Having previously worked together at Hewlett Packard Laboratories, the five founders of Calvium pooled resources and joined forces to follow their hunch that these things called mobile apps might just catch on!
Originally wanting to facilitate others in making their own mobile apps, our first output in 2009 was AppFurnace; a DIY mobile development platform that is still used by thousands of people today. Our five founders worked hard on creating a platform that was flexible and customisable, but it seemed that the idea of DIY app development wouldn’t pick up for a few years to come.
Based in the Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol, we helped several creative technology projects to create experiences using AppFurnace, and realised that our expertise in experience and interaction was as valuable to our collaborators as the technology to do it themselves – sometimes more so.
So, after more collaborations with clients in the arts and education sectors, we were building custom apps for people and working on R&D projects to deliver technical and experience understanding to projects. In a world that we were completely comfortable with, the apps we built spoke for themselves and it wasn’t long until we had a lucrative business and bigger clients were knocking on our door.
In early 2012, The Guardian knocked on our door wanting to realise their vision for Street Stories; a GPS location based tour. As pioneers in this genre, it was exciting to be able to join our technical and experiential design expertise with a world class media producer and the foundations for our AppTrails service was born. This opened the floodgates to other heritage organisations looking to create custom, augmented mobile experiences for their visitors.
At the same time, Bristol’s booming digital agency and engineering sectors were becoming aware of our work and we started winning more and more projects; too much for our team of 5 to handle.
2014 saw us double our team and move out of our home at the Pervasive Media Studio, into our own dedicated office in Bristol’s Harbourside, where we’ve been working and growing ever since.
During one of the rockiest years in recent memory, one news dominator of 2016 wasn’t all doom and gloom. In fact, for some it verged on silly – but for us it marked a pivotal moment for AR, apps and people’s willingness to visit new places because of an app on their phone. The whirlwind popularity of Pokemon Go all at once proved to us that combining digital and physical layers via apps, really did help foster connections between people and place – something we had been doing for years. For us and our heritage clients, Pokemon Go was a watershed moment and as such, we began to really focus on the idea of ‘Digital Placemaking’.
Looking forward, Calvium is a growing and prospering 13 person-strong team dedicated to creating memorable, meaningful, place-making experiences. Mobile app technology is becoming more popular and more sophisticated every day and we’re incredibly excited and honoured to be contributing to that landscape in an increasingly mobile world.