Shape the future of our apps: become an UrbanThings beta tester

As UrbanThings expands TripChecker into new cities and countries, we rely on user feedback to ensure it continues to be a great app with accurate travel information.

If you’d like to be part of that process, then there’s still time to join our all-new beta testers group. Our testers will receive exclusive early access to new versions of our apps and a chance to shape the future of our products.

To be a beta tester it doesn’t matter where you live, but at the moment we’re particularly interested in hearing from smartphone users in the Sydney area.

If you would like to join the UrbanThings beta tester family, please click here.

    

Bristol API Hackathon 2

Myself and the team were at Bristol’s Watershed today to help run the second of this year’s Bristol API Hackathons in partnership with Connecting Bristol. The challenge was ‘A Cleaner Leaner Bristol‘. How can we reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles on the roads that contribute to pollution?

We were also spreading interest in the live Electric Vehicle Chargepoint data that the team have been integrating into The Bristol API, and helping participants to download and visualise this.


The Finalists

After a hard day’s discussions and coding, the solutions were presented to a packed room:

• A ‘Plan around disruptions’ idea that involved smarter journey planning in the event of disruptions and some clever routing around incidents.


• ‘Three Stop Hop’ application to make the most of First buses’ discount ticket that only covers travel between three bus stops.


• A ‘Green Days Out’ tool that combined city pollution sensing data with POIs in The Bristol API to suggest and then plan journeys to greener places.


The Winners

In the end, the judges decided to award the prize to the ‘Three Stop Hop’ project. The judges felt that this was particularly innovative, had universal appeal (“everyone loves a bargain”), applications outside of Bristol (e.g. zonal travel) and also tied in with wider council initiatives to encourage healthier travel.

Lizzie Darville, Russell Day and Tom Harts received the day’s prize of £100 cash from UrbanThings, plus a chance at the year’s ‘Grand Prize’ of a design workshop worth £2,500 from leading digital design agency Big Mallet.

A fantastic day was had by all – there was intense coding, litres of coffee drunk, and multiple salty snacks and beers to round things off. Our thanks to all who came along and, as ever, the tireless work by Katherine, Matthew and the Connecting Bristol team to make it all happen.

Photos courtesy of John Kinson, and click here to read Lizzie’s blog about her day.

TripChecker Launch Party

On Wednesday evening we celebrated the release of our latest app TripChecker with a perfectly sized launch party at Hex Cycling.

It was a great opportunity to reward the team’s hard work with a few beers and the odd glass of wine (or two or three). We also invited a number of our business friends and the Accelerator family – thanks very much for coming!

Last but definitely not least, don’t forget to download Tripchecker (and BusChecker) from the App Stores:

Google Play  |  iTunes

A sneaky peek at Trip Checker

Our newest baby is nearing its delivery date.

Trip Checker builds on UrbanThings’ signature apps to deliver a unique, global experience.  A true ‘take anywhere’ transit app that gives up-to-date travel information and live times in key cities around the globe.

We’re launching next week – but you can check out the main site here to whet your appetite!

Next Bristol API Developer Engagement Day Confirmed

We’re pleased to confirm the date and theme for our next Developer Engagement Event in Bristol – “A Cleaner, Leaner Bristol”.
 

How can we use data to help create a city that has better air quality, and has fewer single-occupancy vehicles guzzling gas and contributing to congestion?
 

  • Making it easier to use electric vehicles by finding nearby free charging points.
  • Maximising the capacity of existing vehicles on the roads, whether this be buses, cars, or other vehicles.
  • Promoting the use of other sustainable forms of transport.

 
a_cleaner_leaner_bristol_logo_21_05_16 
As usual, there are some top prizes up for grabs for the most innovative solutions, including a cash prize of £100 on the day, and a chance at winning the year’s grand prize that includes an app design workshop worth £1,000 from leading creative agency Big Mallet.

More details will be unveiled nearer the time; the last event sold out so sign up here for a ticket while places are still available!

