Profile photo of John Heaven (TuTech Innovation GmbH)

Monmouth is the world’s first “Wikipedia town”

25. May 2012 – 13:38 by John Heaven (TuTech Innovation GmbH)

Image: Wikimedia Commons, Mrjohncummings

The Welsh town of Monmouth is to become the world’s first “wikipedia town”. In a project that involves kitting out the whole town with free wifi hotspots and sticking QR codes on all significant monuments and places of interest, “Monmouthpedia” enables tourists to call up community-generated articles on their smartphones.

The project doesn’t simply use QR codes that link to a specific article, but to a wikipedia article in the user’s own language where available. This is enabled by the QR-Pedia website, which anyone can use to convert a link from a Wikipedia article into a QR code that ascertains the user’s language an delivers the article in the right language.

I can see this being a success because the QR codes make it much easier to find information about specific objects without having to type in a long, complicated URL, and you have a good idea of what information you are requesting. In many cases, QR codes are used unnecessarily (presumably because they are fashionable) on flyers and posters and link to a company’s website, which would be easier to call up by typing in the URL or searching for it. I also find that you often do not know what the QR code links to, which isn’t a great motivating factor either.

Another innovative example of QR code use is the Korean supermarket in an underground station that consists of pictures of products, each with an associated QR code. Again, the QR code links to a very specific object and it’s obvious what you can expect when you scan the code.

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  1. 2 Responses to “Monmouth is the world’s first “Wikipedia town””

  2. By Fraser on May 28, 2012

    Personally I’m not convinced about the future of QR – particularly with the advent of widespread NFC which is native, much easier to interact with and far more interactive.

    I’ve already started to play and am very impresed with the potential for eParticipation –

  3. Profile photo of John Heaven (TuTech Innovation GmbH)

    By John Heaven (TuTech Innovation GmbH) on May 28, 2012

    I don’t really see that NFC chips have so many advantages over QR codes. One of the barriers, as you mention, is that QR reading apps aren’t “native”, so you have to go looking for one in an appstore. But integrating QRs more tightly, e.g. installing a QR reader app by default and making it available directly from the lock screen, would mean that more people use them. This would presumably be cheaper than integrating RFC chips, which makes QR codes more appealing at the cheaper end of the market and this is of particular relevance for inclusive eParticipation.

    Then there’s the issue of convenience and cost of creating QR codes vs. NFC chips. It’s a lot easier to print a hundred posters with QR codes on them than to stick an NFC chip onto each of them, and also a lot cheaper, which is an advantage for smaller voluntary organisations and the public sector.

    What applies to both of them is the correct usage, as outlined in my article. I suppose NFC chips are a little more convenient in that you just have to swipe rather than take a photo.

    Thanks for commenting!

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