Whim moved the festival-goers

Whim is a transport application created by Helsinki-based venture MaaS Global. It has kicked off an international revolution regarding how we move about in the city. The service combines all forms of urban transportation into one application. Read more about it here.

During Helsinki Design Week, the cooperation between Whim and the festival took many different forms. The festival-goers were provided with a practical solution to easily find and access the festival events. One of the most impressive forms of cooperation was adding the 230 HDW events into the Whim application, by which moving from one event to another became much easier. After some updates in the application, the transport experience became even better for the festival-goers.

Founded in 2015, MaaS Global is the first Mobility-as-a-Service company in the world to start collaboration with innovative, urban people and events. Many of their partners operate in the design world.

“Regarding the design field, we’re enthusiastic about their constant curiosity; trying to find new solutions to existing and upcoming challenges,” says Whim’s Marketing and Sales Manager Esa-Pekka Nykänen“Direct feedback from the festival-goers inspired us. The concept awoke genuine interest, and clearly the HDW fans are actively considering more sustainable and smart ways to move.”

“This cooperation felt natural also because Helsinki Design Week always wants to keep an eye on the novelties launched on the market,” says Helsinki Design Week founder and CEO Kari Korkman.

“Application usability and free transport vouchers distributed during the Design Market and Children’s Weekend were received with thanks among the festival-goers. Instead of slogans, our collaboration provides genuine benefits and content for the users of the service. For the first time with HDW, Whim enabled numbered signs that gathered grateful feedback from both the visitors and the organizers,” says HDW Marketing Coordinator Aino-Maija Kupias.

“The technical side of the Whim and Helsinki Design Week joint venture was experimental to start with. Since our server department was busy with other projects, we decided to test Firebase’s real-time database. Its benefits include not having to mind about servers at all and easy maintenance for the developers. At first we compiled the prototype on Android. After this it was clear that we needed additional support on the server side because we wanted to show the festival events on a map. To enable this, we needed the location coordinates, but by using the API, we could only obtain address information. For that reason we needed to resolve how to import both the addresses and the coordinates into one single library. Helsinki Design Week included approximately 200 events, the information of which was constantly being updated. Calling both location and address data over and over again might have overloaded the Google API and prevented event search,” says Senior Software Engineer Maninder Singh.

Cooperation and dialogue between the two design companies is to continue. Helsinki Design Week will function as a test platform for the transport application, and Whim will continue to develop the festival experience.

“This is just the beginning. Our cooperation shows where more experiential events and sustainably developed operations can lead. We have all the opportunities to establish an international benchmark for more integrated festival development,” Nykänen believes.

“The MaaS idea represented by Whim and HDW’s experience of Finnish and international design during the past 15 years form an attractive ground for further collaboration,” says Kupias.

With urbanization, the city space will become scarce, and we need new, alternative models to solve traffic problems, for example. Whim is a way to reduce the number of private cars and thereby the problems with traffic jams. At the same time, we’ll free urban space in parking garages and lots to use for something more productive and useful, or something more interesting. A good example of this type of development is Marco Casagrande’s TIKKU installation that fits just one parking space. It was built on Keskuskatu as part of the HDW HOP 2017 installation series.

“Whim proved to the festival-goers that the partners chosen by HDW have potential to expand the use of design skills in new kind of services,” says Korkman.