It seems that we are making our lives to be the sci-fi thrillers that consumed most of our time and brains as kids. We’d imagine – ‘What if I could point a device at something and know everything about it?’
Cut to reality – Imagine, if you could point your mobile phone at a car and know its details and also could also get ‘relevant’ information, like dealers, their addresses, maps, book a test drive, etc.
Nokia (after it’s acquisition of PIXTO, now Nokia Point & Find) has revealed the latest step in its evolution from a handset maker to content enabler, by talking about its plans to build pointing technology into its Symbian handsets. Nokia is also targeting its ‘Point & Find’ technology to be an advertising solution. This definitely could mean prospective ROI for all in the chain.
Using the camera functionality on a mobile phone, Point and Find identifies objects through image recognition and provides users with associated information. Point & Find lets people point a camera phone at an object or picture and find out more about it or buy it just by clicking once when its name comes up on the screen. It works by linking a set of image properties with a URL for information about what’s in the image. When a user points the phone’s camera at something, the system compares what the viewfinder sees with sets of image properties in a database. Also taking into consideration the user’s location, it then delivers useful information about what the user is looking at.
Nokia’s system is not based on the GPS systems or the latest QR codes (popular in Japan). Instead, Nokia’s solution is the first to use a visual version of the kind of audio pattern recognition technology used by Shazam, the UK-based music identification service.
Pointing the phone at a movie poster and pressing a key could make a page pop up that offers an ad for the movie and a way to buy a ticket at the theater nearest the user. Pointing the phone at the street might bring up a contact page for a local cab company. This could be all that you need in a strange land to find things and places intuitively. Nokia also suggests that eventually the technology could enable a user to point their phone at a crowd of people and identify friends.
‘Point & Find’ utilizes the convenience of the mobile phone, enabling users to find information about something that is relevant to them at a given point in time. This would most definitely be lapped up advertisers as they get ‘focused-captive-audiences’.
It seems we’ve lost the meaning of ‘the sky is the limit’, it seems. I guess if you can dream it, you can make it!
(Point & Find is still under development.)