While mobile still has a long way to go before it becomes a key channel for most marketers, it would be foolish not to keep an eye on new developments in mobility.
Although I don't write many posts about mobile on this blog, in the past couple of weeks on Verdino Bytes I blogged about two separate and very different mobile implementations. Looking back at those posts now, I think they are even more interesting when viewed in tandem than they were individually. So I thought I'd take a second look at both technologies and provide some additional context.
On July 8th, I wrote about the incorporation of 2D barcode technology into this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Black-and-white visual codes developed by a company called Jagtag appear alongside one of the photo spreads. Readers can use just about any camera-phone to shoot and send an image of the barcode to receive an MMS message containing a set of additional mobile-friendly model photos. Super simple in its execution, this implementation offers consumers, publishers and advertisers a practical way to extend old world media (in this case a magazine, but it would work equally well with newspapers and out-of-home) into the mobile channel via exclusive content and supplemental information.
The following day, I happened across a company called TAT and posted a video demo of their Augmented ID offering. Augmented ID is a super-practical spin on shiny new augmented reality technology that, via your mobile phone's camera, "visualizes the digital identities of the people you meet in real life." Let's say you're a social media geek who writes a blog and networks on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You step away from your computer to attend a conference or tweetup where you meet lots of new people face-to-face. With Augmented ID, you point your camera-phone at one of your fellow attendees and, through the viewfinder, see his live image enhanced with a series of floating, interactive icons representing his online social media profiles. In the grand scheme, this blurs the increasingly narrow line between online and offline identities, and online and offline social networking. In the less-than-grand scheme, it allows us to avoid stick-on name tags and nerdy small talk like, "So, are you on Twitter?"
See it in action (feed and email readers click through to the blog for the embedded video):
So now, I'll tell you why I find these two technologies interesting although, of course, I already tipped my hand in the title of the post. The first offers an enhanced traditional media experience to the mobile device. The second extends the social media experience into the real world by way of the mobile device.
I'm not going to pretend I have any clue about where this might be headed, but I'm intrigued by the notion of mobile as the glue that binds together our online and offline experiences.
Would love to hear your thoughts.