Tourism of the Future?

Interesting story on how Klagenfurt, Austria is using QR code and NFC-chipped stickers to point people to public domain books.

Austrian city builds public library with nothing but QR codes, NFC and stickers — Engadget

I like the idea of using breadcrumbs around a city to point to interesting information for adventurous tourists, like a book, a map, a guide, a historical snippet or really anything applicable to that physical location. Kind of like the 21st century version of historical markers and plaques, but with an air of mystery, since you wouldn’t know exactly what was behind the sticker.

This type of self-service guided tour of a city should definitely appeal to a generation of digital natives who would find it much more natural than the old school methods for exploring a town or landmark.

On the flipside, anyone can put up a QR code that leads to something nefarious, and since these aren’t human-readable, you wouldn’t know until it was too late, e.g. finding out the TSA’s QR codes don’t all point to TSA content.

The fun of the unknown would be both a great lure for a fun adventure and potentially, a security danger. It’s difficult to overcome human curiosity, e.g. what’s the difference between these USB Dead Drops in NYC, and the thumb drives found in the office parking lot.

You wouldn’t know until you looked.

Anyway, I love the idea of leveraging smartphones to provide a modern tourism adventure. Perhaps cities should build their own apps, which could read only their own stickers. The possibilities are pretty exciting, verging on science fiction, e.g. using AR tags to overlay historical photos on the spot where you’re standing.

Another reason to pony up for Project Glass? Wearable computing is the future . . .

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