All posts by Noora Suvanto

Bright Baana

Helsinki celebrates the UN International Year of Light with the Bright Baana event. In September, the bridges of Baana will transform into lighting installations for four days.

The year 2015 was nominated by UN as the international year of light and technology. Year of Light highlights the benefits to humanity offered by the fields of science that utilise light and their applications.

The beautiful experiences of light that Baana offers its users between 24 and 27 September 2015 are the result of cooperation between the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) of Finland, Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and City of Helsinki Public Works Department.

The purpose of the project is to gather experiences on the use of new, energy-efficient lighting solutions and their effect on the sense of comfort and safety.

The installations create visual rhythm, colour and interaction to the urban space – experiences that are more common under the theatre lights. The installations tell stories, highlight the details of architecture and comment on the history of the location.

Around ten lighting installations will be implemented on the just short of 1.5 kilometre route from Mannerheimintie to the Länsilinkki on Mechelininkatu.

Alinen, the underworld of spirits in Finnish folklore, has been the inspiration for the installations. Underworld was reached through a tunnel or a small cave, and during the journey, one could face the spirits of the departed, healing forces or spirit animals. The design groups have interpreted the theme freely, from an urban point of view. The theme emphasises the characteristics of Baana as a space for the citizens, which is separate from the city above, dominated by cars and commercial activities.

The international Year of Light declared by the UN aims to increase the awareness of the possibilities of lighting technology as the promoter of sustainable development. In accordance with the theme of the Year of Light, the lighting installations of Baana utilise energy-efficient light sources and smart control technology, which reacts to the pedestrians and cyclists on the route.

The event is implemented in cooperation with the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) of Finland, Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and City of Helsinki Public Works Department. Thirty lighting designers and designers have designed the installations as group works and the corporate members of the Illuminating Engineering Society of Finland have been a valuable help to the event by lending the devices used in the installations.

The installations will be built as the student works of Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences students of Electronics and Stage technology.

Baana, completed in 2012, opened up a cycling and pedestrian route from the West Harbour to the city centre, when the railway traffic was stopped on the old port tracks, built a hundred years earlier. In some places, Baana is a dramatic canyon, lined by steep cliff walls, and in other places it is a lively “living room” for the youth or a park-like embankment. The pedestrian and cycling corridor, which was built into a former railway canyon, was awarded as a commercial-free public space in the European Prize for Urban Public Space competition in 2014, from among nearly 200 European cities.

Artistic Director Lighting Designer, Master of Theatre Arts Tarja Ervasti tel. 050 529 2874

Producer: Architect Pia Rantanen, the City of Helsinki Public Works Department tel. 09 3103 8812

More information on the installations:


Explore Helsinki Design Week by touch

Interactive wayfinding service, running on the digital screens of central Helsinki, offers event tips and help for tourists and others in need of guidance. On the 3rd of September, aligned with the opening day of the Helsinki Design Week, the service is updated with new features, allowing people to browse information about the festival’s events.

Helsinki Design Week is the biggest design festival in Nordics, taking now place between 3rd and 13th of September. For people interested in the event, the outdoor touch screens in Helsinki city center share information about the events nearby, and routes to the location. With the help of Eventmore application, the events and routes can be explored with a smart phone. On the screens, animations allure people to touch and find their pick on Helsinki Design Week.

“During Helsinki Design Week there are 200 different events in the city. The wayfinding service on the city screens helps to find the most interesting ones. This supports our campaigning. It is also a great example of urban design,” says Hanna Harris, Program director of Helsinki Design Week.

Find your way with touch screens

All the outdoor screens are interactive touch screens that have a map-based wayfinding service. By tapping the map, users can find out more about attractions, events, public transportation and other important services. The map shows routes and walking distance within a five minute radius. The service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.

“Helsinki is the most popular and international place to visit in Finland. That is why wayfinding is really needed. The wayfinding service on the city screens helps to find central locations, attractions and events in the city,” says Tuulikki Becker from Visit Helsinki.

Making the most of digital screens

For the content, the service utilizes City of Helsinki’s open data sources available for anyone. In addition to the wayfinding, the screens offer a chance to test out new interactive services with Helsinki residents. The goal is to get people to participate and take action, via different campaigns for example.The City of Helsinki and Forum Virium Helsinki have together piloted digital wayfinding, signage as well as interactive services for several years now.

You’re welcome to test the re-launched wayfinding service on the screens around Helsinki city centre! The city screens are marked with a recognizable info sign.

More information:
Jenni Niemiaho, Producer
tel. 040 167 6680
Forum Virium Helsinki

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

Park & ride pilot at Olympic stadium


Menopeli park & ride application helps to avoid traffic jams

The most convenient way to get to major public events is usually by car. Especially for the people arriving from outside of the capital area, a car has been the easiest way to get to the location – despite the traffic jams caused by crowds. Forum Virium Helsinki and VTT are piloting a new park and ride application “Menopeli”. It helps to avoid traffic jams caused by big public events organised around the city.

