Technology enlisted in push to improve fitness of Finnish conscripts
A pilot project between the Finnish Defence Forces, Suunto and Tieto is enabling conscripts and reservists to track their physical activity and wellbeing. Participation in the project is voluntary.
For the Finnish Defence Forces, it helps to be able to count on a broad base of fit recruits and reservists. However, fitness levels are not what they once were. The drop-off in physical performance in recent years represents a major challenge from the perspective of both the Defence Forces and Finnish society more broadly.
The Defence Forces, Tieto and Suunto are helping to address this challenge by equipping conscripts with the ability to monitor their physical activity and wellbeing. The data platform created for the project provides a secure location for the gathered data. Any disclosure of the data to be used by the Defence Forces requires the individuals' consent—no one is monitored without their knowledge and each conscript can request the deletion of their data.
With around 80% of Finnish men – as well as some women – completing national military service, the Defence Forces plays an important role in improving fitness within the 18-30 age cohort.
Combining data on physical activity and wellbeing, providing it for use by conscripts themselves, and disclosing such data to various parties (i.e. licensing out the data) will provide conscripts with the possibility to create personal health-promotion solutions either independently or with the help of healthcare professionals. The data platform will also enable conscripts to manage their own data. Before this, conscripts had no solutions enabling the collection of a wide range of data from various sources and the licensing of its use.
"The right kind of training and awareness of their own fitness will have far-reaching effects on the physical condition of recruits and, in this way, on long-term life-management. From the perspective of the nation's health and economy, even a small change in wellbeing is significant. It's great that this ecosystem pilot enables us to use data to help meet this challenge," says Fredrik Jansson of Tieto.
"The pilot will complement the Defence Forces' current training reform and Training 2020 programme. We want to have an impact on conscripts and reservists by motivating them to stay in condition and providing them with the tools to do so. In the long term, we see this as providing us with opportunities to collect anonymised data, which creates a comprehensive view of the age group's wellbeing, risk groups and the impact of measures for improving wellbeing," comments Colonel Timo Viinikainen of the Finnish Defence Forces.
"Suunto has been supporting Finnish sport and wellbeing for more than 80 years. This project will combine the best elements in helping to achieve an important objective, and we want to use Suunto sports watches to promote the collection and analysis of such data. Our goal is to use our products' features to motivate people to become physically active," explains Seppo Aaltonen of Suunto.
This joint project is part of a Sitra IHAN program which aims to build the foundation for a fair and functioning data economy. The aim is to pilot new concepts that utilise personal data with pioneering companies that transcend the borders of business, industry and states. The pilot project between the Finnish Defence Forces, Suunto and Tieto began in spring 2019 and will continue approximately one year. The framework for licensing and using the wellbeing data developed during the project can be applied in a range of areas, such as healthcare, occupational wellbeing and basic education.
- The project of the Finnish Defense Forces shows that the need for a fair data economy is evident in every sector of the society. We look forward to the results of the pilot and hope that it will expand to be a part of every conscript’s training in the future," says Markus Kalliola from Sitra.
For more information, please contact:
Timo Viinikainen, Chief Digital Officer, Colonel, Finnish Defence Forces, +358 (0)299 800 (switchboard)
Martin Österberg, Head of Communication, Suunto, +358 (0)45 217 1400
Markus Kalliola, Leading speacialist, Sitra, [email protected], +358 50 359 1499, https://www.sitra.fi/en/topics/fair-data-economy/