Thanks to its open data credentials, Helsinki fared well in the European Parliament’s Smart City research.

When the European Parliament published its research about 468 Smart City projects in Europe in early 2014, Helsinki was ranked in the top six Smart Cities, together with Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Manchester and Vienna.

For city management, though, the result didn’t come as a surprise.

“Helsinki is a well functioning and smart city,” former Deputy Mayor Hannu Penttilä confirms.

Forum Virium Helsinki’s CEO Mika Malin agrees. “It’s easy to forget how well we’re doing on quite a few counts in Helsinki. Every city in the world is criticized for having an inflexible, bureaucratic and rigid organization. But there are some that are a little less rigid,” Malin muses.

What exactly propelled Helsinki to the top of Smart Cities? The research praised several of Forum Virium Helsinki’s projects. The Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI) was called a pioneering service in the field of open municipal data. Applauds were also given to the opening up of municipal decision-making data (Open Ahjo) and the community portal for developers (

The original text: Petja Partanen, Tarinatakomo.

CITIE: Among the most innovative cities in the world

Helsinki was ranked among the five best cities for technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in CITIE’s comprehensive report 2015. Helsinki came third behind New York and London, while Barcelona and Amsterdam occupied the fourth and fifth places respectively. The research  included 40 cities.

Helsinki was praised especially for its excellent networks, its collaborative approach to working with local entrepreneurs and its investments in support of innovation. Also mentioned was Helsinki’s pioneering approach to utilising and producing digital services and to providing open data for innovations.

City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CITIE) supports city leaders to develop policy to catalyse innovation and entrepreneurship. It is the product of a partnership between Nesta, Accenture and the Future Cities Catapult.

The color codes in the picture: Advanced (green) / Underway (orange) / At an early stage (red)

Helsinki shines in Frost & Sullivan’s city survey

Consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has surveyed in 2015 European real-time cities in their utilization of open data, use of open source and publishing of datasets. The online survey was taken by 27 cities. Helsinki led in almost every sector of the survey. The City of Helsinki was praised for its extensive activities with data-based services, open source utilization and collaboration with various actors.

Heat Map of Real-Time Cities in Europe

The survey defines real-time cities as urban concentrations of more than 250,000 residents that publish data, utilize open data and use open source to develop services and to generate innovations. A Heat Map compiled from the survey results illustrates with colours that Helsinki leads in almost every sector. According to the survey, Helsinki only lags behind other cities in the collection and use of real-time data.

The survey assessed the progress of cities on eight factors. These included the number of datasets published, collaboration with partners, commercial sources and end-use, and use of open source. According to the Heat Map, some cities are only in the first stages in publishing datasets and use of open source, while others are more advanced.

Open Helsinki

The survey puts Helsinki in uncontested first place in the number of datasets published, and the other cities surveyed still lag far behind. However, the survey shows that all cities including Helsinki face challenges in commercialization – they have not generated much new business activity from the open datasets. Helsinki has tackled this challenge in an open data spearhead project included in the 6Aika six-cities strategy. The project focuses on accelerating the generation of data-based new business.

The survey estimates that the quality of data will outweigh the quantity of data in the future, so cities should focus their efforts accordingly. The survey emphasizes the importance of further utilization and scaling down of data; Helsinki excels in these areas.

Services and innovations from open data

The survey shows that cities want published datasets to produce tangible benefits for citizens. As a result, cities address such policy objectives as transport and traffic, energy efficiency and the accessibility of public data. By publishing datasets, cities above all strive to improve services and the quality of life of their citizens. However, open data is still little used in city planning and decision-making.

According to the survey, cities have emphasized the accessibility of open data. However, although publishing of real-time data is of interest to everybody, the related technical challenges are overwhelming to many cities. Cities are also concerned about questions related to the ownership of data, sharing of data and privacy.

Read the survey summary: