Home Smartpox: Bar Codes For The Web

Smartpox: Bar Codes For The Web

is an interesting crossover between the online and offline worlds. The
technology allows users to encode URL links, phone numbers, email, and text into
2D barcodes. These codes can then be read using a cameraphone running the J2ME
Smartpox reader. So a Smartpox is essentially a 2-dimensional barcode, which
contains data that can be decoded using the Smartpox reader in a mobile phone.

The goal of Smartpox is to be a “viral messaging” application,
allowing people to link their online world with the offline world. The use case
given in the demo is of music band’s website, which features an audio file of
one of their songs. The band members could encode the URL of that song using
Smartpox.com and put it on flyers for their next show. When a Smartpox user sees
the flyer, they could scan and decode the “pox” containing the song
URL and listen to it on their phone. The link is also saved under that person’s
profile on Smartpox.com.

So Smartpox in a nutshell enables people to create encoded messages of online
content – to be discovered in the offline world. There are social networking
aspects to it as well, because whenever one member sees another member’s
Smartpox using their phone – the link is saved to their profile and they can
discover who created it, read more details, and add comments when they return to
the site.

I like the idea of a ‘real world’ hyperlink that connects something in the
online world to people in the offline world. Because it requires both online
signup on Smartpox.com and a camera phone with the Smartpox reader installed,
it’ll probably be difficult to get network effects going – unless it becomes
popular in an existing social network like MySpace. But the idea has promise,
particularly for the mobile phone-wielding MySpace generation. Certainly it
looks like a sign of things to come, with its online-mobile-offline mix.

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