Open UBI Oulu

The Open UBI(quitous) Oulu has many facets. It is a functional prototype of a future ubiquitous city where ICT infrastructure is embedded invisibly into the urban space, turning it into a smart environment, a smart city. There different actors employ the infrastructure to provide the general public with services improving the everyday life. At the same time the open UBI Oulu is a unique public city laboratory for studying human-city interaction "in the wild". There real users use the infrastructure and services in authentic urban setting at their own. Over a long period of time we create the technical and cultural readiness and the critical mass of users needed to evaluate whether a particular infrastructure or service is (un)successful.

The foundation of the Open UBI Oulu is the novel pervasive computing infrastructure deployed at downtown Oulu, including different wireless networks and interactive public displays. The infrastructure is employed to develop two types of “proof of concept” prototypes, short-term small-scale DEMOs and longitudinal large-scale PILOTs. Their empirical evaluation with real users in authentic urban setting quantifies the benefits brought to a particular application domain, and generates feedback and requirements to be taken into account in the next iterative design cycle. The DEMOs and PILOTs also play a very important role in showing in a very concrete manner to the people and to the community what can be done with leading edge technology.

The Open UBI Oulu initiative is led by the UBI (UrBan Interactions) research program coordinated by the University of Oulu. The program is implemented by a project portfolio funded by various public sources and industry, in close collaboration with the City of Oulu.