Tag Archives: Featured

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 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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 11.08.22

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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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 kamppi.fi/kurkkaa. At this point the application is available for Android and iPhone users.

More on the Street Smart project on: https://www.forumvirium.fi/en/project-areas/smart-city/street-smart


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 valoisajoulu.fi 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.

New ways to explore the future plans for the neighbourhood

Street Smart pilot / Urban Augmentation

In October 2014, a new way to present construction plans for the citizens was tested in collaboration with Helsinki City Planning department, VTT and Forum Virium Helsinki. Through VTT’s augmented reality application, people in Koskela neighbourhood got to know the future construction plans for the Koskela hospital area. The application showed people how the new buildings would look like in their real environment. This pilot is part of the EIT ICT Street Smart project.

Four different construction plans have been made for the Koskela hospital and laundromat site. The plans were evaluated on a chilly walking tour around the Koskela area, and in a group discussion that followed the walk. Anyone interested in the topic was able to join these events.

img_4580Picture: Suvi Kukkonen

Augmented reality illustrating the future plans

There were about 20 people participating in the walking tour arranged by the designers for Helsinki City Planning Department. All the participants on the walking tour explored also the plans with the augmented reality application.

The application illustrates the plans in their real environment and it is used with a tablet or other smart devices with camera. Most of the users perceived the application easy to use. The feedback was positive, the application functioned well technically and many thought that the urban augmentation helped them to visualize the plans on the site. The application added a new dimension to the traditional ways of visualizing, but some of the users felt that the traditional pictures would have been enough.

img_4547Picture: Suvi Kukkonen

Some users wished for more accurate and detailed designs for the application. For now the designs were too rough to evaluate. The application illustrated a good overall view of the area and helped the users to visualize the use of the space, location of the buildings and the height differences between the buildings. Users also hoped that the application could be used on a bigger screen or that they could download the application for their smartphones so that anyone interested could explore the plans on their own.

“The augmented reality helped to visualize the used space and proportions of the city space. The application has its limitations and it is not meant for every situation. For example the trees around Koskela area limited the use of the application in this pilot”, says Antti Varkemaa, project manager from the Helsinki City Planning Department.

The four different plans as a starting point for planning were considered as a good idea. All in all people felt that this kind of event was a good way of getting people involved in city planning and urban augmentation brought a new dimension to visualizing the plans.


More information:

Kaisa Spilling, email kaisa.spilling(at)forumvirium.fi
Charles Woodward, email charles.woodward(at)vtt.fi

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