| Category: Success stories

ThingLink brings digital layers to physical environments

ThingLink Oy is a Finnish learning technology company with global operations that develops user-friendly, scalable tools for creating interactive and immersive learning experiences and employee training. It is a content creation platform that allows users to create attractive, accessible, engaging and interactive media. The platform makes it easy to turn static training materials such as pdf printouts, manuals and slide shows into a visual and interactive format. Learners can click on images to get timely advice in their own language on what to do in a given space or situation or how to operate equipment, for instance.

This reduces internal support requests in the organisation and improves the orientation and support provided to new employees. The applications include training and orientation to employees, students and customers, the marketing of products, and museums and libraries.

“You might say we’re your traditional Silicon Valley garage company. After all, ThingLink was originally turned into an independent company in the United States, from where we moved to Finland but continue to operate as an international company. In addition to Finland and the US, ThingLink has been corporatized in the UK and Germany will be next. The ThingLink platform has 10 million users in 190 countries. The original idea behind ThingLink was that images and videos would play a major role in learning in the future and that physical environments would transform into comprehensive user interfaces that would allow us to zoom in and touch everything around us for more information. Our guiding principle has been to bring physical environments and digital layers together right from the start. The initial experimentations with the technology involved objects to which we added tags. Clicking on the tags provided the users with more information. From the objects, we progressed to images, 360 videos, 3D environments and then back to physical work environments”, explains Ulla-Maaria Koivula, the company’s founder and CEO.

User-friendly tools for creating learning environments

In addition to the content creation platform, ThingLink approach includes collaboration and serving as a technology partner for its customers. The company also helps its customers prepare their training materials and participates in teaching and establishing the new mindset in the organisation.

”It is easy to embed ThingLink to various learning systems and websites. We’ve made our product and service range more versatile and are the only company developing and offering a comprehensive XR toolkit like this. ThingLink makes it equally easy to create VR and AR experiences as well as learning scenarios with a mobile path or immersive learning spaces. Examples of the user environments of the application include industrial manufacturing companies and healthcare settings, as technical fields like these involve rapidly updating information.”

Saving resources without compromising quality

Healthcare in particular involves high turnover rates, changing conditions and a need to spread information fast. Healthcare regions and organisations that wish to allocate their resources in a more timely manner have shown a lot of interest in the application. The aim is to make it easier to look for information in the field and in this context, ThingLink can serve as an assistant, whether in the context of the use of equipment or searching for data on a specific topic. For employees, this means saving time and gaining instant access to the latest information which allows them to spend more time with patients and in other nursing tasks.

“Accessibility and scalability are highly appreciated in healthcare as they make it easy to prepare and update training materials for different environments. Naturally, this also allows you to save money without compromising on quality. Many wellbeing services counties are already using ThingLink, and the highlighted areas include the digitalisation of training linked to physical environments and enabling learning on location”, continues  Aleksi Komu, Chief Business Development Officer at ThingLink.

Together with Kuopio University Hospital (KUH), ThingLink created a scalable, virtual presentation of the hospital’s patient rooms and treatment facilities and guided safety rounds. The tool also illustrates how to operate instruments and devices used in patient care. The company designed training for Tampere University Hospital that makes the necessary information on the use of medical devices quickly available when employees are in the physical environment.

High potential in collaboration with the ecosystem

“The field of visual media is currently subject to a major breakthrough as AI enables producing both images and videos. The inclusion of spatial experiences also adds new dimensions. Compatible interfaces and augmented reality solutions are sure to become more and more common. In the future, technology will make content creation easier but will also enable receiving the right information at the right time. We’re also in the process of bringing immersive experiences to mobile devices and are making it possible for millions of users to take virtual tours, for example. ThingLink has always been among the pioneers to experiment with new technologies with users and this mindset will continue to guide the company’s operations in the future.

”We’ve been strongly focused on the healthcare sector and have particularly carried out various experimentations and pilots with KUH in Kuopio. The EDIH project, where we’ve been involved in developing a new AI-based assistant for healthcare, is also linked to this work. It was through this project that we got to know Kimmo Solehmainen and Aki Gröhn, and we discussed the opportunities for collaborating. We see joint synergies with the Kuopio Health activities and feel that we can help the ecosystem network while at the same time receiving support and help for ourselves. The collaboration with various operators has lots of potential and we’re all on a joint learning journey”, Komu concludes.

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