In The Pocket is always looking to create cutting-edge digital experiences for its clients, but as a company we feel it’s vital to introduce other outlets for our creativity. That’s where Tiger 1 comes in. It’s our internal lab where we explore new ideas, build prototypes and learn from them. Every month we collectively set a challenge that inspires us.
Last month we landed on a topic through an internal poll for challenges. The top responses were put up on our Instagram account, and we let our followers decide which one to tackle. The outcome wasn’t entirely unexpected, as the Ghent Festivities were coming up we had to do something to improve the visitors experience.
The Ghent Festivities is a is a music and theatre festival in the city of Ghent, Belgium. It is one of the biggest cultural events in Europe. The 10-day event is notorious for its never-ending parties at the Vlasmarkt where all kinds of people enjoy drinks & dancing, even long after sunrise.
Tiger 1 is built as a two-stage rocket. In the first stage we all spilled ideas and collected them. In the second stage we assemble a team and build a prototype in one afternoon. Putting on our “agile” hat: you can quickly create value with a self-assembled team to learn fast and iterate. Tiger 1 can be viewed as a loose framework in which any employee can engage, if and when they feel like it.
Being avid visitors of the Ghent Festivities ourselves, we quickly identified a number of issues people run into:
- Finding your friends
- Navigating crowded areas
- Getting home safely
We had some ideas on how to improve these nuisances, among them: a beer delivery service (uBeer), an augmented reality app that guides you to the nearest toilet (WhARe) and a bot to help you make potentially stupid decisions (Zou ‘k het doen?). Using design thinking techniques, we managed to get a lot of ideas quickly, from which we distilled one challenge.
We uncovered that a lot of people struggle with finding their ever-moving friends in the crowds of the festival. Combine that with finding good music and limited battery-life and you have a winner. So our focus became crystal clear and we baptised our project Waarrr? (Adopting the characteristic local dialect).
Anyone can form a small team and apply for maker-time to get their hands dirty on a Friday afternoon. A group of four started cracking at a functioning prototype of the application. Wireframes were sketched, technologies chosen and designs drawn. We wanted to build the easiest possible way to find your friend’s location, on any platform, with respect for your battery life.
The Waarrr app works like this:
- You create a group by sharing a short unique code with your friends.
- Your friends show up on a map, including the stage they’re closest too and their battery life.
- You can see the schedule of any stage, together with a list of all the friends that are close to that stage.
- You can set a simple status message: indicate that your drunk, have a date or that you’re going home.
This makes it easy to share your location with a group of friends that have the Waarrr-app installed. The app uses geofencing to limit the impact of battery life and it only works inside the Ghent Festivities zone. Combining friends’ locations & stage line-ups could be the ultimate tool for planning a great night!
Firebase was used for authentication and databases, React Native as the application framework and a Google Maps integration for the styled maps. We’re putting the finishing touches on our prototype and will test it internally during this festival season. No colleagues will be left behind.