Edinburgh Apps inspires health and wellbeing innovations

The City of Edinburgh Council’s annual Edinburgh Apps event saw a range of innovative solutions at its Final Pitch day.

Now in its third year, the challenge encouraged groups and individuals to make use of Council data to improve the lives of people living in or visiting Edinburgh.

This year, submissions were themed around Health and Wellbeing, pairing entrants with public and third sector partners to generate ideas addressing social challenges.

External organisations acted as ‘challenge owners’, working with teams to come up with innovations in areas including encouraging children to walk to school and tackling the issue of loneliness. The results were pitched to an audience at the event on Sunday, 13 March.

Councillor Frank Ross, Digital Champion, said: “It is fantastic to see so many people really thinking outside of the box to come up with new and innovative ways to address such important issues to people here and further afield.

“By involving organisations like Sustrans and NHS, EdinburghApps also demonstrates the kind of partnership working that is central to the future of services in Edinburgh. I look forward to seeing the development of proposals, which I’m certain would benefit many people.”

The Edinburgh Apps Final Pitch event followed an inception weekend on 6 and 7 February, where participants were able to meet challenge owners, and a midway catch-up on 27 February.

Four teams pitched their solutions at the event. These were:

A Game of Walks - #agameofwalks (in partnership with Sustrans)

A project to encourage children to walk to school through gamification. The team prototyped a system allowing pupils to team up to collect specific animal shapes displayed on electronic units along their walk to school. The competitive game aims to guide children along safe routes while enhancing and enlivening the walk to school.

Meet and Eat: A recipe for friendship (in partnership with NHS)

Aiming to combat loneliness by facilitating group dinners for strangers. The project would involve an app and promotion via posters and social media, and has been tested amongst students in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Chattercare (in partnership with Health and Social Care, the City of Edinburgh Council)

Entrants used web chat online tool Rocket Chat to trial a custom platform allowing the sharing of information and experience for people with cognitive difficulties and their carers. Conversations would be possible via a range of channels, like live chat or video conferencing, and would feature adaptive technology to allow accessibility.

Open Doors (in partnership with Health and Social Care, the City of Edinburgh Council)

The team have proposed a social media-style app aimed at elderly people, aimed to address loneliness. The app would include large icons and easy-to-use features to ensure accessibility for older users and would be promoted face-to-face via local events and by meeting families.

Also presenting at the Edinburgh Apps Final Pitch event were previous winners. Anne Maria Mann and Ella Robbins provided an update on their mobile app ARC-Edinburgh, which won in 2014. The app helps people recovering from addiction by tracking progress, providing motivation and linking users to local support groups. Thanks to Council funding and project management, the app is now live and due for an official launch.

2015 winner Jenny Tough gave an overview of Run the City, a mobile app which provides running routes for visitors to cities, highlighting landmarks and sights along the way. This is now available to download for Edinburgh, with app development for other cities currently underway.

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