Thursday, 3 July 2014

Live Events Weekend

Last weekend was a pretty big weekend for skignz as we had not one, not two but three different locations all testing out skignz. Now most people would be happy with one live event, in one location to make sure all goes well!

Not skignz, at skignz we believe in raising the bar as high as possible, pushing boundaries! Thats how we came up with skignz originally, by looking at what people really need and then looking for the right way to help them! The result is skignz! The result this weekend was skignz working without a 'hitch' at three very diverse locations across the UK.

First of all we made our debut at Glastonbury... we know plenty of aspiring bands, singers and DJs who would like to be able to 'scream and tweet' those words to the world. At Glasto' we had a specific audience we wanted to showcase skignz too and we hope those guys stayed sober enough to benefit from the technology.

That said, the skignz team also knew quite a few friends and family who were going to the what most people call 'THE best festival on the planet' so we asked a few of them, to download the app before they went and with a few text prompts and a few that must have wondered if it actually works? tried skignz and were delighted with the results so were not only sending us texts, but one or two posted 'screen grabs of skignz' live in action and a few have confessed that 'skignz' was quite the topic of conversation as the weekend progressed and no doubt the alcohol and festival atmosphere flowed!

Many thanks to all of our Glasto 2014 Guinea pigs who not only took the time to use skignz but also to share with friends and family on social media! Your help and support is greatly appreciated! Even more impressive is that none of the skignz team were at Glasto but our technology was being used by people to help them find friends, find the stages, find the entrances and even one or two were testing out a 'special channel' with a well known global spirits brand ;-), looking at how it can help brands reach and interact with their audiences in a whole new way, provide links to download/scannable offers but more on this in the near future.

The second event was also in the UK but across the south coast at Goodwood, for the world famous, Festival of Speed, where for those of you who are not that interested in Cars or Motorsport, is hosted by Earl March on his beautiful estate near .

A few members of the skignz team were present at their first FOS, and to say they were impressed is an understatement. Although the festival runs from Thursday through till Sunday, our guys visited on Friday and as they were looking at not only checking out the skignz in place for the event, they also were looking for video footage and images that can be used to help demonstrate to people what skignz is and what it can do, if they have never seen or heard of it before!

The first problem was actually getting out of the car park, only because right next to it was the 'super car carpark', getting Paul our photographer actually into the main area for the event was a challenge in itself! 

It was every little boys dream, with some wonderful cars that people visiting the event had driven to Goodwood FOS in and paid a premium to park alongside all the other 'awesome cars'.

The skignz team spent the day filming photographing the action as well as the amazing displays not only buy the cars but also, the RAF's red arrows, typhoon and other air display teams.

Couple that with all the manufacturer stands, the race up the 'Goodwood Hill' which included Sir Stirling Moss, driving one of his period racing cars in his old racing garb!

In addition their was plenty of business to discuss with the various brands on their wonderful yet very immersive and interactive stands.

Sir Stirling Moss, Mercedes

Discussing how skignz can help them with their many motor-shows across the globe, how they could use skignz as a 'product info trigger' (if you are a brand or an agency who work with brands contact us to know more about this!), how skignz could be used at motor museums/themed parks, as a way finder and content activator at events like we saw at Goodwood through to how this can be tied right through the whole sales process to the sale of the cars to customers and beyond....


The final instalment of the weekend moved north up to Croft -on-Tees where this weekend the latest rounds of the BTCC (British Touring Car Championships) was held alongside racing from the Ginetta, Ginetta Junior, Renault Clio Cup, Single Seater and Porsche Cups.

Again we had some of the skignz team in attendance, both for testing skignz purposes and to also catch some footage and capture some images of this type of live sports event. 

We wanted to see how skignz could be used by the live audience, there for a weekend of motor racing. We asked the race goers, what were their frustrations about live Motorsport? 

How it could improve? We showed them how skignz worked and we will publish these findings in future blog posts. But as always with live market research after a few questions to different people and a theme develops.

These themes were also very similar if not the same as feedback we have had from other live crowds at varying types of events, with varying types of people attending!

