What is Cityspeak?

Cityspeak is an audience participation system that allows people to share their thoughts and comments on a public display by sending a text message. Our system allows anyone with a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop computer to participate. We can tailor colors, typography, and animations to find the best way to integrate Cityspeak in your event. Anonymous messaging is supported. We love a well-designed product, so we make sure that the final result is beautiful and engaging for your audience.

Cityspeak logo

Who is managing and developing Cityspeak?

Cityspeak is a project developed and managed by Wyld Collective Ltd, an independent design/research consultancy founded by people who are passionate about designing novel interactive systems. We feel that Cityspeak can augment audience participation and interaction during a wide range of events. We are constantly thinking of new features to help event organizers and hosts engage their audience through our system. Cityspeak is a collaboration with Obx Labs at Concordia University, where it originated.

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Where does Cityspeak come from?

Cityspeak began as an attempt to understand how mobile devices, used primarily in person-to-person communication, could be used for large-scale, public, shared conversations. In 2004, when we started the project, lightweight social messaging services like Twitter were several years in the future, and the iPhone-led smartphone revolution would take another year to debut. Artistic interventions such as Manchester's Speaker's Corner had started to explore how to use easily-accessible phones to send messages to public LED displays, but these efforts tended to be technically cumbersome and aesthetically mundane.

We had three requirements for Cityspeak. First, we wanted to use technology that many users already had in their pockets, without requiring them to download and install any additional software. Second, the user interface had to be dead simple in order to allow quick and lightweight engagement with the system. Finally, we wanted the publicly visible text to be aesthetically engaging. We developed the Cityspeak system to meet those requirements, and have since created over forty installations on four continents. It has been used in festivals and exhibitions, in large conferences and intimate workshops, outside in public squares and inside in pubs and clubs.

Obx Labs logo