Visitors to museums may soon be able to read information about exhibits on their mobile phones. The label in front of the item they are looking at could simply have a special form of barcode upon it. They then hold their mobile phone camera in front of the barcode, press a button on their phone and within seconds they will be connected to the most relevant Wikipedia page for that exhibit.
Sounds a fanciful idea? Well, it’s already happening. The concept has been put together by Semapedia.
All you do is insert the web page (URL) of the Wikipedia article you want people to know about. Semapedia then produces a set of labels for you in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. These labels can be attached to anything – displays, walls, vans, documents you hand to people – anything that’s physical. All the viewer then does is scan the barcode with their mobile phone and instantly they are connected to the Wikipedia page you want them to read.
The possibilities for this for online business are huge. You could set up Wikipedia pages relating to your business and then direct people to them via a physical product. Clearly, the system only uses Wikipedia at the moment, but the notion of a mobile phone readable barcode linking to web sites means that it will be possible to extend this beyond just encyclopaedias.
For instance, say your products all contain the barcode. This could be linked to an order page on the web. Anyone who wants a copy of your product, or needs a replacement, just runs their phone over the item and then clicks on the “buy” button. No searching needed (watch out Google…!).
The connection of the Internet to the physical world is only just beginning. But you can be sure it will change the way we do business and the way people use the Internet. Plan for it now, or lose out.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+