That's what we wanted to hear from Nokia - Diversification
Nokia Receives $1.35 Billion Grant to Develop the "Strongest Material Ever Tested"
10:00 AM - January 31, 2013 by Zak Islam - source: Nokia
Nokia has received a $1.35 billion grant to develop the strongest material to ever.
Graphene is a class 2D structure measuring just one atom thick. It's the strongest material ever produced; 300 times tougher than steel, it's one of the lightest conductors in existence.
Nokia is leading the electronic firms within the Graphene Flagship Consortium, which includes 73 other companies and academic institutions from a number of mediums. The Finnish handset manufacturer has received a grant of $1.35 billion to research and develop graphene for practical applications, with the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) providing the grant itself.
"Nokia is proud to be involved with this project, and we have deep roots in the field – we first started working with graphene already in 2006," said Henry Tirri, EVP, CTO of Nokia. "Since then, we have come to identify multiple areas where this material can be applied in modern computing environments. We’ve done some very promising work so far, but I believe the greatest innovations have yet to be discovered. Graphene happens to be an area where we, in Europe, have all the important players in the value chain who are ready to use it in applications. From that perspective, this is a very efficient and promising way of doing research investments for Europe."
"During the last 18 months we have seen a tremendous effort to build collaboration between European academia and industry," added Tapani Ryhänen, Nokia's head of the Sensor and Material Technologies Laboratory. "Now we have all the ingredients in place to be globally successful. We believe that new two-dimensional materials will have an impact on industrial value chains in many ways, creating opportunities for new products, services and economic growth."
"Not only does creating a graphene research consortium open up new research possibilities, it will also create work and jobs across all of Europe," said Jani Kivioja, Research Leader at Nokia Research Center. "This kind of research is also an investment to the people that live within the EU, from an economy perspective."
"When we talk about graphene, we’ve reached a tipping point. We’re now looking at the beginning of a graphene revolution. Before this point in time, we figured out a way to manufacture cheap iron that led to the Industrial Revolution. Then there was silicon. Now, it’s time for graphene."
Tapani believes graphene is unlikely to become the norm for products, but instead it'll be used to enhance products by improving existing materials and products.
Making products out of graphene will definitely happen across lots of different industries. By introducing people from different markets together within the EU-based consortium, we can begin to make real-world applications that benefit us all.
Really, this type of technology has radically improved the properties of many materials that can be used in our industry. It was discovered in the EU, and we’re very proud to have been involved from the very early years and now to be participating in the consortium. We have a very functional research team in place that can do world-class research with our partners.
We have kept our eyes open, and believe that this will bring immediate impact to our products over the coming years in some way or another.
Very interesting. Combined with Nokia's joint sponsorship of recent breakthroughs in chip design by a university in England, Nokia continues to be well positioned to bring to market innovations in technology and materials.
A lot of things have to go right in developing innovative products. If it were easy, everyone would do it. You need good basic R & D scientists, you need product development engineers, you need manufacturing/production engineers, you need marketing data and people to ensure you're not spending millions/billions to develop products people simply don't want.
There is significant risk at every step of the process. Consider marketing - how do you identify a need that people don't realize they need? There was no known market demand for a phone with a touch screen, but Apple produced it and it took off. Nokia reportedly had a similar phone in development but never did anything with it other than to continue to work on it - it "wasn't ready" for market. There is less perceived risk keeping something in development than bringing it to market and have it not sell. If you keep it in development, it retains huge potential for "next year". Bring it to market and have it not sell, then the potential is gone and the product is a failure. No one wants to be the father of a failure - they'd rather be the continuing father of "next year's" potential great product. In fact, a failed new product may in fact be a GREAT product that simply needs a tweak here and there (incremental innovation), and the concept/product can take off. Many years ago Herbert Simon won a Nobel Prize in Economics in part for his work in the area or risk management in organizations.
So - Nokia's lead role in working on grapheme is good news, and it's another reason to invest in Nokia for the long term, and to follow Nokia closely. But, it's a long and winding road from R&D labs to volume sales to consumers.
An aside, for whatever it's worth - as I've said before, it's such a kick for me to sit here and consider that I have a ringside seat observing, and to a small degree participating in (via making my investment decision) the nuts and bolts processes where we (all stakeholders in the tech sector) change the way the world works. May you live in interesting times.