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Share memories, exercise, advertise – new social networking services developed by international teams take over the ubiquitous city of Oulu in Finland

Julkaistu 29.06.2011

International top researchers in the field of ubiquitous computing will publish new interactive social networking services in the UBI Challenge application development competition. The services will be available free of charge at the unique UBI displays in the heart of the city of Oulu from 7/7/2011. Everyone is welcome to test the new services at the UBI display in the main library of Oulu at the address Kaarlenväylä 3 on the 7th of July 2011 at 1-2 pm, when the services will be introduced to citizens and visitors. Representatives from the finalist teams will also be present.

The new services are participating in the finals of the First International Open Ubiquitous City Challenge. The teams have been provided with a unique chance to deploy their services for the use of citizens in an actual urban environment. The finalists have been chosen by an international panel of judges from applications received from all over the world. This jury will evaluate the implementation of the services in the finals based on, among other things, the reactions of citizens, and it will choose the winner of the challenge in autumn 2011. The finalist teams include some of the globally leading figures in the research of ubiquitous computing.

The CLIO service enables the formation of collective memories, the shared memory of the townspeople. A user of a UBI display can, for example, view, share and comment on information about places worth visiting, or relate memories they have about a certain place. The service has been developed by a research team from the University of Ionia in Greece.

The Digifieds service allows anyone to add their own classified ads to a digital notice board on a UBI display. The data is easily downloadable into the user’s own mobile devices. A digital classified can be accompanied by videos or information on the location, for example. The content can be commented on, evaluated and recommended. The service is the work of a group of researchers and students from the universities of Duisburg-Essen and Lugano.

Funsquare, ‘the factory of fun facts’, offers information on the surroundings of a certain UBI display, related, for example, to the history or current events of the place. People can express their opinions on the presented information through a UBI display. The universities of Lugano in Switzerland, Duisburg-Essen in Germany, Lancaster in the United Kingdom, and Minho in Portugal have all participated in developing the Funsquare service.

RunWithUs, developed by a research team from the University of Vigo in Spain, is a service which offers athletes, runners in particular, a new way of sharing information. The application uses wireless networks, allowing the runner to choose a route used by fellow runners of the same level, for example, or to check the map to see where friends are currently running and join them. The users of the service can compete with themselves or other enthusiasts by comparing their times via the social network attached to the service. This encourages and motivates to exercise regularly.

The challenge and the unique infrastructure of urban computing used for it are a part of the multidisciplinary UBI programme. The UBI programme is coordinated by the MediaTeam Oulu research group, operating in the Computer Science Laboratory at the University of Oulu. The purpose of the UBI programme is to research how urban computing can generate a new kind of urban culture and new services that are able to combine the physical, digital and social spaces of the city. The UBI programme is supported by Business Oulu, the Center for Internet Excellence, the European Regional Development Fund, Infotech Oulu, the Centre of Expertise Programme, the city of Oulu, the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, the University of Oulu, the Council of Oulu Region, the Academy of Finland, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, and companies.

Requests for interviews and information:

Hannakaisa Aikio, press officer, MediaTeam, hannakaisa.aikio@oulu.fi, tel. +358 400 142 293
Tommi Heikkinen, project manager, MediaTeam, tommi.heikkinen@oulu.fi, tel. +358 40 527 9241
The website of the UBI Challenge: http://www.ubioulu.fi/en/UBI-challenge