From Nigel Walley - Many of you will know that I am a local of many years. I am Chiswick born and bred and have been running a digital media consultancy just off the High Road for ages. We have now launched a new company called Chimni and I wanted to explain to friends locally why I will be talking about it a lot in the local press and on social media.
Chimni is a tech start-up and we like to joke that its a little slice of Silicon Valley or Shoreditch right here in West London. It’s a group of young coders - and some older types like me - trying to revolutionise how we manage our homes in the digital age.
This idea came out of buying a new house in Chiswick and being confused by all the online services and accounts we had to set up, and by all the people who seemed to have information about my house they didn’t want to share with me. I was also looking for a better solution to store all the documents and certificates I got when we did some refurbishment work. A ‘Chimni log’ was my response.
The logs are intended to be helpful and good fun and you will hear a lot more from us over the next few months. They are still in prototype form but we have started trialling them with homeowners here in W3, W4 W6 and W12.
We are trying to find 5000 people in the area interested in testing the app for their home. If you are interested in having a look there is a quick video about Chimni here. If you are interested in joining in and setting up a log for your home please drop me a mail (address below) and I will link you to the main site (we are keeping it invite only to stop the loonies crawling all over it).
If you are new to the area, you may get given a log when you buy your home as a group of local estate agents have agreed to set up Chimni logs when they sell a house. We are really excited by their involvement and there is info on that here. They will use the Chimni logs to manage all the sales documents, certificates and records created during a sale. Its a really cool way to buy and/or sell your home in this digital world.
Communities & Groups
We are also interested in how we and our homes interact with Community & Residents Groups, Utilities and Local Authorities in this increasingly interconnected world. You will read a lot of nonsense in the press about Smart Cities and Cities of the Future. We think this has to start at grass roots with home owners and communities connecting with organisations around them. Over the last couple of years we have worked with a variety of Residents Associations in the area to help them build their websites and learn how to use social media to connect users. We are adding more this year.
We are now working with them helping to use their sites to run community engagement projects around the area. These include the House History projects you may see them tweeting about (see Strand on the Green's project here and the Stamford Brook project here). We are being helped by a brilliant local company called Fingertips - who help people run their home IT and improve their digital skills.
We are also helping Residents Groups run some fun online projects for kids like 'Building Chiswick In Minecraft' which you can see about here. Later this year we will be trying to link all these groups - Residents Associations, Utilities, Local Authorities, Estate Agents etc - into a wider project called the 'Digital Suburb'. The plan is to make our little bit of West London the most digitally connected in the UK.
I will tell you more about that project when we have some progress to share. I understand many of you will not want to experiment in the digital world with your home, and that's perfectly fine. For those who do, it will be fun to have you join the experiment.