‘Smart mall’ trial goes live in Helsinki

17th June 2020 Sarah Wray

The City of Helsinki is trialling the use of 5G and Narrowband-IoT networks to collect data at the recently opened Mall of Tripla. The findings could form the bedrock for future smart city applications and services.

Working with telco Telia and property developer YIT, the Mall of Tripla will use sensors to collect data on the flows of people and bicycles around the shopping centre and its vicinity, as well as temperature, humidity and air quality.

A key objective of the project is to create new services and business models based on the technology and data, and also consider how the work can be scaled beyond the mall.

“The 5G trials in the vicinity of Mall of Tripla are an excellent example of how the city can work with its partners to create opportunities for innovative business activities”, said Marja-Leena Rinkineva, Director of Economic Development, City of Helsinki.

The IoT solutions that produce open data for the trial period are being provided by Loopshore, MarshallAI, Nodeon, Wapice, Wizense and the University of Helsinki, and the university is maintaining a platform to make the data available to the developers both during the project and beyond.

“The project focuses on collecting experiences of how the smart city and smart mall can generate added value to each other and work as an experimental platform for innovations,” a statement from the City of Helsinki said. “Mall of Tripla and its surroundings offer a dynamic environment for this, where we can develop and introduce services that are beneficial to the mall and its customers. By combining different kinds of data sources, we can also increase the understanding of the other urban environment, which offers possibilities to develop new services.”

Towards smart cities

The Mall of Tripla opened in October 2019, complete with Telia’s 5G. It is said to the Nordic’s biggest shopping centre and has been hailed as a “new breed” of development which integrates entertainment and public services alongside shops.

A small fleet of autonomous buses being trialled by the City of Helsinki also runs close to the mall.

Kati Kivimäki, CEO, Mall of Tripla, said: “Managing the customer experience is extremely important at Mall of Tripla and we need data and new kinds of services to develop it. It is really interesting to be part of a new technology project, which combines data relating to people’s behaviour, smart properties and the urban environment. Mall of Tripla is a modern city centre and a pioneer in many sectors. It is thus really interesting to provide a platform for new services and business models.”

Telia called Mall of Tripla “the centre of 5G in Helsinki” due to its strong indoor coverage and fast connection speed.

“It is thus quite relevant, that we are working with our partners to trial the services of the future and show the direction for a smart city right here in the blocks of our new headquarters”, said Janne Koistinen, manager of the 5G programme at Telia Finland.

Mikko Kuusakoski, Head of Data and Analytics, YIT, noted: “Collecting practical 5G experiences with our partners will help us make the right decisions in our projects that are currently being planned.”

The trial runs until September.

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