2nd International UBI Challenge 2013

Hosted by the University of Oulu, Finland

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The jury's ranking of the finalists:

1. HotCity

Timo Ojala presents the First Place Award to Jeries Besharat

Contributors: Andreas Komninos, Jeries Besharat, Athanasios Plessas and Vassilios Stefanis, University of Patras, Greece.
Synopsis: The HotCity services demonstrates how collecting and mining the interactions that users make with the urban environment through social networks, can help tourists better plan activities, through sharing the collectively generated social context of a smart, connected city, as a background layer to mapped POI. The data for our service stems from the collection and analysis of 1-month worth of collected human-physical environment interactions (i.e., Foursquare check-ins) data in Oulu, where the service is deployed in ubiquitous public displays, the UBI-hotspots. Analysis of the data demonstrated that a good model of the city’s dynamics can be built despite the low popularity of Foursquare amongst locals. Findings from the field trial of the HotCity service yielded several useful insights and important contributions. It was found that the method of using a heatmap as an intermediate layer of environmental context does not negatively affect the experience of users at the cognitive level, compared with a more traditional map and POI type of interface, where temporal aspects of context are not present.
Publication: Komninos A, Besharat J, Ferreira D & Garofalakis J (2013) HotCity: Enhancing Ubiquitous Maps with Social Context Heatmaps. Proc. MUM 2013, Luleå, Sweden, article 52. DOI=

2. Martians from Outer Space

Timo Ojala presents the Second Place Award to Tommi Heikkinen

Contributor: Jukka Holappa, University of Oulu, Finland.
Synopsis: Martians from Outer Space is a location-aware collaborative multi-player game played on the UBI-hotspots, the network of interactive public displays deployed across the City of Oulu. The 3D game world is modeled after the city of Oulu, where players protect the city from a Martian invasion. The field study investigated the potential of the gaming platform, the effects of locality and how a more complex and challenging gaming experience on public displays is received. The field study demonstrated that locality does have a significant effect on the game-play especially when the player can actually see the familiar surroundings in the game world. While the use of the different services between the UBI-hotspots varies, the proposed game has been very popular compared to other, more casual games.
Publication: Holappa J, Heikkinen T & Roininen E (2013) Martians from Outer Space: Experimenting with Location-aware Cooperative Multiplayer Gaming on Public Displays. Proc. MUM 2013, Luleå, Sweden, article 53. DOI=

The 2nd International UBI Challenge 2013 invited the global R&D community to design, implement, deploy end evaluate novel applications and services in real-world setting at downtown Oulu, Finland.

The goal of the UBI Challenge was to:

  • Make the Open UBI Oulu testbed available to the international R&D community.
  • Stimulate global research collaboration on urban informatics in a very concrete manner.
  • Provide the international R&D community with an opportunity to transfer ideas from labs into real-world urban environment.
  • Support developing metrics for evaluating urban computing infrastructure and applications in real-world setting.

The 2nd International UBI Challenge 2013 built on the legacy of the 1st International UBI Challenge 2011. There, proposals from four university research teams in Germany, Greece, Spain and Switzerland were selected as the finalists by the international jury. The four teams spent summer 2011 in Oulu, implementing, deploying and evaluating their applications in the hands of the general public. Eventually, the jury selected the FunSquare application contributed by Professor Marc Langheinrich's team in the University of Lugano as the winner. The award ceremony was held at the MUM 2011 conference in Beijing, China, in Dec 2011.

The setup of the 2nd UBI Challenge was somewhat different to that of the 1st UBI Challenge. This time the finalists are not required to spend 2-3 months in Oulu to deploy and evaluate their applications. Instead, in the spirit of the upcoming UBI RD (Remote Deployment) program we trial remote participation where the finalists submit their working applications for deployment and data collection by UBI researchers. Finalists are still encouraged to come to Oulu to participate in the field trial part in June-Aug 2013. Each finalist gets 2000 EUR grant from the UBI RIR (Researcher in Residence) programfor covering expenses such as travel to Oulu.

The computing infrastructure available in the 2nd UBI Challenge was much more versatile, including a very large interactive wall and an interactive table located in the entrance hall of the largest movie theatre in Oulu with ~1000 daily visitors, a 3D virtual model of downtown Oulu and traffic loop sensors around the city.

The award ceremony was organized as a UBI Challenge special session in the MUM 2013 conference held in Luleå, Sweden, on Dec 4, 2013. There the finalists presented their papers and received their award diplomas.

Additional information on the UBI Challenge:

The award recipients of the 1st International UBI Challenge 2011 pose with their diplomas and prize cheques (from left): 1. FunSquare: Nemanja Memarovic and Ivan Elhart; 2. CLIO: Eleni Christopoulou and Dimitrios Ringas; 3. Digifieds: Florian Alt; 4. RunWithUs: Felipe Gil-Castineira; Timo Ojala (Chair of Jury). The awards were presented at MUM 2011, Beijing, China, on Dec 7, 2011.