An AI application that promotes the well-being of kin carers wins the hackathon


The application created for the Apotti project will have a great societal impact.

The best teams presented their solutions at the event ‘Finland100 – Digital Superpower’, held at Kellohalli near by Kalasatama and Sörnäinen on 9 February 2017. The Audience Favorite Award went to Team Robocop of the Ministry of the Interior, and the Jury's Choice Award went to Team Ilona (in the picture). Photo: Miika Turunen

During the winter 2016–2017, Aalto University and Accenture organised a multidisciplinary course where 26 international student teams, with members from different fields, tackled different digitalisation challenges presented by the Apotti project, the Finnish Patent and Registration Office, the National Police Board, the Finnish Defence Forces, the Finnish Border Guard, the Ministry of the Interior and Finnish Customs. The organisations asked the students to develop solutions that would make it easier to use their services and increase the use of internet and mobile services.

The five best student teams were given the opportunity to present their solutions at the event ‘Finland100 – Digital Superpower’, held on 9 February 2017. Some 200 experts from central government attended the event hosted by Accenture. The main speaker was Minister of Local Government and Public Reforms Anu Vehviläinen. After the teams had pitched their solutions, the prestigious jury selected the winner. The members of the jury were Permanent Secretary Päivi Nerg from the Ministry of the Interior, Director General Antti Riivari from the Finnish Patent and Registration Office, Deputy Director General Jarkko Saksa from Finnish Customs, Major General Ilkka Korkiamäki from the Finnish Defence Forces, Managing Director Hannu Välimäki from the Apotti project, Professor Timo Saarinen from Aalto University and Managing Director Marko Rauhala from Accenture. The winning concept was the Ilona service designed for the Apotti project.

Ilona improves the quality of life of kin carers

The Ilona application, a smart and personalised assistive system, can improve the quality of life of kin carers. Ilona helps kin carers in their daily life by connecting them to public and private service providers. The application understands normal speech, collects and analyses data and helps kin carers, for example, by suggesting different activities and arranging substitute carers.

The winning team included Krista Naumanen and Niklas Syyli from the School of Business, Ahti Kalervo and Maria Corina Sibinescu from the School of Science and Fekete Gyöngyi from the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The team members study in the degree programmes of Information and Service Management (ISM), Machine Learning and Data Mining (Macadamia), User-Centred Design (SSE/UCD) and Collaborative and Industrial Design (CoID).

‘In my opinion, the best thing about the course was the opportunity to tackle a real-life challenge in the field of social work. For our team, the main source of meaning and motivation was the fact that we were presented with a challenging problem and by solving it we could really improve the quality of life of kin carers’, says ISM student Krista Naumanen, summarising what students gained from the course.

Ilkka Tiainen, an ecosystems expert from the Apotti project, was one of the coaches involved in the course. According to Tiainen, Ilona is an excellent tool for helping kin carers cope with their daily life because the artificial intelligence (AI) application will know the daily routines and interests of carers. From a technical standpoint, Ilona is a combination of a safety system, natural language processing and a cognitive system.

‘All of us coaches were amazed by the students’ level of skills and knowledge, their speed and their ability to constantly improve their work. It was a great pleasure to work with the teams. We hope that we will be able to continue this cooperation and develop a collaborative working method for the Apotti ecosystem that will benefit all parties involved’, Tiainen says.

Next hackathon on public sector digitalisation organised later this year

A total of 94 Aalto students from five of the university’s schools participated in the #pshack100 course, as well as 18 students from the National Defence University. The course involved lectures, intensive team work, excursions and coaching sessions for the students. The coaches included experts from Accenture and Fjord, members of the Aalto community and representatives from public sector organisations. The 24-hour Hackathon event, held in November, was a central part of the course.

‘All teams performed very well in this demanding course. It is wonderful to be able to offer Aalto students new forms of learning and simultaneously produce practical and relevant solutions’, summarises Senior University Lecturer Johanna Bragge from the Department of Information and Service Economy at the Aalto University School of Business.

Towards the end of the event, Managing Director Marko Rauhala from Accenture confirmed that another public sector hackathon course will be organised at the end of 2017.

‘Digitalisation has changed the way we work, and processes have been completely redesigned and organised around services. Organisations have genuinely formed networks to cooperate in the production of services. This collaborative approach has also accelerated the innovation cycle’, Rauhala said.

Further information:
Johanna Bragge
Senior University Lecturer
tel.  +358 40 5301 032

Project website:

MyCourses pages for the course (

Previous article on the course (23 January 2017,

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What is Apotti? Apotti is a change project aimed at developing social and healthcare services and building a regionally cohesive information system for social services and healthcare. The parties participating in Apotti are the cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, Kirkkonummi and Kauniainen and the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS). The project is also open to other HUS municipalities, and Tuusula and Kerava have already decided to join it. The Apotti system will be introduced at the end of 2018, starting with Vantaa and the HUS Peijas Hospital.