A Perfect Use for Near Field Communication in the Real World

People want personal. Especially as it relates to the idea of interacting with the physical world around them on a “screen.” This is a key reason that mobile is so powerful in its potential. It can fairly easily turn any place or thing “on” to where it is interactable. And it is the personal screen of personal screens.

The Museum of London has created an interesting experience through mobile and Near Field Communication. For anyone who’s been in a museum, I think we can all agree that the little write-ups on plaques do not provide us with the information we want about particular pieces of art. Docents are THE source of information, but the average person going to a museum does not do so with a docent. Enter Near Field Communication (NFC).

Stations at various pieces of art are equipped with NFC tags. Want to know more about the piece of art? Just tap your phone to the tag. Information given.

This technology and particular experience does allow for users to get a deeper experience of the museum as a whole (receiving vouchers for the gift shops, purchasing prints, even sharing their experience in their social channels) – which is also interesting and useful – but I love the use of this technology to fulfill a deeper need that people truly have around art in museums.

I think this is a perfect use of this technology and the museum provides the right type of physical objects to interact with. This type of experience, through this technology, instantly elevates the standard museum experience. For that, thumbs way up.

Here’s the thing to watch out for though – people go to museums to look at and experience art. Not information about the art on a mobile phone. I think it would be a travesty to walk into a museum and see everyone with their heads down, eyes glued to their mobile phones. Going full-tilt with something like this has the potential to take the emotion out of the experience, and that’s not what we want.

Enabling technologies like that can enhance our everyday, world experience. We just have to be careful to not let it drive our everyday, world experience.

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