The immediacy of web-based information is indeed seductive. How often have you stood in the store and wanted to know more about a product? Unfortunately, there’s nothing to click on. If only we could click on things in the real world – to get directed to specific information on the web . . . .
That day’s already here. Semapedia takes all of the power of Wikipedia (as we discussed in Never too many cooks) and applies it in the real world! To do this you create small Semapedia tags consisting of a cell-phone readable 2D (or QR) Barcode (data is encoded both horizontally and vertically). You then stick this tag on anything out in the real world. Cell phones that have the appropriate reader can then convert the tag into a regular web link (and follow it to the specific information you created). These tags can be placed literally anywhere, ranging from things like a nametag (maybe linking to a personal site) to actual places such as Coconut Grove Marina (there are many more locations identified on this map). Of course, there are products that already carry these 2d barcodes, such as a nice case of S. Pellegrino sparking water. These barcodes let you point anyone to a very specific site, maybe even providing detail about where and when your bubbly water emerged from the spring. Think of this as the future version of the product coding system we described in Dig deeper.
These 2D barcodes (also called QR barcodes) are already old hat in Japan. Studies show that over 90% of Japanese consumers recognize these codes as links to more information about products and services, by providing an instant link to mobile websites on the Internet. More than half of Japanese consumers report that they regularly scan these codes using their mobile phones to connect to the mobile web.
If you’re looking for a way to be different, to provide rich information about your products or services (or even your locations), here’s a potential vehicle. Mobile phone providers in the US are beginning to include 2D barcode readers in domestic cell phones, meaning that the groundwork will soon exist for you to connect your real world products with hyper-detailed web-based information. Are you going to be ready?