Blue Sparrow win the first ‘Keep Bristol Moving’ challenge event

dev_engagement_jan_2016_smallOn 23rd January, an energetic group of developers and innovators came together at the Watershed in Bristol for the first in a series of transport challenges using The Bristol API.

The day’s brief was to use the Bristol API to build an innovative app or solution that helps to solve a transport-related problem.  Transport gurus and expert software developers were on-hand to provide coding advice and top tips.

After a tremendous turnout (we sold out!) and a hard day’s coding, the judges awarded top prize to Blue Sparrow Apps for their innovative app targeted at families travelling together. Their prototype solution mashed up journey planning, transportation routes and POI locations to help families plan a day out on public transport. A proof-of-concept iPhone app presented a journey plan together with an interactive list of useful locations along the route such as cafes, public facilities and tourist attractions.

blue_sparrow_concept_app

Blue Sparrow Apps win themselves £100, plus a shot at the year’s grand prize; a digital design workshop worth £1,000 from leading creative agency Big Mallet.

If you’d like to attend the next event, then watch this space for news, as spaces go fast! Or, if you’re a Bristol API user, make sure your account is configured to receive email updates to receive details direct to your inbox.

Launching The Bristol API

The Bristol API logo

Today we joined forces with Bristol City Council to launch The Bristol API, the first city-wide API platform outside of London to launch in the United Kingdom. The Bristol API is a data platform that will provide developers with free access to a wealth of transportation and smart city data from Bristol and beyond.

UrbanThings was delighted to win the tender to provide this solution and have been working hard behind the scenes to deliver a robust, scalable solution to meet the needs of one of the UK’s smartest digital cities.

If you’re interested in putting the API through its paces, register for an account, then check out the online documentation to get started. There’s even a suite of Mobile SDKs to build a mobile app in minutes. If you’d like a practical demonstration, we’ll be running a transport-themed Challenge Event at Watershed on Saturday 23 January. The developer of the most innovative creation will win a cash prize, with the year’s overall winner being awarded £1,000 worth of customised app design assets from leading creative agency Big Mallet.  Register here.

Are you a data publisher, or local authority?  If you’d like your own Smart City API, get in touch – UrbanThings can work with you to launch a branded platform to publish your data and connect with developers in new and innovative ways.

Invitation to Downing Street

Carl and the ChancellorAs one of the UK’s #smallbiz100, UrbanThings was invited to a reception at Downing Street hosted by Chancellor George Osbourne.

The event was organised in support of Small Business Saturday – UrbanThings was selected after submitting an application highlighting our work with mobile transport data, including globally successful apps such as Bus Checker and the platforms that power them.

As seen here, our CEO, Carl Partridge, managed to persuade the big man himself to hold the Bus Checker mascot aloft – and thankfully he didn’t nick off with it afterwards…

UK Bus Checker gets Live Train Times

Bus Checker Train StopBoard Low QualityFrom today, the successful UK Bus Checker app will include live train times for every station in the United Kingdom.

Users can now tap on any railway station in the UK for an instant departure board. Also included are up-to-date delays and disruption information – plus the platform number for each train.

 

carl_headshot_circle_120pxPut simply, we can now tell you everything about the trains except whether the buffet car has any egg sandwiches left – but we’re working on that too.

– Carl Partridge, Lead Developer

 

The info displayed is the same official data that’s displayed in UK railways stations, sourced live from National Rail Enquiries.  And the train stations themselves are fully integrated into the app; users can plan journeys to/from them, or even add them to your favourites on your Today/Home screen or Apple Watch.

We’re Accelerating

Accelerator-building-600x349UrbanThings is proud to announce that we have been accepted into Accelerator London.  Accelerator London is a business incubator for London’s best early stage technology startups, based in Shoreditch. UrbanThings will join 30 of London’s best technology startups who have raised millions in funding, scaled teams and launched in global markets.

From today, our new office address is:

UrbanThings
35 Kingsland Road
London
E2 8AA

Yes, this makes us officially part of the Silicon Roundabout brigade…but don’t worry, we won’t be sprouting enormous hipster beards just yet. Unless there’s a discount at local cafes and bars for doing so. In which case, we’ll give it some careful consideration.