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New City Centre MiGuides... Are They Any Good?

MiGuide brings us advertising first, interactive city guide second

Written by . Published on November 6th 2013.

New City Centre MiGuides... Are They Any Good?

IN THIS information age of ours it’s nigh on impossible to escape the mighty smart phone. For all their practicalities they have transformed a good majority of folk into mindless iDrones transfixed by Angry Birds and The Daily Mail app. Leaving many physically incapable of interaction or even the most fleeting bout of polite conversation.

Considering everyman and his dog is now connected to the internet, even the Luddites have a website, MiGuide’s presence is far from ground breaking

Since we’ll soon be replaced by an army of evil Hal 9000s from 2001 A Space Odyssey Manchester City Council has decided to get in on the act early by dropping ten monolithic slabs of digital touchscreen fun into the city centre, creating a mini tourist information kiosk on the go, the MiGuide. Heaven forbid we should have to (gasp) talk to anyone.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Environment, said: “These digital kiosks will be an informative, useful and engaging addition to our city centre streets”.

Ok, but that's if you knew what the oversized iphone lookalikes were actually there for - other than advertising that is.

Christmas listingsChristmas listings

On first inspection the kiosks look little more than two pint sized digital billboards funding the capitalist cause through adverts for, funnily enough, smart phones. Rendering them about as interactive as Anne Robinson’s face. On closer inspection, however, you soon find the handy touch guide relegated to the narrow side panel.

Once discovered the MiGuide presents itself as a useful little tool for curious tourists searching out cultural hotspots and lost drunkards looking for next real ale pub. Divided up into categories the guide presents at your fingertips a plethora of restaurants, shops, events, parks and markets aided by directions on an interactive map.

The selection is surprisingly comprehensive, free from bias as bigboys WHSmiths sits alongside minions like Pop Boutique and Vinyl Revival. Additionally, MiGuide has listings and locations for the days events, handy, although the likelihood is that the more popular events are going to be sold out by the time you spot them. Listings furthur down the line would be a welcome addition.

Touch MeTouch Me

Considering everyman and his dog is now connected to the internet, even the Luddites have a website, MiGuide’s presence is far from ground breaking. But in fairness, the content is useful with directions a notable bonus, the fact that some are still working (at least the one in St. Ann’s Square was) and haven’t been kicked in by undesirables or covered in Special Brew is a minor miracle. A mere matter of time we suspect.

For the target market of tourists the MiGuide has plenty to offer, visiting Real Sociedad fans can find the nearest tapas bar while Hen Parties can be shepherded in the direction of Tiger Tiger and away from the rest of us.

The major concern with the MiGuides is whether anyone will actually spot the handy guides wedged inbetween the more substantial adverts that pay for them.

Oh, and whether in a few weeks they even work at all (as i finish writing this a Confidential employee reliably informs me that the one outside Harvey Nics is "completely buggered").

Try your luck at one of these ten kiosks:

Withy Grove at corner with Exchange Square
New Cathedral Street at corner with Exchange Square
New Cathedral Street at corner with St Mary’s Gate
Market Street West near Cross Street
St Ann’s Square
St Ann’s Street near Deansgate
Piccadilly Gardens West near Lever Street
Piccadilly Gardens East near Market Street
Market Street East near High Street
Market Street at junction with Brown Street

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21 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Kevin PeelNovember 6th 2013.

I've been meaning to have a go but I didn't want to be confused as a tourist and featured in one of Sleuth's columns! I've seen a couple of people playing with them though who walked away happy. As someone who hates having to talk to people to get information, I think they're great!

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 6th 2013.

"As someone who hates having to talk to people to get information" .... Really found your vocation as a local councillor eh Kev?

AnonymousNovember 7th 2013.

I always offer to help people when I can clearly see they're lost and looking for directions. They usually look at me as though I'm a mysterious mind reader that knew they needed help. They've usually got a map in their hands or are struggling to get their 'wonder app' to work. Hey, if more locals helped tourists and non-locals it would have saved the council a fortune by not buying these two minute gadgy-wonders. In fact, if we all helped each other out, Manchester would be a much nicer city. Looking forward to seeing you all on St. Peter's Square on Sunday morning.

DrakeNovember 7th 2013.

Anonymous One, I tip my hat in your general direction. The single funniest comment on the site at the moment

MGSNovember 8th 2013.

I lol in your general direction. And i don't do that lightly

Lorraine ByrneNovember 6th 2013.

I haven't seen these yet but was in Vegas this year and that's how every decent restaurant there advertised their menus so a great idea.

Alex24November 6th 2013.

I honestly can't think of one thing this could do which a smartphone couldn't do better.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Smart PhoneNovember 6th 2013.

Save my battery!

AnonymousNovember 6th 2013.

Lots of people don't have smartphones & foreign tourists might not want to use data roaming, so absolutely they are useful.

AnonymousNovember 6th 2013.

so long as I am not paying....... but they are not as objects, likely to win prizes for aesthetics which lots of people seem to think planning is about. Incidentally did the owners apply for planning permission? And is there an ap, 'ad light and GPS'd' for smart phones?

AnonymousNovember 7th 2013.

I'm just waiting until all of these get vandalised by people. Seems like a waste of money to me.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 7th 2013.

You do realise that the Council haven't spent a penny on these units? They are all privately funded. Just because something has a MCC logo on it, doesn't mean that the taxpayer is footing the bill.

AnonymousNovember 8th 2013.

I never said anything about the council or anything about who may or may not have paid for them. It's still money wasted on repairing them if they are vandalised, no matter who's paid for them.

rinkydinkNovember 7th 2013.


GordoNovember 8th 2013.

This is the third generation of this particular idea. Nearly twenty years ago we had them inside hotels, the technology didn't work; they also advertised a brothel called the Yab Yum in Amsterdam for some reason. Then there were those that were similar in idea but outside, with no-one using them and then they all broke down and were vandalised, now this lot. Third time lucky? Don't think so. It's already been said, there is a massive technology leap, smartphones. Those peeps who can't afford them are the wrong demographic for the potential advertisers, whilst the tourists and restaurant goers as a demographic have the largest ownership of smartphones and simply will not use them. These things will be blowing in the wind within eighteen months.

1 Response: Reply To This...
DrakeNovember 8th 2013.

The MiGuides are hidden on the side. On front and back are the massive advertising screens. They're separate systems. You dn't have to use the guides to see the ads. If people don't use the guides, 'oh, that's a shame, still, the screens are in now, might as well keep the advertising running'

MGSNovember 8th 2013.

I'm absolutely full of mad ideas that cost loads and "might" work....who exactly do I talk to at the council?

ChrisNovember 8th 2013.

I think if you did a little more re search you will find these machines do a little more than give tourist info and spit out advertising.

David BlakeNovember 8th 2013.

Unfortunately, I've already been informed of three that don't work. That was always going to be the primary problem here, that and a sodden kebab thrown at it in the early hours

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 8th 2013.

Talking of things that don't work?...make that four, as I see Gordo's out on his ear!

ChrisNovember 8th 2013.

Give it time people they have only been there a week

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