Raising Awareness

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Further Uses for the Mobile Web


The document An Introduction to the Mobile Web [1] explains how increasing use of mobile devices offers institutions and organisations many opportunities for allowing their resources to be used in exciting new ways. This innovation relates in part to the nature of mobile devices (their portability, location awareness and abundance) but also to the speed and ease with which new applications can be created for them. Some of the current complimentary technologies are described below.

QR Codes

Quick Response (QR) codes are two-dimensional barcodes (matrix codes) that allow their contents to be decoded at high speed. They were created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994 and have been primarily used for tracking purposes but have only recently filtered into mainstream use with the creations of applications that allow them to be read by mobile phone cameras. For further information see An Introduction to QR Codes [2].

Location Based Services (GPS)

More mobile phones are now being sold equipped with global Positioning System (GPS) chips. GPS, which uses a global navigation satellite system developed in the US, allows the device to provide pinpoint data about location.

Mobile GPS still has a way to go to become fully accurate when pinpointing locations but the potential of this is clear. GPS enabled devices serve as a very effective navigational aid and maps may eventually become obsolete. Use of GPS offers many opportunities for organisations to market their location effectively.

SMS Short Codes

Instant is already used by consumers in a multitude of ways, for example to vote, enter a competition or answer a quiz. In the future organisations could set up SMS short codes allowing their users to:

  • Express an interest in a product or service or request a brochure
  • Request a priority call back
  • Receive picture, music, or video content
  • Receive search results
  • Receive a promotional voucher
  • Pay for goods or services
  • Engage in learning activities

Bluetooth and Bluecasting

Bluetooth is an open wireless protocol for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices. Bluecasting is the provision of any media for Bluetooth use. Organisations could offer content to users who opt-in by making their mobile phones discoverable.

Cashless Financial Transactions

Using Paypal it is now possible to send money to anyone with and email address or mobile phone number. Paying using SMS is becoming more common, for example to pay for car parking. In the future people will be able to use the chip in their phone to make contactless payments at the point of sale by waving it across a reader.

The Future

The next 'big thing' for mobile devices could be speech recognition. The voice-enabled Web will have significant implications for authentication and ease of use. Future phones are likely to work in a more multi-sensory way and use smell, light and heat more. They may also begin to use artificial intelligence and augmented reality.


  1. An Introduction to the Mobile Web, Cultural Heritage briefing paper no. 62, UKOLN,
  2. An Introduction to QR Codes, Cultural Heritage briefing paper no. 61, UKOLN,
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