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.

 BRIGHT BAANA ORGANISATION:
Artistic Director Lighting Designer, Master of Theatre Arts Tarja Ervasti
[email protected] tel. 050 529 2874

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

More information on the installations: www.valoisabaana.fi

 

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.

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.

Voting for the Christmas lighting in Helsinki

It’s a tradition that every year Aleksanterinkatu is shining with light when the Christmas lights are lit to mark the upcoming holidays. This year, residents of Helsinki also had a chance to tell their view on the Christmas lighting for Helsinki. A campaign introduced people a new set of Christmas light designs to vote from. The results of the voting are utilized by the City of Helsinki Public Works Department when making plans for the lighting in future.

The Lights of Christmas campaign involved people in planning the new lighting of the city. From a pre-set of lightning designs, one could vote his/her favourite in December. The votes were casted at the campaign website (www.valoisajoulu.fi) or via interactive media touchscreens around the city centre. By voting residents got to participate in the planning of the new Christmas lights and pass on their own virtual Christmas light for friends.

Valoisajoulu_Exove Design:Miikka PirinenPicture: Exove Design / Miikka Pirinen

Creating an international image for Helsinki

“Christmas lighting can help us to make Helsinki more attractive and appealing during winter,” says the manager of lighting Juhani Sandström from the City of Helsinki Public Works Department. The lights that are being planned now will be hanged next Christmas. Previously, it’s been vendors and decision-makers who have been engaged in the planning of the lightning, via different kinds of workshops. “Now the Lights of Christmas campaign gives us opinions of the residents,” continues Sandström. The user opinions are going to be utilized in the project during the next year.

Up until now, the Christmas lights in Aleksanterinkatu have been funded and executed by vendor organizations and marketing companies in the city centre. In the future, also the City of Helsinki will be financing the lights. The city is currently preparing a study, which will help to create guidelines for the lighting. With these guidelines, it will be easier for the partners to produce a coherent Christmas lighting for the city.

The Lights of Christmas campaign was a joint effort by Forum Virium Helsinki and the City of Helsinki Public Works Department. It was 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 were designed by Exove Design.

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

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

 

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.

DSC_0062

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.

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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.