Mobiles interacting with (previously) non-networked media

How do you get information from a poster, a billboard, a product on a shelf or a tree to your mobile phone? Well, here are some ways:

  • Bluecasting: Viacom Outdoors launched a bluecasting campaign for Channel 4’s Four Docs program (I’ve spoken about this before). There is also a company called Hypertag offering the same service.
  • Software to read QR codes have been used in Japan and help people access URLs for products; like Semacode. Both of these have generators and decoders on the web as well.
  • Using existing technologies: SMS and email is PayPal Mobile and mcode (that I’ve spoken about before).
  • And then there is RFID. Though I cannot recall how the information gets to a phone…
  • And then there is also GPS devices, or ones that track what mobile tower you’re using, that trigger an SMS when you’re in an area.
  • Taking a picture of a barcode and having a barcode on your phone that can be scanned.

I haven’t bothered to go through the tons of locative arts projects I’ve got catalogued but is that all? I’m interested in which are the most effective commercially, than for a one-off art project.

4 Replies

  • Christy,

    This might help you further. RFID is very comparable to Bluetooth (but no mobiles have it intergrated right now), but the hottest contactless wireless technology coming up right now is NFC (which certainly will be integrated in mobile phones). The first Nokia and Samsung phones which have it integrated are being produced now and many more will follow. Big names are involved; Philips/Sony developed it, companies like Microsoft, Vodafone, NEC,LG, Motorola, VISA, Mastercard (it will replace the debit and credit card)are suppoting it. It will also be used for mobile marketing, content exchange and it can certainly be used for the examples you mention above.

    Take a look at this video:

    If you need more info please let me know.

    Hope this helps,


  • Ah very good! The demo showed alot of the situations I was interested in and the whitepaper showed new nifty ones (I love the Aibo example). Thankyou very much for this Nicolaas. The only problem is that it will be a while away before market penetration. What is good about bluetooth is that just about every phone has it. But, just like your TimeSpots business, one can give out devices for a certain period of time perhaps. Great business BTW! Thankyou Nicolaas.

  • There is also Infra-Red.

    the other one which is probably not in the spirit of what you are looking at: a phone number. You can be pretty sure a phone number will work with any phone 🙂 whether it returns an SMS or is a pre-recorded voice

  • Ah yes, a phone number. 😉 The problem with SMS is that there is no guarantee (in Oz at least) of when it will be received. So, I don’t rely on it for information that is needed realtime. But your point about the fact that it is phone I’m talking about is well taken. They can call a pre-recorded service and use voice-recognition I guess to get to specific info they need. Or there can be a phone number per item maybe. Thanks Colin. 😉

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