JUNGO: A SMARTBAND FOR SAFER & MORE ENJOYABLE EVENTS
In the fall of 2017, I worked on a semester-long group project where we explored pervasive and ubiquitous design. Our final product was Jungo, a smart band and system that makes large-scale events safer and more enjoyable by allowing users to quickly and easily find friends, gauge crowd sizes, and alert security in the case of an emergency.
On October 1st 2017, a lone shooter opened fire on concert-goers at the Route 91 Music Festival. Within the span of an hour, hundreds had been injured and over 50 people killed.
This event provided the initial motivation for Jungo as our team wanted to explore how to use pervasive computing to potentially make concerts, events, and open-air festivals a safer and less anxiety-inducing experience. We were interested in exploring both emergency and non-emergency scenarios.
UX RESEARCH & DESIGN PROCESS
Over the course of the semester, we engaged in an iterative design process where we explored various concepts and utilized new design methods, such as diary studies and user enactments, before finally coming up with our final prototype. Below are highlights of this process.
Since it was not possible to be physically present during emergency situations for observations, we watched numerous online videos of emergency scenarios at large-scale events. We also visited local events, like football games at the Big House, to get a feel of the crowd, potential exits, security present, and gauge the overall feelings of safety.
Our team conducted a diary study with a Chicago-based journalist where she chronicled her experiences with safety, security, and the feeling of the crowds at four different structured events over the course of a week. Armed with our findings from these interviews and diary study, we further refined our concept ideas. Initially we had thought about designing separately for event-goers and security, but realized that it might be possible to design a system that would serve both audiences.
By this stage in our design process, we had narrowed our concept idea down to a smart band that contained three features. However, we still weren’t sure what venue or scenario would this be most appropriate for. For instance, a smart band could be used at football games, music festivals, nightclubs, and/or movie theaters. In order to better understand the features, functionalities, and scenarios most appropriate for the use of this band we conducted five user enactments with five users.
From our research (the observations, interviews, and diary study), we had three key insights that helped inspire the final feature set for Jungo:
- It is common at crowded events, like concerts, to lose one’s friends.
- Cell phone signal can get bad and even unusable at large events due to the number of people, making communication hard.
- Event-goers want to know where crowds are for various reasons. Some people enjoy being in the crowd while other seeks some time away from the crowds.
FINAL SYSTEM CONCEPT
FEATURE 1 - FIND A FRIEND
If you’ve ever been at a concert or festival, you know that it’s easy to get separated from your friends. Jungo allows users to easily reunite with friends at tap of a button.
FEATURE 2 - SEE CROWDS
Jungo is designed for people who both love being in the crowd and those who like to stand a little bit back. A user can quickly and easily see a density map of the crowd at festival or concert and then way decide where they want to go.
FEATURE 3 - ALERT SECURITY
Security at events is sometimes hard to find and cell-phone networks aren’t always reliable to call the police. With a press and hold of the side button and then a swipe of the screen, a user can alert security and get help right away.
Jungo is both a smart band and a system. The band, what a user wears, will use a touch screen, silicone band, and will have an emergency sos button on the side. Our system will primarily use two technologies, near-field communication (or NFC) and Wi-Fi.
Here is how the system will potentially work:
As a user comes to a concert and receives a Jungo band, they will use NFC to “add friends”. Adding friends allows a user to share their location with their friend throughout the duration of the event.
The Jungo system uses wi-fi hotspots to determine the location of a user. Through the strength of a user’s wi-fi signal the band and via triangulation between several wi-fi hotspots, the system will then be able determine the location of a user.
You’ll notice here that there are two faces and then a bunch of dots. This is because of different levels of privacy embedded in the Jungo system. Each band pushes their location to a server layer that then allows only certain people, the people a user adds, to see their personalized location (face and name). Otherwise, like you see here, a user will see locations of other concert-goers but won’t have any identifiable information about them.
In reflecting on our process in designing Jungo there were numerous things that we learned along the way. For instance, after creating our initial prototypes, I realized just how hard it is to make complex interactions on small screens like that used in the Jungo Band.
For our initial prototypes, we were thinking about making more complex features, but simplified Jungo and it’s interactions when we started reflecting on the context of usage of the band. We imagined ourselves in the shoes of a concert-goer and knew that for someone in a fun, social setting, they couldn’t and wouldn’t want a steep learning curvey. We had to design a system that a concert-goer would be able to pick up, strap on their wrist, and use right away.
As far limitations for our system, there are a few that I foresee. First, is the potential technological limits of Wi-Fi and its ability to handle a large amount of users on the network. We would need to do more testing and research to better understand the system limits of Wi-Fi technology. Second, is the potential production costs of the Jungo band. At this time, even though the band is designed to be reused over and over again, the technology costs are still likely prohibitive from currently making this a salable product.
Finally, in terms of next steps of Jungo, we have thus far designed only an initial design and prototype. We would need to program a working prototype and test out interactions and pairing between two Jungo bands. We would need to better understand how personalization will work. My initial thought is that as you enter a concert, and your ticket is scanned, this information (your name and seat number) is transmitted to your Jungo band, but this process and technology to do so has to be further explored. With several working prototypes of Jungo band designed and developed, we would also need to test the location technology with a Wi-Fi system to better understand the limitations and accuracy of it. Finally, there would need to be a full business deep-dive to better understand the potential costs, revenue streams, and go-to-market strategy for Jungo.