In 2009 Click Suite is a major sponsor of Webstock. As part of our sponsorship they are providing an experimental interactive experience for the Webstock community.
Entitled, the SUITE SPOT, it takes live data feeds from blogs, Twitter, Flickr and SMS messages (TXT 4848) then ‘repurposes’ all of this into an exploratory scene which grows and reacts to the incoming content.
You can experience the SUITE SPOT…
WITH YOUR VOICE
Explore what people are saying about Webstock. Add your own voice with your blog, Twitters, Flickr set or TXT a message to 4848 (TXT messages cost 20 cents).
WHERE: On the web: http://suitespot.clicksuite.co.nz
WITH YOUR HANDS
Try the gestural user interface and swim through a sea of Webstock feeds!
WHERE: In the lounge next to the Peoples Coffee Espresso.
WITH YOUR EYES
See what people are saying right now about Webstock.
WHERE: Occasionally on the big screen in the Town Hall auditorium.
The SUITE SPOT is available on the web [http://suitespot.clicksuite.co.nz]. Go visit there now to input your own feeds, send a message or simply explore.
To help with the probability of your content appearing in the right place at the right time use the official Webstock tag (#webstock09). Also tag your Flickr photos (of speakers) with their full name. The application will search the web for appropriately tagged content and interpret this content into graphical streams. The content can also be filtered via a timeline of the event or by speaker.
This system has been developed in-house by Click Suite and was created using emerging technologies which enable more natural ways to interact with computers and data.
In the final of our sponsor interviews, we talk with John Moore from *experience.
Webstock: *experience is a fairly new company. Tell us about how you got started and what your focus is?
John: Well, like all good Wellington companies we started over a coffee – in our case at the Chocolate Fish Cafe! From our design agency / corporate backgrounds we saw the gap for a specialist online experience company â€“ a company with a brand and communications focus, and the ability to be the neutral bridge between customers, business, and the mysteries of web development.
After that first coffee the brand, name and business plan fell into place and *experience was born in mid-2006. We quickly picked up some great clients â€“ large corporates, government agencies and smaller organisations â€“ and we havenâ€™t stopped since.
So now weâ€™re living the dream â€“ our clients tell us they work with us because we keep them real. We challenge them, we advocate for their customers, we champion their business targets, we translate design and technology to create great online experiences and we have fun! Our team is awesome â€“ theyâ€™re experienced, dedicated, and passionate; we continue to work with some of New Zealandâ€™s finest technology houses, and our clients all know how to work our coffee machine â€“ weâ€™re loving it.
Webstock: What’s the importance of someone’s “experience” when they interact with a website? Does it really matter? Aren’t they just trying to do something?
John: Exactly! For us, the â€œexperience is everythingâ€… so no matter how you get people to your website, how flash your tv ad is, how flash your flash is, or how big your logo is â€“ if people canâ€™t achieve what they want on your site then… FAIL! That experience becomes your brand, your reputation, your credibility… and itâ€™ll become the dinner story, the blog post, the tweet. So itâ€™s vital that companies get the experience right â€“ and itâ€™s our job to help them do just that.
Webstock: With regard to the “global economic situation” what changes are you expecting to the web and online industry here in the next couple of years?
John: The current global economic situation just means weâ€™ve all got to get smarter. We need to work even harder to get our clients to maximise the new, smarter, leaner, more agile technologies and get their websites working harder â€“ and get them out there in the smartest way possible! (and weâ€™re hoping the term â€˜enterprise solutionâ€™ will disappear from the online vocabulary too…)
Webstock: *experience is associated with Meg Pickard at Webstock. Why is Meg a good fit with *experience?
John: Miriame and I come from a brand and communications background and (as the rest of our team will tell you!) weâ€™re news junkies too… as such weâ€™ve always admired the Guardian as a publication â€“ itâ€™s always been a leader â€“in its â€˜old mediaâ€™ form â€“ and now especially in its new media evolution.
So when we saw that Meg was coming out for Webstock we jumped at the chance to be involved! And we love that she describes herself as a â€˜Creative geekâ€™ â€“ as slightly geeky creatives, we should be a good match.
Webstock: You’ve both been to every Webstock to date. What brings you back and has attracted you as a sponsor this time?
John: We still remember that day (in our previous lives) when you came to us with a twinkle in your eye and this great idea for a thing called â€œWebstockâ€… back then we were rapt to help craft the Webstock brand strategy, and this year we were really proud to be able to step up and be sponsors of what is now an awesome, world renowned event.
Why do we keep coming back? We love the Webstock buzz â€“ the world class speakers (yay Meg), the chance to catch up with our mates (that includes all our clients!), to see everyone in our industry, and to watch all the newbies getting involved â€“ magic!
The success of a conference is measured by the amount of ice-cream consumed! And thanks to the folks at DigitalNZ, we’ll have a big supply of Kapiti ice-cream on hand. We recently caught up with Andy Neale from DigitalNZ and asked him a few questions.
Webstock: Tell us about the story behind DigitalNZ and what your aims are?
Andy: So the sound byte for DigitalNZ is that we are helping to make NZ’s digital content easier to find share and use. The gist of this is that there’s heaps of amazing NZ material that people just don’t get to see or find. There are all the old NZ photos, and papers, and posters, and recordings etc. that needs to be digitised. So we are working on how to scale this up. Then there’s the digital material that sits in institutional databases, trapped in the dark web that Google can’t get to. So we are also going in and helping to make that content visible. We then started asking “what’s the point of finding all this amazing NZ material if you can’t do anything with it?”. That’s where our efforts to encourage the release stuff without copyright restrictions, or embrace creative commons comes in. Or heck, maybe just encourage content owners to be clear about what license or restrictions do apply. We could go on… it’s very exciting!
Webstock: DigitalNZ haz APIs. What is it and how can people start to use it? What are some of the possibilities you see with the API being made available?
Andy: We’re currently working with 35 content providers from around NZ to make their digital material more visible. Places like Te Papa and NZ On Screen have let us collect their data, and offer up for developers to access. The sky’s the limit really… we are seeing people working on location-based mashups, iPhone apps, and new tools to get this content into schools. We only launched in December so things are still getting started, but it’s kinda like, what couldn’t you do with such a dataset? We built this custom search engine on top of the APIs to give people a taste of what’s possible.
Webstock: What are some other libraries and cultural institutions doing great things online?
Andy: No surprises in saying that everyone’s been jumping on the social media bandwagon for a few years now. The Brooklyn Museum is planning something called Wikipedia Loves Art where a whole load of volunteers will take photos of materials in museums to illustrate wikipedia articles. Closer to home, Seb and the team at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney are doing some great stuff. Their Fresh + New blog covers a lot of ground in the digital media space. And of course there’s the Commons on Flickr which started with the Library of Congress and now has more than 20 international members.
Webstock: The web team at National Library has certainly embraced the awesomeness of Twitter with a vengeance! What are some of the benefits that a team gains from using Twitter?
Andy: Yeah, it’s funny, we had a Twitter fanatic join the Library last year, and all of a sudden it just took off with a whole bunch of staff. I think mostly it’s about being visible and accessible. Granted it’s still a niche community, but we get so much from following others, and this is a way for others to get value from what we are thinking and doing. Surprisingly, it’s actually also useful when you can ask a question and 15 responses pile in with an answer.
Webstock: What speaker are you most looking forward to seeing at Webstock?
Andy: It would have to be Toby Segaran… aside from all the data-mashary and semantic goodness, he’s originally from Christchurch!
Webstock: We’re sure the Cantabrians reading are applauding that sentiment! And it’s really exciting to see a public organisation look to be open in what it’s doing.