Posted on August 31, 2018 by staff

Top tech firms come together for Bee in the City app


Three of the UK’s top tech companies have come together to design an app showcasing Manchester’s Bee in the City art trail.

Ten years since Wild in Art’s first event, the public art specialist is marking its milestone year by bringing together leading digital companies to produce the Bee in the City app.

Featuring an augmented reality bee, pedometer and integration with outdoor digital screens, the app has had more than 17,000 downloads and nearly 1 million Bee ‘unlocks’ to date.

Developed by digital marketing agency Mediaworks, it offers players the chance to collect bees, vote for their favourite and earn rewards around this summer’s art trail in Manchester.

Visitors to the trail can download the app to track down all super-sized bees painted by artists, as well as the little bees created by children and young people.

AR bee Buzzi was created by animation studio Factory and joins more than 230 bee sculptures displayed around the city. Exclusive to app players, Buzzi can be seen flying to its ‘hive’ on St Peter’s Square through the camera on mobile devices.

“It’s been a great project to work on creating the augmented reality bee,” said Factory managing director Phil Chalk.

“We have worked with many, much-loved characters in our animated series, but this demonstrates the talent and ability of our team and highlights the quality and flexible production resources that we have.”

As well as helping visitors to locate the sculptures dotted around Manchester’s most popular landmarks and hidden spots, the app offers its players rewards and trophies along the way.

By inputting the code that’s printed on each sculpture’s plaque each time they find a bee, players can unlock retail discounts, prizes and exclusive content.

Another first for Wild in Art, the app is integrated with outdoor advertising screens. Media company Ocean Outdoor, a Bee in the City media partner, is giving players a chance to see themselves on the big screens around Manchester.

Players simply upload their photos and Twitter handles through the app and the shots that make it onto the big screen are tweeted to notify the player.

App players are also encouraged to stay fit by tracking their distance, steps and time on the trail using the pedometer sponsored by Well Pharmacy, a Bee in the City presenting partner. Players can also add photos to the Bee Gallery and share on social media.

Wild in Art marketing director Ruth McAllister added: “The app brings even more enjoyment to Bee in the City, which transforms Manchester into a fun, free, family-friendly art gallery this summer.

“The art trail marks a significant milestone in Wild in Art’s history of connecting communities, businesses and artists through creativity, and we’re delighted to be working alongside Mediaworks, Factory and Ocean Outdoor to deliver a fitting app.”

The Bee in the City app is available to download from the App Store and Google Play for £1.99. From each app purchase, 25 per cent of the net profit is donated to the Lord Mayor of Manchester’s We Love MCR Charity.

When the art trail finishes on 23 September, all giant bee sculptures are auctioned in October to help raise funds for the We Lover MCR Charity, which aims to support Manchester’s communities through its grants programme.