The key responses were as follows:

1. Its difficult to find your way around and know where everything is, If you have not been before and even with a map (in the programme)!

2. Meeting up with people either when you arrive or if you have split up with them during the event! Trying to get you both back together seems to be a nightmare!

3. When watching the race its hard to know who is winning? who's in what positions and what lap they are actually on?

Although none of these answers surprised us, it actually gave us immense confidence that what we have developed with skignz, not only addresses one of these key problems, but actually could address all three! 

All with a free app on peoples smartphone!

Everybody we spoke to had a smart phone and with the exception of a handful, ALL could have downloaded skignz and used it that very weekend, if only at this point to find their friends! We were not sure the attendance for the weekend end but if everyone we spoke to asked their friends to download the app and so on! we could have helped a significant amount of people find each other! That alone we find very cool and very humbling.

So as the weekend comes to a close, we have seen some wonderful sights, the red arrows perform during our lunch, an RAF typhoon amaze us during afternoon tea...

...see Sir Stirling Moss gracefully race up the Goodwood Hill, whilst a racing driver in a Brand New Alpha Romeo 5C totally write it off into a wall of hay bails. 

We have seen BMW eBay driver Colin Turkington win two of the three BTCC rounds at Croft and the thrills and spills of the smashes, scrapes and crashes in all the races, but whilst all this was going on, people were enjoying one of the greatest shows on earth at Glasto' 2014, watching Calvin Harris play the skignz tune of this 'Summer' using skignz to find their way around, and even the exits to find their way home!

Thank you to those who answered our questions, tested our technology and to the skignz team for a wonderful weekend of activity! who knows maybe next year 'every live event' will be using skignz to help people find each other, find their way around and discover brands who want to speak to them in a whole new way!
So if anything the weekend of 26th-29th June 2014 could (we hope it will) turnout to be the 1st time skignz was discovered by the select few, lets hope they share it with their friends and family, so as the summer of 2014 progress, more people can download skignz and 'never get lost in a crowd again!'

If you would like to know more about the key events from the weekend then please use the following links:

Goodwood Festival of Speed:

Glastonbury Festival:

MSA British Touring Car Championships:

If you would like to know more about how to download your own skignz app or how skignz could interact with your brands audiences in a whole new way, then please visit or follow us on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn or take a look at our YouTUbe channel for some of our latest content showcasing skignz use in varying settings, sectors and places.

The Teams Work - Matt Hui


My name is Matt Hui, I’m a 2nd year student currently doing a summer internship at skignz.

I have just finished my first year studying Interactive Media Design at Northumbria University.

The course involves studying a large variety of interactive design elements, from animation, graphical design, web design, app design and product design. I am throughly enjoying the  course, and had a great first year.

It was the web design aspect of my course that I found the most intriguing, and that it was interested me about skignz.

At the moment I am helping to design a number of new webpages for skignz, to help bring some new features to the website and its users.

So far my time at skignz has been very informative, and I have already learned a great deal about various new coding languages I was unfamiliar with beforehand. This has proved a very useful for me to know, as I can create my design concepts to exactly how I want them to look, now I have the knowledge to code out my designs.

By the end of the internship I hope to of learned a great more about how apps and websites are created and run, and will be able to apply these skills within my course.

The knowledge of javascript and jquery I have learned here has allowed me to create impressive animations within my webpages, this makes the page more interactive and so more user friendly.

These sort of skills will be extremely useful for creating intuitive interactions throughout my career.

Matt Hui

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Is this really Augmented Reality?

Recently one of the skignz founders came across an ad on Facebook with regards to the new app The Shard is one of the brand new sight-seeing attractions in London.

Built at a staggering 306M – 23 storeys, it’s fair to say that the views you will get from the shard will simply be amazing. Built with offices, restaurants, arcade and even a hotel, it has everything a person could ask for when staying at the Shard.

Complementing the skyline of London, the Shard is defiantly an attraction to be visited when visiting the great city of London.

With being one of the new great attractions in London, is it fair to say that they have created something cutting edge (pardon the pun) quite striking and wonderful.

However some of their technology is not the best attending to every visitor/customer’s needs. 