Menopeli application suggests the most convenient route to the venue combining parking, motoring, public transportation and the on-demand bus service Kutsuplus.

The idea is to reduce the traffic around the venues and encourage drivers to leave their cars a bit further from the sites. And take other means of transportation for the rest of the way.

Piloting around the Olympic Stadium

Menopeli is piloted during the EURO 2016 Football European Championships Qualification. The matches are organised in the Olympic Stadium on the September 7th and October 11th 2015. Menopeli is marketed by the collaboration partners.

The application is targeted especially for people travelling outside of Helsinki. During the pilot, the test users are being monitored to see if there’s demand for this kind of service. We will also track how the application affects the demand for parking spaces around the venue. For event organizers, it is important that people get a cohesive experience from ticket purchase to arrival and journey back  home.

The parking options offered by Menopeli are satellite parking in Helsinki and Q-park Finlandia, the latter offering free parking space for the people who have purchased a ticket to the EURO 2016 games.

To continue to the event site, Menopeli shows options for public transportation, plus offers a chance to utilise the on-demand bus service Kutsuplus. The Kutsuplus ride can be booked without registration, and paid with SMS.

Menopeli is piloted with VTT and the Finnish Football Association. The application also uses HRT`s open data sources. The pilot is a part of an international Connecting Digital Cities 2015 project, funded by EIT Digital. The project partners are VTT, Thales, Cefriel, Polimi and Forum Virium Helsinki.

Download Menopeli at Google Play Store.

More information:
Forum Virium Helsinki
Development Director Kaisa Spilling
tel. +358 40 744 8831

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.


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 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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 11.08.22

Check out the digital photo exhibition and all the photos on!

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).


Mobile experiments in the city

Forum Virium Helsinki has been exploring how digital services can open up the city, its history and even the city construction plans for the citizens. In fall 2014, pilots were  run to test how augmented reality can be utilized in the urban planning of an old neighbourhood as well as in wayfinding services for the residents and tourists.

The pilots in Helsinki are a part of international Street Smart project, run in 2014. The project was funded by EIT ICT Labs, partnering Nokia, Deutsche Telekom, Telekom Italia, Aalto University, INRIA, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Politecnico di Milano, TU-Berlin, VTT and Forum Virium Helsinki.

Technological adventure game for youngsters

In the spring 2014, a technological adventure game was created for the Millenium-event. A lost laboratory of Professor Millenium invited youth to explore technology. Several schools from the capital area participated in the game and City of Helsinki employees were assisting at the checkpoints. The game was produced and organised by EIT ICT Labs, Forum Virium Helsinki, Nokia HIIT, VTT and TAF.


Exploring future plans of the neighbourhood

Forum Virium Helsinki, VTT and Helsinki City Planning department piloted a new mobile application to visualize construction plans for the citizens. Through VTT’s augmented reality application people got to know the future construction plans for the Koskela hospital area. The application showed how the new buildings would look like in their real environment.


Bitsign shows the way

Just before Christmas, new heart-shaped signs, Bitsigns, appeared in the Kamppi shopping centre. They offered a new way of navigating in the Christmas rush with the help of a mobile phone.

The Bitsign technology is based on augmented reality and developed in the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. The Kamppi pilot was part of EIT Digital’s Street Smart project run by HIIT, Aalto University, Nokia, Robustnorth, Vincint and Forum Virium Helsinki.

A dive into the urban history

In December 2014, Forum Virium Helsinki and VTT tested a new wayfinding concept linking the past and present when strolling the streets of Helsinki. The demo application took the user out on a historic tour, showing how the places used to look like hundred years ago. The photos were fetched from the Helsinki City Museum’s archives.


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


Interactive screens in the Helsinki customer service points

In collaboration with the City of Helsinki, Forum Virium Helsinki has launched an updated wayfinding service in the new interactive screens of the City of Helsinki’s customer service. The screens are available not only for tourists and visitors, but also residents of Helsinki.


The screens are located in the lobby of Helsinki City Hall, The Museum of Helsinki, Library 10, Railwaystation tourist information center, Helsinki Region Transport’s (HRT) service point, the customer service point of the Public Works Department and Helsinki Zoo.

Thanks to the screen’s touchscreen-ability, there’s been a chance to test out and create even more interactive services and flexible trials than before.

The updated service offers residents and tourists current news and information on things happening around the city. One can also check the flow of public transportation on the map. For the content, the service utilizes Helsinki’s open data sources available for anyone.


The services works in several languages: Finnish, Swedish, English and Russian. Officials working for the City of Helsinki can also share their own information on screens, regarding exceptional opening hours, for example. Also, after a user survey, more signage about the touch-screen ability was added as well as little mats inviting people to touch the screens.

Helsinki City Museum Application

Forum Virium Helsinki and VTT created an augmented reality demo for the Helsinki City museum. The photo archives of the museum are utilised in this app so that everyone could see how Helsinki used to look like in the beginning of 20th century.

