Monday, 3 October 2016

Using AR at the Conservative Party Conference

This week was the first Conservative Party Conference since 'Brexit' and although here at skignz we are non political, this conference provided the City of Birmingham with a unique opportunity to do something a little bit different.

Birmingham, the second city as it's labelled, is fast becoming an emerging centre of excellence for digital technologies. 

There are a number of clusters growing across the city and an aim by all the key stakeholders to provide a 'joined up approach'.

Over the past few months skignz has met with many of these stakeholders, such as the key Universities, Airport, Chamber of Commerce, Hospital, Business Birmingham and others with the ultimate ambition of making Birmingham the first 'skignz city' in the UK if not the world (currently being challenged by Atlanta in the US).

What is a skignz city?

The definition of a skignz city is very loose, however it builds on the idea of a SMART city, but using the skignz platform and digital eco sphere to provide services, information and experiences across the city. 

This ranges from next generation Wayfinding, asset tracking, leisure activities and raising cultural awareness. SMART cities focus not on the infrastructure such as driverless cars, IOT, etc. 

skignz city links all of these other initiatives together through a common platform using the skignz Geo Location based Augmented Reality Platform.

How does this apply to the Conservative Party Conference?
It was felt that in order for all of the stakeholders to fully understand and experience skignz an event and/or location was required to demonstrate skignz.

The CPC was chosen and over the past few weeks the skignz team has been in Birmingham installing the infrastructure required, for not only all those attending the conference, but all those in Birmingham and especially those interested in using skignz to further their individual/organisations agendas with regards to digital technology.

During the conference people will be able to access the skignz environment for either navigation from Birmingham New Street Station, to finding the ICC more easily, through to providing interesting facts and information in and around the ICC. 

Birmingham City University and the Greater Birmingham Chamber are the key supporters, in being the very first Party Conference to use Augmented Reality, especially as this is not gimmicky or gamified, it's useful, relevant and interesting.

The future of Augmented Reality is around making the technology useful and complementary to other technologies, both key ingredients in building SMART cities. 

Birmingham has over the last few days become the first city… a huge change from its usual status! 

Well done Birmingham for having the faith and courage to push the boundaries of what is possible, by enhancing a political conference - some would say that's almost impossible! 

The BIG question is? 
Has the second city just become the UK's first city with regards to Augmented Reality?

For more information on the Conservative Party Conference please take look at their website:

For more information on the Conservative Party please take look at their website:

For more information on Birmingham City University please take look at their website:

For more information on the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce please take look at their website:

If you want to find out more about skignz, then please visit our new recently launched website ( as well as the usual social media channels

Saturday, 1 October 2016

The ever increasing file size of OS & Apps..!

When the idea first came about for what is now skignz, in fact before then, one of the key factors that we would focus on would be the file size.

Back in 2011 we kept getting asked to remove Photos, Music, Videos and even Apps from our SmartPhones in order to accommodate the latest version of the handsets Operating System (OS).

This trend not only continued with the increase in file size of the Operating Systems, but it seems the App Developers were ‘running just as fast as they could’ to keep up with the upgrades and their focus on making retrospective 'fixes' to remove errors and bugs from their own Apps in response to the OS change.

Over the last few years we have seen how this has continued with the file size of the new OS's and Apps almost irrelevant to those building them, which creates a massive issue for the user… 

Why? Because if you're running out of file space on your current SmartPhone, then when you come to make a change or renew (as many of us do under our 'SmartPhone' monthly contract plans each year) then we look at the size we currently have and immediately go for the next storage size up from what we have. 

This proves difficult if the SmartPhone manufacturers don’t just increase the memory by 50%, or even double, but in some cases a quadruple times jump in file storage, then the price of the handset increases quite considerably. 

In most cases, this is because of the OS increasing in size with every new version or even update. This is the same with the apps we have on our phone and nothing to do with the fact we have more Photos, Music or video on there.

With all of this in mind in August 2015 we decided to review a selection of apps most used by the people we know across all areas of our lives. Obvious ones such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as Google Chrome through to the other key players in our sector, Augmented Reality. 

Various member os the skignz team found over the ensuing 12 months that when we raised this with many people, all of them were not only shocked at the file sizes but also that they felt that they were constantly increasing. 

We have decided to monitor this fluctuation in files sizes monthly, but thought it worth providing an annual summary over the last 12 months from 1st October 2015.
Another reason for our research is that we have managed to keep the skignz app to just over 1mB. Yes, you read that right, it's not a spelling mistake! Earlier this year Pok√©mon Go made a dramatic experience and tens of millions have downloaded the app, did you know when it was launched the app was 178mB! that's not a spelling mistake either!

However, when we checked this week it has now increased to a whopping 210mB, Facebook has increased in the last month also, as have many of the other apps in our survey. 

Could this be 
since the launch of the latest version of IOS?
It's very easy to conclude that unless something significant happens and the SmartPhone manufacturers, rewrite their next OS from scratch, removing a lot of the 'fat and waste' then this trend will not only continue but will accelerate.

What does this mean? will it reach the point where your SmartPhone has more memory than your desktop/laptop... 

One thing we can confirm is that skignz will do its utmost to lead the way and reverse this trend and will never be the app you need to delete in order to update your Operating System.

What do you think about the memory of our devices being taken up by over inflated app sizes and ever increasing Operating Systems?

For further information on how you can use skignz please visit our new website or check out the usual social media channels.

Monday, 26 September 2016

New skignz website: Acting on user feedback!

Over the summer we have been working on developing our website in light of the feedback we have received over the last twelve months or so.
We are delighted to say that it is now live and we hope you like it.

We simply wanted to help people understand a bit more about skignz; what it is, who can use it and who we are working with.

Our new website proudly shows the awards we have won, where we have featured in the Press/Media, our blog that will keep you informed of our latest skignz news and our contact information if you have any skignz queries. 

We feel our new updated website is another step forward in our progress. 

We would like to thank the Calm Digital team for their help and support over recent months in providing this fabulous website for us. At times we knew it was an arduous task, but they have not only delivered what we asked for, but exceeded our expectations.

This summers activities did not only stop at the website, we have also been working on the development of the app, at the backend, and we have published an updated Android version in the Google Play Store due to recent issues earlier in the year.

Now the focus shifts to the UX element of the skignz App for both IOS and Android. For a while we have known that in areas it appears 'clunky' and not as intuitive as we would like. 

With recent changes in direction of the technical development of the skignz platform, we aim to be bringing a fresh new design layout, an easier way to register and login. 

We are working on a simpler way for you to introduce skignz to your friends, favourite social media channels and provide the opportunity for you to place skignz on your SmartPhone and we hope to bringing all these news developments to you very soon.
As we always aim to develop skignz with the User at the forefront of everything we do, please do feedback not only issues you come across but also ideas for improvement.
What would you like to see within the skignz App?

So please keep an eye out for the updates and changes either through this blog, our regular Newsletters or any of our Social Media channels. 

If you would also like to know more about the awesome brand/digital agency then please take a look here