Tombstones and Mobile Phones

This video shows an interesting use of mobile phones in Japan. By embedding a QR code in tombstones, visitors can use their mobile phone to access additional information about the deceased. These stones are made by Ishinokoe.

QR Code Tombstone

(sent to me by Pascal Cardinal)

What it means: mobile + physical objects can lead to interesting, think-out-of-the-box ideas. I believe we’ve only scratched the surface of future “local” innovation.

When will Mobile Become the Next Big Thing?

Scott Karp from the Publishing 2.0 blog lists five arguments explaining why mobile is not yet very exciting:

1. Wireless carrier networks are SLOW
2. Public WiFi access is a SCAM
3. Sites aren’t formated for small screens
4. Mobile device screens are too small
5. Advertising gets in the way

What it means: I agree with his assessment, especially in North America. I’ve often been asked by traditional media publishers: “How do we leapfrog Google, Yahoo, MSN?”. I think one of the potential answers is Mobile. I’ve never been really excited by mobile’s potential until I attended the Web 2.0 Expo last April. I got the feeling when I was there that mobile is about to become real. Something in the zeitgeist, about the convergence of the various interests of hardware manufacturers, content publishers and the technological community. I think we’re still 24 months away from tangible results but, if you operate a local media business, you should be thinking hard about mobile today. You should have a couple of dedicated resources working on the mobile strategic plan, thinking about user experience specifically adapted for mobile browsing and the 3-inch screen, thinking about what kind of ads will be most efficient in that medium. Send that team to Japan or South Korea to see what people are doing with their mobile devices there. Invest some dollars now. Mobile is all about local and you can’t afford to miss that wave.

Update (& related topic): my friend Colin talks about overpriced mobile data plans in Canada