VTT developed a demo based on the archive material provided by the Helsinki City museum. A map shows places and attractions to observe and visit. When the user is on site and looks through the camera, a historical (2D) photo appears on the screen showing what the place used to look like in the past. The application could be used with smart devices with a camera.


The demo was targeted for tourist as well as residents of Helsinki. The test group was taken through a path with three different points at attractions around the city centre, like the Senate Square. The map showed their location as well as a general view of all the attractions.

This pilot is a part of international Street Smart project, funded by EIT ICT Labs. The project partners are Nokia, Deutsche Telekom, Telekom Italia, Aalto University, INRIA, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Politecnico di Milano, TU-Berlin, VTT and Forum Virium Helsinki.

Exploring urban augmentation

In October 2014, VTT and Forum Virium Helsinki collaborated on a new pilot that presented the new construction plans for the Koskela Hospital and laundromat area through an augmented reality application.

This pilot on urban augmentation, offered residents of Koskela a unique chance to get acquainted with the future construction plans of the area.  During an open walking tour, the application showed people how the new, planned buildings would look like in their real environment.

KoskelaPicture: Suvi Kukkonen, Forum Virium Helsinki

The residents were happy with the application: they felt that it indeed help to conceptualise the plans. However, during the tour, the application only worked on a few tablets. It would have been handy to have it available on any mobile device at hand.

Picture: Suvi Kukkonen, Forum Virium Helsinki

After the successful walking tour, the group continued its discussion indoors and got to know the city’s plans even better.

This pilot is a part of international Street Smart project, funded by EIT Digital. The project partners are Nokia, Deutsche Telekom, Telekom Italia, Aalto University, INRIA, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Politecnico di Milano, TU-Berlin, VTT and Forum Virium Helsinki.


Bitsign App in Kamppi

New wayfinding application is being piloted in Kamppi shopping centre! Test the App in Kamppi.

In the beginning of December, heart-shaped Bitsign markers have appeared on Kamppi shopping centre. With a Bitsign application attached, they offer a new way of navigating in the Christmas rush of the Kamppi shopping centre.

Photo: EIT Digital

Using Bitsign is very simple: choose what you are looking for and scan the heart shaped markers on your smartphone. Arrows will appear on the screen and tell you where to go.


The markers will be in Kamppi shopping centre until the end of January 2015.

Simple digital solution for wayfinding indoors

Bitsign provides a new digital dimension to navigation. The application is based on augmented reality and you do not need internet connection, censors, or 3D modelling.

“The technologies behind Bitsign are already existing but the combination is completely unique,” says the head of the pilot Kai Kuikkaniemi.

With Bitsign, you can easily create new navigation experiences and make shopping more gamelike. The open data which is used in the application makes it even more versatile.


Bitsign was created in European Institution of Innovation and Technology (EIT). EIT supports the development and marketing of Bitsign. The Kamppi pilot is part of EIT ICT Labs` Street Smart project run by HIIT, Aalto University, Nokia, Robustnorth, Vincint and Forum Virium Helsinki.

Test the App in Kamppi! Download the free navigation app on At this point the application is available for Android and iPhone users.

More on the Street Smart project on:


Lights of Christmas

When the traditional Christmas lights are lit on Aleksanterinkatu on the 23rd of November, so kicks off our campaign Lights of Christmas (Valoisa Joulu). It is a chance for the residents of Helsinki to participate in the planning of the new Christmas lightning s for 2015,

Valoisajoulu_Exove Design/Miikka PirinenPicture: Exove Design / Miikka Pirinen

Lights of Christmas offers residents of Helsinki a chance to tell their view on the Christmas lighting for Helsinki. The campaign introduces a pre-set of Christmas light designs to vote from. After voting, one can pass his/her virtual Christmas light for friends on Facebook.

The votes for the Lights of Christmas can be casted via campaign website or by tapping the digital media screens around Helsinki city centre. The voting is on from 23rd of November to 7th of December 2014.

Valoisa Joulu_Exove Design/Miikka Pirinen Picture: Exove Design / Miikka Pirinen

The application is fun and simple to use. The results of the voting are utilized by the City of Helsinki Public Works Department when making plans for the Aleksanterinkatu’s Christmas lighting in the future.


Exove Design / Miikka PirinenPicture: Exove Design / Miikka Pirinen 

The campaign-related touch screens are covered with Christmas wrappings, so you can’t miss them! You can find them on Mannerheimintie, Pohjoisesplanadi, Mikonkatu, Kaisaniemi, Central Railway Station, Narinkkatori and around Kamppi area.

The Lights of Christmas campaign is a joint effort by Forum Virium Helsinki and the City of Helsinki Public Works Department. It is done as part of the Pinta project, aiming to create and pilot new forms of interactive services in the city. The campaign website and the application are designed by Exove Design.