This post is brought to you by global IT business solutions provider Comarch.
The Brera Smart District mobile app was created in cooperation between Comarch, a global services provider, and Studiolabo, the agency behind the Brera Design District project. Initially, it helped visitors to navigate through the myriad of events during last April’s Milan Design Week.
The Comarch Smart City Platform proved to be a comprehensive tool, which could become popular in many cities all over Europe and the world. In the meantime, both people living in Milan and those who are just visiting Brera District can benefit from the location-based services it provides.
Although the system was created to drive the biggest design event in Europe, it is a complete tool which will be evolving over the next years as a solution for other areas of Milan, and possibly other Italian cities.
A brief history of the app highlights quite why so many cities are now investing in such smart technologies.
Brera district and Milan Design Week
Brera is the creative and cultural heart of the Milan, and the main arena of last spring's Design Week.
The Fuorisalone, to give the event its proper name, started spontaneously in the 1980s thanks to Italian designers and creators of furniture. Nowadays, it is open also to many sectors including automotive, technology, telecommunications, fashion, food and art.
The Fuorisalone is not a traditional fair, and it is not organised centrally: instead, it's composed of more than 138 smaller events, attended by over 200,000 people. Nevertheless, it is institutionally recognised, and supported by Milan's city council and the local public transportation company (ATM). Today it is one of the most important events of its kind in the world.
Festivals, Apps, and the Internet of Things
Nowadays, a festival app is a must, and organisations all over the world propose special applications to enhance the experience associated with any big event.
One app of this kind is “Glascovery”, which helps attendees at Glastonbury to navigate through the event's lineup. There are also more generic applications that enable you to buy all the equipment in one place (Festival Ready), or accurately estimate how much longer your phone will last (Battery Saver).
Most of these do not fully exploit the potential of the IoT – but there are those that do.
The heart of the app is the “Nearby Now” section, where one can find numerous exclusive offers or promotions. For example, a user may get unlimited fried doughnuts – a free treat for gourmet appetites.
In “Journeys”, there’s a convenient trip planner with interactive map. The app also offers easy access to the agenda of Fuorisalone 2016, and its “Tourism” tab is a guide to Milan’s main attractions.
Additional functions such as “Transactions”, “Cart”, “Favorites”, make the app a comprehensive solution for both those participating in Milan Design Week and those simply visiting Brera district.
Speaking of the app, Kamila Niekraszewicz, country manager at Comarch Italy, says:
"The app is a first step for us. It was designed for a small but very important part of Milan, the vibrant Brera District and it is focused on the Milan Design Week. It benefits from the most important elements of Comarch Smart City Platform – beacons, location based services, interactive maps and offers engine.
"We are planning to implement more versatile solutions soon. They are dedicated to whole cities and give users brand new possibilities. Smart City is a future. We’re glad it all started in Milan, a cradle of design and technology."
The launch of Comarch's first European Smart City application makes the company more reliable in the eyes of potential clients – organisations that buy solutions which are similar from technical and business point of view. The app means the firm has joined the list of suppliers of advanced solutions. Today, Comarch doesn't only only IT, but also consulting and working with the client.
The app's second life
The application has already achieved very good results – in just its first few days, it received hundreds of downloads, and 73 commercial partners placed their offers on the platform. The team also received a number of positive comments from local stores, restaurants and other places.
Just as with any project focused on a specific event, there are questions about the future of Smart Brera District application. In this case, however, there is no concern that the work will be in vain. The system has been prepared for Europe’s biggest design event, but it is a complete program to implement its Smart City systems in other cities, in Southern Europe and in the United States.