New names

One of the promises we make towards the Roamlers is that, when a task is submitted between 8 AM and 9 PM, we’ll validate it within a maximum of 4 hours. The team is always busy reviewing your tasks: 7 days (which equals 91 hours!) a week. Because reviewing is a job done by real human beings (we once got asked ‘Are you a robot?’) it means that there’s someone from the team reviewing your submissions at almost every moment. It’s fun, really! But aside from reviewing, there are numerous other tasks to be done. And since Roamler continues to grow, the number of entries grows as well.

That’s why we asked help. From this week on, three new colleagues will help us with validating the submitted tasks. We would like to introduce you to Inger, Maartje and Desiree:

Hi Roamlers! My name is Inger, I graduated this summer in social psychology and I have a super cute son of two years old. I know Roamler from the beginning thanks to Paul (CTO) and I’m looking forward to work here! I love to sing, travel and spend my time with friends. And of course I love doing Roamler tasks as well. Talk to you soon!


Hi everyone! I’m Maartje Sloetjes, I’m 22 years old and I’m studying Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. I like to visit concerts and festivals, cycling through the city of Amsterdam, going to the gym every now and then and I also like nature and traveling.
I’ve known Roamler from the start (thanks to Wiggert) and last summer I’ve been helping too with validating tasks. From now on I’ll be doing this every weekend and I’m really looking forward to it!


My name is Desiree Hubbard and I was born and raised in Dordrecht. Currently I’m studying theater design at the theaterschool in Rotterdam. Chris is a friend of mine, and that’s how I got to know Roamler. My hobbies are (amongst others): photography (especially lomography!), traveling (if I have some money), films, musea and cooking. Last but not least: I’m always up for something fun and ‘Burgundian coziness’. (Sorry English people, “gezelligheid” is a hard word to translate!)

Of course, this Monday we’ll hear from Desiree, Inger and Maartje how they think their first days went, but we would like to hear from you as well! If you have any feedback on the new reviewers, please email us at supportUK@roamler.com.

Roamler and location services

Roamler uses location services for the app. But what is this exactly, how does it work and what is the influence of it on your battery? In this blog entry we explain how location services work, what you can do to extend battery life of your iPhone and we compare two iPhones with each other: one with location services on and one with location services off.

Two types of location services
Roamler uses two types of location services:

First, we use location services based on cell towers. This type of location services doesn’t require much of your battery, but the location doesn’t get displayed very accurately. Roamler uses this type of location services for the automated push messages (“You are near a task”); you can receive those messages even when you are not performing tasks. With this type of location services the compass needle is visible on your iPhone.

The other type of location services we use is based on GPS. It is very accurate in showing where you (and your iPhone) are, but it requires more battery.

This type of location services is used when reading the description of the task or accepting the task. GPS is used to show you how far away you are from the location of the task. If you accept the task, your GPS location is checked constantly, to determine if the job has been executed at the correct location. It can be compared with using navigation on your iPhone.

We can give you two tips to extend battery life while using Roamler:

  1. When you are not going to use Roamler for a while, don’t close the app while you have accepted a task or if you’re reading the brief of a task. Instead, refresh the task list, cancel all accepted tasks and close the app while you’re in the task list menu.
  2. You might not want to receive the automated push messages. When this is the case, visit the Account menu and tick off ‘location tracking’ in the settings. (NOTE: When location tracking is off, no automated messages will be sent. However, when you read a description or accept at task GPS is used. During that period you might receive those push messages).

The compass needle is visible, even when the ‘light’ version of the cell tower location services is used. The fact that these location services don’t impact your battery life a lot is shown in the video below. Two phones with the same iOS and same version of the app, two accounts with the same number of XP and both phones have ‘traveled’ the same route. Besides the difference in colour, one iPhone has location tracking on (black, Emma) and one iPhone has location tracking off (white, Daan).

After two days the black iPhone with location tracking had 65% battery left and the white one had 72% battery left. There is a  slight difference, but the difference might be less than you had expected. The (Dutch, sorry!) video can be found below.

Mystery shopping

For some tasks we ask you to you to act like a mystery shopper, but what exactly do we mean by this? A mystery shopper acts like a regular customer, but in fact he or she is working for companies to check the waiting time, the amount of products in stock, cleanness of the shop or the quality of the service. For those tasks it’s important that you don’t let people know that you’re a Roamler.

Although taking photos in public is becoming more and more common, it also creates awareness and uncertainty. Retailers and shop owners are concerned with safety issues (e.g. to prevent robberies) and employees are therefore suspicious for people who extensively take photos. And quite right they are, safety is important for everyone!
Roamler believes, just like retailers do, that security is very important. Be aware of this when performing a task. If you notice some uncertainty of a shop owner or if they ask you questions, please explain what you are doing. For some tasks we let you know what the purpose of the tasks are, so you can tell the shop owner or employee. Also, be aware that in some cases it’s best to ask if you may take a photo before doing so. In the end, with every task it’s best to estimate yourself what’s the best thing to do, depending on the circumstances.

Here are a few more tips:

A mystery shopper:
– DOES act like a regular customer
– DOES use their common sense when performing a task
– CAN tell about the task when questioned about it
You are NOT a spy or secret agent, so:
– DO NOT act secretive or take photos in a sneaky way
– DO NOT tell you are performing a task in advance if that’s not necessary
– DO NOT bring yourself or others in danger when taking a photo

We are interested in hearing your experiences to help out Roamlers and retailers. What questions have been asked to you while performing tasks?

Roamler’s first birthday!

June 10th 2011, Roamler officially launched and because of that we asked you guys to share your Roamler anecdote with us. It has been really fun to see the entries for this task. Especially when we heard that two photographed children thought they were famous because they featured in the “kiss the frame” montage.

