Young people will upgrade your shopping trip with 5G technology

5G solutions developed by upper secondary school and higher education students were tested out at the A Bloc shopping centre in September.
Aalto University / a child trying out VR glasses / photo: Atte Leskinen
Students gave A Bloc customers an opportunity to try out a VR headset.

Last summer, the 5G Hack the Mall course challenged upper secondary school and university students to consider what new 5G technology could add to the experience of visiting a shopping centre. The 5G solutions developed by the students, such as bringing an internal 5G network and VR equipment that utilises it into the shopping centres, were tested out in September when the Back to the Mall 5.0 pop-up weeks were organised at the A Bloc shopping centre.

In the Back to the Mall 5.0 project, A Bloc became a futuristic 5G shopping centre. The event presented 5G service opportunities of the future and brought to the shopping centre the latest 5G demonstrations, such as 5G mobile phones and a functional 5G network, as well as the industry’s leading experts and business managers.

‘5G makes it possible to share information and intelligence within the environment – not only between people but also between products – and thus it enables the development of completely new types of services. Meanwhile, young people have the opportunity to harness 5G in ways that their elders cannot even imagine’, says Nokia representative and one of the visiting experts Veli-Pekka Luoma.

Aalto University / Emma Niemenmaa trying out VR glasses in Aalto Shop / photo: Atte Leskinen
Emma Niemenmaa uses an AR headset in the Aalto University Shop.
Aalto University / customers in front of the pop up stand / photo: Atte Leskinen
The Back to the Mall project presented the 5G service opportunities of the future.

A learning journey to a shopping centre

The aim of the project was to develop a learning and experimental environment where young people could learn about 5G technology and the educational and work opportunities it presents. It's based on the students' idea of  shopping centres as places where young people can learn, network and utilise the technology available there, such as 5G and virtual reality.

‘The purpose of the previous 5G Hack The Mall course was to get university and upper secondary school students interested in 5G technology and its possible applications. Now we were able to apply the output of the course in a practical environment,’ said Mikko Nikkanen, who participated in the project.

A Bloc visitors were given the opportunity to try out VR and AR equipment as well as 5G mobile phones, which were brought to the location by partner companies and universities. At the same time, the students gathered feedback from participants on the service experience and service needs.

Aalto University / Emma Niemenmaa and Mikko Nikkanen explaining how to use VR glasses / photo: Atte Leskinen
Emma Niemenmaa and Mikko Nikkanen show participants how to use a VR headset.

‘Through the project work, I gained experience in customer service work and got an overview of what is needed to run and maintain these kinds of presentation stands. It was great to be able to develop the project we started in the summer’, says Emma Niemenmaa, another of the project participants.

Next, the project team will travel to California, where during October it will conduct market research and implement customer pilots in two shopping centres. In November, students will run a two-day event in the Sello shopping centre.

The Back to the Mall project was produced in cooperation with Aalto University, Nokia Corporation, Aalto University Properties Ltd, the University of Helsinki, the University of Oulu, Ernst & Young Ltd, Elisa Plc, Telia Finland Plc, DNA Plc, OnePlus Finland Ltd, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd and the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences XAMK. The youth-based network Start North assisted with the practical organisation of the programme.

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