Vium is a cross-platform, culture-building, onboarder-boosting, growth-informing, intranet-saving, hardwareless-wayfinding, change-supporting app that is covertly complex – so your work doesn’t have to be anything but simple. And simple is good.
Vium was, in no small part, inspired by client experience. Prior to the app's development, we were working closely with an organization generating massive change in their organization. Good change. Scary change. Physical change. Cultural change. Change that would define the future of their company and, in consequence, the industry they lead.
It wasn't easy – we told them as much during our nearly year-long Transformation Leadership engagement together. True change is exhausting and requires no small amount of resources often in short supply: mental stamina, willingness to learn, good faith, transparency, decisiveness.
But, spoiler alert, they did it. (And they're still doing it, actually. Their transformative success hinged on thinking forward by some number of years.)
Once the project concluded, we revisited it internally. A lot. What aspects of the change were the toughest? Which of those could've been easier with the right tools, people, or knowledge? What would it take to reduce the stress and anxiety generated by the nonstop learning, adapting, and moving? We knew that by easing some of the fatiguing minutiae of the change (without creating more work for poor Edgar in HR), our clients would have more resources to work on the really tough stuff. They could focus on their culture, instead of on where the new Printer 006 lived.
We had three goals in mind when building Vium:
Make it thorough, make it simple, and make it flexible.
On thoroughness: it wasn’t enough to just wayfind to physical things. The name ‘Vium’ comes from the Latin root words for ‘the way.’ We wanted to build that – the way, the path – both literally by interior mapping, but also figuratively through parts of the day that are not physical, but mental, movements.
This meant distilling all components – cultural, operational, physical, digital – of an organization into an easy-to-use interface, else contracting the curse of tangled intranets everywhere. Which brings us to simplicity: to be useful, the UX needed to be dead simple – so simple it was nearly mindless. From that, a series of iterative designs were based on an almost trivial trueism: sometimes you know exactly what you’re looking for, and sometimes you have no idea. As a result, Vium’s UX would feature two distinct search capabilities: one visual and exploratory, and one verbal and explicit.
To make the tool flexible, we needed to alleviate the burden of beacon installation. Beacons are an expensive, time-consuming barrier that locks an organization into their physical space. But where Vium’s going, we don’t need beacons.
Vium wayfinds by interfacing with bleeding-edge technology that detects the unique magnetic landscape of a building using sensors already in an everyday phone. While previously indoor wayfinding was limited to public airports, museums, and whimsical malls in Dubai, Vium brings it to the private sector – and no beacons required means no extra expense, plus individual user privacy settings, and increased flexibility for growing organizations.
Vium then maps that special-magnet-signature to a visualization of a floorplan and a bespoke database housing thousands of lines of information representing an organizations resources, culture, and future goals. And that marriage is where the magic happens.
Vium works like a collective culture engine. It distills the unique strengths, quirks, and priorities of an organization into usable fuel to power people through their daily frictions. Its development is an assertion that colloquial, cultural information is just as valuable to workplace efficiency, growth, positivity, and happiness as requisite, instructional, business-centric materials. It affirms that we are more than our titles, more than our taps, and celebrates “what we do” and “how we do” alongside each other, while bringing digital interactions home to real human relationships.
We’ve talked about Vium as a summation of its parts: It’s an app. It’s desktop-friendly. It’s a professional resource. It’s an IT reporting system. It’s a wayfinding tool. It’s the cool guy in HR that knows where the cheapest happy hour spot is. But Vium is more than a pretty workplace swiss-army knife – it’s technically and conceptually inventive. (Which is, you know, not to say swiss-army knives aren’t. We’re particularly fond of the corkscrew feature.)
As an example, let’s look at the small microcosm of meeting spaces and their life in Vium.
We can start really granular and requisite and look at which rooms have video conferencing technology. Sure, that’s in there. And the guide to setting it up? That’s there too. What happens if something’s broken or missing? Yep, we integrate with processes already in place for that in a way that takes users under two minutes to report an issue. (And if those processes are ineffectual or nonexistent? Vium helps create new ones.)
Then we can step it up and get personal. What about which spots are healthiest for your 3-hour Monday leadership meetings? Yeah, in there. Energizing walking meeting routes for your twenty-minute scrum huddles? Got it – wellness is one of our priorities, too. Impressive lunch spots to take new leads so your recent hires have a leg up? Cool – Newbie Nick knows your go-tos now. Whitepapers informing that upcoming office renovation? That too. Knowledge is power, and we don’t feel cliché saying it.
Backed by over thirty years of workplace design strategy at OPX, Vium is the culmination of our greatest hopes for a unified, simple, and inventive future of work. We hope you’ll join us in our optimism.