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Ecosystem for Real Estate and Premises emphasizes User Experience

Digital User Services in Real Estate Business, a joint project of the universities and businesses, develops new services utilizing active user participation and learning by experimenting.


The Digital User Services in Real Estate Business (Virpa-D) project aims at developing world-class user experiences for the users of business premises in order to improve work productivity and drive easier and healthier day-to-day activities.

The companies and universities participating in the project form an ecosystem which develops new scalable user services for the real estate and business premises sectors. The project is based on learning by experimenting, and on close cooperation between the various parties. In addition, the project commissions research in future needs of user services, user experience design, business models, data collection and analysing, and digital platforms architecture.

Developing new user-based services for the international market

Helvar, Lassila & Tikanoja, Sodexo and Tieto lead four mini ecosystems that combine various business sectors. The services produced within these mini ecosystems are divided into four themes: welfare, the restaurant industry, data driven user services, and the emphatic building.  The network based project model ensures the commercial application of the results with consulting and pilot projects.

– A modern way of working, ecosystems combine the expertise of various players into an entity that develops the entire sector. In the real estate sector, innovations and new ideas often remain untapped. Developing, learning through experimenting, and introducing research bring unique opportunities for the real estate sector. These projects are also used to shape future intelligent cities, says Jarmo Lehto, the coordinator of the ecosystem.

Ecosystem developed solutions have profound societal impact

The ecosystem produces significant value for companies, research institutes, the society, and real estate services customers. The project supports the development and commercialization of services that support a change in the working culture. The services can then be offered for companies and consumers. At the heart of these solutions is improving user experience. This brings added value, drives engagement in the company, and brings business benefits. One of the most important operational principles is exporting the new ecosystem services to the international market. It is estimated that the Virpa-D project will produce €740 million worth of new turnover, €342 million worth of new exports, and 1,569 new jobs.

– The Virpa-D project entity is a part of Business Finland’s Feelings Program that finances high-level research on, among other things, emotions, new technologies, and the digital customer experience. The parties involved have recognized the possibilities of intangible value creation for new business development, says program manager Sanna Piiroinen.

The project in short

The Digital User Services in Real Estate Business (Virpa-D) project is a part of the Virpa project entity, which focuses on the ongoing development projects within the real estate business, and on development projects that connect various sectors closely connected to the field. The Virpa-D project develops new services and solutions for the real estate and premises sector. The project is based on four mini-ecosystems that produce new integrated services that ease the everyday life of the user. The projects are divided into four themes: welfare, the restaurant world, data-led user services, and emphatic building. The project is formed by Granlund Oy, Helvar Oy, Lassila & Tikanoja Oyj, M-Brain Insight Oy, Newsec Asset Management Oy, Sodexo Oy, Suomen Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy, Tieto Finland Oy, Valossa Labs Oy and the Oulu University premises services and data management. The development and research work within the project is also supported by the University of Oulu, the Tampere University of Technology, the University of Tampere and the University of Turku. Jalecon Oy performs the project’s preliminary work and coordination. The project is financed by Business Finland and the participating companies and research institutes.

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