The Shard has a app for smartphones which you can view content on up the Shard which people can download prior to attending, however when at the Shard it was apparent that the app only worked when you signed up to their Wi-Fi which still did not work when we tried to sign up over a period of about two hours. 

There should be no restriction as to visitors having to sign up to their Wi-Fi when visiting the Shard and this is not stated and made clear to people prior to attending. Being the best attraction is great however technology is a vital aspect that needs to work for every customer attending or it immediately will make the Shard have that lower immediate rating, which is not what they will have aimed for.

Maybe the Shard should look at making the app useable when attached to any Wi-Fi or network.

The journey however that the customers will get from the moment they visit the Shard all the way to the top is very enlightening.

As you go into the Shard you have video screen in the main entrance. The video screens set the historic context of the Shard and the London Bridge location of it. 

Through short films being shown on the video screen guests who are visiting the Shard will be able to see London’s diverse communities, famous streets and places across the capital.

People can also get to know information about the Shard and London, as well as being able to watch the graphics and see how the building is closely linked to the cities transport system, showing the lifts move inside the building and the trains that run underneath both in real time viewing.

As well as having the video screens in the entrance showing a lot of information to guest’s, there is also the range of lifts that the Shard has with detail inside them all.

The lifts travel at six meters per second, making the total lift journey time from Level 1 to level 68 around 60 seconds. 

They each have constantly changing graphics on the ceiling of the lift including lighting amazing people as the make their way up the Shard. 

As guests exit the lift onto the corridor they are welcomed with a map of London extending from the floor up and across all the walls.

Guests follow an image of the River Thames curving along the floor and see the capital mapped geographically around them in 200 sentences scrawled on the walls and floor, each describing a different part of the city.

The second lift that the guests enter into is the same experience as they would have had with the first lift with the animated ceilings. The second lift takes guest out onto the floor with window views of London obscured with window images of the range of cloud types that you may see – not really stating a viewing point for guests and they are images they may see.

The third lift takes you to the triple-height, light-filled, main viewing gallery where breath-taking, 360 degree views for up to 40 miles (64km) over the capital are revealed.

Tell:scopes on the viewing deck
London city can be seen on 12, free to use, ‘Tell:scopes’ – ultra high-tech digital telescopes that are being used in Europe for the first time.  The Tell:scopes enable guests to explore the city around them in real time, as well as offering alternative (pre-recorded) day and night-time views.  Fully interactive, they are able to identify over 200 famous landmarks and places of significant interest and offer information about them in 10 languages.

However London can be seen from 12 free to use ‘Tell:scopes’, we question was this the AR they talked about or is this in the app that could not be accessed?

If it is these ‘Tell:scopes’ then they were awkward to use and certainly not AR in the live sense as they show views of London day, evening, night and back to various key times in history – Tudor, Georgian and Victorian etc...

Higher viewing deck - open air

Whilst watching people use these we managed to get close enough to listen and hear their comments which varied around:

"This is terrible, truly awful..."
"Its very hard to use?"
"This is not what I expected, the graphics are like an old school computer loading up!"
"My iPhone has better camera than this!"
"Why am I getting a countdown clock as the top?"
"The telescope viewfinder in Brighton, when I was a kid was better than this!"

"How can this be Augmented Reality, when they show me at night time, when it’s mid-afternoon and daylight?"

When we tried to use it the graphics loaded up in 'square blocks' so when you went from day to night, 2 parts of the image loaded up in the dark image, then the rest did, which gave for a very disjointed experience and not in keeping with the whole image we had for The Shard, especially everything else being so cutting edge and hi tech in the building.

A further lift and two flights of stairs takes you to the next viewing gallery on floor 72 where the experience changes and although you are surrounded by the glass walls, all of the ceiling is open and exposed to the elements and a nice breeze swept through the place!

No ‘Tell:scopes’ on this floor, again just lost more people using smart phones and mobile devices for photos, filming!

NO one we spoke to had managed to access the 'elusive' Shard app content.

