Category Archives: Pilots

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
[email protected]
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
[email protected]

Interactive screens complement digital wayfinding

The interactive city screens of the future might serve as a feedback channel and offer real-time personalized information about what’s happening in the city.

Digital and interactive screens are an increasingly visible part of the urban landscape. In tomorrow’s Helsinki they will be used as city guides and information channels. The interactive screens are ideal for integrated, participatory campaigns as well as for media art and visualizations.

Forum Virium Helsinki has been testing different kinds of wayfinding and interactive services on Clear Channel’s city screens. In the pilot projects conducted together with several city departments, the advertising screens have been used for diverse communications purposes.

The development work for creating interactive services for Helsinki’s digital media channels started from the needs of tourist guidance around three years ago. Since then, city screens both outdoors and indoors have been tested for delivering interactive map and information services for tourists and residents. This interactive service at customer service points utilize open data, and city departments have also produced their own information content to the screens.

“The digital wayfinding service for touchscreens fetches information from the city’s open data sources, which are also accessible for other service providers. The sources include news from the Metro newspaper and the City of Helsinki, the Linked events interface as well as public transport stop and route information from HRT,” Pekka Koponen from Forum Virium Helsinki elaborates.

“A useful idea, particularly with the map services and events info being available in different languages,” the users applaud.

Besides wayfinding, Forum Virium Helsinki is exploring opportunities with a broader range of interactive content. “We have produced and tested several interactive campaigns together with the city – from questionnaires to polls and participatory campaigns that activate the strollers on the streets,” project manager Kaisa Spilling says.

The first interactive experiment was conducted during the Ice Hockey World Championship in 2012. Passers-by had the chance to compete in light-hearted ice-hockey themed quizzes. Later on the screens have enabled people to test their animal expertise in a quiz at Helsinki Zoo, explore the e-book services offered by the Helsinki City Library and vote in the architectural contest for the design of Helsinki Central Library.

Forum Virium Helsinki and city departments are continuing their development work with media screens for both services and content. The idea is that in the future, the screens will provide residents with contextual information, serve as a feedback channel, and even offer customized information about current city events.

PINTA (“SURFACE”)
Digital media screens offer information based on time, place, event and audience.

Why it’s done
The screens provide residents and tourists digital wayfinding and interactive services, and also a chance to communicate with the City of Helsinki.

Who’s involved
The City of Helsinki Public Works Department, HRT, Helsinki Marketing Ltd, Helsinki City Library, the City of Helsinki Information Technology and Communications division, Clear Channel and Forum Virium Helsinki.

Who it serves
Locals and tourists, city departments.

Duration
2011–2015

Website
www.forumvirium.fi/en/project-areas/smart-city/pinta

Text: Petja Partanen, Tarinatakomo
Picture: Joel Pekari, Forum Virium Helsinki

The original article was published as part of Forum Virium Helsinki’s publication Building an open city.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

 

A dive into the history of Helsinki with augmented reality

Inspired by urban history, Forum Virium Helsinki and VTT have been testing a new wayfinding concept linking the past and present when strolling the streets of Helsinki. The demo application takes you out on a historic tour, showing how the places used to look like 100 years ago. The concept was tested with a demo application in December 2014.

With the help of augmented reality, the application offers sightseeing spiced with history, touring the main attractions in the old part of the city center. At location, the app shows photos taken exactly at the same spot from the beginning of 20th century. The photos are fetched from the Helsinki City Museum’s archives.

The app is targeted for tourists, as well as the residents of Helsinki. It can be used with smart devices with a camera. A map shows places and attractions to observe and visit.

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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.

Testing in the city centre

In December 2014, the demo application was introduced for a small test group. The aim was to get feedback, and to test the concept as a whole. The group was lead by developers from VTT, who operated the demo devices and showed the test group how the application works.

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.

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In general, user friendliness was seen as the key when further developing the application, not to mention paying attention to the limitations of mobile and safety issues. The users also called for some kind of a “wow effect” to the application. The feedback strengthened the preliminary plans for the service.

“The pictures were only kind of flowing on top of the street view. They should be special enough to bring some extra value to the regular view. Short stories behind the photos would also be intriguing.“

People were also hoping for an audio guide or some kind of sign poles so that they would know where to stand and which way to look when on site. An audio guide would be useful especially for wintertime conditions. For tourists, it would be handy if the application would offer other sorts of information as well.

New usage for archives

The demo application demonstrated how the museum archives do in fact inspire new services. Innovative concepts and applications help to bring the museum contents for wider use. There’s also a lot of potential in the technology for creating new ways to understand the city and its history, narrating the city landscape, and branding the city.

The pilot is part of Street Smart, an international project funded by the EIT Digital.

Pictures: Helsinki City Museum; Noora Suvanto, Forum Virium Helsinki

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.

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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.

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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.

MuseoBlogi1

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.

Koskela2
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.

 

New mobile guide piloted in the Kamppi shopping centre

In the beginning of December, new heart-shaped signs appeared in the Kamppi shopping centre. They offer a new way of navigating in the Christmas rush with the help of a mobile phone. The digital navigation is provided by the service called Bitsign.

Photo: EIT Digital

Using Bitsign service is very simple: upload the free navigation App at www.kamppi.fi/kurkkaa. Choose what you are looking for and scan the heart shaped markers on your smartphone. The arrows on your phone’s screen will show you which way to go. This video shows it all:

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

Bitsign is a simple digital solution for wayfinding indoors. It is based on augmented reality. There’s no need to have internet connection, censors, or 3D modelling.

– Bitsign is built on existing technologies but the combination is completely unique, tells the head of the pilot Kai Kuikkaniemi.

With Bitsign, you can easily create new navigation experiences and make shopping more like gaming. The utilisation of open data brings even more versatility to the application.

The Bitsign technology is based on augmented reality. 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 at www.kamppi.fi/kurkkaa.

Project Manager Kaisa Spilling
Forum Virium Helsinki
email: kaisa.spilling(at)forumvirium.fi
tel. +358 40 744 8831

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