QR Codes, Alternate Reality Games And Location-Aware Applications Covered In The Latest “7ThingsYouShouldKnowAbout” Series

We often post about the "7 things you should know about…" series that introduce new technology trends.

QR codes, is one of the latest technologies profiled in the series.

QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that can contain any alphanumeric text and that often feature URLs that direct users to sites where they can learn about an object or place (a practice known as “mobile tagging”). Decoding software on tools such as camera phones interprets the codes, which are increasingly found in places such as product labels, billboards, and buildings, inviting passers-by to pull out their mobile phones and uncover the encoded information. QR codes link the physical world with the virtual by providing on-the-spot access to descriptive language and online resources for objects and locations.

So far QR codes have limited educational use, but as the technology evolves it may be used for various educational and cataloging activities in the library.

Another profiled technology trend is the Alternate Reality Games.

ARGs are not computer or video games, though electronic devices—including computers, cell phones, and GPS-enabled handhelds—are frequently used to access clues. ARGs are not role-playing games, in that players generally function as themselves in a real-world environment. Clues and pieces of the puzzle can be anywhere—websites,
libraries, museums, stores, signs, recorded telephone messages,
movies, television programs, or printed materials (textbooks, reference
books, novels, and so forth)

What's not to like in Alternate Reality Games, I am sure our customers would love to participate in one, organized by the library.

In the past, before the invention of GPS and wireless networks, computer applications were not aware of your location, but nowadays they are. Welcome to the Location-Aware Applications.

Location-aware applications deliver online content to users based on their physical location. Various technologies employ GPS, cell phone infrastructure, or wireless access points to identify where electronic devices such as mobile phones or laptops are, and users can choose to share that information with location-aware applications. Those applications can then provide users with resources such as a “you are here” marker on a city map, reviews for restaurants in the area, a nap alarm that’s triggered by your specific stop on a commuter train, or notices about nearby bottlenecks in traffic. Applications might also report a user’s location to friends in a social network, prompting those nearby to meet for coffee

Security and privacy are some of the concerns about location-aware applications and users have to be very careful when they allow access to others on those applications. The most famous location-aware application is Google Latitude, which we briefly covered before.

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