If you’re familiar with QR codes, you will not have failed to spot the similarity
A new startup called SonicNotify has developed a technology that will enable smartphone apps to receive data via high frequency sound inaudible to the human ear. Though limited, the signals would be sufficient to transmit, say, a web address that could be automatically opened by your smartphone. These frequencies could be embedded into any audio being played through a speaker, and provide contextual information to the user. So, museums and art galleries could effectively transmit detailed information on their exhibits via their apparently silent PA systems. The cliche applies, I’m afraid: the possibilities are unending.
Other applications spring irresistibly to mind. At a rock concert, your phone might automatically load a web page with additional information such as a set lists or lyrics to the current song being performed. In fact, SonicNotify are producing disposable speakers (or “notifiers”) for just such events. Talk radio shows could broadcast a signal leading users to a contact page where they can unload their Earth-moving insights. Your ideas for possible applications of the technology are doubtless better.
If you’re familiar with QR codes, you will not have failed to spot the similarity. But QR codes have drawbacks which SonicNotify deftly sidesteps. There’s no need to see the code (in fact, a visual medium isn’t required), and there’s no need to point your camera at anything, or faff about with photographs and QR code readers. SonicNotify’s technology is as simple as launching the app.
Those interested can give the technology a test drive by downloading a free app, Sonic Experiences, for either iPhone or Android, and navigating to the demos section of the SonicNotify website. By playing the videos embedded on the demos page while the app was running on my smartphone, I was able to view additional content on my phone having done nothing more than launch the app. Okay so the demo content may not be all that compelling, but that isn’t the point. That it works, is. Handily, the app seems to queue up a list of content you’re accessing as it listens, rather than replacing the last piece of bonus material with that which it’s currently hearing, so users shouldn’t miss out on information – provided apps that eventually use this technology handle data the same way, that is.
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