The Baltic Sea Region as a global digital test hub?

in News, Projects, Publications

New discussion paper on sharing test beds across borders


Test and demonstration facilities, often named Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs) play a pivotal role for successful commercialization of new digital products and services, especially for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

There seems to be a strong correlation between competitiveness of technology-based SMEs and their access to test beds. However, for many SMEs it is not economically viable to set up their own testbeds and often they are not aware of available facilities at home or neighbouring countries.

A new report by Baltic Development Forum within the framework of the BSR STARS S3 project argues that better access to digital testbeds across borders would benefit the competitiveness of technology-based SMEs and the individual RTOs. The report also provides a snapshot of digital test and demonstration infrastructures available for SMEs in the Baltic Sea Region.

The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) is a frontrunner in the digital economy. An attractive place and potential testing ground for new innovative digital solutions for business and citizens. But it is yet to reach its full potential. Given the short lifecycles of most digital products and services, there is constant need for innovation and adaptation.

The study demonstrates that there are both overlapping and complementary areas of testbed expertise among regions and countries in the BSR. By linking these centers of excellence new opportunities to benefit from complementarities and synergies arise.

The report puts forward several policy recommendations on how the countries in the region could collaborate and network among testbeds to jointly offer SMEs a larger set of testbed services. Such collaborations efforts could be an important step towards positioning countries in the Baltic Sea Region as a global hub for testing digital products and services.

Download the report


More information: Torben Aaberg,




“… I think it is a very interesting idea to explore opportunities for networking better our facilities and expertise with a view to point companies towards testbed infrastructures across the border when a RTO cannot itself satisfy companies specialized need for technology, test and demonstration services.” – Ernst H. Kristiansen, Vice President for Research, SINTEF


“There is a need for further improving the overview of available testbed infrastructures in the in the Baltic Sea Region… (to)… single-out our complementarities in testbed excellence. Also, such an overview would visualise areas of overlap in excellence. I think Baltic Sea Region cooperation among RTOs in this area could lead us onto synergistic opportunities and smart specialisation” – Jarno Pinola, Senior Scientist at VTT and coordinator of the 5G Test Network Finland


“… There is a huge need to further invest in test- and demonstration facilities and the capabilities to operate them. Especially SMEs are limited in their search scope – both technologically and geographically – and international cooperation between knowledge providers such as RTOs is of increasing importance.” – Lars Fremerey, development manager at the GTS Denmark


“… in few other places in the world does public procurement drive innovation to the same extend as in the Baltic Sea Region. Sharing experiences to understand and learn how to e.g. further benefit from public procurement to drive innovation in the digital economy – while at the same time provide improved public services to citizens and companies – could be an obvious starting point for further cooperation” Olof Sandberg, Chief Strategist at RISE