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'internet of Things' Is Set to Come

By Financial Times

September 19, 2011

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Oxfam charity shops will use technology developed by a U.K. consortium to create an Internet of things this fall.

The technology will enable 20 shops to combine information such as geographical location, stories about previous owners, video clips, and tweets to form a social network for objects, says the University College London's Andy Hudson-Smith.

The plan is to label objects with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags or quick response (QR) codes, and link each tag with a special Web site for that object. Mobile phone users will be able to scan the tag and access the information from the Web site or add their own information.

For a pilot project, an Oxfam shop in Manchester tagged clothes with QR codes to provide stories from previous owners and their geographical location. "In 20 years' time, it may well be possible to enter a shop where each object is able to offer up its own history--what sort of person owned the object before, where they got it from, and what memories are associated with it," Hudson-Smith says.

In a trial of the technology in Norway, people can scan tags at bus stops and receive tweets on when the next bus will arrive and leave a message or video clip.

From Financial Times
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