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As discussed in one of our recent blog posts, the Danish government has recently announced a group of 14 technology and research clusters to be established throughout Denmark
Written by TechBBQ
Dec 13, 2020 / 7 min. read
Let's hear it for the Danish Sound Cluster!
As discussed in one of our recent blog posts, the Danish government has recently announced a group of 14 technology and research clusters to be established throughout Denmark in order to promote the development of Danish enterprise in several fields. Among these 14 clusters, some were designated as being particularly fast-growing, and we wanted to focus on a few of them. This blog post will focus on the Danish Sound Cluster (DSC), which will be headquartered in Struer on the Jutland Peninsula, in facilities formerly owned by the renowned Danish sound company Bang & Olufsen.
To learn more, we had a (virtual) meeting with Nikolai Bisgaard, Vice Chairman of the Board for the DSC so we could learn more about the past, present, and future of the Danish sound tech ecosystem.
Nikolai is an engineer by education, and currently serves as the VP for External Relations at GN ReSound, one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers in Denmark. Nikolai told us that Denmark is a global leader in hearing aid technology, with three of the largest such companies in the world being Danish. This industry, he tells us, is one of the foundational aspects of the Danish Sound Cluster; however, the DSC works with a wide variety of sound-based technologies and research areas. From “one-man companies” to stock exchange-listed companies, the DSC serves companies throughout Denmark.
One of the key aspects Nikolai discussed with us was how the DSC will create value for its members and Danish industry as a whole. He outlined his perspective on why the cluster is valuable for all actors in the ecosystem, from larger, more established companies to smaller startups and institutional research groups.
For the larger companies, the DSC provides an opportunity to nurture the newer ventures in the field, and stay in touch with what Nikolai called the “base layer” that helps to drive new innovations in the SoundTech field. The smaller startups, in addition to the support mentioned above, have the opportunity to use the other members of the DSC as a sort of open forum to ask for advice, exchange best practices, and share knowledge so that everyone involved can optimize their businesses. Last (but certainly not least), the research groups that sit at Danish universities and institutions have the opportunity to partner with industrial forces to share knowledge and make their research into marketable technologies. Of course, as a funding source for the project the Danish government is also involved in the DSC, but mainly in terms of providing the funding and monitoring the execution of projects and use of funds.
However, the DSC still has a few hurdles to clear before getting fully off the ground— the new cluster program is set to launch in 2021, and as such there are practical matters like staffing and finalizing leadership that need to be settled before the fun gets going. That said, Nikolai did not seem overly concerned with these challenges— the DSC is packed with fantastic companies and individuals who are all invested in helping the cluster to be a success. Another benefit of the cluster according to Nikolai is that the DSC will help to centralize the Danish SoundTech ecosystem, which has until now been somewhat scattered throughout Denmark.
To close, we asked Nikolai about some of the developments in Danish SoundTech that he is particularly excited about. One is Danish Sound Day, a gathering of Danish SoundTech companies where they can show off their new innovations and win prizes for their work. He also described a Danish company that is beginning to expand out of the country that uses artificial intelligence to analyze emergency calls, helping officials to better understand the nature of the problems being reported. Nikolai also described several new developments with Bluetooth technology that will be useful for hearing aid companies and many other SoundTech ventures.
As with many other industries, innovation in SoundTech is facilitating stronger connections between countries, industries, people, and devices. As the DSC and other clusters get off the ground in 2021 we expect these connections to grow and multiply, and help Danish industry continue to punch well above its weight on the world tech stage.
Stay tuned for more posts diving into the Cluster project, and check out our website techbbq.dk for more info on how you can join the biggest tech and entrepreneurship event in Scandinavia and meet innovators from the Danish, Nordic, and global tech ecosystems.