I'm Gareth, a freelance Creative Technologist and web developer. In my diverse work as a technologist over the past 5 years, I am lucky to have been a part of what Wired magazine calls "the third wave of computing", finding inspiration and opportunity in the evolution of technologies. In particular, I believe the Internet of Things and Wearables offer a great deal of opportunity to individuals and businesses all over the world and I am committed to continue developing and adapting my skills within this rapidly expanding environment.
As a back end developer, I made time to experiment with devices such as the Raspberry Pi and Arduino, learning to integrate digital and real worlds and create innovative and rewarding work. This gave me the knowledge and experience necessary for the role of Creative Technologist, where I am better able to utilise my understanding of server architecture, APIs and traditional web technologies to make bold choices in merging digital and physical worlds.
I am hugely passionate about technology and its potential implementations in every aspect of modern day life. While others may complain of information overload, I am excited by the new doors being continuously opened.
Thanks to my experiences with Raspberry Pi and Arduino and my background in web and app development I was brought into the Innovations team at Burberry in 2013.
The role involves researching around key concepts and developing prototypes using electronics such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi. In finding potential new partnerships for developing new hardware and software, I have established relationships with numerous key players in the tech industry.
Working at Collective, I greatly developed my skills and understanding of Zend Framework, Concrete5 and Bash scripting. While developing projects with the Raspberry Pi and Arduino, I also improved my skills at Python and basic C.
As a Developer, I was responsible for the creation of servers, the implementation and creation of Content Management Systems and the integration of API’s to many digital projects. In addition, I then took on new responsibilties leading innovation for the company and its clients in order to drive engagement with their brands, utlising the 3D printer, Raspberry Pi and Arduino.
A key role was being responsible for the development of The Buggle, both an app and a piece of hardware that allows users to listen to live music playing in venues around Shoreditch.
The digital department at AKA was in its infancy when I started, so I led the development team forward with the integration of processes that would be more useful and efficient. This included simple changes such as the migration of domains to a single provider as well as larger projects such as the creation of a website matrix documenting a variety of useful data to aid administration.
After making a number of recommendations, I identified cost savings by migrating our hosting and newsletters, rolling out version control to allow better code maintenance and revision history and implemented a standardised procedure for the development team to enhance collaboration and reliability in deployment.
Finally, I championed the implementation of a more 'white label' approach to development, using WordPress plugins and themes, which allowed the team to easily expand functionality and fix bugs on our apps as we had grown to manage over 40 sites.
Having joined a team of 4 working with Linux, PHP, MySQL, CSS, HTML, I soon became the only backend developer supporting 10 large sites.
My skills in PHP and Object Oriented Programming (OOP) developed a great deal through this role and I built a substantial understanding of Joomla, Linux, Version Control and Zend Server CE. In addition to technical growth, skills learned in best practices and processes have been hugely influential in driving my advancement.
During my time at Burberry while working in an Research and Development capacity, we created a digital fixture using a Raspberry Pi, Arduino and iPad app. Using RFID the nail bar will determine which physical product has been placed on the fixture and then update the digital display to reflect the customers choice.
During my time at Collective London, I created a small section within the London 2012 website, built in Zend Framework. The section listed the separate social media accounts users could follow, displaying the number of Twitter, Facebook and Google+ followers each account had, and fetching and caching tweets associated with particular hashtags.
For the launch of a new release in the Fifa series, EA wanted to drive social engagement with the game and brand. In order to do so and thanks to new features in the game, we created a Facebook enable page and application that allowed users to upload their goals and for them to be voted on by the brands Facebook fans. The application was a tremendous success with hugely rewarding for fans and brand alike.
I am Co-Founder of the mobile app The Buggle, which allows users to hear the music that is playing in bars live before entering, and as a result users can let their musical tastes dictate where to go. I have been responsible for delivering hardware prototypes, sourcing manufacturers, developing the website, building the app and helping run the more technical aspects of the business.
Walking With Dinosaurs, the world arena tour of the hit BBC television series, was a responsive website I helped develop during my time at AKA UK. The site was built in WordPress and a large number of plugins I developed and utilised a number of different APIs in the process. A key feature of the websites delivery was the way device specific media was delivered thanks to PHP device detection, improving load times.
I was primarily responsible for development of the Billy Elliot the Musical's website built in Joomla. The website was used for the musical's various territories, and thus featured a user management system that would allow for the creation of users to manage different versions of the website as well as approval chains for all changes. The website also employed external APIs, utilising this data as a form of Content Delivery Network to speed up load times.
During my time at AKA UK we redeveloped the company's website. This was the first responsive website I had worked on and was a hugely educational experience. While again I would spend most of my time working on backend features working with and helping the frontend developers was massively insightful.
During my time at NHS Hampshire I made a large number of websites using Joomla much like this one. I also spent a good portion of time managing the servers for these sites as I was the only backend developer for a large portion of my time there. As a result I learnt a huge amount and developed a large number of reusable components and plugins for us on later sites.
This website featured a fully customisable interface for tracking the quality of care within various healthcare facilities in NHS Trusts in and around Hampshire. The tool allowed administrators to create a number of metrics to measure against, determine various input types and appropriate data types, useful highlights, popups and keys to interpret the data and a means to report upon these such as PDF.
This was a login portal for the Primary Care facilities in the Hampshire area to log in to and keep up to date with news, acquire and manage documents and keep abreast of new procedures. The site again was built in Joomla and had to be secure for obvious reasons.