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Phase 2 Projects
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The 20 Research Projects

Branded meeting places: Ubiquitous technologies and the design of places for meaningful human encounter

Why do business people, clients, customers, and service providers sometimes prefer to meet outside the office, shop or service centre to discuss, exchange ideas and transact business? Why do they target some places above others for these encounters? It is not just convenience that draws us to certain places, but places lure us with meanings, and, increasingly, the layers of meaning in a place are indicated by branding. Brands are icons, images, symbols that invoke a mood, ambience, and a sense of loyalty to a product, service or place. Consumers identify with brands and sometimes let the brand do the work of colouring the meaning and authority of the activities that take place. A business meeting on the Royal Yacht Britannia tells us this is an important occasion. A meeting in the foyer of the local museum inherits the cultural values of that place.

Some retailers and service providers create branded buildings, stores, and places to give physical presence to their virtual businesses. Convention centres and other multi-purpose spaces are available for brand imprinting and re-branding. Increasingly, brand attributes are delivered to consumers through mobile devices, dynamic displays and other technologies. Branding clearly has a key role in marketing and retail. Office environments are also branded, and to move out of the office is to exchange one system of branding for another, or a single brand to a variegated brandscape. We extend the concept of the brand to space where people gather to interact. In this project we conduct three related studies to gain insights into the better design of branded environments for human encounter using ubiquitous computing.

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Principal Investigator:
Richard Coyne
University of Edinburgh
T: 0131 650 2332
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