#byentalertildig: talking about apps in the city

It’s Social Media Week in Copenhagen! This year Realdania (@Realdaniadk) has gone large, with ~25 sessions, their own hashtag (#smwjarmers) and a social wall, bringing together Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the whole shebang.

On Monday they kicked off with Byen taler til dig: oplev byrum og arkitektur med din smartphone (#byentalertildig | Realdania), all about apps in the city. This would have had my name on it if it hadn’t happened at 09:30, but luckily the whole thing was streamed by Jyske Bank TV (@jyskebanktv; “a TV station with a bank attached”), followed in no short order by the recording.

Involved were @norm_sloth (Online Manager, Realdania; slides), @runehj (Comms/Marketing Manager, DAC; slides) and @jakobam (Greener Pastures; slides), facilitated by @missmunter (slides).

Realdania, it turns out, is a foundation supporting projects in the built environment. They have just? launched a project app with profiles of 500 of its 2.5K projects. Pins on a map, so not the most exciting app in the world, and while I can imagine using it to find interesting buildings to look at I’d like to be able to search the projects in other ways too, perhaps by keyword or theme. I’m still an information manager at heart!

In addition to basic points about finding a target group and use case, marketing etc, Normann stressed that an app starts with data (aka content) in the right form, and that this needs to be maintained if people are not to delete the app after a couple of uses. He also conceded that an app is not html, hence functionality is limited.

I’m pretty familiar with DAC’s apps, which started with its podwalks (English) dating from 2007 and podrides from 2009, initially available as sound files. A podwalks app (English) debuted in 2011 and a podruns app in 2013. These are not regularly updated, but are still downloaded.

Jakob of app builder Greener Pastures raised the question of whether new technology can create a better experience in the city, putting up a slide with a range of trends and use cases. There’s lots to discuss here, as well as issues around smart cities, which couldn’t really be addressed in a time limited session aimed at #some types. Again, he stressed that everything depends on content – for example, the current trend for overlays (ie holding up your phone and seeing what the view looked like before) depends on an appropriate archive photo being available. He also reiterated key messages around marketing and maintenance, plus the need to start simple with a clear user focus.


Thanks to all involved, and a shout out to Normann for introducing me to some new Danish apps, in particular Afveje, a blend of geocaching and experimental travel similar to the Dérive app. Time to revisit my apps links post of nearly 18 months ago, particularly as I’ve now actually tried some out!


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