Cell Phones, Billboards Play Tag

Point and click your mobile phone at a poster in London movie theaters this July and you’ll be able to directly access the movie’s Web page.

Due to be launched in 20 cinemas in mid-July, the Hypertag technology will enable mobile-phone and PDA users one-click access to Web pages by pointing and clicking at advertising posters.

The real-world equivalent of hyperlinks, the small battery-powered electronic tags use infrared signals to send Web links to mobile phones. Developed by the Cambridge, U.K.-based company Hypertag, these smart tags can be discreetly attached to any information display surface, such as advertising panels, billboards or walls, enabling any mobile-phone user with an infrared port or Bluetooth to access digital content by downloading a small software application.

Besides directing moviegoers to sites where they can download music, trailers or stills from the movie, the tags will also be able to help users find the nearest cinema or call up the online box office.

“This imaginative use of communications technology has scope across a wide range of possible applications, from purely commercial to broad social benefits such as education,” said Joe Meaney at the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, which awarded a grant to Hypertag earlier this year for developing the technology.

For example, it could be used in museums and galleries, where visitors could download high-quality audio and visual content about exhibits. Tourists could retrieve sightseeing information as they walk through a city. Users could even leave contact details like their e-mail addresses to receive updates on events, exhibitions or special offers.

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