Testing of innovation projects in the city will become easier
Tallinn City Government aims to change the procedure for granting the use of municipal assets to simplify the testing of innovation projects within the urban space.Deputy Mayor Joosep Vimm said that the aim of this change is to make it easier to test innovation projects in Tallinn’s urban space. "Under the existing procedure, granting free access typically involves a lengthy process, which may not be practical or reasonable for short-term innovation projects. This could also potentially undermine the attractiveness of the Test in Tallinn program. To address this, we aim to allow testing in the urban space for free for up to 12 months based on specific evaluation criteria. Generally, most of this time will be devoted to preparation, with actual testing taking place over three to five months," Vimm explained.
Under the new procedure, municipal assets could be provided for innovation projects for up to 12 months, provided they have received approval from the innovation project evaluation committee, the manager for the specific municipal asset, and the city council's innovation committee has expressed their opinions on the project. These proposed changes to the process for granting access to municipal assets still require approval from the Tallinn City Council.
The purpose of the approved innovation projects is to test and further develop their products or services within the urban space. By enabling testing, the city plays a leading role in promoting innovation, supporting solutions that enhance innovation capabilities and the demand for innovation, and increasing innovation, even within the private sector.
According to the development strategy "Tallinn 2035," the city aspires to be renowned as a city of science, innovation, and experimentation, where both local and international companies introduce new products and services to the market. One of the strategic directions is to develop innovative future technology solutions and encourage their testing and implementation within the urban space.
During the testing phase, new products are evaluated in real market conditions and real-life settings, including indoors and outdoors, on city streets, roads, and buildings. This allows for the assessment of product durability, functionality, consumer reactions, susceptibility, and potential market success.
Tallinn has been supporting innovation projects since 2020 when the Tallinnovation innovation fund was established, offering support for experimental projects of companies within the urban space. From 2020 to 2023, the fund has supported a total of 18 projects, including testing energy-efficient consumption in buildings (R8 Technologies OÜ, FuseBox OÜ), the necessity of bicycle sheds (Bikeep OÜ), improvements in packaging recycling (Ringo Eco OÜ), the use of drones in patrol operations (KrattWorks OÜ), and reservation management for city’s sports facilities (MyGames), as well as monitoring noise levels and traffic density (Thinnect OÜ) and road marking using robots (10Lines OÜ), among others.
Starting in 2023, the city also offers testing opportunities without financial support through the Test in Tallinn program, for both domestic and international companies. The first projects have involved smart cameras for monitoring traffic (SSE Digital Services, a company from England) and the detection of obstacles and potholes (muniAI, a company from Israel). As of September 14, 2023, the Test in Tallinn program has received 25 applications, with 13 of them gaining approval from the innovation project evaluation committee.