Roamlers seem to have fun performing tasks. While performing tasks Roamlers reflect a bit on life, help out others (for example with their bikes), almost get hurt themselves (tripping in book stores), get into weird situations (taking pictures of an occupied public toilet while a bus unloads next to it resulted in some weird looks) and stumble across some parties (with the Jubilee task).

Roamler also has it impact on friendships. Some friends have more to talk about, since they both perform the same tasks. At the same time a lot of rivalry has started among friends to get a higher score on the leader board or to perform tasks. “We constantly compete over who is the first to level up, climb higher on the leader board or do a specific task. As best friends we’re always in some sort of competition but our Roamlering has become fierce. (…) Roamler is a great platform for best friend rivalry!

We created a timeline with award winning moments, pictures of tasks and videos that were made about Roamler and Roamlers. Do you think something is missing? Just let us know and we will add it to the timeline.

A peek into how Roamler works

Roamler loves to try and learn new things. Last week we did a spontaneous experimental task regarding Kiboots for example. The “Pee-ka-boo(ts)” task. We found out that this very succesfull Dutch shoe brand is expanding to the UK and that these shoes are now available at the Topshop at Oxford Circus. In less than 15 minutes we came up with an improvised task and sent out some Roamlers to this Topshop to find out if they were really there. They were :).

      

But that’s not all! We also asked the Roamlers if they had heard of this new trend already and how the shoes were presented in the Topshop. All of the Roamlers which performed this task didn’t hear of the Kiboot shoes yet. 90% of them even told us they didn’t like the shoes and wouldn’t buy them for their loved ones. This was a big surprise to us, while we all love the Kiboots design and it’s a big hit in the Netherlands. We also got to know that the shoes aren’t promoted well in the store. All this is valuable information for a compagny like Kiboots.

Another thing, related to this, we’d like to try soon is to make you Roamlers spot trends. This could mean you’d have to go out to find someone wearing a particular kind of fashion item for example or maybe even that you’ll have to look out for something you think will become a trend very soon. We are curious to know how you think about this kind of trend watching. Would you like it? What trends are you seeing right now? We’d love to hear your input!

 

1,000 Roamlers

Two weeks ago we reached over 500 active UK Roamler users. This made us think.. What if all these people would tell a friend/family member/neighbour or maybe a total stranger (with an iPhone) about Roamler?! That would mean we would have 1,000 Roamlers in no time.

The task was as follows:
Last Sunday our 500th Roamler subscribed! Congratulations Joanne! Of course we are really happy with this and to celebrate, we want to ask you for a creative submission. Now, we could just ask you to depict the number 500 in your photo. But that’s exactly what we’re not going to do. We want to focus on the future and find those next 500 Roamlers, so that we can reach magic number 1,000! And let’s be honest, if all of you invite one friend, we will reach that number in no time. Because of this, we want you to create the number 1,000 in a creative way. Think out of the box and don’t be afraid to use food, pensils, your fiends laying on the ground, etc. Try to be as creative as possible! Drawing 1,000 on paper or looking up an image of the number 1,000 on the internet is not enough and these kind of submissions will be rejected.”

And you guys were creative! You have used food/drinks (fruit, fries, salt, beer, pasta, water, pizza, eggs, …), office supplies (pens, paper, markers, keyboards, …): all kinds of things you can find in and around the house (shoes, nailpolish, lighters, tooth brushes, coins, remote contols, playing cards, sticks,  …) and we even spotted a turtle!


95% of the Roamlers who performed the task said they would tell a friend about Roamler! That makes 88 of you, so if it’s right we should have 88 new Roamlers since this task! That’s a lot and that makes us happy, but we still haven’t reached the magic number. That’s why we have some nice plans to get to those 1,000 very soon..

Curious? Stay tuned! For now, Happy Easter 🙂

 

Receiving Roamler?

Roamler and reception goes hand in hand and sometimes you will wander into a dead zone and then suddenly there is no reception and a Roamler Task right there on the map.

What to do…

Roamler relies on there being at least a little bit of data reception to function, thats a given, but what actually affects reception and how do you increase your the chances of your Task being submitted properly?

The first thing that can affect your Roamling is the weather, if it starts raining and the wind is having a field day it might ruin more than your hair. Other things might interfere with transmissions, closed off buildings with no windows like super markets, especially if your close to a large cooling unit, can cause some issues for older mobile as well.

But don’t despair. First ‘pull down’ the Task menu, and let it refresh, sometimes doing this outside before entering the area where you are having your transmission problems is a good idea. Then simply walk in, complete the task that you selected outside and then walk out and hit the submit button.

We hope that this short little guide to reception helped a little, we are of course always trying to improve on this, but somethings, like reception is just out of our hands. Until next time…

Happy Roamling 🙂

p.s. If you ever encounter any issues with the App regarding for example bad reception or errornous locations, please contact us through the App or via email.

 

Roamler was here!

Thursday the 19th and Friday the 20th of January Wiggert, one of the founders of Roamler, and I, went to London to meet up with current UK Roamlers, do a lecture for Rob White and his students at the London College of Communication, meet with potential clients and to find more UK Roamlers.Especially meeting with eight of the current UK Roamlers on Thursday was the highlight of this trip! Matthew, Carlos, Sophie, Micheal, Jamie, Joren, Michael, Thomas and  Anthony thanks for your enthusiasm, trust and interest in Roamler and for showing up! We’d set out a Task at the location of the meeting for 100XP. The Task was to take a picture of yourself with Wiggert and/or Merel. Here are the results:

On Friday I went out on the mean streets of London to find enthusiastic people with iPhones who would like to become Roamlers. If you are looking for an invite, make sure to visit stores in the Sablers and Veggie restaurant Inspiral at Camden High Street. Invites are “hidden” there!