Pulssi service predicts urban people flow with IoT-TICKET® and AI

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Tampereen Pulssi is the City of Tampere’s latest tool on the way to a more pleasant urban experience. Pulssi is built around the IoT-TICKET® service and Wapice’s AI expertise. It is piloted in the area around the Nokia Arena in connection with the Ice Hockey World Championship, which starts this week. The service can be found in the Tampere.Finland app.

Everyone knows what it’s like to be terribly hungry, only to find that restaurant kitchens are already closed. Or when you finally have time to take the kids on a tour of the city, but all you see are shop windows and closed doors. The situation is just as frustrating for businesses. The root of the problem is the unpredictability of modern mobility.

It often remains unclear when people are on the move, how big the crowd is, and how many of them will enter through the doors.

Ville Brusi, Business Coordinator, City of Tampere

“A crystal ball, that’s what has been hoped for. Businesses are well aware of what happens inside their own walls once the customer enters the shop. What happens outside the walls, on the other hand, is another story. It remains unclear when people are on the move, how big the crowd is, and how many of them will enter through the doors. For example, events at Nokia Arena have had very different effects on the flow of people. When one of Finland's most popular artists was performing, it didn't have much impact on the number of visitors to nearby shopping centres, but when an international artist performed, the shops were filled to the brim,” comments Ville Brusi from the City of Tampere, who coordinates Pulssi.

If services in the city centre can adapt more intelligently to rapidly changing flows of people, everyone wins. City residents can enjoy dinner without excessive queues, while the restaurateur can manage staff and supplies to avoid running out of food - and minimise waste. Ultimately, services tailored to the flow of people also affect the attractiveness of the city centre.

From weather forecasting to people flow forecasting

Technically, the service works by collecting data from different sources and using it to build a forecast of visitor flows for a month ahead, like a weather forecast. In the pilot phase, data will be collected from traffic cameras in the city centre and from the weather forecast, taking into account days of the week, public holidays and events at Nokia Arena, among other things. Pulssi will offer forecasts to its users as early as during the Ice Hockey World Championship in May. Any received feedback also contributes to the further development of the service.

In the future, forecast data can support not only the resourcing of city centre businesses, but also property and urban planning, security and emergency preparedness, and traffic management.

Mickey Shroff, Head of AI, Wapice

Screenshot of Tampereen Pulssi

The map view of the Tampereen Pulssi service shows the intensity of traffic flows in different colours.

Pulssi uses anonymised data collected through the City of Tampere’s IoT platform, where the focus is not on individual people but on broader mobility flows. Pulse shows users a map view that allows them to track the flow of people on an hourly basis. The intensity of the flow is depicted by changes in the colour of the street section, from green to yellow and then to red, according to the predicted volume.

A practical tool to make everyday life easier

In addition to businesses, Pulssi also benefits many other sectors that carry out proactive work planning, such as security, support and maintenance services. Pulssi can also be used in fields such as the experience industry and cultural events. City residents and event-goers can also use Pulse to see the congestion zones during events and take them into account when planning their movements.

“In the future, forecast data can also support property and urban planning, security and emergency preparedness, and traffic management. Forecast data would also enable more targeted marketing and event planning. Maintenance of the urban environment, such as sanding, can also be planned more accurately with forecast data. This will make the Tampere IoT platform and the Pulssi service a valuable tool for Tampere residents in the future,” says Mickey Shroff, Wapice Oy’s Head of AI.

Smooth cooperation

The IoT platform of the City of Tampere is based on Wapice’s IoT-TICKET® service, so it was natural to start exploring how the existing system could be used to predict visitor flows. From the first ideas, we quickly moved on to the first meetings and development. Ville Brusi praises the smooth cooperation with Wapice.

“I can certainly recommend Wapice. At the beginning, we had two really creative, precise meetings to brainstorm with Wapice experts and get a clearer idea of what is possible and what is not. Wapice experts were quick to pick up on the ideas, and brought a technical perspective to the discussion. I particularly appreciated the ability of Wapice staff to explain the technical details of their work in a clear and understandable way.”

The Pulssi service can be found in the Tampere.Finland app

Tampereen Pulssi can be accessed via the Tampere.Finland mobile app and browser-based platforms. The mobile app can be downloaded free of charge from Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Pulse can be easily found on the business user side of the app.