Tag Archives: Wayfinding

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.

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.



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.

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.

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.

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