So after a while of enjoying the view and trying to understand what key buildings were and especially those at the furthest part of our sight range and also those mixed up with the atmospheric conditions (London smog) it was difficult to pick out.

We decided to leave and make the long journey back down in the lifts to terra firma!

Although pleasant at the top and one to tick off the bucket list, we have no reason to return... especially not to pay £29 per person to see if their app works on another day!

In our opinion, having to access the Wi-Fi and it not automatically letting you pick it up with no login significantly hampered our visitor experience!

The clearly expensive installation of the ‘Tell:scopes’ were extremely disappointing, so much so that we did not just think, they were ok but more than enough that we would write this whole blog post to share our experiences!

We are massive advocates of innovation especially in information based AR, which this, we feel clearly is not!

We do wish however, that it was quite the opposite! As this is a beautiful building and a key focal point for visitors from across the globe, yet the whole 'shard experience' engages you from when you walk in, right up till you leave on the escalator to street level, yet the 'key' (advertised on facebook) offering of helping people view London in a new way, in a way that’s informative and engaging was not only 'not good enough' it was a disaster of biblical proportions.

We can say this because we know what we were expecting and the rest of the journey was so good and this part was so bad that it amplified the gap between the rest of the offering and these stainless steel Armadillos with tablets welded into their backs with a 1980's user experience on them!

Using skignz instead!
We have also looked at our own technology and what 'The Shard' currently offers and we realise we are not just a step ahead of their offering but quite a few steps ahead. Will 'The Shard' read this and change things; we doubt it, not because they don't believe what we are saying or because they don't want to improve the customer experience but probably more to do with the budget already spent on the ‘Tell:scopes’ system!

In our research into how people are using AR for navigation and identifying places of interest we wrote a blog article...... ( regarding the installation at the Santander Banks HQ in Santander, Spain.

Again we found similarities with 'The Shard' offering, with the hundreds of thousands of digital images, the fixed access through pre-determined equipment, restricted in their range use and function.

Now compare this to what skignz offers and you can see that there is a gulf in the offerings! Why is this?

Were they engaged to provide these installations quite some time ago? Did they not consider people accessing it through their own devices or had skignz simply not been invented yet?

In the work we are exploring with other similar offerings across the globe, we aren't only looking at how to increase and improve the overall visitor experience but also the business model surrounding it, so that the owners of the 'visitor experience' can generate additional revenues that will allow them to 'reinvest' year on year in their attraction!

Keeping it relevant for every customer and not something that was maybe cool a year or two ago or that becomes 'so last season within a short time!'

For more information on how skignz could revolutionise the 'visitor experience' for your brand, please get in contact through our website

Two Sides Same Coin

There’s always that famous saying that we live in such a small world and one way or another everyone knows everyone. However when we think of this really it is just a quote that can mean nothing and that we never take no notice of.  

When it comes to making friends and knowing other people, it seems just a simple way as you are always told, just talk to someone and they will become your friend, or people you may meet from school, work and throughout your life in general. 

However no-one in the world actually takes the time to stop and have a look around and try to find people who are similar to themselves, life just passes you by, so why waste it not finding people who have similarities to yourself. People just accept who they meet at the time and become friends with them.
‘Life just passes you by’

We all know how friendship works. You meet a random person, then after a while from talking to them you start to assign yourself to their characteristics or personality. 

Even at certain times most people may change the way they act, what they like doing or what they believe in just so they can fit in with other people. 

There’s no need to do that. 

This can cause some unhappiness for some people as they may not enjoy doing what their ‘friends’ are doing, but to fit into that social group or for some people to even have friends they will go along with it. 

It sometimes is not the right thing to do.

As stated above, it is such a small world that we live in and from time to time you may have already bumped into that person that is so similar to you, you don’t need to change who you are. You can enjoy being who you are and doing what you do from just talking to other people and making new (possibly the right) friends.

            "Friendship is weird. You pick a human you’ve met and you’re like, 'yup I like this one,' and you just do stuff together.”

The above quote is great! It can have different meanings for many different people. If you’re a random person who likes doing a lot of different stuff and living a busy changing lifestyle each day then you will meet a lot of new people who you like and then decide to do stuff with them. 

