Bitsign: Positive feedback from Kamppi

Between December 2014 and January 2015, a new mobile guide was piloted in the Kamppi shopping centre. With the help of a smartphone application and heart-shaped signs on the floor, people were able to find stores and services fast and easy.

The mobile guide is based on Bitsign technology and utilises augmented reality. The service is designed to find fast services in the shopping center: the user downloads the application, chooses a store/location from the menu and scans the first heart-shaped sign at sight. After that, arrows on the screen show which way to go. There were 250 marker signs placed around the shopping center.

“Technically the app worked well. The pilot give ideas of the number of stickers and the quality needed for high traffic areas like Kamppi,” says Kamppi shopping center manager Heli Vainio.

During the pilot, Forum Virium Helsinki was on location and helped people to download and use the application. A user experience survey was also conducted with an online questionnaire, reaching 50 replies.

Intuitive and fun

In general, the application received very positive feedback. A majority of people who had time to test the app, also found it useful. They felt that the service was easy to use, fun, and even positively surprising.

It was clear for users that this kind of application would be handy in an unfamiliar place and especially if there was a specific need at hand. The application would naturally work in other shopping centres, but also hospitals, libraries and other big public spaces. Or it could help those who were lost.

“The application worked well once customers had it downloaded on their phones, but the idea of offering it to busy commuters as a tool for wayfinding didn’t work out. When in a hurry, people don’t have extra time to use for downloading,” Heli Vainio continues.

When time is the essence, people would probably benefit more for a generic city application offering commercial and non-commercial applications alike. A service, that would already be in your mobile phone without major extra effort, and work as a Bitsign-styled wayfinding service, among others.

Simpler wayfinding

“Bitsign is aimed to become an open data and open API solution for wayfinding. It can complement other location techniques or work standalone. Core thing is that it should make providing and experiencing wayfinding simpler and bridge wayfinding to other onsite digital experiences such as augmented reality based exploration of site,” says Kai Kuikkaniemi from HIIT.

Bitsign was created by EIT Digital. The Kamppi pilot is part of EIT Digital’s international Street Smart project run by HIIT, Aalto University, Nokia, Robust North, Vincint and Forum Virium Helsinki. Forum Virium Helsinki participated in planning and production of the pilot and concept and marketing.

The original article was published in the Forum Virium Helsinki’s website.

Lights of winter: Digital photo exhibition on urban screens

Lights of winter (Valoisa Talvi) was a photo contest and a digital photo exhibition never before done in Helsinki. The residents of Helsinki were asked to  take a photograph of a lighting that inspires them and tag it #valoisatalvi or #valoisajoulu. The top ten was displayed on the urban screens in Helsinki city centre.

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Following in the footsteps of the former Lights of Christmas campaign (Valoisa Joulu), the Lights of Winter aimed to get residents of Helsinki to participate in urban planning. For the City of Helsinki public works department, it was a means to engage the people and a follow up in the lights of christmas campaign from december.

The ten most inspiring photos were displayed on the urban screens in Helsinki city centre between 3rd and 9th of February.  Three lucky contestant also won a gift card for Rajala Pro shop.

The campaign was advertised on the urban screens around Helsinki city centre as well as on valoisatalvi.fi and on Facebook. In total, 80 photographs were entered to the contest with hashtags #valoisatalvi and #valoisajoulu. The campaign event page on Facebook had about 80 participants.

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Check out the digital photo exhibition and all the photos on valoisatalvi.fi!

The campaign was done as a part of the Pinta project,  creating and testing out new forms interactive services and wayfinding in Helsinki. The project is funded by City of Helsinki’s innovation fund, coordinated by Forum Virium Helsinki. Partners are The City of Helsinki Communication Department, Public Works Department, City Library, Helsinki Marketing Ltd and Helsinki Region Transport (HRT).