Joensuu City Challenge 2018 – Innovation Competition for Cool Ideas

Does your company have an ingenious smart city product that you want to showcase? The City of Joensuu is looking for you.

The winners of Joensuu City Challenge 2018 have been chosen.

Congratulations to the winning teams!

Case 1 - Smart Solution Pilot: Parquery
Case 2 - City Lab Approach: Leapcraft
Case 3 - River-Lake Tourism Solution: Risto Takala
Case 4 - Green Energy Solution: Ctrl4 Enviro


Parquery's computer vision -based application provides real-time information about parking occupancy and exact parking duration. Parquery is a spin-off from the Computer Vision Laboratory of ETH Zürich.

"Winning the competition is extremely valuable for us, in particular by giving us the opportunity to showcase our solution in the City of Joensuu. We believe that the Finnish market is extremely advanced in terms of smart cities and therefore an ideal target market for Parquery", says Andrea Fossati, CEO of Parquery.

Parquery's website

In the City Lab Approach, Leapcraft's solution provides and communicates comprehensive information about the air quality, traffic and weather conditions such as wind speed and direction. Leapcraft has worked closely with the City of Copenhagen.

"Our ambition is to help Nordic and global cities to improve air quality and implement new technology, and we saw this competition as a good opportunity to do so. We look forward to the opportunity to deploy our solution in a new interesting city", said Operations Manager Anne Cecilie Duus Kühnel from Leapcraft.

Leapcraft's website

The winning solution for river-lake tourism is an artificial surf wave that is to be implemented in the Pielisjoki river running through the Joensuu city centre. The wave would make Joensuu a unique surf destination.

"We are happy that the City of Joensuu is bold enough to support a bit more daring innovation", says Risto Takala and Jarmo Laine from Surf Joensuu who are behind the proposal. The artificial wave utilises the water flow in the river and does not require permanent alterations to be made to the river. The wave is based on a technology by Artwave Surf Oy, and the wave is the first of its kind to be tested.


Ctrl4 Enviro's computer vision -based applications will result in a smart swimming pool and smart market square. The real time data on the user amounts enables to optimize the energy, water and chemical consumption in swimming pool. ResourcefloV solution has a potential for instance to save up to 52 percent of energy costs related to water pumping.

StreetfloV provides useful information about the Market Square, such as the estimate of daily visitor numbers, their profile (pedestrians, bike users) and how visitors move around the area. Ctrl4 Enviro is Barcelona-based company providing computer vision and automation solutions, such as vehicle detection, counting and analytics.

Ctrl4 Enviro's website


We thank all the participants for their inspirational ideas! Our team is impressed by the innovativeness and the variety of the submissions. The challenge gathered a total of 19 submissions from Finland and abroad. You can download the public summaries of all proposals through the link below.

Public Summaries



The Joensuu City Challenge is a new competition for cool and inventive ideas for the smart city that can be implemented in the Joensuu city centre. The competition is open to SMEs and other interested parties all around the world.

The aim is to improve public services and to find innovative solutions for city development and eventually improve the inhabitants' quality of life.

The competition consists of four challenges with distinctive themes:

  • city lab
  • tourism
  • green energy and
  • a smart solution pilot pilot related to one or more of the proposed themes, e.g. education, smart office or work solutions, and crowd/event management.

The competition is looking for real-life solutions, as the winning solutions for the challenges will be carried out as pilot projects. The maximum budget for each project is 50,000 euros.

The competition is organized by the City of Joensuu. It is a continuation of Joensuu's strategy to act as a platform and collaborator in order to facilitate new development and smart city solutions.

The deadline for questions was extended until 23rd January 2018. Here you can find the answers to the questions submitted in time:

Questions and Answers

Deadline for submissions: 18 March 2018
Announcement of winners: 30 April 2018
Implementation of pilot projects: May 2018–May 2019

Competition instructions:

Case 1: Smart Solution Pilot

Case 2: City Lab Approach

Case 3: River-Lake Tourism Solution

Case 4: Green Energy Solution


Joensuu is a vibrant regional centre and university town in eastern Finland. The city is a unique combination of urban high-tech buzz and the peaceful wilderness of rural areas, flavoured with the laid-back Karelian lifestyle.