Conscripts in the Finnish Defence Forces leveraged new technology and accurate data on their activity levels and wellbeing as part of a pilot project to develop their physical condition. The pilot project, implemented by the Finnish Defence Forces, Suunto and TietoEVRY, ran in 2019–2020 as part of Sitra's IHAN project.
The aim of the project was to utilize the training and wellbeing data to motivate conscripts to improve and maintain their physical condition both during their military service and as reservists. The project involved tracking overall physical stress and recovery rates during the conscript training. Based on the findings, training could be structured to make the overall stress level more conducive to improving the conscripts’ fitness.
The conscripts used Suunto devices through which biometric data, such as heart rate, stress and step count data, were collected on a platform developed by TietoEVRY. With the help of this data their overall physical stress and their recovery rates could be taken into account in the planning of training sessions, creating a good base for developing their physical condition.
The project also aimed to motivate conscripts to take care of their own fitness by providing intuitive tools for developing fitness and tracking their own recovery.
The pilot project was implemented in the Jaeger Brigade in Rovaniemi and Sodankylä. A total of 120 conscripts and their trainers were involved. Data was collected around the clock, including during leisure time and leave, from conscripts who volunteered for the project. Data collected on Suunto devices was stored in TietoEVRY's data lake and visualized using TietoEVRY's Intelligent Wellbeing solution. Data protection and the security of personal data processing were taken into account during the storage and visualization of the data.
“This was one of several digitalization-related technology pilots that are run by the Finnish Defence Forces. We easily obtained detailed information on the condition, physical stress and recovery of squads of recruits in training, which was used in the planning and implementation of the training. The pilot also gave the conscripts the opportunity to track their own physical stress while in service, during free time in the barracks, and on leave, which they found personally inspiring and motivated them to track the improvement of their own fitness,” says Colonel Antti Tunkkari, who heads the digitalization of the Finnish Defence Forces.
The physical endurance of people entering Finnish military service has been in decline. The downward trend in endurance and muscle condition is reflected in long-term statistics published by the Finnish Defence Forces. During the pilot project, it was observed that conscripts had increased their activity both in service and during their free time. Most conscripts had never used a sports watch before but felt motivated to take measurements as instructed. The Finnish Defence Forces trainers used similar devices to gain a clear picture of what kind of measurements and data they can collect, as well as understand how long the device’s battery lasts during rigorous military training. Based on their experiences, the trainers were also able to help the conscripts use the devices.
“The project as a whole was really successful and educational. It was great to see that we could use the data to increase conscripts’ physical activity levels and interest in taking care of themselves. At best, development of this kind will enable us to have a long-term impact on the condition and wellbeing of conscripts. Even the slightest change in the population’s wellbeing is important for society, which makes the opportunity to create data-based tools for such a purpose highly valuable,” says Niina Siipola, Intelligent Wellbeing Area Product Owner, TietoEVRY.
Juhani Luoma-Kyyny, Senior Lead, Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Juhani.Luoma-Kyyny@sitra.fi, tel. +358 40 527 7150
Martin Österberg, Head of Communication, Suunto, tel. +358 45 217 1400
TietoEVRY creates digital advantage for businesses and society. We are a leading digital services and software company with local presence and global capabilities. Our Nordic values and heritage steer our success. Headquartered in Finland, TietoEVRY employs around 24,000 experts globally. The company serves thousands of enterprise and public sector customers in more than 90 countries. TietoEVRY's annual turnover is approximately EUR 3 billion and its shares are listed on the NASDAQ in Helsinki and Stockholm as well as on the Oslo Børs. www.tietoevry.com