The new Nokia Arena in Finland just opened its doors last month, but only to those with special digital keys. The entire arena, designed by Polish Architect Daniel Libeskind, is wired with touchless digital access technology that make innovative use of new artificial intelligence security.

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A large silver building that reads Nokia Arena

Nokia Arena will host the 2022 Men’s Ice Hockey World Championships and other large events. Its round-the-clock opening hours are the perfect opportunity to test a new access management technology.

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A large silver building Nokia Arena with streets leading up to it

The designers knew they needed not only a great arena, but one that made it possible to distinguish between people who needed employee access, hotel guest access or access to semi-public spaces. They brought in Abloy, an access management and control system company that created a unique touchless locking system for the arena.

A hand placing a phone in front of a door handle

This is not only useful and efficient for a complex project, but follows a trend in healthier design in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and other pathogens that can spread at large venues. Abloy has also secured other large arenas, including Helsinki Olympic Stadium and the Warsaw National Stadium.

Two hands holding a phone with the screen reading Abloy

“Nokia Arena is a striking example of security trends, where access rights are becoming digital and door environments are touchless,” said Jari Perälä, vice president, domestic sales and marketing, Abloy Oy. “In this development, various human resource, space and access management systems, for example, are integrated. They share information to improve operational efficiency and security. There has been a lot of discussion about the API economy (i.e. utilizing data shared through application programming interfaces, in recent years).”

A stadium that is lit up with purple lights

Along with electromechanical keys, Nokia Arena’s new security system allows doors to open with access rights on mobile devices or wristbands. This system allows the arena to respond to the wide array of access levels required to run the space 24/7.

An aerial view of silver skyscrapers against a clear sky

“We have introduced a wide range of keys,” said Jani Helenius, property and security manager at Nokia Arena. “Access permits can be sent to smart devices, in which case the door opens with the help of a mobile phone or smartwatch in the blink of an eye.”

A push bar door handle against a white background

To anticipate safety in case of an emergency evacuation, the locks on the arena doors are integrated with the fire safety system. Smooth evacuation is also ensured by Abloy push bars that open the doors open quickly and easily when needed.

“Simulations during the construction phase have shown that 4,500 people can be guided away from the main floor of the arena in less than eight minutes,” said Helenius. “The entire arena can be emptied in about 15 to 20 minutes, in an optimal situation. This would not be possible without effective opening mechanisms on the exit routes.”

+ Studio Libeskind

Images via SRV / Aihio Arkkitehdit Oy and SRV/Libeskind/Tomorrow