Saturday, February 05, 2005

Proximity Content Distribution: Hypertag

This last in a 3 part series looks at Hypertag, a U.K. production. Hypertag works much like our previously discussed solution, Wideray, but its target market is a little bit different (although there is a lot of cross over).

For example, Hypertag is ideal as a solution coupled with a traditional print advertisement. Let's say, you're standing at a bus stop, and there is one of those board ads that form part of the shelter you stand under while waiting for your bus -- it's a new CD advertisement for the band Audioslave. On the ad you notice a "point your IR port here" -- you do that, and you get a 15 second sound sample straight to your phone via IR. Not only have you saw the band's new CD cover on the ad, but you get a piece of their music, too. This is actually pretty cool ... it doesn't seem very interactive, but that's not what it's really designed to be -- it's meant to add another layer of "multi-media" or usability to the traditional print ad, and I think it's a pretty cool thing. Same thing could be used quickly to nab a coupon, or get the phone number of a booking office (say, the Blue Man Group is coming to town). .

From looking over their site, it first appears that you don't need any client application on your device, which would make it stellar (for getting one piece of content), but further study shows that this isn't the case, and you in fact need a client side application. Also, like Wideray, admin isn't discussed in much detail. I believe, however, that the hardware of Hypertag and Wideray have their admin done via GSM -- that is, a SIM card is inserted into their hardware (probably on some embedded Linux setup), and you directly link to those little boxes (not really sure how big Hypertag hardware is), and you update the content from there -- I'm guessing, that alone could get expensive, but it make sense in the case of Hypertag if you have their hardware all over the place (with Wideray, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth admin, or even standard RJ45 makes more sense). They probably get users on the service to update, too -- way to generate money, but gauge their customers (only speculation of course).

Anyway, their website doesn't reveal much -- it seems Wideray, Hypertag, and Bluepulse are all sneaky, as their webpages aren't all that informative, especially for larger funded companies ... maybe it's a "we don't want anybody to know about us" type thing, but that doesn't make sense (or maybe it does, as how they do things isn't so important to the users). If anybody in the UK (or in the US, where it seems they've got a foot on the ground) has used it, please let us know your user experience.

[ Technorati Tags: IrDA wireless mobiles proximity advertising marketing ]


Bryan Rieger said...


Thanks for sharing your (slightly biased) opinion on these competing products and companies. Actually, to be honest your look at these offerings has been very fair.

Any chance you might do the same overview of Jellingspot in another post? Perhaps speak about its strengths and weakness in a comparison with the others?

Also, the idea of using GSM/GPRS to update these servers seems a bit odd. It may allow for more remote applications where wifi might not be an option - but that's going to get costly.

There's also something about interacting with a traditional print advertisement that sort of worries me? I think it's important to have some physical representation of the server or service from a trust perspective. What's the possibility of somebody spoofing legit services using a laptop with Bluetooth in the same proximity? It would be nice to receive visual feedback from the server appliance in addition to you device - just for peace of mind.

I know that might be moot with Bluetooth as multiple connections can happen at the same time over greater distances that IR - but with more and more people running Bluetooth devices with dubious security it may become a real issue.

David Stennett said...

I was planning on doing just this -- post will come later today (Jellingspot vs. others). As for the security issue, I think it's a good point I didn't think about in great detail -- for example, if "Starbucks" had Jellingspot (and you saw "Starbucks" with your Jellingspot client), there isn't much stopping some guy with a notebook near by running Jelingspot and naming his server "Starbucks" too ... this could pose some "confusion" problems and could be another channel to spread viri ... on the other hand, the guy has to be near by, so if you get something on your phone you don't want (say some porn when you thought it was gonna be a burger menu), go look for him -- he's probably 50m or closer, giving you the perfect opportunity to give him a black eye. I'll have to think about that in more detail, though -- thanks for the heads up.

philox said...

Any chance you add Kameleon Technology to your comparison?
Kameleon offer two mobile marketing solutions.
In the main one the Tag doesn't need to be updated. thanks to the specific network architecture , the admin of the content can be done from any Internet access.
Our solution raise no particular security issue as we use a patented enhacement of the Bluetooth protocol.
Kameleon's Tag are also very robust as they can work on batteries for more than a year, once again thanks to its bluetooth patented innovation.
Check the website and send me your questions.