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15 Reasons We #LoveMK

This month will mark the 4th #LoveMK day since Destination MK, the official tourism organisation for Milton Keynes, started the trend in 2012. As key supporters of the city’s past, present and future, on Thursday 28th April we – alongside hundreds of others – will aim to set social media alight with quirky depictions of the hashtag, causing our great city to start trending.


#LoveMK Day aims to celebrate MK in all its glory, promoting the city as a great destination for businesses, as well as for leisure, sports and entertainment. It’s certainly a place people take great pride in, evident from the sense of community and potential.


As professionals and residents of Milton Keynes we may be slightly biased, but we think that this great city has everything to offer and more, whether you’re into country walks, skydiving, fine dining, fantastic shopping, or the arts.


Here are the top 15 reasons we all #LoveMK!

  1. Development sits comfortably next to greenery, with parks, green spaces and lakes nestled amongst the estates and business areas.
  2. There’s ALWAYS something going on, from festivals to family fun days, marathons, concerts, sporting events to live music and theatre.
  3. Travel for 5 minutes and you feel like you’re in the deepest countryside.
  4. … And indeed you are! There are so many beautiful rural villages just a stone’s throw away.
  5. MK is connected, with high speed transport to London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. We’re also just 30 miles from the m25, and the m1 runs through the eastern edge of the city.
  6. With 130 roundabouts – that’s almost 4 per square mile! – it’s easy to see why MK is often called Roundabout City, but the running joke doesn’t detract from the grid system’s practicality. Sure, we might never know precisely which roundabout we’re on, but we love how easy it makes driving.
  7. That same grid system has helped to mould out communities, each with its own village feel.
  8. MK behaves like a city, but doesn’t feel like one. We attribute that to its confidence and vibrancy!
  9. Innovation is what we do, and when we bend our minds to something we really trail blaze, from SmartCities to driverless pods and much more.
  10. Even the less common sports are embraced, from wakeboarding to skiing, go-carting, skydiving and biking in the Woburn woods.
  11. You never have to cross a road if on foot or on a bicycle, since the city really encourages cleaner and more active modes of transport.
  12. It’s so clean!
  13. The canal that runs through the heart of the city is fantastic for biking, walking, jogging or just a great place to meet.
  14. Our many parks – from Ouzel Valley to Caldecotte, Willen, Furzton and Campbell Park.
  15. Milton Keynes has such a “can do” attitude, apparent in both businesses and local communities.


Keep an eye out for how we’re going to celebrate #LoveMK day ID style on social media on the 28th April!

ID Loves: Facebook Reactions

Following our emojis opinion post last month from MD, Nicholas Mann, we were pleased to see the launch of the much anticipated Facebook Reactions last week.


The new Facebook emoji reactions are the next step forward to the hugely popular ‘like’ button, meaning your friends can now like, love, laugh, be wowed, saddened or angered by your posts. The plan to build reactions was conceived over a year ago, and there has been much discussion during that time about a ‘dislike’ button, which due to the negativity associated with it, didn’t make it onto the final portfolio of reactions.


With the developed world’s (almost) universal adoption of smartphones, the emoji continues to grow rapidly in popularity, hence Facebook’s move to follow the trend that is quickly taking over the way we communicate digitally.


So why these six emojis? Facebook says it had lots of options to choose from, but these were the six that best represented the comments that people regularly make to posts on Facebook. They are universally recognised, meaning that there is no requirement for translation or further explanation in different languages.


The reactions are for all posts, including group and business accounts, and there is no way to block a reaction. The new feature is expected to see further development in the future, depending on feedback from users, but for now it is an exciting step forward that many are looking forward to embracing.


We want to know what you think of Facebook’s new reactions – let us know using the new feature on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/interdirect.

Honing in on iBeacons

In the last few years we have certainly learned that hype and natter don’t necessarily mean that new technology will take off – just take a look at Google Glass which is “resting” as of earlier this year after a tidal wave of disappointment and unenthused reviews.

