The Pasila Library belongs to HelMet-library network of Helsinki Metropolitan Area Libraries. HelMet-library network consists of public libraries. The library, in cooperation with Elisa, Digia and Process Genius, provided a status display screen to the library’s customers and staff. The screen contains data collected from the library. Process Genius developed the display user interface and visualized information for different target groups.     

The status display developed for Pasila’s Library was implemented as a pilot project, which results in a new status display being created at Helsinki Central Library Oodi. “We wanted to test IoT in general and think about what everything could be used in the library world. We did not know what the outcome was, but the ideas became clearer along the way “ says Petri Tuominen, project manager at the Pasila Library.

“We have received positive feedback from a new kind of visual communication platform, both from our customers and from our staff, and the user interface is felt fine and easy to use. We’ve also got some ideas on what additional data might be displayed” Tuominen continues.

The status display visualizes the information

The definition work on the status screen was started in May 2017. “We put together ideas on what data could be collected, and then we thought about, which data would be beneficial to our customers and our staff. We tested different combinations and visualized the reports, and finally we came to what the screens are now showing” Tuominen explains.

In addition, the staff is able to study sensor data, including the temperature of the library and the carbon dioxide content of the air. Data has been analyzed and combined during the pilot to find dependencies. For example, the number of visitors is linked to local weather data and studied their relationship with each other. “Now we know, that less customers visit our library on rainy days than on sunny days” Tuominen tells.

IoT creates insights

“When data is collected over a longer period, we can compare volumes on an annual basis and make analyzes based on it. For example, we can predict customer flows and thus gain benefits in work-shift planning” says Tuominen. It has been useful for customers to find a free client computer based on the screen. For the library staff, it has been interesting to keep track of the temperature and sorting rates of the book sorting room. The staff also benefits from data, for example, during daily closure of the library. “They can, on the basis of the sensor data, see if the library spaces are empty instead of walking through the whole library” Tuominen ponders.

The pilot was due to end in January 2018, but its use was decided to continue. “We still want to investigate the environment and get more out of data” he said. “The pilot has brought a lot of ideas into screen design, as well as framing and structuring data, but we still need to look at ways to find new connections between things by combining different data. This leads to insights that will enable us to develop status screens further” says Tuominen.

IoT data and digital solutions for wider use

The City of Helsinki Department of Culture and Leisure has started coordinating the IoT Group, where representatives from different Helsinki City sectors are represented. The aim is to cooperate more closely and to make better use of digital information also between different sectors of the city. “We are striving to find new ways to utilize digital services and intuitive sharing of information, not only in the central library Oodi, but also in other city services. Cooperation between the various parties opens up completely new opportunities for this” says Tuominen and continues: “It would be great if all IoT data in the city of Helsinki was also made available to the public and people could themselves come up with use cases based on data”.