If you didn’t like this person or feel like you do not fully get along with them then it would not be a big problem for yourself as you would be able to find other people who you most likely will get along with and will find time to fit them in with your busy changing lifestyle.

So you’re probably now thinking why all the talk about friends, similarities, small world and the title of this blog post: 

"two sides same coin?"

Well until recently I have never thought much about just how small a world we live in and how we meet people who are similar to us but maybe never meet them properly or become friends. Lately I have experienced this and seen it first-hand.

I work at skignz and for the previous 12 months or so I was the only girl working in the company as the rest of the team were boys. This was fine with me as we all got along really well and they were really nice people, however I would have liked to have a girl around the office. 

Then the time had come when our Film and Media Producer got a years secondment working for FITV in the Falklands which was a great opportunity for him, which meant we had to hire a new person to take over his position! 

Whether it was to be a boy or girl I would not have minded, although personally I thought a girl would have been a great addition to the team.

Then comes the time when you realise whoever does gets chosen, we would both have to get to know each other and become colleagues. However this was not the encounter that I was expecting.

We interviewed a lot of people for the role and narrowed it down to a few, a mixture of boys and girls. 

I asked if I could sit in on one of the interviews one day to get some experience of what it was like. The day when the interviews were taking place I sat in one interview with a girl Sarah (now our new Film and Media Producer but I will get to that soon). 

The interview went well and after she left I said to our CMO, that I felt like I knew her from somewhere and that I knew who she was, even though I didn’t know her or recognise her name I had a feeling that I sort of 'knew her'.

When the decision was made, they had chosen Sarah for the position. We all decided to meet up for a chat before she came in and started working here at the beginning of June. 

When meeting in the more relaxed surroundings of a local coffee shop, we were all chatting away getting to know one another when we started to notice similarities. 

It started off with small similarities, such as the way we had lived when we were younger, because when travelling to school neither of us liked to get buses so instead we both got taxis. We realised we both don't like to be alone and that suprisingly we had both had the first same date with our boyfriends: we each went to the same seaside town, to the same part of the beach. 

We were both shocked and started laughing about it when we found about how many similarities we each had and we thought well that could maybe be just it, even though without us realising it, there was actually far more in store.

On Sarah’s first day at work we started to get along really well chatting to each other a lot. When talking to each other, we both discussed our previous placements with Teesside University for three month before being here at skignz. 

Talking about our three month internships we realised that on one day, we had actually both sat down and had dinner together! We both didn't recognise each other at the table and it was only now that we work together that it finally clicked! Such a small world…

When you start to realise that you have had a lot of similarities in life with someone that you have just met, it can seem a bit strange depending on how you get along with that person. It seems really strange to you that you are as similar to someone as this, but is it really a bad thing?

That’s where we realised it wasn’t. We just laughed at every similarity we had, yeah it was strange at first but now it’s just amusing. We had a lot of strange similarities that are still appearing this day such as we had the same first car, the same email address and even buying the same DVD’s on the same day!  

Spooky or what?

‘We don’t meet people by accident, they are meant to cross our path for a reason’

Everyone is judgemental when they see a person or come to meeting someone new. For instance people may class blonde as stupid and dumb, when two people such as Sarah and me get along really well and have so many similarities/personality we could get classed as the same people, and I am not blonde! It’s a big wide wondering world to not judge someone and get to actually know a person that you may get along with really well.

‘Blonde and Brunette – different but the same’

Meeting someone new is a great part in everyone’s life at some point, so make sure you do it. We have figured it can be hard for people to meet each other or even just start to talk to each other. 

Now your wondering how this links with skignz other than we both work here?

Well just imagine if everyone had skignz. It can be very similar to everyone having social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter; however skignz is a much easier way to get to know someone and interact with them, you even can know where they are, so you never have to lose them again!

skignz is a great way for making friends and staying in contact with them if you have only met that person for a short while. 

You can connect to each other, add each other as friends and get to see where you each are when arranging to meet up, open your smart phone and see where they are?

You can keep in contact by talking to each other and interacting through skignz.

