Belgium’s i-City project tests mobile applications with thousands of users
The i-City website provides some further insight:
“i-City has turned the Belgian mid-size cities of Hasselt and Leuven into a huge virtual laboratory, which in fact forms the largest â€˜experimental gardenâ€™ for mobile communications anywhere in the world. By doing this, i-City can already develop the applications of tomorrow on a large scale, and test them in lifelike situations.
A number of companies are engaged in building mobile applications for the future, hand in hand with the users of such applications. These are both IT companies and businesses from unrelated sectors: companies like Microsoft, Telenet, Siemens, Concentra Fujitsu-Siemens and the Research Campus Hasselt. Also involved is the Flemish Government.
As a Living Lab, i-City works with a fixed panel of 4.000 real test users in a real life environment with real working applications. The test users are easily reachable through a system of PDAâ€™s and smart phones in a wireless city. No focus groups, no panel discussions, no â€œwhat ifâ€ analysis, but real application prototypes that are tested by real end-users. This is the ultimate real-life test, where test users produce masses of valuable feedback. It allows i-City to place the results obtained directly at the disposal of manufacturers, who in turn are able to perfect and/or commercialise the applications.”