People of ACM European Chapters - Timo Tokkonen

February 21, 2019

Can you briefly describe your own line of research and how you became interested in this area?

My passion is to make technology help people. My background in human computer-interaction (HCI) is more from industry than academia. My current topics of interest are related to supporting research and development work and development of connected cars and roads—especially how the role and requirements of the driver are changing. I have been working in mobile and new technology areas since the 1990s, connecting companies and academia in different ways. My interest areas are born out of cooperation and research with University of Jyväskylä, University of Oulu and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

In your area of research, what recent advance/emerging subfield will yield important advances in the years ahead?

Technological development will continue to be fast, and mobile communication solutions continue to be integrated into our everyday environments, including cars and mobility. Traffic systems based fully or mostly on autonomous or self-driving cars are still in the future. Even then there will be a human element required somewhere in the system. For that we should not forget our target—ultimately it is people we are trying to serve, not machinery working for machinery. We should remember key lessons from history when building new systems. Thus we should not forget the core aspects of HCI.

Will you tell us a little about the ACM Finland SIGCHI Chapter?

SIGCHI Finland was founded in 2001. We have been and continue to be a chapter linking researchers, teachers, students and area professionals from big and small companies. Our mailing lists and LinkedIn group reach almost 500 people—that is quite significant in a small country like Finland. We have a small but very active group of people on our board who organize several HCI events every year. All our events are free for everyone, thanks to our members, supporting companies and other sponsors.

We organize an annual Master's Thesis Competition in HCI to do our small part in highlighting the importance of human factors in computing and technology. We want to give credit to teachers and students who are continuing the work we see as important. This is our way of saying "Keep up the good work also in the future".

How is being part of the chapter beneficial to members?

SIGCHI Finland is focusing on raising the visibility of HCI. Providing a network for professionals is one core aspect, but we also want to make sure that newcomers can find their way in and connect with contacts they could work with. It is not only the members we want to reach. Free seminars on recent and important topics featuring high-level speakers in different locations in Finland and local cooperation are the main benefits we want to offer to our members and like-minded people. We want to build and share our network.

Timo Tokkonen is CEO at Tokkonen Group, where he coaches companies and startups about strategy, emerging technology, intellectual property rights, research and development processes, and other topics. He earned an MSc degree from the University of Oulu (Finland) in Astronomy, Computer Science and Applied Mathematics.

Tokkonen serves as Chair of the ACM Finland SIGCHI Chapter.