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BBC South Today - South Downs mobile signs

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Published on Dec 20, 2012

BBC South Today 19th December 2012 covering the launch of the new South Downs Way QR, NFC and AR mobile signs at Bignor Hill in West Sussex.

New technology incorporated into forty new waypost signs featuring nine visitor points of interest have been set up along the 100 mile South Downs Way, which runs from one end of the South Downs National Park to the other. These new signs will allow visitors to scan them to discover more information about the local area and nearby places of interest. Details that visitors can uncover include map references, links to YouTube videos, photos, local history, audio commentary and information about the wildlife that lives nearby.

Pictures at the top of each sign will also be used to trigger LAYAR Augmented Reality (AR) so that when the picture is scanned several floating image buttons appear on the smartphone's screen. People can then press each of the touchscreen buttons to instantly link to web, audio, video, pictures, map trails and other content at each location.

Andrew Kerry-Bedell of IT's in Conservation has developed the technology being used:
"We're starting to see a revolution in the way visitors interact with the heritage environment all around them, and that's all because most of us now own a smartphone, that can download applications, play music and video and surf the internet on the go."

"This South Downs initiative is really just a natural extension of the way that most people now prefer to gain access to new information, as the smartphone has become the addictive mobile 'hub' from which users run their busy leisure, social, work and family lives."

"The new signs include QR codes and innovative Near Field Communication (NFC) Tags, the latter working in the same way as scanning an Oyster Card on the London Underground. Visitors scanning the signs with their smartphone's built-in camera and QR code reader, or an NFC enabled phone and Tag scanner, leads them to a specially designed mobile web page telling them all about the area."

"This South Downs initiative follows on from the extensive research trials we've already done over the summer using signs with QR codes, and we'll be following visitor's reactions and use of the new NFC Tag and augmented reality elements very closely."

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