Grow your mobile in a pot? Maybe someday, say Nokia researchers

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The worlds leading mobile phone maker Nokia has worked for years with top experts to determine the needs and wants of tomorrows customers in order to stay ahead of aggressive new competitors.

The world’s leading mobile phone maker Nokia has worked for years with top experts to determine the needs and wants of tomorrow’s customers in order to stay ahead of aggressive new competitors

With a mobile phone you can make calls on the go, shoot photos and pinpoint your position on a map. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to grow your phone in a pot, if the futuristic ideas of technology researchers come true.

The world’s leading mobile phone maker Nokia has worked for years with top experts to determine the needs and wants of tomorrow’s customers in order to stay ahead of aggressive new competitors Google and Apple as well as the more traditional device makers Samsung, LG and Motorola.

In 2007, the Finnish company spent some 5.6 billion euros (8.9 billion dollars), or about 11 percent of its 51-billion-euro net sales, on research and development.

About 27 percent of its employees, or more than 30,000 people, work on research and development, 700 of whom are part of Nokia’s long-term research unit.

“Right now we are looking for things that could be relevant for Nokia in 2015. It might be that the patent for a product is relevant in 2015 but that the actual product is further away,” Leo Kaerkkaeinen, a chief visionary at the Nokia Research Centre, told AFP.

But what makes companies want to invest vast amounts of money in experiments that will only bear fruit many years down the road, if at all, at a time when investors are increasingly focused on quarterly profits?

“Futures research can help companies evaluate coming risks and possibilities, while giving them time to react and a competitive edge over their competitors,” Sirkka Heinonen, a professor at Finland Futures Research Centre at the Turku School of Economics, told AFP.

She noted the three main principles of futures studies — the future cannot be precisely predicted, it is not predestined and people can have an impact on it. “Today’s choices and decisions make the future.

“The future is like a landscape that we try to see more clearly and to which we will draw road maps,” Heinonen explained.

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