The second round pilots of the City of Espoo's project on digitalized sports have been selected

12.7.2023 10.12Updated: 20.9.2023 5.22
A man playing digital games in a driving simulator.
Pilot projects utilize digitalization and sports in many ways. This includes areas such as esports, wellness applications, and exergames.Photo: Cave Entertainment Oy

The pilot projects selected include the experiment developing the Paralympic Committee's track wheelchair simulator, "Espoon löytöretki," which invites people to nature through Cityspotting's digital platform, the experiment by Rounds GG providing mobile e-sports facilities, the MARKED app focusing on student well-being, Cave Entertainment's tour combining physical activity and augmented reality, the activation and rehabilitation game by Rehaboo!, and the project by the Finnish Electronic Sports Federation (SEUL ry) developing moderator training.

The selected experiments combine physical activity, sports, well-being, and digital solutions. They enable new ways of engaging in hobbies and physical exercise while providing digital solutions to challenges related to physical activity. 

All the pilot projects are part of the European Union PPPA-project implemented by the city of Espoo. The project aims to enhance Espoo's expertise in sports digitalization, improve the ability of local sports organizations to utilize digital solutions, and activate residents in ways that resonate with them. The project is funded by the European Union. 

The pilot projects will be carried out during the autumn. Kimmo Leinonen, the project manager, is pleased that the pilots are diverse and develop solutions for different target groups. 

"The applications in the second round were of high quality, and they bring us one step closer to understanding the digital culture of physical activity and sports. We want as many Espoo residents as possible to experience the new opportunities of digital movement and sports," Leinonen says. 

The pilot projects are driven by the desire to promote equality and well-being through digital solutions

Each of the selected pilot projects utilizes digitalization in slightly different ways. Below are introductions to all the pilot projects.

Paralympic Committee: Developing an Inclusive Track Wheelchair Simulator 

"The Finnish Paralympic Committee is a national sports and physical activity organization for individuals with disabilities, visual impairments, developmental disabilities, organ transplants, and individuals on dialysis. The committee's vision is an open and equal Finland that embraces sports and physical activity. 

In collaboration with the City of Espoo, the aim of this project is to promote equal e-sports, particularly for enhancing the well-being of children and youth, and supporting attitude development, awareness, and equality. Equality is a core value of the Paralympic Committee. 

In this project, the Paralympic Committee is developing an inclusive track wheelchair simulator that will be piloted at events. The simulator can be used by anyone, regardless of whether they have a disability or not." 

Paralympic Committee's thoughts on being selected for the pilot: "We are thrilled to start this pilot! With the digital solution, the track wheelchair simulator becomes highly accessible, offering new opportunities for engaging in e-sports and digitalized sports and physical activity." 

Cityspotting: "Espoon löytöretki" - Inviting Exploration of Espoo's Nature 

"The Cityspotting pilot project 'Espoon löytöretki' (Espoo Expedition) includes over 100 exciting spots scattered throughout Espoo. These spots are locations to be discovered using our browser-based mapping application. It is the ultimate Espoo exploration service for locals. Our goals are to encourage Espoo residents to move around different parts of the city, enhance Espoo's attractiveness, and foster excellent collaboration with the City of Espoo!" 

Cityspotting's thoughts on being selected for the pilot: "We are extremely excited about this pilot project. Firstly, the City of Espoo is an important partner for us, and we have high expectations for this collaboration. Secondly, Espoo is full of wonderful hidden places, and we are eager to showcase them. Let's get to work!" 

Rounds GG: Mobile Esports Facilities 

"Our pilot significantly expands the possibilities for digital gaming hobbies in Espoo by providing flexible, mobile, ergonomic, and well-equipped gaming stations with computers, displays, and peripherals that can be moved from one place to another. These gaming stations can be set up in any location in a matter of minutes. 

The pilot opens up opportunities for experimenting with or teaching digital gaming hobbies with very low barriers to entry. We can offer professional guidance, instruction, or complementary activities related to esports alongside the gaming stations." 

