Virtual Forest

By Tieto, Metsä Group, University of Helsinki, CTRL Reality and Simosol

Virtual Forest — a modern way to manage forest assets.

Approximately 700,000 Finns own forests, and the value of those privately owned forests is around 40 billion euros. Today, almost 30% of all timber transactions are digital, and 50% of under 50-year-old forest owners already use digital services.

One fourth of Finnish forests lack regular management. Thus, up to 10 billion euros remain untapped in these forests, as well-tended forests can offer up to 4–6% annual profits. Forests are significant assets that, when managed properly, provide both the current owner and future generations both enjoyment and a big payoff.

Modern forest owners live in cities

Currently the average age of a forest owner is over 60 years. Changes in the ownership structure are inevitable. Thus, services must help both the new, urban and remote forest owners as well as those owners who are well acquainted with all the nuances of forest management.

Urban wage earners who own forests value services that make forest management as easy as possible. For this reason, forestry services should also help new and part-time forest owners manage their forests while increasing their profits.

Our goal is to offer the best digital customer experience available in the market, which will make forest management easier for all owners.

New technologies are at the core of development

New technologies, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, create new opportunities for service improvements in the forestry industry. In the long term, our goal is to make a digital replica of all Finnish forests to simplify forest management for our customers.

Virtual Forest is the premiere example of early adaptation of VR in business. The goal of this project is to support new and existing foresters with the real world decision making around how their forests should be treated to bring the best value. This is done by using a combination of Virtual Reality and the assimilation of multiple data sources to virtually display a simulation of real world forest assets in relevant detail with up to date crop, cost and purchase information.

This service, created by five ecosystem partners, helps in forest management and wood trade activities whilst being highly sustainable and economical. The Virtual Forest service brings the forest directly to the new forester in the comfort of their home and highlights to them both activities they can take in the forest and economic opportunities. The services can then simulate various alternatives which allows landowners to make the best decision for their tree crops and for the forest company to have better insights into the raw materials available, allowing better planning which has a positive impact on environment.

Virtual and mobile technologies offer forest owners new ways to take care of forests — anywhere they are, anytime they like.

For those looking for new solutions for forest management, soon it will be possible to use a virtual reality headset to visit any forest and plan timber transactions and forest management work in real-time. Virtual services enable us to show forest owners that we have visited their property and what has been checked there. In the virtual world, it is even possible to show what the forest will look like after the measures have been carried out. Through these services, forest management has never been so easy.

This article is adopted from:

Taking customer experience to the next level by Ksenia Avetisova, Head of XR Lab, Tieto @lisagri

Modern forest management — from the comfort of your own living room by Juha Jumppanen, Senior Vice President, Member Services, Metsä @JuhaJumppanen

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