If you’re not part of the conversation however, you can’t expect to be in the know, and if you’re not in the know then you’ll soon be using yesterday’s technology. We’re hearing a lot of noise recently about iBeacons and thought we’d add our two-cents for those unaware of the potential of Beacon technology – our team makes up several of just 40,000 devs tapping into it.

iBeacons are certainly nothing new, Apple has been using them in store since 2013 with their Apple Store app. What is new however is the understanding around what they can do for businesses, and the technology to support increased functionality.

What are iBeacons?
An iBeacon is a small, wireless sensor capable of broadcasting signals which your smartphone can read. Your device then produces content via an app offering a contextually richer experience, whatever that may be.

iBeacons are powered by coin battery and have built in antennas, running on BLE (Bluetooth Smart) technology. They are highly sensitive devices, monitoring location, temperature and motion, and work on any iOS 7.0 device onwards, as well as Android.

How can it change user experience?
Retailers are the primary example used to demonstrate the use of iBeacons to offer a richer experience to customers.

Imagine walking down the street and being pulled (reluctantly of course) into your favourite shoe shop by a push notification via the brand’s app which tells you there’s 10% off selected items today only. Based on your previous online purchases and perusing, with help from the beacons your smartphone can direct you to the stand which stocks your preferred style of shoe.

Not impressed yet? Well, stand there too long – perhaps it’s the shade or the shape you’re not quite sold on – and the beacon could instruct your app to offer you an additional 10% off since you’re clearly umming and ahhing. What’s more you could even pay for the shoes without waiting at a till, without even pulling out your wallet or purse.

From events to directions, the limits of iBeacons are nowhere in sight currently. The technology could single-handedly erase the need for audio guides in museums, internal maps, and welcome information packs as you enter an event.

The video below shows a brilliant example of using beacons to aid hard-sighted people to navigate busy or potentially hazardous environments:

Even in the last 12 months, battery life has been extended from 2 to 3 years, showing the pace at which this technology is advancing to meet future demand. Whether this demand materialises remains to be seen, however with names such as Macy’s, Virgin and Nivea all exploring the uses of iBeacons, we’re glad we’re on the iBeacon radar.

Honda Shows Us The Other Side


Hats off to Honda for giving us one of the coolest, and cleverest, ads in a long time.

Honda has unveiled it's latest ad campaign, The Other Side, to showcase the new Honda Civic and Civic Type R Concept.

What appears at first glance to be just your average ad, albeit very slick, is an interactive masterpiece that allows users to switch between two contrasting narratives by pressing the 'R' key.

We won't ruin the viewing experience for you, but feast your eyes on the trailer above, then visit www.hondatheotherside.com to see the spectacle in full.

 

Living with Lag

We don’t know about you but Internet lag, when slow internet causes delay, is probably one of the most frustrating things of all time.

But what would lag be like if it was part of our offline lives? Swedish broadband provider Ume.net has conducted an experiment using the virtual reality headset Ocuclus Rift with hilarious results!

Music Lifts ID’s Spirits

This week, Nicholas Mann of Interdirect enjoyed an evening of enchanting music and warming hospitality courtesy of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra (MKCO).

The Lifted Spirit concert at The Venue, Walton High featured the talented Stacey Watton as guest conductor and the captivating Principal Cellist Bozidar Vukotic who joined the fantastic orchestra who played works by Dvorak, Faure, Tchaikovsky and Schubert to give a stunning solo performance.

On attending the evening, Nicolas commented; “It’s a while since I’ve been rendered speechless, but the orchestra gave such a moving performance that I was completely captured by the music. Interdirect has proudly supported MKCO for a number of years and it’s great to see occasions such as Lifted Spirit being attended by so many people, and resulting in such raving reviews, and I hope our strong relationship will continue.”

Established in 1975, MKCO plays an important role in the cultural life of Milton Keynes as a valuable arts resource for the local area, as well as engaging in the business community. Interdirect has supported the MKCO since 2007 in developing digital solutions for the organisation including an innovative website to help showcase the very best of the number one classical music resource in our region.