SELECT for Cities project closing the testing phase

During the summer months, Center for Knowledge and Innovation Research (CKIR) of Aalto University School of Business has been deeply involved in engaging users in a testing process, related to urban solutions developed for Helsinki citizens and tourists.
SELECT for Cities logo, and Digital Enabler for cities logo

In autumn 2018, Digital Enabler platform was selected as one of the three platforms to be tested in Helsinki and Antwerp, related to a Pre-Commercial Procurement Project called SELECT for Cities. CKIR is a member of the Digital Enabler consortium responsible especially for the user engagement tasks, due to its long tradition and experience in Living Lab methodology and user testing.

To showcase the possibilities of the Digital Enabler platform, two dashboards, NAME and LUCIDAT and one application, AthletesInHelsinki, were finalised during spring 2019 and were ready to go through an intensive testing process in Helsinki during July and August. All these solutions cover different elements of air quality and noise:

AthletesInHelsinki application (currently available for Android) enables the user to see the best route for practicing outdoor activities. It calculates the cumulative exposure to pollutants at the chosen location for the activity, and along the path to reach such location (on foot or by bicycle). Based on the inputs of the user (date and time of departure and the means of transport), the application provides a list of destinations (parks or other places where to practice outdoor activities) and for each of them calculates the best route to minimize the exposure to pollutants. A typical end user of AthletesInHelsinki application is a consumer (citizen or tourist).

NAME dashboard gives insight regarding the traffic level in the Helsinki area, starting from data coming from air quality and noise sensors. The different districts of Helsinki are covered with those sensors. The user can subscribe to a specific area of Helsinki and choose if he/she wants to receive Telegram messages or email when traffic level in that area reaches the chosen threshold. The NAME dashboard is primarily intended for city official use; however consumers can certainly benefit from it as well.

LUCIDAT dashboard allows users to be aware of new deducted information based on data coming from sensors and Open APIs. This information includes events, city bike stations, real-time weather monitoring, most recent public transport alerts and pollutants level in the Helsinki area. Descriptions of the events and POIs are provided with direct links to the corresponding websites. The dashboard is divided into 4 main sections, each of which covers a certain aspect: 1) POIs, events and transport information, 2) current weather and forecasts, 3) air quality and gas sources and 4) noise level. This dashboard can be utilized by both city officials and consumers.

In addition to these three solutions, selected users in Jätkäsaari area with sensor kits were provided with customized, “Better breathe and fit” dashboard, which shows information regarding air quality measured by their sensors and forecast about pollutants level, considering the actual weather of the city. More specifically, the sensor kits are placed on the balcony or windowsill, and the selected users can follow the real-time level of pollution in their neighbourhood.

During the testing process, CKIR project researchers conducted a total of 50 user interviews with citizens, tourists and visitors of Helsinki in two public destinations in Helsinki city center: The Helsinki Central Library Oodi, which is a popular destination for both citizens and visitors as a brand new “icon” of Helsinki and in Helsinki University Main Library called “Kaisa-talo”. The interviews were structured so that the user was familiarized comprehensively with the selected dashboard and then interviewed. Moreover, Jätkäsaari citizens with sensor kits were interviewed online about their experiences on the customized “Better breathe and fit” dashboard.

The results from these interviews, combined with the information received from workshops and other feedback collection from variety of users both in Helsinki and Antwerp, will benefit further development of the Digital Enabler platform and the related solutions.

Want to know more? Check the news sections of Digital Enabler ( and SELECT for Cities project ( or contact directly the CKIR/Aalto University representatives via [email protected].

Select for Cities -project has been testing different solutions that help citizens, companies and City of Helsinki to benefit from the collected data. City of Helsinki innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki and the piloting companies have recruited test users to try different features of the platform such as visualization, analytics, sharing and protecting of the data. Read more from Forum Virium website:

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