If you would like to find out more about skignz or if you have a struggle to make friends or even meet new people, then please get in touch or download the app and we will help to assist you in this tricky but so simple situation!

Oversea Students Are Impressed!

At skignz we always want new people to be informed and test out the new technology that we have created. We love seeing how impressed they are with it and just how great of a reaction we get from everyone.

The 1st July saw a group of oversea's student’s travel across from Africa to Teesside University on a 4 week course as a consideration to study their Masters here. 

within a day of arriving in the UK, straight from getting off the plane they came across to Teesside University to meet skignz and get involved in a treasure hunt/orientation activity.

Now some may wonder students have travelled across from Nigeria on a long flight, why would they want to come and first of all see skignz before they do anything else. Well skignz is their guide, essentially. 

They need to get to know the area and know where they are going while they are here, and skignz is the way for them to do that. Also we wanted them to get introduced to this great technology and see just how impressed they were with it.

When they arrived at the university we decided to give them a short introduction to skignz; what it is and how they can use it. We showed them a couple of videos of how it worked and then got them to download the app to their phone ready for the treasure hunt/orientation activity.

Just from watching the video and talking about it, we could see by the reactions on their faces and some of the words they were coming out with: “wow, amazing, great” just how amazed they were by how good this new piece of technology is.

We started them off on their orientation activity. The original plan was to split them up into groups of 5 however there was a slight problem with them coming from overseas not all of them had 3G connections (expensive overseas roaming charges) which was no at problem when on campus due to the use of the Wi-Fi, but upon stepping off the campus they had to rely on only a few members of the group who could access 3G and off they went to discover the surrounding area beyond the campus.

The orientation activity started from Teesside University leading around Middlesbrough down Linthorpe road into town then back up to the university again. 

It was set to take around two hours so that they could get used to the app, have some fun and also get to know about Middlesbrough. All aimed at helping them to decide whether to come over to study their Masters at Teesside University.

After the orientation activity was completed, they arrived back at Teesside University and we gathered some feedback from how it went.

The engaged students gave positive feedback saying that it was good, not so hard to use and was fun getting to know about Middlesbrough. 

They said it was an easy way to understand where they were going and did not get lost.

After the feedback was gathered we then decided to gather back in the Business School and get some further feedback of how they found the app and how they decide they are going to use it in the future. 

We also offered to answer any questions that they may have had about attending Teesside University or wanting to study here.

Some of the feedback from the students that we received was excellent. 

Statements ranged from:

            - “It will be helpful at concerts”
            - “We have large carnivals in our country, including big festival”
            - “I will use it wherever I visit the UK”
            - “I will skignz up our University back home”
            - “We will introduce it to our friends when we get back home”
            - “It is great technology that is beneficial and fun in a lot of ways”

The students from Africa were very excited about the technology that skignz offered and were excited about using it back home. They were excited to tell all of their friends about it and wanted to know what more we could do with it, giving us a lot of ideas which were really appreciated. 

Fresh ideas from overseas students!

We were really pleased with reactions and feedback we received. The students were very cheery and had a lot of positive thoughts about skignz. They stated that they were going to use it while in the UK for four weeks to help find their friends if they get lost and to also find the accommodation where they are staying if not sure where they are. 

The skignz app will defiantly be useful to the over sea students while they are over in the UK.

When we were showing them the videos of the work we were doing with some luxury brands at the moment they were amazed with what we showed them. 

When we showed them all a video of a luxury car makers, Car Configurator and the work we have planned to do with skignz they got even more excited about the technology, stating once again, just how amazing the work is that can be done with skignz.

We hope to be having a catch up with them in a couple of weeks, see how they are getting on and how they are enjoying it over here and also to see how they have found skignz.

If you want to know more about studying at Teesside University then visit their website to see some of the amazing under graduate and post graduate courses they offer. 

If you are a college or overseas university and would like to come and visit the TU campus and discover skignz for yourself then please contact either Teesside University or skignz.

If you would like to get to know more about skignz or if you have taken an interest in it, whether it be beneficial to you or to a brand you may know of then please get in touch with us using the links below.