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Case Study: Intreeweek

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Over 3000 students attend the Intreeweek: a yearly event from the University of Amsterdam. XP Bytes provides their app companion which holds their programme, games, quick links and more.

Intreeweek is the official introduction week of the University of Amsterdam, where freshmen get to know the city, the univercity and their fellow students, with two senior students of their major as guides.

Challenge

Intreeweek has been looking to become more digital and this started with adding an companion app as a free resource for all attendees. The original challenge was to digitilise the programme guide the students received as paperback, but quickly grew to a true digital tool and later replacement of many things analog.

Over 3500 students can be concurrently active using the app; not everyone might have a data plan; it needs to communicate important information such as important news, changes in the programme and information about ongoing events. Most of all, it has to be equal and greater than the analog variants it's replacing.

A photo of hundreds of students at an event during de Intreeweek at 'De Nieuwmarkt' in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Event at Nieuwmarkt during de Intreeweek

Solution

In order to make sure the application can be updated during the week adding new functionality even last minute, XP Bytes chose to use Expo - The fastest way to build an app - allowing for over-the-air updatesm, a single code base with a few special cases to deal with difference between Android and iOS, whilst still having access to a cross-platform API to device capabilities like camera, location and notifications.

Additionally, we worked together with Tactile who provide the payment system for all events during the Intreeweek. As years went by, the app grew to additionally provide a digital issue of their daily newspaper "De Gelegraaf", a personal account to see and conctact members from the student's group, top-up their balance and get the latest information.

A minimal Node JS service using express and TypeScript enables a small interactivity service which is available when the device is online, falling back to a local cache for everything else, allowing over 3000 devices concurrently to get the latest news without impacting performance.

Push Broadcasts and Scheduled Local Notifications allowed the team to communicate important information such a changes in the programme, where the latter also tied in with their local business acquisition in a GDPR-friendly manner.

Finally we built a WordPress plugin so that the committee could push newsitems, built their digital paper and organise information in a manner they were already used to.

Phone screen showing a Google Maps image of the city center of Amsterdam with pins on certain locations. There is an overlay carousel with cards of these locations. Behind that a phone with partially visible programme. Behind that a partial home screen with current events
Various platforms and sections of the 2018 app

Results

The first year we ran this companion app, the usuage was about 50% of all attendees, with good to extremely satisfied response. Currently we hit over 95%, meaning the committee has decided to completely stop printing the booklet version of the programme or paper variants of the newspaper.

Additionally, the costs for the app, plus a substential part of the budget comes from integration with partners via the acquisition programme that we provide.