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Telia Finland – A hub of the digital ecosystem

In typical Finnish fashion, Telia Finland has quietly but definitively grown to become a world-leader telcom operator, particularly in the digital sphere. Following the completion of a world-class new data centre, the company is poised to take its operations to the next level.

In little more than 15-years, a digital revolution has taken place – one that has transformed the world we live in, and the way we live our lives beyond all recognition.

As the world grows ever smaller by the day, serving the digital society – the people, companies, and online communities that connect to each other over impossible distances in the blink of an eye – has become a most essential task. After all, these online entities, from the likes of Google, Amazon, and Facebook, to the countless smaller actors who trade, do business, and connect in the online sphere, are the catalysts for both wealth creation and positive social change.

As the dominant telecom operator in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, as well as the Baltic region, Telia Company AB stands as a hub of the digital ecosystem, committed to empowering its customers by bringing the world to their fingertips. With a workforce of over 20,000, Telia Company’s talented team serve millions of customers 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 365-days a year, and it goes about this with great passion – passion to deliver great service, and a passion to connect, create, and innovate.

Since its inception in 2002, following the merger of Swedish and Finnish telcom companies, Telia and Sonera, Telia Finland has played a key role in helping to propel the company to the top of the domestic market, as well as markets further afield. Much like its parent company, an ethos of excellence has been instilled into the very roots of Telia Finland, centred around the key tenets of innovation, superior technology, ethics, and delivery of a great customer experience.

Not that the company is resting on its laurels. In the wake of a high-profile rebrand in April 2017, which saw the company change from TeliaSonera Finland to Telia Finland, expectations have never been higher, and CEO, Stein-Erik Vellan, knows that to meet them, there is much for the company to do as it seeks to expand and improve operations even further, both at home and abroad

He stated, “What does Sonera’s becoming Telia mean to me? What will be better in the future? These are questions that our customers will ask, and we must be able to give them answers. Furthermore, with our actions we must show that we, an international telco, are ideally placed to help our customers get by in the digitalising world.

The digital future has already arrived. The way we all live, work and communicate with each other has changed hugely over the last few years. IoT, Big Data and virtual reality will provide mind-blowing opportunities in the near future. And everything will change again due to 5G. But telecom operators are and will continue to be strongly involved in the lives of their customers.”

With this in mind, Telia Finland has gone to great efforts to stay ahead of the curve in recent times, as evidenced by the number ambitious ventures the company has invested in to improve both performance and capabilities. Of these, there has been particular excitement surrounding the development, construction, and recent opening of the Telia Data Centre project – a flagship facility that will revolutionise Telia Finland’s operations.

Around 2010/2012 we were exploring growth opportunities and we saw that our own data centre was very limited and also somewhat old fashioned. For example, the power density in the old premises was quite low among other things,” explained Pasi Sutinen, Head of the Telia Data Centre. He continued: “At that time we were also experiencing quite robust demand for data facilities from existing customers so we decided what if we built some new capacity?”

This exceptionally interesting and challenging building project was carried out on schedule without compromising on quality, thanks to the 2,200 construction experts involved with the project. Naturally, all at Telia are delighted after the inauguration of the facility.

Make no mistake about it, the recent completion of the Telia Data Centre on the rocky soil of Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki – a facility that will house thousands of computers and peripheral systems, capable of transferring and storing huge volumes of data securely – is a gamechanger, and a clear indicator of the scale of Telia Finland’s ambition. As the largest, most modern and energy-efficient data centre in the country, Pasi Sutinen, is excited about the role it will play in helping the company to markedly improve service provision, and also satisfy strict new EU data protection legislation regarding the process and storage of customer data:

“The Telia Data Center will meet the needs of new legislation, among other things. Data stored in Finland is kept under round-the-clock control. Trust is an integral part of data centre services. Telia offers this trust to its customers, which enables them in turn to offer it to their own customers. We will serve as a safe haven for data, which is something that companies desperately need today both in Finland and internationally.

The need for a data centre keeps growing in our digitalised world. We must constantly get more storage space, and it has to be secure. For this reason, it is of utmost importance that the additional storage space is located near the Finnish networks and users instead of being somewhere around Antarctica.

The information, security, electricity and extinguishing systems are tuned with the most advanced solutions of the world. The customers’ data is protected here in the best possible manner.”

Stein-Erik Vellan expanded further on the impact the new data centre will have, saying: “The data volumes are growing at a huge rate, which means that we have to build new kinds of secure data factories. The Helsinki Data Center is designed specifically for this purpose. In addition, the building is strongly linked to Telia’s international network, through which almost 40 per cent of the internet traffic of the whole world is carried each day.

Completion of this project has set the company in good stead for the coming years, and will act as a support for other ground-breaking projects like Telia Finland’s foray 5G, IoT, and artificial intelligence. Pasi Sutinen concluded, saying: “These kinds of data factories make it possible for both society and companies to utilize data in full, when artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things and 5G are changing the everyday lives of us all at an accelerating rate.”

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