modern wood houses and flats in the future. This is absolutely the trendiest thing at the moment.

Päivi Härkönen

Business Design

And first there was a dream – Music and arts for all senses

10_03_-®Agence Rudy RicciottiIt all started in 2005. A dream about music, arts, literature and ballet with passion, at the same place.  It is about music with the very best acoustics of the world. Where this could be? The first concert in this magnificient music house could already sound in 2017/2018 and Gstaad.

–        We wanted to create a place where our quest can enjoy the very best music of the world and enjoy also the art exhibition, literature and ballet, says Markus Kappeler-Steffen, President of the Foundation Board, Les Arts Gstaad Foundation.

The designer of this inspirational hall is French architect Rudy Ricciotti, a man behind the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisation in Marseilles  and with Grand Prix National a´Architeture. According to Ricciotti, the concert hall will reflect local traditions with wooden spirit and the aim is to enrich the beautiful landscape and nature. And one cannot say more. The pictures of this music hall are master pieces.

A place for 1200 people

It is calculated that the construction of this music hall will take 4 years, while there will be infrastructure changes in the town Gstaad. According to the plan, there is a need for a new tunnel and new street in order the get the logistic working. The new music hall will be placed by the Gstaad railway station.

The new concert hall in Saanenland will have places for 1200 people, and it will challenge the music places in Lucerne, Genf and Zurich.  The idea is to offer weekend stays with high-class music concerts and international art exhibition with lux atmosphere.

The concert hall will be energy efficiency and take the environment requirements into account in different part of the house. There is calculated to be 30-40 concerts in a year and 300-400 visitors per day.

Whether the new building will use for example Leed certification or something else is still under consideration. This project could get the Platinum level of Leed with all the logistic, material and transportation aspects. So, it is no wonder that investors are interested of this fantastic building. It is estimated that the building construction cost could be 100 million CHF.

Focus on interior and design

The focus is to get the best possible acoustics in the house inside. The concert hall will be designed to give a very warm and welcoming feeling.

–        It is our way of thinking that people come here to see and listen to music and that they can feel themselves relaxed and cozy at the same time, he says. And the aim of the concert hall is to make a music building one cannot find in Europe elsewhere.

Part of the building will be underground, but the rest of the building will be like a haystack in a field. The building is a mixture of wooden aroma, harmony with the mountains and emphasis on high-quality. This house will create its own magnificient place to present and play international and local arts in a modern way, but still with tradition.

Päivi Härkönen

images: Agence Rudy Ricciotti, Les Arts Gstaad

ComteamPUB+ is also sponsoring Les Arts Gstaad project and 15 per cent of the branded content ammount will be forwarded to the fund of the project. More information you can find here:

Les Arts Gstaad