Working with AI? Join the new AI-powerhouse at NTNU

Ieva Martinkenaite (left) in conversation with Alexandra Bech Gjørv, CEO of SINTEF, at the opening of the new AI-Lab.

Meet Ieva Martinkenaite – she’s heading Telenor’s latest and most exciting initiative; the brand new Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab in Trondheim.

The new lab is collaboration between Telenor, NTNU and SINTEF to strengthen national competitiveness and add valuable, future-proof competencies to the Norwegian society.

Martinkenaite, who’s a Vice President for Telenor Research and based in Oslo, says they’re inviting startups, students, and developers to collaborate on joint projects together with research and industry partners in the Lab. Here you can meet potential customers, pitch ideas and collaborate on AI-related matters.

“We aim to create an AI-powerhouse, or Centre of Excellence in AI in Norway. Startups who want to play a role in the AI-enabled product and service marketplace can benefit greatly from the lab. It will give entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to test AI algorithms on their own or AI-Lab partner data, possibly improve some of those algorithms for their problem solving, and get AI technologies faster into production,” says Martinkenaite.

See Pepper the robot open the AI-Lab with Minister Monica Mæland:

Multiple datasets & real-world problems

In order to develop the most interesting, cutting-edge AI applications, startups will need access to massive amounts of data. The Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab has an ambition to become an AI hub for research and innovation in Norway where multiple datasets, real-world problems and resources from various industry and research partners will be populated.

“A combination of various sources of anonymized data, such as mobile network, digital product, health, transport data, is unique. A combination of multiple data sets makes future AI-applications a success and this data can be provided by partners in the AI-lab. Startups can access and contribute with their own data in the lab, provided that ethics and data privacy requirements are met,” she adds.

NTNU is the largest technical university in Norway with a history of top level researchers working with AI and advanced analytics since 1980s and before. They will contribute with academic resources, infrastructure and technical assistance, while the research organization SINTEF will contribute with bringing the knowledge into practical use. The new centre is financed by Telenor with NOK 50 million and the company’s researchers will participate in joint projects at the lab.

New IoT networks

In addition to AI, Martinkenaite`s team is working with rolling-out new generation Internet of Things (IoT) networks in Norway. Startups, developers and students will have access to the IoT innovation network infrastructure – devices, the physical network and enablement platform. They’ll be able to experiment and build IoT prototypes, and, ultimately, transfer data for problem solving to the AI-lab. This is unique. New IoT data will emerge and startups will have the ability to process it – alone and together with partners in the lab, which may ultimately help them create better, cheaper and faster digital solutions.

So how can startups apply?

“We will arrange several events in the upcoming months in Trondheim, Oslo and Tromsø to scope opportunities and get startups interested in this. We’re also working on finalizing detailed guidelines for those working the lab with regards to data handling,” says Martinkenaite.

Read more about the lab here