Rounds GG's thoughts on being selected for the pilot: "Implementing this pilot project provides us with invaluable insights for improving and expanding our operations. We are extremely excited about the project and grateful for this opportunity." 

MARKED: Application Focusing on Student Well-being 

"The MARKED pilot project aims to motivate students residing in Espoo to engage in physical activity, raise awareness of the city's sports services, and encourage users of the service to explore life skills and socio-emotional learning. MARKED is an application that offers innovative ways to incorporate socio-emotional skill learning with participation in sports services. As users learn important life skills through the application's programs, they earn points that can be redeemed for various sports services such as swimming or gym access. The application's innovative points system equalizes opportunities for physical activity, promotes awareness of available services, and reduces barriers to participation and experimentation. 

During the project, the impact of the digital service and gamification on increasing the use of sports services and overall well-being will be monitored. One local high school, vocational institution, or youth association will be selected to participate in the pilot project, which will take place between July and December. The user perspective on the effectiveness of the service will be examined by collecting data before and after the project." 

MARKED's thoughts on being selected for the pilot: "We are thrilled about the upcoming project and eagerly anticipate its results. We are particularly excited to see how, through gamified approaches, students' participation in existing services can be increased while simultaneously focusing on strengthening socio-emotional skills. It's great that Espoo wants to be a pioneer in esports activities and is boldly exploring various solutions!" 

Cave Entertainment: Beat Saber Tour 

"The VR on Tour project combines exercise and gaming in a new and enjoyable way for those who haven't previously experienced virtual reality. We are creating a series of events where young people can gather and enjoy the excitement of physical activity and gaming!"

Cave Entertainment's thoughts on being selected for the pilot: "It's fantastic to start this pilot project in our beloved hometown. Together, we can break barriers and introduce innovative events. We can't wait to kick off the tour!"

Rehaboo!: Activation and Rehabilitation Game

"Rehaboo! Active is a new activation and rehabilitation game where the player's body serves as the game controller. The game utilizes cloud-based artificial intelligence for motion detection and analysis, allowing gameplay on laptops, tablets, or smartphones. The device's camera recognizes the player's body movements, which control the game character or avatar in the virtual world." 

Rehaboo!'s thoughts on being selected for the pilot: "We are thrilled to embark on this pilot with great enthusiasm. We look forward to learning about the impact of our games through the participating libraries."

SEUL ry: Moderator Training

"The outcome of the pilot project is moderator training. Moderators oversee discussions conducted on the internet, which in the context of electronic sports can involve chat conversations during game broadcasts or discussions taking place on various community platforms. The project aims to train individuals to act as moderators on these platforms, thereby supporting inclusivity in the field of e-sports. The training will be piloted in Espoo. Participation in the training does not require any prior knowledge or skills, providing a new opportunity for involvement in the esports field." 

SEUL ry's thoughts on being selected for the pilot: "We are approaching the pilot with great anticipation! Building the training program will require a lot of work, but because the pilot aims to train individuals in the theme of inclusivity and equality, leading to a slightly less discriminatory hobby and work environment, the desired outcome is worth all the effort. Every action that moves the culture towards a safer direction is valuable." 

Modernizing sport to foster a new active generation project

  • The goal of the project is to lay the foundation for future recreational activities. New technologies are impacting sports and physical activities, and digital services enable the emergence of new ways of engaging in hobbies and phenomena.
  • The project on digitalized sports and physical activities promotes the effectiveness of digital phenomena, improves opportunities for residents to engage in hobbies, and enables the experimentation of digital phenomena.
  • The project is coordinated by the Sports and Exercise department of the City of Espoo. Strong collaboration is conducted within the area of Economic Development and with stakeholders along the learning pathway. The project is funded by the European Union.
  • A pilot project can be proposed by individual residents, businesses, internal city organizations, or associations. A pilot project is a small-scale, short-term initiative that provides an opportunity to test new activities or collaboration methods. The opening of the pilot project application will be announced on the project's website.
  • Youth Services
  • Entrepreneusrship