6/2003 - 5/2006


The project is aimed at developing and testing technologies and earnings models for context-aware mobile multimedia services of the future. The project consists of three segments: development and implementation of a service platform, field testing with actual end users, and a value chain: technology providers contribute to the process with their own view of what could be done with current and future technologies. Respectively, shopkeepers, public bodies, and users all provide their own opinion on what is relevant to their (business) activity.

The services and technology are tested in a real end user environment: besides the people of Oulu, also tourists and visitors act as test users. The field tests give valuable information about the technical performance of the service platform, the usability of the services, actual consumer needs, consumer behaviour, and functioning of the earnings models. The service architecture and services are developed further on the basis of the results from the field tests.

The field-testing is done in phases, so that the emphasis in the summertime is on extensive, so-called exterior field tests, while the focus in the winter is on more limited interior field tests in selected indoor premises. The experiments will be coordinated from a field office, which is to be established in downtown Oulu. The content to be used in the service platform will be produced by shopkeepers in Oulu, along with actual content providers (e.g. media houses).

The research utilises previously established entities, the best known of which is SmartRotuaari, a service environment designed for and implemented in the Oulu city centre. Made public in January 2003, SmartRotuaari consists of four components: a broadband wireless local area network built in the centre of Oulu, a service architecture for providing context-aware mobile multimedia services, a number of functioning mobile multimedia services, and a Rotuaari portal, which contains the tools for producing, managing and distributing content. The portal gives shopkeepers the means to serve their current customers and reach new target groups more efficiently than before.

At the moment, the implemented prototype services include map-based guidance, mobile advertisements, personalised communication and presence information, a personalised news service, mobile payments, and Time Machine Oulu, an interactive three-dimensional virtual model of historical Oulu. Many kinds of contextual information can be applied in the services, such as information about time, location, and weather, as well as basic user information or more detailed information about the user’s mood and status. The user can, for example, receive offers from restaurants when hungry.

In addition to SmartRotuaari, the actual research environment consists of three other service areas that complement each other geographically and technologically. SmartCampus contains a local WLAN service area at the Linnanmaa campus of the University of Oulu, while Octopus, an open environment for innovation, development and testing of mobile services in the Oulu region, includes a mobile phone network that covers the whole of Finland. The research environment also contains local short-range Bluetooth service areas in Oulu city centre and at the Linnanmaa campus. The service areas allow testing of the operability of different services in various network environments and mobility between different types of networks.

Besides the above-mentioned prototype services, the service entity provided and tested in the project includes services offered by participating enterprises individually and new ones developed in the project. This means that enterprises can utilise the infrastructure offered by the project to test their own services comprehensively.

An additional example of concrete existing services is the SmartLibrary service, built in the university main library. It allows a customer using a mobile terminal device (PDA) to request map-based guidance to a certain book or collection, in relation to his/her dynamic location at any given time.

Rotuaari is a multi-disciplinary project, paying attention not only to technology but also to related business and consumer needs and desires. The approach to technology, services and business is adopted from different perspectives that complement each other.

The body responsible for implementing the project is MediaTeam. The project involves also the Intelligent Systems Group and the Oulu University Secure Programming Group from the Faculty of Technology at the University of Oulu, the INTERACT group from the Faculty of Science, the Department of Marketing from the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, and Educational Technology research unit from the Faculty of Education. Other research parties include Linköping University (Sweden) and Oulu Polytechnic.

The Rotuaari project involves numerous domestic and international parties from all stages in the earnings chain of mobile business: hardware manufacturers, various network operators, software companies, content providers, service enterprises, retail operators and the public sector (City of Oulu). The Rotuaari portal can be found at

Selected publications

Ojala T (2010)
Case studies on context-aware mobile multimedia services.
Journal on Digital Information Management 8(1):3-14.
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Ojala T (2009)
Case studies on context-aware mobile multimedia services.
Proc. 9th Workshop on Multimedia Metadata (WMM’09), Toulouse, France, 3-22. (invited)
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Cruz e Costa J, Ojala T & Korhonen J (2008)
Mobile Lecture Interaction: Making technology and learning click.
Proc. Mobile Learning 2008, 11-13 April, Algarve, Portugal, 119-124.
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Korhonen J, Ojala T, Ristola A, Kesti M, Kilpelänaho V, Koskinen M & Viippola E (2007)
Mobile Fair Diary - Hybrid interface for taking, browsing and sharing context-aware notes.
Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 11(7):577-589.
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Parhi P (2007)
Two Case Studies in the Design and Evaluation of a Mobile Interactive System
M.Sc. Theses, Department of Electrical and Information Engineering, University of Oulu, Finland. SIGCHI Finland's Thesis of The Year Award in 2007.
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Parhi P, Karlson A & Bederson B (2006)
Target size study for one-handed thumb use on small touchscreen devices
Proc. 8th conference on Human-computer interaction with mobile devices and services (MobileHCI '06), Espoo, Finland, 203-210
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Ojala T, Hakanen T, Mäkinen T & Rivinoja V (2005)
Usage analysis of a large public wireless LAN.
Proc. 2005 International Conference on Wireless Networks, Communications and Mobile Computing, Maui, HI, 1:661-667.
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Scheible J & Ojala T (2005)
Mobile group interaction with interactive video on large public display.
Proc. SIGGRAPH2005, Los Angeles, CA.
Full paper (PDF)

Sutinen T & Ojala T (2005)
Case study in assessing subjective QoS of a mobile multimedia web service in a real multi-access network.
Proc. Thirteenth International Workshop on Quality of Service, Passau, Germany, 298-312.
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Aalto L, Göthlin N, Korhonen J & Ojala T (2004)
Bluetooth and WAP Push based location-aware mobile advertising system.
Proc. Second International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications and Services, Boston, MA, 49 - 58.
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Aittola M, Parhi P, Vieruaho M & Ojala T (2004)
Comparison of mobile and fixed use of SmartLibrary.
Proc. 6th International Conference on Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, Glasgow, Scotland, 383-387.
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Lukkari J (2004)
A usability analysis of a remote payment service for context-aware mobile environment.
M.Sc. thesis, Department of Electrical and Information Engineering, University of Oulu, Finland (in Finnish).

Lukkari J, Korhonen J & Ojala T (2004)
SmartRestaurant – Mobile payments in context-aware environment.
Proc. Sixth International Conference on Electronic Commerce, Delft, The Netherlands. (CD-ROM)
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Ojala T, Korhonen J, Sutinen T, Parhi P & Aalto L (2004)
Mobile Kärpät – A case study in wireless personal area networking.
Proc. Third International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia, College Park, MD, 149-156.
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Aittola M, Ryhänen T & Ojala T (2003)
SmartLibrary - Location-aware mobile library service.
Proc. Fifth International Symposium on Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, Udine, Italy, 411 - 416.
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Ojala T, Korhonen J, Aittola M, Ollila M, Koivumäki T, Tähtinen J & Karjaluoto H (2003)
SmartRotuaari - Context-aware mobile multimedia services.
Proc. 2nd International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia, Norrköping, Sweden, 9 - 18.
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Peltonen J, Ollila M & Ojala T (2003)
TimeMachine Oulu - Dynamic creation of cultural-spatio-temporal models as a mobile service.
Proc. Fifth International Symposium on Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, Udine, Italy, 342 - 346.
Abstract  Full paper (PDF)

Project Director

Timo Ojala

Project Manager

Jani Korhonen

MediaTeam Oulu

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