The Bridget Jones diary app

The Bridget Jones diary app

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Published in the Dunfermline Press on 11th July 2017.

The Dunfermline app that’s the answer to Bridget Jones

A UNIQUE self-writing diary app, designed and built in Fife, could be the new Millennials’ answer to Bridget Jones. 

Orla records the places you went, what was there, what you did, and even how you got there. It also tags places with photographs, local news, weather and although the app can’t count how many Chardonnays you drank, there’s also a scrapbook so Bridget can add random musings. This spark of imagination was created by local company Trisent and built by Ember Technology, who, until five months ago, based their offices in Dunfermline.

Now in Glenrothes, the team have just launched their Orla Beta programme at last month’s EIE’17, the UK’s largest technology showcase where companies pitch to investors. The company thinks it could be on to a winner, competing with social media in a more detailed look at past memories and they are ready to tap into the $4.4 billion lifestyle app market very soon. Trisent and Ember Technology are promising this could be your most memorable app yet and now members of the public will be invited to try out this diary for free and help shape how the app develops.

Dunfermline businessman Steven Wexelstein, co-founder of Ember Technology, said:  “It’s been a really interesting application from a development point of view, building algorithms that detect different types of motion such as walking or running and different types of transport, while still making battery efficiency a top priority.”

The £150,000 trial, which has been largely self-funded with the aid of a £99,370 Smart Scotland grant through Scottish Enterprise, runs in the background of mobile phones by using location services and motion detector.

Entrepreneur and CEO of Trisent, Dr Gordon Povey, said:  “In future, this app could be used in lots of other ways; in business, for instance, or in tourism, when people want to keep a log of their trip or holiday. So many of us feel that our lives are passing in a blur; a diary would help us record, remember and reclaim all those forgotten days. Orla is completely different from the very brief, very public reviews of the year which social media provides. It is a daily log which, in the best tradition, is private. It’s very important to us that a user’s data is their own private data. Of course, individual users are free to use their written diary in whatever way this wish.”

Orla Beta Programme – phase one update

Orla Beta Programme – phase one update

We are nearing the end of phase one of the Orla Beta Programme.

We have so far release only the fully self-writing component of the diary that notes where you have been (Places) and how you got there (Journeys). This is a fully automated framework for a diary that can capture your ‘digital self’. Even as it stands now, most of our Beta users have been finding the Orla diary both useful and interesting. There will be further ongoing improvements to the accuracy of the information presented as well as further improvements to the battery life.

Orla diary

Here is a snapshot of the phase one Orla diary

However, the current functionality is only the ‘tip of the iceberg’. In phase two we will be revealing the scrapbook, an area where you will be able to select what information you want collected about yourself. This will be presented in a clever format that enables you to access all of your ‘digital self’ without the clutter and confusion of information overload.

As part of this process we are currently deciding what information to append the dairy with for phase two (and beyond). We have already obtained feedback from most of our current Beta users. They have told us what current features they like, dislike and new features that they would like. We are also conducting a wider survey that includes people who have not actually used Orla yet and so you can all be of help by completing our short Facebook poll. It will take about two minutes of your time and as a small incentive one respondant will be chosen at random to receive an Amazon voucher (the poll closes on 31st July 2017).

Once we have added some of the new features requested (and removed or changed features that were not liked), we will launch phase two. After a further period of testing we will again be asking our Beta users for more feedback and will also be adding more users into the Orla Beta Programme.

Orla is currently optimised for use in the UK and Ireland but does still work abroad. We do have a few overseas users and many people have also travelled abroad with Orla. Internationalisation will be an area we will be working on in phase three towards the end of this year.